We spent the next few days “de-circuiting” ourselves in Pokhara. It’s the largest, closest city to the Annapurna circuit and if a person was so inclined, they could actually start and end their Annapurna Circuit trip there which would add 5 to 10 days to the 20 day trip. Our exhaustion from the 11 days of trekking followed by a hair-raising bus ride out of the mountains was more than enough for us to sit down and take a load off in this beautiful city.
On a clear day, one can see that Pokhara is situated on a lake surrounded by mountains and foots hills of the Himalayas. We were not so lucky as the dry season was upon us, leaving us with nothing but hazy sky caused by the dust that is picked up by any breeze. That said, the town is cute and it was a perfect place to relax, chill, and have a drink.
We also indulged in a massage and a much-needed shave (straight edge razor at a barber shop), which we learned is somewhat of a ritual after trekking. There are quite a few places in town where one can just pamper themselves after X number of days of withdraw of normal luxuries that we take for granted.
Our two main activities in this place, besides the relaxing, were a small hike up to the World Peace Gompa and some small time celebration with our friends Piers & Laura. The World Peace Gompa is like many gompas in that it was built high above the surrounding communities thus providing time for reflection as you head up to consider World Peace and how illusive it is. The main trail leading us upward had so many side trails we almost got lost and which would have given us much more time to reflect. We actually met two young ladies on the way up and as we were walking down the trail, we noticed them again; they had been lost for nearly an hour.
We eventually got back down into the city and met up with Laura & Piers and had a grand ole time remembering the Circuit; our ups our downs, the ups and downs of the trail, the fun people we had met and all the beauty that we got to experience.
Another beautiful part of Nepal is Chitwan. It’s protected wildlife area south of Kathmandu and the park’s southern most part is the border with India. The main reason we came to this area was to see elephants. There is a beautiful park/jungle that we could have chosen to trek in for a few days but the heat got the better of us. The temperatures exceed 100 degrees Farenheit and the humid was also quite high. This place rivals any other hot place we have been to on the trip with the added bonus that there were scheduled and non-scheduled power outages during the heat of the day. BRUTAL
Anywho, back to the reason why we came: elephants. There is a nationally sponsored elephant breeding center close to where we stayed and got to see old and very young elephants being feed the afternoon we arrived. One little curious guy actually climbed over the fence for a few minutes but quickly got back over after a loud call rang out from one of the adult elephants.
embedded by Embedded Video
We also got to ride an elephant as it took on us on a mini-safari where we got to see a few rhinoceros and local deer. pretty exciting.
But actually the best part of the trip to Chitwan was getting to head down to the river in the morning and getting and elephant bath. Each day the hotels that own elephants take them down to the river to get washed and if any tourists are around, the elephant caretakers ask to see if anyone wants and elephant bath. So both of us agreed and got up on the back of an elephant and got completely soaked by the elephant.
After our elephant experience we headed back to Kathmandu for a day or two prior to flying to Bangkok to start our Southeastern Asian adventure.
Check out the photos of Pokhara and Chitwan.
Up next are our impressions of Nepal