Himalaya trekking in Nepal
Part 1 of 9: On our way
The day has come! The day we put the trekking shoes on and head north towards the Tibetan border and our Himalayan adventure. We had got our TIM cards and permits the day before and the bus tickets were in our hands so we were all set.
The bus would depart from somewhere in the outskirts of Thamel, Kathmandu and since it was to be a local bus rather than a tourist bus, we had no idea where we where actually going and where the bus would stop.
After running around the streets like lost chickens asking after the right bus we where loaded like sheeps into a small local bus that we think predated the hippie era.
When we thought it wouldn’t be possible to load more people the bus driver proved us wrong and added some more.
And after a few attempts of starting the very annoyed bus we where off.
It was early in the morning. Seven o’clock and the mist where laying over the hills and the houses of the Kathmandu valley. It felt magical and so beautiful. Earthy blue and greens blended with the beige and brown dust road. How much more beautiful would it be further up in the mountains?
The bus continued the slow climb up the Kathmandu Valley and stopping around every corner to let more people on the bus. At this point people started to take a seat on the roof accompanying sacks of rice and cement. But the rest of the bus didn’t seem to take notice apart from us who looked at the whole spectacle with jaws dropped.
Climbing more and more we started to see the mountaintops or as the locals call them “hilltops” because they aren’t on the highest range. We were high up now and the view from up here is spectacular. Steep hills with valleys of layered rice fields, big waterfalls and rivers and locals in their traditional clothing herding goats alongside the dirt road.
The road is dangerous and narrow. At some parts it felt like the back wheel on our side would be in the air dragging us down. But apparently this is common in Nepal. So we continued our bumpy ride towards Syabrubesi and our entry point for Langtang.
Halfway we stopped for lunch. Not much to see but a square with busy lives going on and people trying to reach wherever they were going. Car sickness had struck from the bumpy ride so a soft drink had to do and then it was time to get going.
We climbed even higher and the road got worse and worse, more narrow than before. At every small bump or turn we crossed our fingers that the bus would make it all the way there. By the sounds of squeaks and protests from the bus it seemed unlikely. And then it happened. We had just crossed a small waterfall and starting another climb when we closed up to another bus. It was stuck. The road where to steep and muddy and the bus couldn’t get up. And there was no way around it.
That’s it we thought. We will be in Syabrubesi by tomorrow then. Already a few hours behind schedule.
But lucky us there were many on board both buses to help out so we were only stranded for about a good fifteen minutes.
After passing the village of Duche we came to the entry point of the national parks.
And the next problem presented itself. Robin had forgot his TIMScard in Kathmandu. The one thing that allowed us entry. And it was eight hours away.
That’s it, it’s over. No trekking for us, we thought really angry and frustrated.
There is no way of sneaking in either. Everything is lost. But we decided to give it a try. Our guide was waiting for us in Syabrubesi so we got the tickets for the park for me and Leonardo and went on the bus towards Syabrubesi. The next checkpoint is not until after Syabrubesi anyways so we are good to go for now.
From Duche to Syabrubesi it is a snake shaped road downhill. And after making a few stops loading more sacks on cement onto the already crowded bus we ended up in Syabrubesi with people sitting in our knees and on the roof balancing sacks of rice in between the gaps.
We got off the bus finally, over 9 hours later, and our guide Durje greeted us. We had arrived at last!
Next time it’s day 2 and time to get out in the mountains. Don’t forget to like us in Facebook to get the updates and whole series of our trekking adventure in Himalaya.