Nepal Trip Day 2: Bus Ride to Pokhara

I woke up at 5.15am, just prior to the alarm clock I’d brought along. It’s a bit of a safety measure and to me, a comfort measure. We walked to Kanti Path. Along the way, however, I was occasionally struggling with my duffel bag. Bread bought at half-price from the previous night was our breakfast.

Tip: Get a decent rucksack, unless you’re on a tight budget like me. Don’t buy bread at night, it seems that it’s been baked in the morning and been laid at the mercy of flies for the whole day. It makes for poor eating. And waterproof/rain cover your bags for they’ll be put on top of the bus, although companies like Swiss Travel cover the bags with a large sheet.

It’s a long 7 hour ride along winding mountain ridges with little maximum speed. Depending on the bus, the route will be slightly bumpy, bumpy or very bumpy… with lots of noise from the strange-sounding horns belonging to strangely adorned Nepalese trucks. There are two toilet/meal breaks along the way, but you’ll be better served (for food) by bringing along a few snacks and waiting until Pokhara to eat.

We were picked up in Pokhara by a car from Sacred Valley Inn, a <10min drive away, and met with the proprietor of the inn – Bishnu, speaking with him regarding trekking and rafting. Sacred Valley Inn is a registered trekking company and Bishnu was happy to offer us their services.

Trekking permits cost us Rs2200 each and required 2 passport photos each. Supposedly applying directly at the office costs Rs2000 each… well… convenience comes at a cost, I suppose. We rented North Face -10 degrees down sleeping bags at Rs50/bag/day with no deposit needed (because we were staying at Sacred Valley… the owner of the shop being in partnershipm etc etc) at Globetrotter The Trekking Equipment Shop (Lake Side-6, Pokhara, Nepal). Our plan was to bring Rs1000/person/day of the trek for food and accommodation with extras being for water, etc.

Subsequently, we changed a total of USD1100 at roughly 62.25 rupees to one USD and went shopping. Dinner was at The Lemon Tree and was decent. They’re supposed to be famed for their milkshakes, but I ended up drinking a bottle of Gorkha beer instead.

Bought a waterproof jacket, and the two girls and I bought a pair of ‘Teva’ sandals for the rafting trip. The jacket cost Rs2000, though with lack of rupees I paid USD44 for the sandals and the jacket.

Tip: If you have a pair of Crocs or Teva sandals, bring them and leave the slippers at home. They can be used as slippers (in the room), for rafting (flip-flops aren’t as ideal) and if your boots really fall apart, can be used to walk on the trail.

Other items bought for the trek: map (Rs100), 2 bottles of iodine solution with 1 dropper (Rs130), 2 packets of Tang for the orangy taste (Rs280). I took out required items from the duffel bag and packed it into the top half of H’s rucksack. Now instead of 4 bags we only had 3 = fewer porters = save money.

The porter-guide’s fee was USD20/day, with each of the two porters drawing USD15/day for a total of USD600 for 12 days. The tip to be given is usually 1 day’s pay for 1 week… so we gave each of them 2 days pay as tip (at the end of the trek). The upfront payment was 6 days so that they’d be able to pay for their accommodation and food.

Tip: Tap water is not safe to drink, and chlorinated tablets don’t clear out Giardia. For each litre of tap water (chissue-pani) add 5 drops of iodine, shake well and allow to stand for 45min before drinking/adding Tang. While you can get boiled-filtered water at the guesthouses, it costs money so it’s cheaper to drink iodinised water.

An early night’s rest after packing. Trekking the next day.

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