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Nepal’s Pokhara is set up as the cure for Trekker’s fatigue. There are hot showers, restaurants serving tasty food and barbers offering to shave off overgrown facial hair.

Personally, not having been trekking in nearby Annapurna, I instead used Pokhara as a base for day treks up the lakeside hills to temples and viewpoints. For me, relaxation had to be found elsewhere, away from the Tourist Town Pokhara has become. I turned to nearby Begnas Tal.

Begnas Tal is a lake with hotels and restaurants scattered up it’s steep green banks. Nepali people flock here for a relaxing day paddling out in boats or just to bask in the sunlit beauty. With busloads arriving in a steady flow, Begnas begins to feel like a Nepalese Butlins.

Checking in to my ‘Hill Top Lodge’ I enjoy a fish supper before saying goodnight to stunning views of the lake and surrounding hills. I also say goodnight to my neighbour for the night, a docile brown cow.

The next morning I wake late. Later than normal, at least. Deeply contented with my location, I fritter most of the day writing and chatting to the hotel owner. The air is cool, the views stunning and the food tasty.

People come and go up and down the steps. I smile and exchange the occasional “Namaste”. It doesn’t escape my notice that all bar none are young couples, and that a few check in to rooms for just an hour or less. Begnas clearly fulfils a role as parental escape spot as well as family favourite.

In the afternoon I test my relaxed legs with a walk to the boating launch. Families load into boats, helping Grandma board whilst taking sly photos.

Walking further, I am greeted by some younger men standing around a motorbike. Walking over, it becomes clear that they are actually using the bike for support having had a few too many beers (which, considering average alcohol tolerance here, probably equates to two.)

“Where are you from?”, “What is your name?”, “What do you do?”, “Why are you alone?”, are the predictable questions, asked multiple times each as more join the conversation. I am offered goat and invited to join this, the final celebration of Dashain festival. I decline the meat, but before I can respond to the invitation, a firm hand guides me back in the direction I have come.

“This is our Don” tell the guys. His black leather jacket and aviators make this revelation easy to believe. I follow his lead.

Once we are a sufficient distance back, the Don asks me if I would like any goat, which I again decline.

“Would you like to rent a boat, then?” he asks.

“No thanks, I was just taking a walk around the lake.”

We walk a little further in silence. “I can get you nice Nepali girl. You walk round the lake to her.”

“Oh,” I answer with British politeness royalty would be proud of, “no thank you, I’ll be fine without.”

“Only for ten minutes” he suggests.

Confused about why this short time scale would sweeten the deal, I again graciously refuse the offer, and am therefore ushered away from the lakeside and back to my hotel.

Lonely Planet offers no mention of this ‘activity’ – a hidden gem, perhaps. The number of customers attracted indicates great popularity.

Begnas Tal, then, has it all to offer. For families, there’s the Butlins-style day out on the lake. For couples, there’s a romantic and private retreat. And for singles, there’s the chance to get pissed, eat goat and pay for sex.

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