This beautiful farmhouse is the perfect place to stay for anyone wanting get away from the tourist places in Pokhara. Though just a short way out of the city, it seems as though it could be miles away. Next to an organic farm, this place is self-sufficient in most of its food. You can even milk the cow for your milk!
Fursekhola Farmhouse Comfortable and tastefully decorated, this farmhouse makes you feel totally at home. Built from local stone and very much in keeping with the surroundings, there has been no compromise on comfort. Here you have comfortable beds, a modern bathroom and a well-equipped kitchen — so you have the option to cook for yourself if you want. You can even choose and pick the vegetables you want to eat. Otherwise, there is a nice menu of home-cooked meals. The chef, Arjun, is an excellent cook who can take very good care of your every need.
The Farmhouse is ideal for small groups, but particularly for families with children. There are excellent play areas for young children and the older kids. Sports gear, binoculars, lots of walks and lots of places for sightseeing in and around Pokhara make this a great place whether you want to just sit and watch the village life around you or keep busy.
Douglas Maclagan runs the Child Welfare Scheme (CWS) in Nepal. Part of the profits from the guesthouse is used to pay overheads of CWS, some part of it contributes towards local projects in the village and the rest covers the costs of the pensions of the staff who run this organic farm and the guesthouse. A health post is being built in Furse Khola from the community fund that has been set up from the guesthouse.
The farmhouse feels like a home, not a ‘hotel.’ Going in, you enter a lovely living room with chairs and cushions, making this a great place to sit when it’s too cool outside. Painted in warm yellows and adobe colours throughout, the farmhouse keeps that rustic feel, but doesn’t compromise on your comforts.
Three bedrooms are arranged upstairs, with one room downstairs that might be best suited to teenage or older kids (it’s fitted out with bunk beds). The main bedroom has a big and comfortable double bed, with an adjoining room that has twin beds. An adjacent room has a double and single. A nice long veranda runs along the front of the farmhouse, offering good views down the Furse Khola river valley towards Lamjung and Manasulu to the north.
The bathroom on the ground floor is big and light, with a wonderful hot shower (water heated by solar panels). A fully equipped kitchen means that you can cook for yourself (if you want) or help yourself to tea and coffee whenever you need.
The food here mostly comes from the organic farm and is excellent. Fresh and tasty, I had a delicious salad – all from the farm. Dinner was one of the best dal bhats I have tasted anywhere. The courgette dish and the vegetable curry that accompanied the chicken curry, dal and rice were really spectacular – fresh and so good, I ate far more than I should have!
Dal bhat the first night is complementary; but when you stay longer than one night and you are invited to join Douglas and his lovely family at their house close by. Anyone who wants to cook for themselves is more than welcome and the kitchen has a full complement of gadgets to make life easy. Arjun is an excellent cook though, so it might be a shame to miss out on his meals.
The menu provides a selection of good home-cooked meals. As well asdal bhat, there’s a choice of curries, but most of the choices are good, wholesome ‘continental’ style meals.
For those cooler days, there is a table in the kitchen, but most of the time it’s possible to eat outside.
At the Farmhouse:
Relax or play (children) in the gardens
Birdwatching – over 150 species can be seen from here. Binoculars and bird book provided!
Hikes – a two-hour hike up to the World Peace Pagoda offers stunning views of the Fish Tail Mountain and Annapurnas. Then walk down to the lake and take a boat across for lunch at one of the many Lakeside restaurants.
Experience farm life – milk a cow, prepare a Nepali dal bhat, try your hand at farm work!
Pokhara – there is a lot to do in and around Pokhara:
Sightseeing – many temples; visit the Devi Falls, caves and World Peace Pagoda that are nearby; go to the Tash Ling Tibetan Refugee Centre to shop for beautiful Tibetan carpets and souvenirs; visit museums – the International Mountain Museum and Cultural Museum.
Shopping and eating – Lakeside offers a wide range of places to eat, from the New Everest Steak House for those wanting a melt-in-the-mouth steak to small Indian vegetarian restaurants. Most places offer excellent Nepali roast coffee, many also with free Wi-Fi. There’s a huge choice of trekking shops and souvenir shops for those last-minute purchases before you go trekking or head back home.
Furse Khola Farmhouse is responsible in many ways:
Organic farming – Douglas has created a good example of how organic farming should work – encouraging local farmers to follow and producing a good supply of fresh and tasty vegetables for the family and guests to enjoy. Milk produced here is sold to the villagers.
Solar energy is used not only to heat the water for showers, but also with a solar cooker, is used to boil water and cook vegetables.
Socially and Economically Responsible
The Child Welfare Scheme (CWS) is run by Douglas to improve the rights of underprivileged children with regard to access to education and healthcare. Profits from the Farmhouse go towards paying overheads of this charity, as well for local projects in the village of Furse Khola and also to help pay into a pension scheme for the employees at the organic farm.
Local people work on the farm and all of the construction work for the Farmhouse and adjacent family home and farm buildings have been carried out by local workers.
CWS provides medical healthcare to children from poor families and to mothers; vocational training is given to youth from underprivileged backgrounds; work is being done to help street children and children who are in bonded labour.
The architecture of the Farmhouse and family home is low-key, blending into the surrounding village. Natural materials – local stone and typical local-style tiles have been used.
- Peace and quiet – you are surrounded by nature: the forest to one side, farmers’ terraces to the other. Sit and admire the views and the sounds of the birds on a lovely veranda or the front patio.
- Close proximity to Pokhara – though it’s so peaceful here that it seems like another world, you are not far from Pokhara for sightseeing, shopping and transport. This is a very handy location.
- Lovely rooms – comfortable beds, tasteful interiors, a good lounge and big modern bathroom – you really feel at home here.
- Wonderful food – the dal bhat (rice and vegetable curry) was one of the best I’ve had anywhere, with wonderful courgette, mixed vegetable curries, chicken and dal. The menu provides a good choice of home cooking. When you stay longer than one night, the first night’s dal bhat is on the house!
- Organic farm – for those who are interested, Douglas runs an organic farm where you can learn a lot about organic farming techniques. Try your hand at milking a cow, collecting eggs from the chickens or feeding the goats – this is a perfect place for children to explore. Best of all, the food comes from the farm and tastes wonderful.
- Modern amenities – for those who need to stay in touch with the rest of the world, Internet, TV and telephone are all included.
- The approach road is very rough – but it’s only for ten minutes for just a few kilometres.
Ideal For Whom
The Farmhouse is ideal for small groups or for families with children. It would make a wonderful hideaway for anyone wanting to get away from it all.
For those interested in the adjacent organic farm, you’d be very welcome to come and visit. You can participate or learn some of the techniques of organic farming, which Douglas, the owner, can demonstrate – whether in composting, crop rotation or in what is grown here. For those interested in the Child Welfare Scheme (CWS), you are welcome to learn more about the work they are doing in and around Pokhara.
When To Visit
The time most people tend to come to Nepal is in the spring and autumn, when it is warm and dry. That said, although the summer monsoon is hot and rainy, this can also be a good time to come – when everywhere is green and lush and when spectacular storms can be a wonder to watch. May is the time to avoid if possible, as it can be hot and humid, without the welcome relief of the rains that clear the air.
Winter here is another good time to come. Though its cold at night, during the day, temperatures can be quite mild and pleasant.
How Many Days
One night is certainly not enough here. At the very least, two or three nights are recommended, as there is plenty to see and do. Even if you just want to relax, you will find time passing too quickly.
Things To Bring
Sun cream and hat
Good sandals or walking shoes for hikes and sightseeing.
Water bottle to fill up with treated water from the Farmhouse – so no need to buy bottled water.
Camera – photogenic place and beautiful mountain views.
Good book – this is a great place to spend time relaxing, away from the noise and bustle of the city.
By Air – Regular flights go to Pokhara from Kathmandu, taking 25 minutes. Then it’s about a 20-minute drive from the airport.
By Road – Tourist buses go to Pokhara from Kathmandu and Chitwan, leaving at 7:30 am and 9:30 am respectively (about 6-7 hours).
Once in Pokhara, as you head from Damside to the road that leads up to the World Peace Pagoda, take the little road on the left that comes just before instead of going right up this road. Go along a poor road for about ten minutes, crossing a small stream. After a couple of minutes, you will see the Farmhouse on the left (recognisable by its solar panels on the roof).
For those coming with a private vehicle, there is space for parking just below the Farmhouse.
Douglas Maclagan has been working in Nepal since 1994, setting up his first medical health centre two years later in Lamjung. CWS was set up to provide access to healthcare and education for underprivileged children. Now covering a wide area in Lamjung, there are healthcare centres and a vocational centre in Pokhara, which are run in partnerships with many like-minded organisations.
Douglas moved to Furse Khola in 1996 and set up the organic farm where he lives with his family. He conceived of the idea to set up the guesthouse as a means of ‘giving something back’ – to generate income to cover the cost of pensions for the workers on the farm, raise money to help pay towards the overheads of CWS as well as provide funds for projects that give back to the local village community. From this fund, a health post is currently being constructed in Furse Khola and a community building has already been constructed that houses a dairy cooperative that has been set up in the village.