Short Hike Around Pokhara
A Spontaneous BEYUL Anniversary Trek
12-July, this date will remain in my mind throughout my life. 2015, this exact date, while I was with my friends celebrating my birthday, Ghale dai called me out of nowhere to start a trekking company, and 2016, same date when we started BeyulTreks, co-founded by myself, Ghale dai and Roshan , everyone being long time friends from Kathmandu University. After starting the company, we are getting good opportunity to meet lots of friendly and awesome people from around the world. Sharing stories with these amazing travelers, knowing about the culture and showing them the best of the best time from my home country Nepal has then been an integral part of our life. As they say, happiness is doubled when shared, we hope we have been able to give our lovely guests happiness of lifetime.
9th July night at Thamel, and…
Earlier, we had planned to go to Pokhara on 11th July 2019 to celebrate Beyul anniversary. We met on 9th July at Thamel to discuss about our trip. We started with Beer, discussed about the upcoming trip and hopped a few more bars. Meaning, after sometime, we were at “THAMEL” getting thamel-ed. Then all of a sudden we planned to take a trip to Pokhara, that night itself. We were a bit tipsy, however, had to check with few other schedules. And, after making a few calls, we were ready to take the trip and arrange the vehicle right after.
The car reached for the pick up on time, and went to our home, packed the stuff (we could remember) and there we were, ready to take the ride to Pokhara. I could see the excitement in everyone’s eyes, not caring about the sleep. I had brought a bottle of Jack Daniels from my last trip to Thailand. We put that in the water bottle and sipped some on the way. The night drive on the car on the highway was not that easy. The vehicles coming from opposite side were caring less about the high-beam light coming out of their headlight. However, our driver dai was driving carefully, and making sure that we are safe.
We were also taking frequent 10-15 minutes break on the way. I and Ghale dai dodged a bit. At 6 in the morning, we stopped for tea. We then freshened up a bit, ate some food, and started the drive again. We arrived in Pokhara at around 8AM at Hotel Ivy Inn, owned by our dear brother/friend Prajwal. We decided to take some rest there, and sleep for sometime. We slept until around 11AM, and then we decided to start our hike towards Panchase.
Hiking through friendly-helpful Green Villages
We took taxi until Peace Stupa, and then started our hike towards Pumdi village. The hike was easy, with good unpaved road for vehicles. We used to take shortcuts, as often as we could. We could see that the fields were covered with thick corn field, with numbers of cucumbers inside them. We wanted to try cucumber but we could not see anyone around to buy.
While hiking through villages, we decided to rest in one of the house and ask for the cucumber. We waited there for 10-15 minutes but could not see anyone. We then met some villagers passing by, and asked if we were waiting there in order to taste some cucumber. They told us that they have cucumbers at their house and could offer us some. We then hiked with them, who were carrying big corn-sack at their back. They welcomed us at their home, and offered some fresh cucumber. We wanted to pay, but we were made so clear that they don’t want money.
The cucumbers were so fresh, organic and tasty that I was eating one whole piece. After sometime, it started raining. We decided to take shelter at one of the houses nearby. We went there, and could not see anyone. With shelter and heavy rain in our mind, we rested there anyway, gazing at big corn fields and the lush green paddy fields that only Monsoon trek offers. Roshan was busy capturing picture of cattle at the house (cause they cant say NO…haha). The house owner arrived after sometime, and they were not even surprised to see some strangers staying at their yard. Instead, she offered tea for all of us. I mean, why our people are these generous, these helpful, and are such welcoming? This has not happened to me for the first time. While trekking, I have met lots of such generous people that will touch your soul, and have always inspired me to be good and do good.
We thanked her a lot, waved goodbye and started our hike further.
Clean Kalabang Homestay
We arrived at the village called Kalabang at around 3, and decided to stay there. The rush-yet-fun and sleepless night before must have made us tired. We found a homestay. The rooms were clean, and the house was looking very picturesque. We washed our hands and feet, and just laid in bed while reflecting about the hike. I wanted to go and hike around village, while Dai and Roshan just wanted to dodge off at the bed. So, I decided to hike around on my own, and began exploring. The cute dog from the homestay was following me all the way, and in some way was my guide. I could see the locals playing volleyball at the top. I wanted to try, but could see that they were too good at it that I could be a liability for the team. Hence, I hiked up to the top.
There was a big park-like spot and I could see the Fewa lake and whole Pokhara city. On the other hand, there were many constructions going on at the most of the hills. Resorts in some, while small hotels in few of them, I had mixed feelings about these construction (or destruction). The dog was still around me, showing its happy playful gesture all the time. I just gazed at the village, and was enjoying the nature at fullest. It was now getting dark and I should get back to the homestay. While coming back, the guys playing volleyball were just taking rest and I could see a tap near the ground. I washed my face and feet and chatted with the villagers for sometime. They seem so hopeful with the tourism contributing significantly to their village since a year and a half. Nonetheless, these young guys were very excited to live at their village and wanted to serve more tourists in days to come. I promised to recommend their homestay to everyone looking for organic experience, and waved goodbye.
I came back to the hotel, and could see that guys were now looking fresh and relieved. We took the wholesome organic dinner. We tried some local wine, and just stayed in terrace for around an hour chatting. We then went to bed getting excited about the next day’s hike.
When humans submitted to Leech
Next morning, we had breakfast made from locally available curries and millet-bread. After taking some snaps with the friendly hosts, and sharing our number, we began hiking towards Panchase.
The hosts and people we met along the way were already surprised to see us hiking during Monsoon, and had warned us about the myriads of leeches that we will encounter along the way. Ghale dai was also warning us about these little suckers all the way along. However, we wanted to try.
The hike was pretty awesome, between all those scenic villages and the serene hills we could see far far away. We could see the road constructions at most of the hills. The were pretty amazing spots to take rest. From there we could see the paddy fields all along, a special treat for our eyes. We talked with numbers of people we met along the way, and when they hear about us hiking to Panchase, they ended up with the same surprised phrase, PANCHASE IN THIS LEECH SEASON???
We arrived at Bhumdi at around 11, and decided to have some tea there. The owner of the shop again warned us about the leech. We started to hike up now, where there were no houses at all. The green grassy hill was serving as a kitchen to lots of cattle. The view was just magnificent. Until now, we had just encountered few (pickable) leeches. Then, the jungle started.
Right after jungle started, we could see that our boots were filled with leeches, more than 15 in a single boot. They were so small that picking them up was another cumbersome task. Then, we stood on one stone, and had a short meeting that involved leeches we were about to face. Ghale dai warned that the size of leech would now be bigger while the numbers would be more than double. We then had to decide between facing all those leeches or getting back. After that point, dai warned that there would be no coming back. So, we decided that we would rather be back instead of wasting most of our hiking time picking those little black disgusting suckers.
We then came back the same way and sat in a stone from where we could see the whole valley. We decided just to stay there as long as we wanted and make this trip more spontaneous one, meaning, we will think about the destination on-the-go.
ICECREAM, BARAF and Swimming at Ghaatichinaa
After spending enough time at the stone, we walked down and just began lingering along the way. We chatted with people we met along the way and most of them were suggesting us to stay at Ghaatichinaa. After hiking for about an hour, there was a small tea shop. We decided to rest there and eat some food.
We had one of the best time there. We ordered some noodle soup, and tea. A lady was running that shop, and she had a child of 2 years who was just awake while we reached there. We tried to speak with him, but he was hesitant. We then stayed there for sometime, and we could see Asim, who was hesitant before, was very friendly kid. We started to play with him, and then it was him who was teaching us the alphabets he learned at the school. He was saying random Nepali and english alphabets and numbers, while we were repeating after him. And, after every interval he used to end them with Ice Cream and Baraf (Popsicle). We could feel that he was so into Ice Cream and Baraf. Beyul team and his mother could not stop laughing and playing with this lovely child.
After engaging there for like an hour or so, we then hiked towards Ghatichinaa, and were excited about the flowing river swimming that everyone was recommending us. We then hiked and could see the villages surrounding the Pokhara. Just in front of us was Dhampus, one of the well known destinations to be around Pokhara. We could not see any Himalayas because of the clouds. However, we were enjoying the greenery and were very well aware regarding the expectation to set during monsoon trek.
Ghaatichinaa- an awesome destination near Pokhara
We arrived at Ghaatichinaa at around 4. We checked in at the homestay, and ran towards the river with the towel, shampoo and few chilled beers. I have to say that I had one of the best times of my life there. Hiking the whole day, no shower for a few days, the river swim was an awesome experience. Furthermore, the clear river water was more than refreshing. We were served with authentic organic dinner along with lots of buffalo milk.
We stayed and chatted until late that night, while listening to the rain. Sometimes in our life, we tend to forget that, despite running a business together, we are good friends. We slept a very good night with the sounds of rain. Next morning, we woke up early, and we had to hike for an hour to get to the bus that was taking us to Pokhara. The hike was alongside the river with hills on both sides. We were having another best day, with the best weather to hike. We could see the bus waiting that leaves every half hour from Ghaatichinaa until Lakeside.
Before getting to the bus, I could see that Ghaatichinaa could be the best place to be around Pokhara, if we have a few leisure days, and looking for some authentic Nepalese experience apart from Pokhara nightlife. Nonetheless, both Pumdi-Dhumi Homestays also offers an experience of a lifetime. Not only both of these destinations offer you the cultural exposure, but also the community running the homestay offers you to live like a local people.
We then left for Lakeside, and stayed there for 1 more day to have every “Pokhara” fun. And, as usual, what happens in Pokhara stays in Pokhara (cause I can hardly remember…haha).
To summarize, we had a very good time and got the opportunity to explore more homestays while experiencing them personally. Beyul is always trying to give exposure to the destinations with community experience and support the cultural tourism. All the hikes that we did around Pokhara has potential to attract more tourists and, as a Beyul, we always recommend them to our guests.