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mistybleu Sarangkot - A travel report by Amanda
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Sarangkot,  Nepal - flag Nepal
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mistybleu's travel reports

Himalayas - Rooftop of the world

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Nepal is a beautiful mountainous country. There second city is Pokhara and can be considered a holiday resort. It is one of the main centres where people can access the mountains and trek in the Himalayas or view the wonders of nature from Sarangkot.


Sunrise in the Himalayas
Sunrise in the Himalayas
Welcome to the Kingdom of Nepal, the only Hindu kingdom of the world. It is a country of around 28mn people and is sandwiched between India and China. The collision of India into Asia created the world’s highest mountain and a truly wonderful mountain range - the Himalayas, that has been celebrated as the ‘Roof top of the World’.

The Himalayas stretch for some 2400 km from Nanga Parbat in the east to Namcha Barwa peaks in the west; and of the 14 peaks that exceed 8,000 metres in the world 8 of them are found here. This includes Mount Everest which stands at 8848m and have attracted thousands climbers over the decades. But Nepal also has the world's deepest gorge ‘Kali Gandaki'.

The capital is Kathmandu, a vast city that is always buzzing. The main tourist area is Thamel and has lots of things to do and see quite close by, really catering for the trekking traveller.

Heading northwest out of Kathmandu by completing a 6 ½ hour drive (200 km) or an hour plane ride in the Pokhara Valley is the city of Pokhara. Known as the “city of 7 lakes” it brings you even closer to the Himalayas than in Kathmandu. Only 30km away you can start climbing the first peak; although Machhapuhre is a sacred mountain that no one is allowed to climb. There are wonderful views of all around the city of the Annapurna ranges within a sub-tropical setting.

Know before you go -

Currency: Nepalese Rupee

Exchange rate: 1NPR = £0.008, €0.010, $0.016

Time: GMT + 5.45

Electricity: 220 Volts AC

Visa: costs around $30 and can be obtained at the airport or the originating country.

Departure tax: 600 rupee per passenger if departing to South Asian countries and 1,700 rupee to international destinations.

Official language: Maithili (an Indo-Aryan language that is viewed as a dialect of Hindi).

When to travel: autumn, early October to early December for trekking as the weather is mild and clear with chilly nights.

Favourite spots:
The long climb up
The long climb up
The walk up Sarangkot starts early in the morning at around 4am and takes 3 hours, if you climb from the base (starting at Bindabasini temple); however I took a taxi half way up and it still took me 45 minute to climb to the summit. The climb was strenuous but what makes this magical is the view of the sun rising over the mountains – the higher you get the more stunning the views become.

Sarangkot is a small hill that stands at 1592 metres high; it is quite steep but steps have been created to make it easier and safer climbers (there was a mixture of concrete steps and pathway).

This is a very popular walk (I call it the poor man’s trek) especially with people not taking part of a multiple day trek. It provides wonderful views of the Annapurna Ranges with the majestic Machhapuhre aka the Fishtail dominating your view. Whilst not the highest mountain it appears that way as it is so close to where you are standing.

What's really great:
The Locals
The Locals
The Nepalese people were very friendly, everyone greets you with ‘Namesta’ and are always curious of your origins. Even if it is to get a sale, they seem very good natured.

Pokhara is quiet during the day, but by no stretch of the imagination is it dead. There are always people milling around and by the time evening comes around all restaurant and bars come alive.

But truly the best thing about this area is the beauty of the Himalayas. It’s about taking some time out and testing your endurance with a trek, or visiting the temples, stupas or monasteries. Or volunteering on a conservation project. Or even just enjoying being alive and thinking I could be in 'London' now rushing to work on the underground, instead of staring at the face of God.

If I ever get a chance to visit Nepal again, I would definitely do a trek, as this feeling has to last for more that a few days.

Sights:
Finally at the top of Sarangkot
Finally at the top of Sarangkot
Barahi Temple

Dedicated to the Goddess Barahi is situated on a small island in the middle of Lake Phewa Tal and can be reached by canoe from the docks in Pokhara for about 20 rupees

Phewa Tal

The water of the lake can be quite still and reflects perfect images of the Annapurna Range. It is the second largest lake in Nepal; canoes (aka doongas) available for rental as well as fishing rods.

Tibetan Refugee Camp

There are the two villages in near Pokhara to explore; they make a lot of woollen handicrafts, rugs and carpets, as well as running souvenir stalls. But it is also fascinating to here some of their stories.

The World Peace Pagoda

One of the newer places to watch the sun rise is from the World Peace Pagoda that sits on the high on the hill across from Lake Phewa Tal at an elevation of 1113m.

The Seti River Gorge, Mahendra Caves, Mountain Museum and Old Bazaar are also worth a visit.

Accommodations:
Lake views from Sarangkot
Lake views from Sarangkot
On the same strip as the restaurant there are also many hotels. The larger ones are on the main road, but as you turn up the streets there are more and these tend to be a little cheaper guesthouse and B&B.

If you haven’t books accommodations in the bus park there is a tourist office that can offer some help. They are very knowledgeable about the hotels in the area, but they also recommend that you read the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. The taxi ride from the bus park is 150 rupees but to be honest it’s probably better to walk, after sitting for all those hours in a bus. The taxi fare is fixed however if you haven’t booked accommodation the driver will probably take you to their hotel and won’t therefore charge you; as they get a commission form the hotel.

Hangouts:
The views are always great
The views are always great
I didn't go to any night clubs so I don't know what the scene is like but there are many bars that open late. And it’s just nice to sit and have a drink, but you have to wrap up warm.

I did find a few internet shops that were quite cheap and allowed me to while away the hours.

Restaurants:
Views from Sarangkot
Views from Sarangkot
The main strip contains lots of restaurants, with all types of food. But it is worth trying the Nepalese set meal, all served in little dishes:

Flat bread with coconut chutney, Dali soup, Vegetable curry, Chicken curry, Boiled rice; washed down with some Everest or Nepal Ice beer.

We tried a few restaurants and bars and they were really good:

PARADISE INN – a large restaurant/bar that was quite empty but the food was good. MEERA HOTEL / RESTAURANT - an extensive menu but only tried the breakfast. SILK ROAD BAR. BILLY BUNTER’S ROOF TOP RESTAURANT – serves a decent breakfast at a reasonable price. NEWARI KITCHEN – a varied menu with good local food. PYRAMID RESTAURANT – a fairly large restaurant that serves Mexican and Italian food. PUMPERNICKEL BAKERY set on the lake front in a very picturesque setting; nice bread.

Tip: I was told to eat local food as this reduces the risk of being sick, as chefs are more accustomed cooking their own food.

Other recommendations:
Aerial views of Mount Everest
Aerial views of Mount Everest
There is always the opportunity of doing a trek originating from Kathmandu. However if you do not have the resources, funds or inclination for a 4, 11 or 15 day trek then the next best thing is to take a mountain flight. All flights originate from the domestic terminal of the airport and it is very easy to secure a seat.

There are a few airlines that offer this service - Rainbow Airlines, Yeti Airways, Buddha Air, plus the national carrier. It cost around $135 for a window seat or $87 for an aisle seat; but to be fair everyone seemed good natured allowing pictures to be taken from their seat. You also get invited to the cockpit (when does that happen nowadays) to get pictures from the pilots perspective. The flight lasts an hour and the best time is to see the sunrise. You really get a full appreciation for the mountain ranges that you past en route to Everest.

My only complaint was that the windows weren’t polarised.

Published on Wednesday January 30th, 2008


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Sun, Mar 09 2008 - 11:29 AM rating by marianne

Very useful info and a pleasure to read. I like the sun rise photo best.

Sun, Mar 02 2008 - 07:45 AM rating by kristeb

Hello Amanda. It was a wery good reeport to read. Much of the information was a goog help for me. In october 2008 I will go to Mustang. Thanks for information.
Best regard forom Kristel from Nprway

Tue, Feb 26 2008 - 07:13 AM rating by aryalha

Dear
Well Thanks for such information about Nepal here are some mistake like Visa $30 for 60 days as well as Airport Tax is NPR1695. Please give true Information.

Aryalha

Thu, Feb 14 2008 - 01:39 PM rating by krisek

Excellent! A mine of information - very useful. I will most definitely take the mountain flight when I get there. Many thanks!

Sat, Feb 09 2008 - 04:05 PM rating by eirekay

I want to go...what a wonderful trip! I agree - a trek is in order. Spiritual places are always so inspiring! You have captured that aura so well in this report!

Mon, Feb 04 2008 - 07:42 AM rating by louis

Wonderful, You made a guide book about Nepal - excellent photos, travel tips and now this report.

Sun, Feb 03 2008 - 05:37 AM rating by downundergal

Wow!! A great report from a magical place (yes I want to go....)
I love that marvellous picture of Mt Everest.

Sat, Feb 02 2008 - 05:58 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Just stunning!

Thu, Jan 31 2008 - 02:34 PM rating by davidx

As always from you, a mine of information and a great read!

Thu, Jan 31 2008 - 03:18 AM rating by rangutan

On-top-of-the-world report. A breathtaking and exiting adventure. Excellent!

Wed, Jan 30 2008 - 07:12 PM rating by alfonsovasco

how lucky you are to visit these wonderful places and write so good about them!

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