It was our first experience outside Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, and it came after working 11 of our first 12 days at KUSOM. It was, in a word, glorious. 

Pokhara is a romantic little town west of Kathmandu. It required a 35-minute flight after about an hour of delays at the airport in Kathmandu. When we arrived and first set foot outside the plane on the tarmac, the first thing we noticed was how wonderfully fresh the air was. Twelve days in one of the dustiest cities in the world had caused us to forget the clean aroma of pure, life-giving air.

After snapping out of our reverie, we proceeded to meet our awaiting driver, who escorted us to our hotel for the next two nights. We arrived at Hotel Tulsi, which had been previously arranged by Vrigu, our wonderful Winrock coordinator. Tulsi’s owner, Laxmi Narayan Shrestha, met us upon arrival and escorted us up to our rooms on the 4th floor. Each of us had windows that gazed out over the famous Phewa Lake. While it was still in a central area, Hotel Tulsi was located down a side street and offered us some nice separation from the touristy road.

By the time we had unpacked our gear in our rooms, the sun was setting, and it was time for dinner. Fortunately, Hotel Tulsi had an outdoor deck with a full service restaurant on the 5th floor, so the three of us ventured up to the patio to sit and relax over a beer, have some much-needed delicious Nepali food, watch the sun set over the nearby hills, and discuss our plans for the following day.

On either side of Phewa Lake, there are two large hills that can be climbed over the course of a few hours. The smaller, more popular day hike leads up to the The World Peace Pagoda. There are a number of ways to climb to the top of the hill to see the Pagoda, but our route of choice entailed taking a small canoe across the lake to a rocky beach, from which the hike immediately begins and remains fairly vertical up some broken, stone stairs.

It took around two hours to reach the beautiful pagoda at the summit.  The view back over the lake from this elevation was spectacular! However, we could only linger for a short time, as our boat guide, who took us across the lake, was waiting at the bottom to return us to Pokhara town. By the time we were back at our hotel and showered up, it was late in the afternoon.  So, we decided to have a leisurely night because the following morning we were scheduled to climb another, much larger hill
to view the sunrise.

Sarangkot is its name, and we had heard that the views at sunrise from atop this mountain were truly something to see. That may have been the case later in the year, but February didn’t prove to be the best time for jaw-dropping views. Because of the dense fog surrounding the valley, the lush greenery was glossed over by mist, and we never actually saw the sun rise. Regardless of this, it was still an amazing view. After the horde of tourists returned to their buses, the environment improved and a peaceful sense of tranquility reigned.

Our flight wasn’t leaving until 3pm, so upon returning we each had plenty of time to grab some breakfast, wander around town, and relax until we had to leave for the airport.  While our stay in Pokhara was brief, the peaceful environment was a wonderful respite, allowing us to head back to Kathmandu recharged and ready to do more fulfilling work for KUSOM’s Business Incubation Center.

Signing off,

Team KUSOM

Travis RichardsonVarun VijayMatt McConaty