Pokhara! It’s like a laid back version of bustling Thamel back in Kathmandu. It was nice to be able to walk on sidewalks without worrying about getting run over by motorbikes and taxis. Very peaceful town. We were so exhausted from the trek that we pretty much did nothing every day except eat and sit in the Internet café planning our Thailand destinations. Eating vegetarian and hiking for hours a day equals losing weight (how’s that for a diet?)! That and also Nepal is not really known for its food. It’s interesting: most tourist restaurants offer everything from Italian to Mexican to burgers and pizza to Indian. Which means a lot of variety but not high quality. Both Mike and I shed 5 lbs each from the trek—probably will gain it all back in Thailand.
In Pokhara, we did one day of sightseeing and visited the World Peace Pagoda overlooking the lake. We took a boat across Phewa Lake and hiked uphill for 45 min to get to the top. After lazying about for a few days, this was not easy in the thick humidity!
The World Peace pagoda was erected by a Japanese Buddhist who wanted to put up 100 World Peace pagodas to spread the message of world peace after witnessing the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born in Nepal (according to UNESCO), so this site was especially important to put up. Up until 2006, Nepal was declared a Hindu state and our guide Min explained that Buddhism was not really allowed. After the King was overthrown and a parliament put in place, more and more Nepalis have embraced Buddhism. A lot of temples are actually Hindu and Buddhist together as the two have melded philosophies over the years in Nepal.
After the pagoda, we took the long way home around the lake, and wandered along the road for 2.5 hours back to town. The next day we took an 8 hour bus back to Kathmandu and next stop, Bangkok!!