Annapurna Circuit Day 14: Jomsum to Pokhara

After the exertion of the previous days, waking up in the relative luxury of Jomsum was an unexpected pleasure. Our hotel was close to the airport and we watched planes taking off and landing throughout the morning. We packed up and made our way to the airport, a mere 5 minute walk.

The airport itself is very small, and surrounded by a chain link fence. For the first time in days we had to wear face masks for COVID 19 transmission prevention. Inside the airport are three very small check in desks and a small shop, which was closed while we were there.

Entering security was a very novel experience, and felt quite disorganised. We were required to place our checked luggage on a table for inspection, where a lady asked us to open the bag. She took a cursory glance inside then walked off. A few minutes later she returned, looked again then walked off without a word. After a few minutes, the baggage handlers took the bag off me and loaded it on the plane and we were free to go through security.

Security in the airport, as in most of Nepal, was split into male and female lines. We moved along separate queues into a closed room. Inside the room a man waved a metal detection wand over me and then let me through, it was actually a much more pleasant experience than the typical airport.

The far side of security was no less disorganised than the outside. It was lucky that we had Raj with us to direct us to the plane when it was time to get on.

Getting on the plane was also an experience. The plane itself had only 21 seats and as such was very small. The stairs onto the plane folded out of the door and we climbed into the cabin, stooping inside as we got into our seats. A quick safety briefing followed and then the engines started and we were on our way.

The flight to Pokhara lasted around 35 minutes and was very smooth. Slowly the landscape changed as we flew between the mountains. Open desert made way for lush vegetation as we got closer to Pokhara before finally landing very smoothly on the runway.

Getting out of the airport was very easy, our bags made their way to us almost immediately and we walked out into the carpark, where a driver was waiting to take us to the hotel.

The hotel was extremely luxurious, compared to anything we’d previously experienced on the journey. The rooms were very comfortable, with air conditioning, en suite bathroom and even a TV. We dumped our bags and headed out into the town to view the bustling street life.

Firstly, we made our way to a local Pizza restaurant. After days of endless noodles, rice and Dahl Bhat it was a refreshing change and the pizza was actually very good, as were the milkshakes and smoothies. After lunch the group split up, most to go and find somewhere to get a massage and three of us up to the lake.

The lake is flanked by various bars and an amusement park. There are several places where you can hire a boat or a pedalo and explore the lake on the water. We hired a small, four person pedalo and took to the water. Luckily the boat had a canopy, to keep the worst of the midday sun off us, but the pedalling was still hot work. After a hour we returned, hot, thirsty and sweaty, but the journey was worth it.

That evening we said goodbye to two members of the group, who were staying an extra day in Pokhara, while we took a bus journey back to Kathmandu, but before this we had a goodbye meal with Raj and the rest of the group at a local restaurant.

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