So… arriving in Nepal at 11pm we got our visas easily (ish) and tried to find a way to get to Kathmandu, but at that late hour there was no where to go. We found a hotel at the border and rested our heads for 6 hours and we were up and out by 6am the next morning.
We had to first go to Bhaiwara to get some Nepali rupees to pay for the bus we would need to get to Kathmandu. After trying all the ATMs in the town (which for some reason were not working) we finally got some cash out and managed to catch a bus that was literally on the way out of town.
The ride was long and bumpy, the roads here in Nepal are not great, lots of pot-holes and very dusty.
It took about 8hrs to get to Kathmandu, and we were greeted on the bus by a chap trying to get us to stay at his hotel. Well we didn’t even have a guidebook to tell us where to go or anything, so we opted to go with him, he got us a place for Rp700 (about ₤7) we were in no
position to complain, we just wanted a place to settle after our mammoth 55hr journey.
We were soon to discover that Nepal is the ‘Land of Power cuts’ there is usually only electric for about 8hrs a day, if you’re lucky!
The Indian government invested into hydro-electric dams in Nepal’s rivers and then steals all the power and don’t give any to its host country Nepal! The people don’t even seem to care either!
The hotel turned out to be a pile of crap, and within a day of being there the pipe had burst in the toilet and the water coming out of the taps was black and then the cistern fell off the wall gushing water everywhere! And the staff did absolutely nothing about it!
So we left there and found ourselves a cheaper place just a few doors down.
We spent quite a lot of time researching treks and motorbikes for our road trip we had planned.
After about 4days we had sorted out everything, paid a deposit for Everest trek and went off on our Bajaj ‘Avenger’ motorbike, off to the lowlands of Chitwan National Park
THE ROAD TRIP
late on the 12th (around 2pm) and headed down to the south of the country to a town called Sauraha near the park. As we left quite late we didn’t reach our destination in time and had to spend the night in one of the grottiest hotels so far… the room was full to the brim with mosquitoes and the beds were harder than steal. So after a sleepless night we got out of there as soon as we could and made our way the remaining 50km to Sauraha.
It took us a while to find the elusive park (not sign-posted), turning to the village. 20mins later down the dusty trail we found ourselves on the outskirts of the Park and came across the Tiger Camp Lodge for Rp300/night with all the trimmings (TV, hot shower - that’s about it!)
We got some much needed kip (it was still only 8am!) and then went down to the nearby Elephant Breeding Centre. Now this place sounds like a centre for conservation, but in fact they are breeding the elephants to be used for the safaris around the park!
So there are quite a few little baby elephants that are
indescribably cute, and one of them even came out of the hold area (the babies aren’t chained up like the adults thankfully) to sniff around and play with all the people! But after a while lots of people started to arrive and the poor thing got a bit overwhelmed and couldn’t get back in to his mum as there were people everywhere trying to pet him etc. some of the locals apparently ripped some of the baby’s hair out (why!!??) glad we didn’t see this or there would have been a big fight!
The next day we planned to go into the park on a walking tour (the best way to see the animals) but before that there was the spectacle of elephant bathing down by the river, where they go for a daily wash and you can join in… or so we thought. We were very saddened to find that this was just another money making scheme and the animals weren’t just having a bath; they were performing and being commanded so it wasn’t a bit of fun for them, but work… as usual. So again disappointed with the mistreatment of the beautiful giants we went back, disheartened, and
waited for trek-time.
The walking tour was good (expensive at Rp800 each) after 10mins of being in the park we got to a wallow where there were 6 rhinos (1 baby) having a dip in the mud!
Then after they had gone we walked to a meadow where there were 4 more rhinos munching on the grass. We then walked over to the river to spot some crocs, but only saw the tip of one submerged under the murky waters. Time to turn back, and on the way we spotted a deer and a peacock and 3 more rhinos (at the same meadow as before) not bad going…
The next day we proceeded to Pokhara, where we were hoping to do a taster trek to gear us up for Everest base camp.
We got in about 2pm and found a hotel easy as pie and started the never-ending search for tours/treks etc… all were outrageously expensive so we didn’t do anything there, and the weather was terrible, not the season for trekking in Pokhara - or so we found out! It was very hot and hazy, and we couldn’t even see the mountains.
We tried to go
up to the Sarangkot view point, hoping that it would be clearer, but still couldn’t see anything. So after a couple more days of trying to find out about trekking etc we gave up and decided to move on. We thought we’d try to go to the mountains ourselves on the bike (as this was the one clearish day where we could actually see the mountains!) and packed up and headed for the hills, but there was a fuel strike and with only half a tank we thought better to be stuck in Pokhara than in the random hill towns! So back again to Pokhara…!
We had to buy some black-market fuel the next day at the shocking price of Rp1000/litre for 9 liters, nearly ten quid!!!!! Ouch!
We didn’t go straight to the main highway but went into the countryside in search if some nearby hot springs, which turned out to be a bit poo, so instead we took ourselves down a dirt path to a river and paddles around and made some rock sculptures!
Instead of going straight back to Kathmandu we went up into the hills of Bandipur, which is a tiny little hill town where
the houses are traditional and there are no vehicles allowed in the main town area. Very quaint, picturesque, old-worldy and all those other adjectives! Not much to see, but it gives you a taste of what Nepal used to be like.
One night in Bandipur and it was back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu…
Took the bike back 2days early expecting 2 days refund, only to be given 1day, not sure why… oh the many ways they screw us! It truly never ends…!
After 2 more days of research and buying gear for Everest we booked and were off…
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