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Phewa Lake

Peaceful Morning on the Lake
We weren't quite lucky to see the snowcapped covered mountains in the lovely lakeside village of Pokhara since we visited during monsoon season. But it was a perfect way to start our introduction to the area and cross over to the trail leading up to the Peace Pagoda. Pay a few ruppees, pack a picnic lunch and guide yourself around the serene Lake Phewa.

Phewa Lake Sunset Paddle, Pokhara Valley, Kaski District, Nepal.
Nepal is one of the world's great kayaking destinations. People come from far and wide to test their mettle on the mountain-fed rapids, conquer waterfalls, and stare death in the face.

Our time in Nepal was spent at a slower pace. Due to an unfortunate accident in Sri Lanka involving stick fishermen, sunrise, a giant rock, and the world's worst hospital, we weren't able to do any strenuous hiking or kayaking. So we settled for some leisurely time in a boat on Pokhara's stunning Phewa Lake. We paddled out onto the water, cracked open a bottle of wine, and settled in to watch the sun go down over the Himalayas while para-gliders sailed back down to earth. It was one of the most relaxing nights I've ever had on the road - capped off with some fine Nepalese cuisine at one of the small cafes that line the lake.

Himalayan Sunrise, Phewa Lake, Pokhara, Kaski District, Nepal.
The Himalayas were built for sunrise, and there may be no better place to take in the mountains and the sun than from the shores of Phewa Lake.

We left behind the cozy confines of our hotel room for the impenetrable dark of 4am, and made our way down to the water's edge. We hired a boatman to take us out onto the lake, and for a time wondered if we would even see the mountains, for the fog over the water was so thick. But suddenly the sun appeared on the edge of the world and the fog was burned away, and the mountains were revealed before us. This is one of the most dramatic scenes I have witnessed in my entire life, and worth losing a few moments of sleep for.

Prices for a boat ride are highly negotiable - I think we spent about $5 to get out on the water, but the opening salvo was somewhere north of $25. Just keep your wits and your cool and negotiate a fair price for you and your boatman.

Phewa Lake Sunrise Paddle, Pokhara Valley, Kaski District, Nepal.
I would be remiss if I didn't introduce you to Frank, our Nepali fixer. We met Frank the morning we set out for a boat ride on Phewa Lake, and came back to him time and time again when we needed a taxi, a motorcycle, and advice on trekking. Frank doesn't speak a great deal of English (I'm not even sure if his name is Frank) but he knew how to communicate with us just the same.

Frank had a few ideas on how to get a good angle on for our sunrise cruise, but was also more than willing to consider my own thoughts on the matter (a foolishly large camera can have that effect). Loved our boat cruise, and had a blast with Frank - look him up if you ever make it to Pokhara.

A Sunrise Paddle on Phewa Lake, Pokhara Valley, Kaski District, Nepal.
Watching the sun rise from a boat on Phewa Lake was one of the highlights of our visit to Nepal. The real highlight should have been a three-week trek into the mountains, but as my trusty travel partner had broken her toe on a beach in Sri Lanka, we had to adjust our plans.

So we spent most of our time in the Pokhara Valley, wandering through town, day trekking, and enjoying crisp Everest Beer before dawn.

When in Rome, and all that.

A ride on the pond is criminally cheap at roughly $5 for an hour; it's a popular activity, but if you get down to the water's edge early, you'll have all of Phewa to yourself - if only for a little while.

Rowing on Lake Fewa, Pokhara.
Spending hours rowing on the lake enjoying the weather, scenery, great company and a picnic. Pokhara perfection.

Sunset Canoe Ride in the Himalayas
In the moments before the sun disappears over the Himalayan Mountains for yet another day, wander over to Phewa Lake in Pokhara, cradled within the aforementioned mountains. British generals during the Empire's rule over the Indian subcontinent favored the lake as their summer haven from the mind-numbing Nepali heat. And the inescapable majesty of the mountain range does nothing to stymie admirers or adventurers!

Pick one of the brightly azure-colored canoes bobbing on the shores for a lazy, meandering ride. Clouds glide above–some low enough for the peaks to pop up above them, others filtering the dying rays of the sun. Lights twinkling on from surrounding homes reflect on the shimmering water. Cool breezes racing through the mountains whisk off the day’s sweat droplets.

Just as the sun slips behind a mountaintop, bank at the tiny island in the middle of the lake where Barahi temple honors Durga, the Hindu goddess for maternal love and feminine power. Here in the blue haze of dusk, receive your blessings for the rest of the night, the rest of your journey, the rest of your life.

A Nepalese Man Takes an Afternoon Break
Pokhara is a city in western Nepal that sits in a strikingly beautiful valley. Lush jungles and lakes give way to icy peaks that rise over 8000 meters into the sky. It was in this magical place, that a friend and I began our 10 day trek into the Annapurna Sanctuary. The hike takes you into the heart of the Himalayas and has you spending your nights in village teahouses, interacting with locals and trekkers from around the world. The people are extremely hospitable and the scenery is unparalleled.

I shot this particular photo on the shores of Phewa Lake. Pokhara runs along its eastern shore, and this particular spot marks a popular boat tour, where locals will paddle people out to an island temple. I was fascinated by the brilliant colors, the cloudless sky, the distant peaks, and the quiet man with his umbrella.

Nepal is a country worth visiting, and Lonely Planet provides excellent books on trekking here. In addition, we bought a National Geographic adventure map that detailed our route.

Phewa Lake, Pokhara 33700, Nepal