Pokhara is a backpackers paradise full of hostels, bars and adrenaline filled activities. All in the beautiful setting surrounded by the mountains of Annapurna National Park.
With my host I borrowed an 350cc Royal Enfield motorbike and drove around the city, first to visit schools that were under construction doing research in hope to one day build a school of Plastic bottles here myself.
Prash and Ohm, two guys who have made a plastic bottle school before and want to do it again.
After that we got to do some sightseeing where the fort stop was the World Peace Pagoda bhuddist Stupa which was built in 1973 and now probably is the most famous tourist attraction in the city.
After that we drove down to see the Gupteswor cave and Davis Falls which were both near each other and equally as unimpressive.
Gupteswor cave on top and Davis Falls on the bottom
After having visited the East, the West, the center and the South it was about time to head North, towards the border of China, to a region called Sylhet which is famous for its many tea plantations.
Walking around in a couple we talked to tea farmers, tasted local food and drink specialities and had some fun climbing and flipping of some trees.
One nice place near the tea plantations was the Madhabpur Lake where lots of locals came to have picnic in a peaceful, quiet environment. The place is also famous among locals for having a tea with seven colored layers.
On the way back we also got to stop at Lawachara National Park where we rented a guide and went on a three hour walking “safari”, spotting monkeys, squirrels and birds.
We also went to a small village where there were descendants from Mongolia nomads living. You could tell from their round faces, different language and churches instead of mosques. Quite interesting to see and also to taste the crispy but sweet indian plums they were selling there.
After the day trip to Sylhet we went back to the village of my friend where we launched some 50cent chinese lanterns to celebrate my last day in Bangladesh and make wishes that I would one day return to the country.
I had heard some horror stories from other travelers who had been to Dhaka, about how dirty and chaotic the city is. I was expecting the worst, but was very positively surprised, considering its one of the few cities where noone really know how many people are living there. Cities like Mumbai and Delhi were much worse, possinly also because they had cows roaming around and dropping poop everywhere. Sure there was a lot of traffic congestions, but also a lot of construction- Dhaka is a city that will have a big transformation the next ten years. Some say that they aim to become the venice of Asia, building waterchannels through the city.
I got to see the main sights in just a couple of days, like the Lalbag Fort, the National (huge!) museum, the Ahzan Manzil, the Shadar Ghat, the independence monument and parks around
Dhaka is by no means a touristic city, in fact I didnt see a single other tourist when I was there. The experience was really meeting the people who were all curious and welcoming me to the country. The experience of riding on top of a train with the locals, relaxing in the university part and walking the narrow streets in the old town where the only sound you could hear was the ringing bells of the rickshaw cycle taxis.
Also I was lucky enough to be there for Pahela Falgun (meaning the first day of spring), which was celebrated with live music, lots of flowers and yellow Sari and Punjabi dresses.
I also got to visit the Taj Mahal and Pyramids of Bangladesh, built by a rich Dhallywood producer who also wanted the poor people to be able to see these wonders of the World without having to leave their country.
In the far South East of Bangladesh, on the border of Myanmar there is a beach called Cox Bazaar, which with its 120kilometers is considered the longest uninterupted beach in the World.
I had been told by everyone to go to Saint Martin island, which is right between the two brodering countries, but when I arrived I got to understand that this would not be possible because I was told that this might be dangerous at times where this was used as a smuggle route for guns, drugs and the nearly one million Rohingya refugees who had arrived in Bangladesh.
Parts of the beach is used as the main road/marine drive
The city and area towards the border had thousands of aid workers from Red Cross, Doctors without borders and other organizations that had come there to help. Also I was there during Bangla holidays so the area around Lamboni Point was crowded with local tourists and people who wanted to sell pictures, rent out atvs and jetskis and people selling food and souveniers on the beach.
I had Borrowed a fatbike from my CS host and tried to cycle down as far as I could on the beach, which is also used as the main road of the marine drive down to Pechar Dwip, where I went to look for red crabs and to the himchari waterfall and mountain walk which was not at all impressive.
The Hinchari Waterfall which you have to pay to see. And people are excited.
Heading back to Dhaka I opted for a sleeper bus for the 12 hour journey which was a good choice as I got to sleep though the night and wake up to the celebration of Paelha Falgun (first day of spring) in the capital.
Me and some girls at 60 dome mosque
The brother of the friend of my couchsurfing host was gonna get married in a small village outside on Gopaganj and asked me to come along. It was a three hour journey from Mongla and I had asked to stop at the Bagerhat UNESCO site Mosque on the way, so we ended up arriving quite late around 10pm where the wedding was well started.
We came right into the a show where people were supposed to put food in the mouth of the groom and receive food in return, which I still havent figured what would symbolize. I instantly got the attention of the two hundred guests as I arrived, and they demanded that I would go up and be fed by the groom and guests as well. I had been puking the whole way there and was afraid to have an accident on stage, but luckily I didnt.
The following morning, all the guests go on buses (some on top) to go to Khulna where the bride was from. Here we would eat a lot again and watch as the imam blessed the marriage before we took the girl back to the village where we had been the previous night. I could see that her make up has been ruined by tears, not did I know if it was sadness for having to leave her parents house forever or the Joy of getting married.
The third day was all about celebration. We ate food the whole and danced and sang karaoke all night. They were especially fond of watching a foreigner sing and dance (especially the young girls who seemed to also want to get married) so at the end I had to hide in a shop a kilometer away until the party died down and we could go to bed. Ive been to weddings in a few countries and must say that the Bangladeshi was an interesting one!
These two girls and the two young buys were especially excited about dancing with me