7 Tourist Attractions in Pokhara

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Visiting Nepal is synonymous with visiting the Himalayas. And all travelers know that the Himalayan gate is in Pokhara. It has been a long time since this city, nicknamed as “Gem of Himalaya”, has opened itself to show its beauty around the world.

This had put Pokhara on the top list in my visitation to South Asia region. Not Kathmandu, but Nepal’s second largest city which is located in northwest valley of Pokhara, this was what made me hurry for a moment to leave the capital city of Nepal even though it had only been arrive a day before.

Here were seven tourist attractions which I visited in Pokhara:

1 Sarangkot.

Being the closest vantage point to enjoy the Himalayas had placed Sarangkot as a special place to visit for travelers who didn’t have much time to hike that famous mountains.

Early arriving in the morning and sat at the viewpoint ahead of dawn. Enjoying colors gradation which hit ice layer at Machhapuchhare peak. Undoubtedly the golden color would fascinate you.

2. Bindhyabasini Temple

Descending from Sarangkot with its background of iconic Phewa Lake, I immediately headed to a Hindu temple where the Goddess Bhagwati worshiped, which was 7 km east of Sarangkot. Exactly at 08:14 hours. the temple was already so busy with visitors and also congregants who had come to pray.

Temple location which was on a hill made me freely gaze in observing dense residential housing with Himalayas background which turn blue with white ice at its peak.

3. Old Bazaar/Purano Bazaar

Now I was moving about 2 km southward down the road to a commercial place which dated back to the 18th century. The market was dominated by Newar architecture with red brick motifs with a lane which was only enough for two vehicles passing each other.

9:15 am….It was too early for Pokhara people to trade. As far as the eye could see, my memory was spoiled with market streets view which were flanked by classic buildings on either side of road, then at the end of road, there were dammed with Himalayas face whose timeless beauty.

Because the market was so quiet, no one bothered me in enjoying Jalebi in the middle of street.

4. International Mountain Museum

After returning to hotel for breakfast. Then, I continued visiting a museum which was dedicated to Himalayan climbers who never again safely descended.

By paying 450 Rupee, I was treated to a gallery which displayed a photos series of snowy peaks around the world which was followed by the peculiarities of various ethnic Nepalese inhabitants, then closed with several heroic stories of Himalayan climbers.

5. Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp.

For those who haven’t had a chance to visiting Tibet, then feel its nuance by visiting Tibetan people in Tashiling. This village was inhabited by Tibetan refugees who migrated because of political intrigue.

They made a living by trading in their new home. Many travelers shopped for souvenirs at this place. I myself took time to lunch with a bowl of noodles for 150 Rupee at one of their food stall.

6. Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

Located near from Tashiling, the cave which was located right on a side of Siddhartha Rajmarg road, its ticket fare about 100 Rupee. Circling down the stairs in red main building, I came to the mouth of this cave. Continuing along the curves of narrow humid alleys which lead to the main cave room with a view of swift waterfall which was peeking out from longitudinal slit on a side….Very beautiful.

7. World Peace Pagoda

Late in the afternoon, I arrived at my final destination. By another name, Shanti Stupa, this pure white pagoda was a painstaking climb on Anadu Hill. A Japanese heritage site of worship symbolized peace which uphold silence. Not allowing a slightest noise was a norm which must be obeyed during a visitation.

A natural decoration in the form of Himalayas with the ground of Phewa Lake in a view side became even more perfect with appearance of Pokhara City which was seen from above.

So, if you visit Pokhara, make sure to visit these cool places.

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Tourist Bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara

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Bus queue at Kanti Path Road.

Enough with 300 Rupee for 10 minutes, riding a taxi from Thamel to Kanti Path Road. If you weren’t afraid of getting lost, you could also walk for 20-25 minutes.

My imagination told me that a bus which I was chasing would standby at a travel agent office. But the reality was far beyond presupposition. All buses from various travel agents lined up along Kanti Path Road.

48 minutes before departure, I took time to have a light breakfast because this was a long journey which I myself didn’t know how the travel time management was.

BG’s Coffee Shop which had opened on a side of Kanti Path Road.
You could also have breakfast on sidewalk, guys….Wouw, a child was pious to help his father in selling food.

I already ordered the ticket via email from Jakarta for 750 Rupee, it was just the payment was do at departure location. It was a strange transaction which I encountered for the first time abroad. Now the problem was only one, I had to be transferred to another bus because according to ticket seller, a bus which I ordered was fullseat (it seemed that this was their strategy, catching passengers via email first and regarding which bus would be placed on, that was the next business….Hahaha, smart).

Amazingly, I was only given a ticket and then asked to independently find a bus along Kanti Path Road based on a number plate on the ticket. I confidently executed his order. It was just that, just walking for 5 minutes to looking for it, I started to get overwhelmed….Yes, it was puzzling!….Nepali numeric was different from Latin numeric!.

Worse …. Now half an hour to departure began to be count down. Armed with no communication access, I returned to starting point of searching to ask ticket seller who seemed to be concurrently as bus coordinator. Dizziness was made by him because I couldn’t find him. I showed my ticket to several people around, they just shouted “wait!…. wait!”. Trying to disguise my panic with 15 minutes remaining to departure time, my eyes closely watched crowd one by one to find the person who I was looking for. Yes, I recognized green color of his winter beanie and a polyphonic phone necklace around his neck. I approached and asked him to help me in finding the bus which was referred to in the ticket….Yes, he only briefly said “Looking for light green bus….Row number three from the front”. Seeing her busy and impossible to accompany me in looking fo the bus, I immediately ran towards front row.

Finally, a light green bus departed at 7 o’clock. Armed with a liter of free mineral water, I sat in the back seat with Korean students who would then have a friendly conversation throughout 8.5 hours journey to Phokara.

Bus interior.

Along the way, the bus would stop four times.

Twice for toilet breaks for 15 minutes, i.e 1st break stop on 9:30 hours and 4th break stop on 14:30 hours.

Apart from toilet breaks, bus would also stop twice for meals, each with a duration of 20 minutes. 2nd break stop for breakfast on 10:30 hours and 3rd break stop for lunch on 13:30 hours. I paid a little attention to restaurant cashier table. It was seen that if how many of food was taken, passenger would pay for 450 Rupee.

So sweet….
You have to be fast if you didn’t want to be left by bus.
I didn’t even have time to chew it….I swallowed it in my mouth.

During the trip, I was really fascinated when I was presented with views from right side. Leaves were turning white because of thick dust from streets, giant billboards which were displayed in the middle of rice fields, suspension bridges which connecting hills, rafting along river and bustling Chandragiri Cable Car tour. Even I could be made to smile by residents behavior in sunbathing in 9° C air while playing carom or some of them surround fire which was lit in house yard.

.

Dust….Look!
Rice fields also became commercial land.
Do they have neighbors?….

Slowly bus climbed, descended and circled mountains with ravines on the right. I wasn’t too worried because bus was slowly running. A thing that then made me realized that most of cars, trucks and buses in Nepal came from Tata Motor manufacturer, India.

Look at trucks in mining area along Kathmandu-Pokhara.

I thought bus which labeled with “Tourist Bus” word wouldn’t pick up passengers on streets, it turned out that its little conductor had picked up passengers twice, but the better ting was no one stood up in bus.

The trip was stopped due to a wheel leak on 15 minutes before reaching Pokhara. The conductor was a teenager who struggling to change bus wheel, luckyly three taxi drivers came to help. In this condition, I still managed to do transactions at a street market to get a bag of oranges for 100 Rupee. But repairing took too long time and didn’t fast finish, so I was finally transferred to another bus.

Old taxis but exclusive.

In Pokhara, bus would stop at Tourist Bus Park with a view of the Himalayas behind it…..pretty amazing.

Ignoring many offering from taxi drivers, I rushed to a travel agent office, not far from where I got off. Yup….I took initiative to immediately order a return ticket to Kathmandu because later I would fly to New Delhi via Tribhuvan International Airport. This travel agent offered three types of ticket prices, ranging from 650 to 850 Rupee depending on bus quality. Not taking it long, I chose the cheapest price.

Tourist Bus Park.

Let’s Explore Pokhara!

Check out a video which was related to this article here: https://youtu.be/sSDNtAYx0tQ

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Sweet Spicy Sour Panipuri at Swayambhunath Stupa

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First destination in Nepal.

Receptionist: “Mr. Donny Suryanto from Indonesia? ”, greeted me when he got closer to his desk.

Me: “How do you know me?“.

Receptionist: “Yes Sir, we are waiting for you. Our last room which we have. And you have kept it via Booking.com

Me: “Yeaa wright….Hahaha, excellent”, Simultaneously signed a confirmation sheet with a smile.

I entered Holiday House Hotel room for 1,100 Rupee. Planning to stop overnight in Kathmandu. And next morning, I left for Pokhara to enjoy the Himalayas.

Limited time forced me to hurry up. Without taking a bath and immediately took a folding bag to fill it with important items, then heading to Swayambhunath Stupa.

Now I walked along narrow streets of Thamel with inevitable suction of dust with every step. Distinctive smell of dust was obscured by pungent smell of incense which slowly diminished by small embers in pashmina stalls.

I approached a driver who was wiping his tiny taxi from dust, then started a transaction to Swayambhunath Stupa which was 3 km away from hotels where I was staying. I deliberately canceled to walking because I was worried that it was getting late.

Rows of stupa in Swayambhunath.

400 Rupee was my agreement with him. During trip, Nepali pop songs, which I never understood, made my head nod in following its tune. Every now and then the driver who was the owner of that taxi looked at me with full of smiles and finally we nod together.

Taxi driver advised me to get off at top gate of shrine. He said it took a long time if I had to tread from bottom gate. After I agreed to his suggestion, that tiny taxi slowly drove in a circle following Swayambhu hill contour and dropped me off right at front gate.

Exploring between stupas.

Security: “Where are you come from?

Me: “Indonesia, Sir

Security: “Oh, I know…. I know…. Jokowi“.

Me: “Hahaha great….You know that

Security: “He is very famous here“, he said while tore my entrance ticket for 200 Rupee.

Swayambhunath’s main stupa.
Look at those sharp Buddha eyes!

It was true, according to its nickname, i.e “Monkey Temple”, area around stupa was often found monkeys which cheering up tourists arrival in front courtyard. Crossing “the peace pool” which full of coins which were tossed by travelers. It was said that they believe their prayers would come true if they throw coins. I continued up the stairs to worship’s main place at hill top.

Rotate it and your prayers would be answered.

Congregation took turns coming and turning prayer wheels one by one…. Of course they hoped that Buddha would grant their request.

Around the stupa, souvenir sellers offered their merchandises to tourists. Souvenirs made fro metal which dull because of were exposed by dust didn’t deter tourists to buying and owning them.

Lots of souvenir were requested by my frends….

Passing through each groove around stupa, dogs as guard animals looked limp and some of them were asleep anywhere. Meanwhile, thousands of colorful prayer flags neatly lined up on a rope which centered on stupa and stretched out in various directions.

Cute.

Meanwhile, on other side, there was a sunset which splashes the city with a reddish-yellow spectrum. Combination of religious nuances and natural beauty which really spoiled the eyes.

Kek BandLike Bandung City which was seen from Bukit Bintang, right?

Exiting at the same gate, I took time to walk down street, watching activity of street food stalls. My steps stopped when a husband and wife who selling panipuri were busy. Then I redeemed a portion for 100 Rupee and started to enjoying Nepal’ street food for the first time. Spicy taste mixed with sweet and sour, also strong aroma of curry made me a little slow to swallow every piece of panipuri which I bought. In the end, that seller spouse laughed at me when I chewed that snacks while glaring.

Must taste Nepal’ street food.

After enjoying this famous South Asian folk-style snack, I stopped a taxi which had just dropped its passengers. It was time to go to hotel, took a shower and got ready to enjoy dinner on my first night in Nepal.

Bye Swayambhunath….Got ready to go to Pokhara tomorrow.

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Kuncir Kuda di Shanti Stupa

 “Prepare your leg to climb Anadu Hill !”, tutur Mr. Tirtha sambil mengepalkan tangan kanannya ke depan.

Ya, aku tahu. Di bagian akhir kali ini, aku harus menaklukkan ratusan anak tangga untuk menikmati keindahan pagoda berusia 47 tahun, satu dari delapan puluh pagoda perdamaian yang tersebar di seluruh penjuru bumi.

Menanjak ke barat laut, mesin taksi mungil itu menggerung hampir 20 menit untuk menuntaskan perjalanan sejauh 3,5 km. Tiba di area parkir, Mr. Tirtha menunjukkan darimana aku harus mulai menanjak.

Perlu waktu lama untuk menaklukkan seluruh anak tangga. Terengah….Aku sejenak menyandari pagar tangga di tengah perjalanan. Pelan menenggak air mineral tersisa, aku beristirahat sejenak sembari menikmati wajah-wajah ayu gadis Nepal yang terus melintas. Para gadis Nepal berperawakan langsing yang gemar memiliki rambut hitam panjang teurai, berkulit cokelat dan berwajah khas Asia Selatan. Akan beruntung jika kamu menemukan yang bermata sipit….cantik otentik….Aduhai.

Seperti kilat, aku tergagap ketika seorang gadis Nipon melewatiku dan melempar senyum sembari berucap singkat “Hi”. Otomatis bibirku menyungging senyum kepadanya sambil mengawasinya lekat. Aku masih terbengong ketika dia menanjak semakin jauh. “Siapa dan Kenapa?”, batinku terus bertanya.

Oh, astaga…..Itu si cantik berkuncir kuda bermarga Kawaguchi yang duduk di sisi kiriku dalam penerbangan Thai Airways TG 319”, ingatanku menyadarkan lamunan. Dia sudah menghilang di tikungan. Aku bertekad mencarinya di atas nanti.

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Patung buatan 5 November 2001.

Mulai memasuki  pelataran nan luas dan disambut oleh patung Mr. Meen Bahadur Gurung, Deputi Menteri Pertahanan Nepal yang telah berjasa dalam pengembangan stupa.

Jalan setapak menuju stupa.

World Peace Pagoda dikenal dengan nama lain Shanti Stupa. Shanti adalah bahasa Sansekerta yang berarti perdamaian. Jadi pada dasarnya ini adalah monumen perdamaian yang didirikan berwujud stupa. Stupa ini dibagun oleh sebuah ordo Buddhist dari Jepang bernama Nipponzan-Myohoji.

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Berdiri di ketinggian 1.110 m dpl.
Ruangan di belakang stupa.

Pelataran depan begitu hening, hanya terdengar satu jenis dengung yang dibunyikan oleh seorang biksu dalam sebuah ruangan. Hening dan sakral. Sementara di sisi jauh tertampil tepian selatan dari Phewa Lake dan lekukan Himalaya yang luar biasa memikat.

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Pokhara dari atas bukit.
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Phewa Lake dan Himalaya….Aset Pokhara.

Jantung terasa berhenti ketika helikopter berwarana merah mendadak menukik tajam jatuh ke danau. Baru kali ini melihat helikopter jatuh menghujam dengan tajamnya.

Nafasku yang mendadak berhenti, akhirnya mampu menarik udara kembali dengan cepat ketika helikopter itu mampu mensejajarkan moncongnya dengan permukaan danau. Astaga….Itu hanya permainan adrenalin berbayar, pastas saja pengunjung di sekitarku mengacuhkannya….Ndeso kamu, Donny.

Helikopter pembohong.

Mataku menyusuri segenap arah mencari keberadaan Kawaguchi. Berdebar berharap menemukannya. 15 menit sudah…..Tak kunjung pula aku melihat batang hidungnya. Mungkin dia sudah keburu pulang, hilang sudah kesempatan untuk meminta maaf karena aku tak mengingatnya dengan baik….Sudahlah.

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Senyum palsu dibalik kekecewaan.

Sudah sore, saatnya pulang ke hotel.

Lihat suasana Shanti Stupa di sini: https://youtu.be/wSOfTsqJjX8

7 Destinasi Wisata di Pokhara

Mengunjungi Nepal identik dengan mengunjungi Himalaya. Dan seluruh pelancong tahu bahwa gerbang Himalaya itu ada di Pokhara. Sudah lama kota berjuluk “Permata Himalaya” ini membuka diri untuk mempertontonkan keelokannya ke penjuru dunia.

Hal inilah yang menempatkan Pokhara menjadi top list dalam kunjunganku di kawasan Asia Selatan. Bukan Kathmandu, tapi kota terbesar kedua Nepal yang terletak di barat laut lembah Pokhara inilah yang membuatku bergegas sejenak meninggalkan ibukota Nepal walaupun baru sehari tiba.

Berikut tujuh destinasi wisata yang kukunjungi di Pokhara:

1 Sarangkot.

Menjadi titik pandang terdekat untuk menikmati pegunungan Himalaya menempatkan Sarangkot sebagai gtempat istimewa untuk dikunjungi para pelancong yang tak memiliki banyak waktu untuk mendaki pegunungan tersohor itu.

Datanglah di awal pagi  dan duduklah di viewpoint mendahului fajar. Nikmati gradasi warna yang menyiram lapisan es di puncak Machhapuchhare. Niscaya warna keemasannya akan membuatmu terpesona.

2. Bindhyabasini Temple

Menuruni Sarangkot berlatar Phewa Lake yang ikonik, aku segera menuju ke sebuah kuil Hindu tempat pemujaan Dewi Bhagwati yang terletak 7 km di sebelah timur Sarangkot. Tepat jam 08:14 kuil sudah begitu ramai dengan lalu lalang pelawat dan juga jemaat yang datang untuk bersembahyang.

Letak kuil yang berada di sebuah bukit membuatku dengan leluasa memandangi rapatnya perumahan penduduk yang berlatar pegunungan Himalaya yang membiru dengan warna putih di puncaknya.

3. Old Bazaar/Purano Bazaar

Kini aku bergerak 2 km ke arah selatan menuruni jalanan menuju sebuah tempat perniagaan yang sudah ada sejak abad ke-18. Pasar dengan dominasi arsitekur Newar bermotif bata merah dengan belahan jalur yang hanya cukup bagi dua kendaraan yang saling berpapasan.

Pukul 09:15…Masih terlalu pagi buat masyarakat Pokhara untuk berdagang. Sejauh mata memandang, memoriku dimanjakan dengan pemandangan jalanan pasar yang dihapit oleh bangunan klasik di kiri- kanan kemudia di ujung jalan sana dibendung dengan wajah Himalaya yang keelokannya abadi.

Saking lengangnya pasar, menikmati Jalebi di tengah jalanan pasar pun tak ada yang mengganggu.

4. International Mountain Museum

Sekembali dari hotel untuk menyantap sarapan. Kemudian, aku melanjutkan bertamu ke sebuah museum yang didedikasikan bagi para pendaki Himalaya yang tak pernah lagi turun dengan selamat.

Dengan membayar Rp. 55.000, aku disuguhi galeri yang menampilkan sederet foto puncak bersalju di seantero dunia disusul dengan kekhasan berbagai etnis penghuni Nepal, kemudian ditutup dengan beberapa kisah heroik para pendaki Himalaya.

5. Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp.

Bagi yang belum sempat mengunjugi Tibet, maka rasakan nuansanya dengan mengunjungi para Tibetan di Tashiling. Perkampungan ini ditinggali oleh pengungsi Tibet yang bermigrasi karena intrik politik.

Mereka menyambung hidup dengan cara berdagang di tempat tinggalnya yang baru. Banyak para pelancong yang berbelanja souvenir di tempat ini. Aku sendiri menyempatkan menyantap makan siang dengan menu semangkuk mie seharga Rp. 20.000 di salah satu kedai makan milik mereka.

6. Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

Berjarak selemparan batu dari Tashi Ling, goa yang terletak persis di tepian jalan Siddhartha Rajmarg ini berbiaya masuk Rp. 14.000. Melingkar menuruni tangga dengan bangunan utama berwarna merah, aku sampai pada mulut goa. Berlanjut menyusuri liukan lorong-lorong sempit nan lembab yang berujung pada ruangan utama gua dengan pemandangan derasnya air terjun yang terintip dari guratan celah memanjang di salah satu sisi….Indah sekali.

7. World Peace Pagoda

Menjelang sore, aku tiba di destinasi terakhirku. Dengan nama lain Shanti Stupa, pagoda putih bersih ini harus ditanjaki dengan susah payah di Bukit Anadu. Sebuag situs peribadatan peninggalan jepang perlambang perdamaian yang menjunjung kesunyian. Tak diperkenankan berisik sedikitpun adalah norma yang harus ditaati selama berkunjung.

Hiasan alam berupa Pegunungan Himalaya beralas Phewa Lake dalam satu sisi pandang menjadi semakin sempurna dengan penampakan kota Pokhara bak maket terlihat dari atas.

Jadi, jika kamu berkunjung ke Pokhara pastikan mengunjungi tempat-tempat keren ini ya.

Tourist Bus dari Kathmandu ke Pokhara

Antrian bus di Kanti Path Road.

Cukup dengan Rp. 40.000 untuk menunggang taksi selama 10 menit dari Thamel ke Kanti Path Road. Jika tak takut tersasar, kamu juga boleh menempuhnya selama 20-25 menit dengan berjalan kaki.

Imajinasiku mengatakan bahwa bus yang sedang kukejar ini akan standby di sebuah kantor travel agent. Tetapi kenyataannya jauh diluar perandaian. Semua bus dari berbagai travel agent berbaris menyemut di sepanjang Kanti Path Road.

48 menit menjelang keberangkatan, kusempatkan bersarapan ringan karena ini adalah perjalanan panjang yang aku sendiri tak tahu bagaimana manajemen waktu perjalanannya.

BG’s Coffee Shop yang sudah buka di sisi Kanti Path Road.
Bisa juga sarapan di trotoar, gaes….Duh, anak sholeh bantu bapaknya jualan.

Tiket sendiri sudah kupesan via email dari Jakarta seharga Rp. 92.000, hanya saja pembayaran dilakukan di lokasi keberangkatan. Transaksi aneh yang kujumpai pertama kali di luar negeri. Kini masalahnya hanya satu, aku harus dioper ke bus lain karena menurut si penjual tiket, bus yang kupesan sudah fullseat (sepertinya ini memang strategi mereka, menjaring penumpang via email terlebih dahulu dan perihal akan ditempatkan di bus yang mana, itu urusan belakangan….Hahaha, cerdas).

Hebatnya lagi, Aku hanya diberikan selembar tiket lalu diminta untuk mencari bus secara mandiri di sepanjang Kanti Path Road berdasar plat nomor yang tertera di tiket. Penuh percaya diri kuiyakan perintah itu. Hanya saja, baru saja berjalan 5 menit mencarinya, aku mulai kewalahan….Ya puyeng lah!….Numerik Nepal kan berbeda dengan numerik latin!.

Parah….Kini setengah jam menuju keberangkatan mulai dihitung mundur. Tak berbekal akses komunikasi apapun, aku kembali lagi ke titik awal pencarian untuk bertanya kepada si penjual tiket yang nampaknya merangkap jabatan sebagai koordinator bus. Kelimpungan dibuatnya karena aku tak menemukan batang hidungnya. Kutunjukkan tiketku kepada beberapa orang di sekitar, mereka hanya manyahut “wait!….wait!”. Berusaha menyamarkan kepanikan dengan 15 menit tersisa menuju waktu keberangkatan, mataku lekat mengawasi satu persatu kerumunan orang untuk menemukan orang yang kucari. Yes, aku mengenali warna hijau penutup kepalanya dan kalungan handphone poliponik di lehernya. Kuhampiri dan memintanya menolongku menemukan armada yang termaksud dalam tiket….Beuh, dia hanya berucap singkat “Looking for the light green bus….Row number three from the front”. Melihatnya sibuk dan tak mungkin menemaniku mencari, aku segera berlari menuju barisan terdepan.

Akhirnya armada hijau muda bertolak tepat pukul 7. Berbekal seliter free-mineral water, aku terduduk di kursi paling belakang bersama mahasiswa asal Korea yang kemudian akan bercakap akrab sepanjang 8,5 jam perjalanan menuju Phokara.

Interior bus.

Sepanjang perjalanan, bus akan berhenti empat kali.

Dua kali untuk toilet break selama 15 menit yaitu break stop ke-1 pada jam 9:30 dan break stop ke-4 pada jam 14:30.

Selain toilet break, bus juga akan 2 kali berhenti untuk makan masing-masing berdurasi 20 menit. Break stop ke-2 untuk sarapan pada jam 10:30 dan break stop ke-3 untuk makan siang pada jam 13:30. Aku sedikit memperhatikan meja kasir rumah makan, terlihat bahwa sedikit banyaknya makanan yang diambil, penumpang secara merata membayar Rp. 53.000.

Duh imoetnya….
Harus cepat kalau ga mau ditinggal bus.
Bahkan aku tak sempat menguyahnya…..Masuk mulut langsung telan.

Selama perjalanan pula, aku sungguh terpesona ketika tersuguh pemandangan dari sisi kanan. Dedaunan yang memutih karena tertutup tebalnya debu jalanan, papan-papan iklan raksasa yang terpanjang di tengah pesawahan, jembatan-jembatan gantung penghubung antar bukit, kegiatan rafting di sepanjang sungai dan ramainya wisata Chandragiri Cable Car. Bahkan aku bisa dibuat tersenyum dengan tingkah warga yang berjemur di tengah hawa dingin 9°C sembari bermain karambol atau beberapa dari mereka mengelilingi api yang dinyalakan di pelataran rumah.

Debu….Lihatlah !
Sawah pun menjadi lahan komersil.
Punya tetangga ga tuh?….

Perlahan bus menaiki, menuruni dan mengelilingi pegunungan dengan jurang di sebelah kanan. Aku tak terlalu khawatir karena bus berjalan pelan. Satu hal yang kemudian membuatku tersadar bahwa kebanyakan mobil, truk dan bus di Nepal berasal dari pabrikan Tata Motor, India.

Lihatlah truk di area pertambangan di sepanjang Kathmandu-Pokhara.

Kupikir moda bertuliskan Tourist Bus ini tak akan mengambil penumpang di jalanan, ternyata dua kali kondektur ciliknya menaikkan penumpang, hanya saja tak sampai ada yang berdiri.

Perjalanan sempat terhenti karena terjadi kebocoran roda pada 15 menit sebelum mencapai Pokhara. Kondektur belasan tahun itu pontang-panting untuk mengganti roda, beruntung 3 sopir taksi datang membantu. Dalam kondisi seperti ini, aku masih sempat saja bertransaksi di sebuah pasar tumpah untuk mendapatkan sekantong jeruk seharga Rp. 13.000. Tetapi perbaikan yang terlalu lama dan tak kunjung usai, akhirnya aku dioper ke bus lain.

Taksi jadoel tapi ekslusif.

Di Pokhara, bus akan berhenti di Tourist Bus Park dengan pemandangan pegunungan Himalaya di belakangnya…..cuannteeekkkkk luar biasa.

Tak mengindahkan serbuan para sopir taksi, aku bergegas menuju sebuah kantor travel agent tak jauh dari tempatku turun. Yup…Aku berinisiatif untuk langsung memesan tiket balik menuju Kathmandu karena nantinya aku akan terbang ke New Delhi melalui Tribhuvan International Airport. Travel agent ini menawarkan tiga jenis harga tiket yang berkisar dari dari Rp. 80.000 hingga Rp. 105.000 tergantung dari kualitas bus. Tak ambil pikir panjang, aku memilih harga termurah.

Tourist Bus Park.

Yuk Explore Pokhara!

Lihat video terkait artikel ini disini: https://youtu.be/sSDNtAYx0tQ

Manis Pedas Asam Panipuri di Swayambhunath Stupa.

Destinasi pertama di Nepal.

Resepsionis: “Mr. Donny Suryanto from Indonesia?”, menyapaku ketika merapat ke mejanya.

Aku: “How do you know me?”.

Resepsionis: “Yes Sir, we are waiting for you. Our last room which we have. And you have kept it via Booking.com.

Aku: “yeaa wright….Hahaha, excellent.”, bersamaan menandatangani berkas beriring senyum.

Aku memasuki kamar Hotel Holiday House seharga Rp. 130.000. Berencana singgah semalam di Kathmandu. Dan di keesokan pagi, aku berangkat menuju Pokhara untuk menikmati Himalaya.

Sempitnya waktu memaksaku untuk bergegas cepat. Mengurungkan niat berbasuh dan segera mengambil folding bag untuk kemudian kuisi dengan barang-barang penting, lalu menuju Swayambhunath Stupa.

Kini aku menyusuri jalanan sempit Thamel dengan hisapan debu yang  tak terelakkan di setiap langkah. Bau khas debu tersamar dengan bau wangi menyengat dupa yang perlahan memendek terlahap bara kecil di beberapa kios penjual pashmina.

Kuhampiri pengemudi yang sedang mengelap taksi mungilnya dari debu, kemudian memulai transaksi menuju Swayambhunath Stupa yang 3 km jauhnya dari tempatku menginap. Aku sengaja mengurungkan niat untuk menempuhnya dengan berjalan kaki karena khawatir hari kian sore.

Deretan stupa di Swayambhunath.

Rp. 50.000 adalah kata sepakatku dengannya. Selama perjalanan, irama pop Nepal yang aku sendiri tak pernah faham maknanya membuat kepalaku mengangguk-angguk mengikuti alunannya. Sesekali si driver merangkap si pemilik taxi menatapku penuh senyum dan akhirnya kita mengangguk-angguk bersama.

Si pengemudi taxi menyarankanku untuk turun di gerbang atas kuil saja. Perlu waktu lama katanya jika aku harus menapak dari gerbang bawah. Setelah mengiyakan sarannya, perlahan taxi mungil itu melaju melingkar mengikuti kontur bukit Swayambhu dan menurunkan tepat di gerbang depan.

Menjelajah di sela-sela stupa.

Penjaga gerbang: “Where are you come from?.”

Aku: “Indonesia, Sir

Penjaga gerbang: “Oh, I know….I know….Jokowi”.

Aku: “Hahaha great….You know that.

Penjaga gerbang: “He is very famous here”, ucapnya sembari merobek tiket masukku seharga Rp. 25.000.

Stupa utama Swayambhunath.
Lihat mata Buddha yang tajam itu !

Benar adanya, sesuai julukannya “Monkey Temple” maka area di sekitar stupa ini banyak dijumpai monyet yang riuh menyambut kedatangan pelawat di pelataran depan. Melintasi kolam perdamaian penuh koin yang dilempar oleh para pelawat. Konon mereka percaya do’anya akan terkabul jika melemparkan koin tersebut. Aku terus berlanjut menapaki tangga menuju tempat peribadatan utama di puncak bukit.

Putarlah maka do’amu akan terkabul.

Para jemaat bergantian datang dan memutar prayer wheels satu persatu….tentu mereka berharap Buddha mengabulkan permintaannya.

Di sekeliling stupa para penjual souvenir menawarkan barang dagangannya kepada para pelawat. Souvenir berbahan logam yang kusam terpapar debu tak menyurutkan niat para pelawat untuk membeli dan memilikinya.

Banyak titipan nih….

Melewati setiap alur di sekitar stupa, anjing sebagai satwa penjaga tampak lulut dan sebagian diantaranya tertidur pulas di sembarang tempat. Sementara ribuan bendera do’a warna-warni berjajar rapi pada sebuah tali yang berpusat pada stupa dan terbentang ke berbagai penjuru.

Menggemaskan.

Sementara di tepian lain, tersuguh sunset yang menyiram kota dengan spektrum kuning emas kemerahan. Perpaduan nuansa religi dan keindahan alam yang sangat memanjakan mata.

Kek Bandung dilihat dari Bukit Bintang kan?.

Keluar di gerbang yang sama, aku meluangkan waktu untuk menuruni jalanan, melihat aktivitas pedagang kaki lima. Langkahku terhenti pada kesibukan sepasang suami istri penjual panipuri. Lalu aku menebusnya seporsi dengan harga Rp. 12.000 dam mulai menikmati jajanan kaki lima Nepal untuk pertama kalinya. Rasa pedas bercampur asam manis dengan aroma kuat kari membuatku sedikit lambat menelan setiap potong panipuri yang kubeli. Pada akhirnya sejoli penjual itu menertawakanku ketika mengunyah jajanan itu sambil melotot.

Wajib menyicipi jajanan kaki lima.

Selepas menikmati jajanan ala rakyat Asia Selatan yang terkenal tersebut, aku menghentikan sebuah taxi yang baru saja menurunkan penumpang. Saatnya menuju penginapan, mandi dan bersiap diri menikmati dinner di malam pertamaku di Nepal.

Bye Swayambhunath….Bersiap menuju Pokhara esok hari.