I had somehow managed to lose my shorts right before we left the UK. In a state of panic I grabbed an extra pair of chinos and thought I’d just have to make do.
The heat was bearable in Kathmandu, but it was a whole other story when we got to Pokhara. Thankfully, just opposite our hotel was a small tailor and for under £2, I was able to convert my chino trousers into a great pair of shorts. I’ve been wearing them every day since. Bargain.
As you’d expect, Pokhara has a very different vibe to Kathmandu. It feels more like a resort and everything seems a lot more laid back. Although there are a lot more imitation hiking shops here, which always makes me laugh. Somewhat reluctantly though, I had to buy a hat from one of them (my wife caved and got one too) – luckily I found one without any branding, so didn’t have to haggle much.
One of the main features of Pokhara is the enormous lake that it sits beside. It’s absolutely stunning and the surrounding hills make it picture perfect – as long as the visibility is good. We took some time one morning to enjoy a short walk along a small section of it, but didn’t get that far as we were caught in the midday sun.
My wife had picked up a paragliding flyer early on during our stay in Pokhara and had been trying to persuade me to do it since. Eventually I caved and we started looking at what was on offer, secretly I was hoping that the weather would put a stop to these plans.
After running out of excuses, I had to face up to the fact that I’d be running off a cliff. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to these things and after researching (and trying not to freak out in the process) we booked a flight through a company called Frontier Paragliding.
It was about a 30 minute drive from Lakeside to Sarangkot, the take off point. It’s also a popular view point, although it was a little overcast – I had hoped we could kill two birds with one stone. The ascent was steep and it wasn’t long until we were uncomfortably high.
After a quick briefing, we were all assigned pilots and harnessed up. I’d been remarkably calm until this point. I was used to rock climbing harnesses, they were nice and tight – these certainly weren’t. In no time at all, I was being told to walk and then run down the hill. Before I knew it, my feet were no longer on the ground and I was soaring above the lake and nearby hills.
My poor pilot kept trying his hardest to get us up as high as the others. I think I might have over indulged a bit on our honeymoon. This didn’t bother me as we were pretty high already, so I waved to my wife as she passed by above.
Once I got comfortable, as much as one could, my pilot asked if I wanted to do some acrobatics. I figured I’d come this far, it can’t be that bad? Within seconds I realised why some people got motion sickness – as we spun around in circles, spiralling downwards.
In the end I was glad that we went paragliding. So much so, I would say it was one of the highlights of Nepal. Soaring above the lake so was incredibly peaceful and unique way to take in the surrounding area.
My wife joked afterwards that she thought she’d lost me for a moment. Everyone had elegantly floated up off the hills as they ran down. Not me. I disappeared off the edge before soaring up. Guess it was a good thing I didn’t know.
Until next time.
P.S. I tried bubble tea for the first time. It was pretty good. Behind the times.