Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Crazy Road to Pokhara, Nepal

Nepal Landscape

As always, I’ve got no idea on the meekest itinerary my buddy prepared. I would just ask him on what to expect so as to prepare myself (trekking, hiking and the likes are non-negotiable) but then he would only say, Basta… Just wait ‘til you see it. And I would constantly remind him that I hate surprises.

Pokhara. I’m lovin’ the name. After spending ten days of wandering the areas of Kathmandu, Dhulikhel and Bhaktapur, we’re heading to our last stop in our Nepal adventure.

Coming from Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square, we hailed a bus going to Kathmandu and endured a 2-hour bus ride going back to the city (30 Rupees/US$ 0.30 each). It was around nine in the morning and the commuters were rushing to climb on to buses going to work, school and wherever. Our bus was packed. It was a moshpit of university students, employees, locals and travelers (just the two of us).

People were squeezed into every available space inside the bus. It looks like a normal scene in Manila during the rush hour but this one’s different. Nobody’s complaining or having the greatest sigh of their lives, it was as if they were on board a luxury bus with air-conditioning system, but no, they are enduring so much discomfort but they were still smiling and laughing amidst the crazy traffic jam. I couldn’t even complain for the littlest distress I was having at that time.

Nepal Local Bus
Traffic jam inside and out
We arrived at New Interchange and asked around for the mini-vans going to Pokhara. A guy pointed us on a wide intersection and around the corner we saw some mini-vans starting to get filled up with passengers going to different areas. We found an empty one that’s heading to Pokhara and immediately settled ourselves on the right side of the van (for the best view). It wasn’t a fancy van with nice music and air-condition but we’re totally fine with that.

Nepal Road
New Interchange
The van was packed and totally not for the faint-hearted. There were five rows and each row is seating 4 persons including the front row (where the driver sits). There were twenty warm bodies inside the van and the heat was unimaginable. But again, nobody’s complaining. The fare was 500 Rupees each (US$ 5) and the almost 7-hour trip was a rollercoaster ride.

Van Ride Kathmandu To Pokhara
It will be filled... Soon.
I love the van ride (sans the heat and the dusty roads) mainly because of the nice view of the countryside and the non-stop Nepali music that’s playing on the background that felt like I was in a Bollywood movie or something. Imagine us speeding up on crazy loops around the mountains with the perfect view of terraced farmlands with the high-pitched Nepali singers on the speakers. Whew. It was wild, bizarre and fun.


We had two stops for this particular ride. The first one was basically a toilet and/or cig stop and the second one was for late lunch. We had some chow meins and sodas on the second stop and did some stretching exercises before going back to our cramped party van.

Road From Kathmandu To Pokhara

Road From Kathmandu To Pokhara
Our first toilet break
Nepal Landscape

Road From Kathmandu To Pokhara

Road From Kathmandu To Pokhara

Arriving safely at Pokhara, we immediately asked a lady on the directions going to the Phewa Lake. She tried her best to converse in English but gave up after having some difficulty in relating the easiest and cheapest way to go there. So what she did was she held my hand and asked us to just follow her. 

We crossed two main highways and walked a few more to a stop where a bus heading to our destination was parked. She climbed up and instructed the driver to drop us off on an alley leading to our hotel. She also reminded me that we should only pay 25 Rupees each (US$ 0.25) for the fare (in hand signals). I thanked her and she went back to where we saw her a while back; such a good soul.

Nepal Local Bus
The bus going to Phewa Lake
Nepal Local Bus

The bus ride was stress-free and we were dropped off at an alley near our hotel. The driver didn’t forget about it.

After spending three days in Pokhara and doing some tours (check for discounted tours in Pokhara here) we were off again to Kathmandu to spend a couple of days more before pushing through with the next leg of our trip. There are regular bus trips from Phewa Lake going back to downtown Pokhara.

Hustling back to where we were three days ago, a guy shouted Kathmandu and immediately we ran into that van and settled on the left side (to get the best view). And the rollercoaster ride went on and on and on and on again. 


Road From Kathmandu To Pokhara
chill ride
Road From Kathmandu To Pokhara

Nepal Landscape







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