Pokhara, Bandipur & Sarangkot
Once on to the main Prithvi Highway that links Kathmandu to Pokhara, the views were stunning and we could see the Himalayas as well as the rolling hills all along the long winding road.
We had a few stops along the way for toilet/coffee etc and eventually got to Pokhara around 3pm, then negotiated a taxi to take us to our accommodation.
Then the rest of the day was spent walking around finishing up with a lovely Vietnamese meal at night.
Amrak was from Saudi Arabia, who had travelled here on his own and was obviously just looking for some company. Once on the other side of the lake, the driver said it would take about 45 mins to get to the top, so he would wait 2 hours for us to take us back over again.
Once there, the hotel we had booked was nothing like the description so we turned that one down and got another one slightly better along the road. The main thing we wanted was heating as Bandipur is up a hill, but alas all we got was an electric fire and with only one working bar, it was more a glow in the room rather that any heat.
Arriving at the caves and paying our 200 rupees entry with guide, off we went into the darkness with our headtorches on. Now in the UK, our H&S laws would probably have ruled this kind of adventure out, as we scrambled over rocks, wet slippery slopes and down ladders bolted loosely to the rocks.
It certainly was an eye opener and harder work than we thought, but enjoyed it none the less and after about 40 minutes, we scrambled back out into daylight.
We stayed at the Superview Lodge, which was a lovely room yet also lacked all the facilities it had mentioned on Booking.com, but the room was lovely and it did also have amazing views from our balcony. It was also one of the nearest to the viewing point at the summit, and a short but steep 10-minute walk got us there to catch the sunset. After having our dinner at the hotel, we retired to bed and set our alarms for sunrise, where we had to be up at the summit just before 7am.
It was well worth the early rise, and on getting the already crowded viewing area, we seen what was probably the best sunrise I have seen ever.
Krisha, the owner of the accommodation we were staying in was also a paragliding pilot, so we had arranged through his company Nirvana Fly to meet him at the take-off spot. Once we found the right one, we sat and watched a few people take off and the nerves kicked in for both of us. Yes, Sadie had decided since I was doing it she would also take part!
A few minutes later it was my turn, and off we went into the sky, the initial feeling as you take off is something I have never experienced before, but once you are soaring into the thermals and getting higher and higher, it makes it all worthwhile. We glided about for around 20 minutes and the views of the Himalayas, Lake Fewa, Pokhara and the surrounding hills was immense, certainly a birthday to remember. We then started our descent, and after a small bit of aerial acrobatics, we landed safely to the waiting Sadie and we both were glad it was over but will never forget.
We chatted a lot about both our upcoming adventures as it was their first time doing this too, so we had a lot in common, and it certainly passed a lovely sunny afternoon away. We swapped contact details etc as they were also going to do a blog of their travels.
Later that night we met up again for pizza and some beers, and ended up in an old aircraft which was sat on a roof of a nightclub under refurbishment. It was certainly a bizarre venue for a drink, along with the story from the waiter who told us the plane had been shipped from Kathmandu on top of a bus after its last flight it had been involved in an accident with tourists on board!
I’d come back here, though the cold temperatures in the evening would mean that it would be a slightly warmer time of year.
Off on the long bus journey back to Kathmandu for a week next, from what Will & Fran told us, we are in for a busy and interesting time!
Link to Pokhara Photos
Link to Paul Paragliding Photos