Nepal, days 1-4

Sunday:
Border – Mahendranagar:

After clearing Indian border I still needed to go through Nepal border formalities. Indian border was easy, but Nepal was still quite much faster and easier. Totally both borders took around 45 min.

Now I was in Nepal and immediately saw the difference between these two countries.
India was busy and noisy when Nepal was much more relaxed. Only few cars on the road because most of the people used bicycles. No noise at all! Oh, my ears were thanking me 🙂

It was already quite late, so I decided to find a hotel from Mahendranagar, which was around 10km from the border. Stopped few locals and asked their recommendations regarding hotels.
Both recommended hotel Opera, so this was going to be my hotel for tonight.
Took couple rounds around the town before I found it.
Room was ok, not worth of 14€ (what was the price for a night), but still best what I was able to find.

Had quick dinner in the hotel restaurant and spent rest of the evening using hotel internet.

Monday:
Mahendranagar – Dadeldhura:

Woke up around 8 and then enjoyed “American” breakfast in the hotel. I do not know where the name came, but had fried eggs, toasts, fried potatoes, juice and tea to fill my stomache.

Had few things to do before continuing further in this country. I wanted to get local sim-card and get some local currency. Ncell sim-card I found from local store and also got local currency from ATM. I still had Indian rupees, but wanted to have local currency just in case.
I have travel-sim, but receiving calls cost some money, so I thought that Nepal sim-card would be quite much cheaper option.

I rode back to the border, because I heard that there should be tourist-info where I could get free map. Asked people, but no-one seemed to know where I could find this tourist-info, so decided to trust my gps map and buy map later.

Used my Indian rupees to fill fuel tank. I was quite surprised that fuel was around 1€/liter, I thought that it would be cheaper.

Weather was surprisingly hot, I guess it was around 35C and humidity was a real killer! Sweat was running down on my back when I continued my ride towards east.

I did not have any special plan, plan was just to ride and see where I would end up. I decided that I want to head up to the mountains and get to a bit cooler climate.

While riding towards Dhangadh I was wondering if I am really in Nepal… I saw few forests and wetlands. All this made me feel like I am riding in tropics and not in Nepal! I expected Nepal to be dry, rocky and high mountains, maybe a bit similar like northern Pakistan.
Most of the people on this main road used bicycles, I saw only few busses going to both directions.
Women had really colorful clothes and this created really nice contrast against green forest!

First “bigger” road towards north left from Dhangadh. I decided to follow this road and soon it started to climb up to the hills. Road was narrow and really curvy. Even I was getting higher, it was still really green everywhere.

Rode all afternoon on these curvy, narrow roads. At some point I reached 2000m and clouds. At this point scenery was like from the dream, sun was shining through the grayish clouds and next to the road was long drop to the cloud… I wish I would have had helmet camera at this point…

Road was in surprisingly good condition, I guess mainly because there was no traffic…
I also met one Pakistani motorcyclist who´s hometown was Dadeldhura up in the north. He said that they have few hotels there, so I decided to head there for a night.

Couple of kilometers before Dadeldhura I had to stop at the police checkpoint. Showed my passport and after few words I was allowed to continue forward.
Dadeldhura was a small town on top of the green hill. I saw couple of hotels and got room from the first one. They even had wifi available!
Room was ok, not nice, but price was not too bad either, only 5.5€.

People were really interested about me, I guess they do not see too many tourists with big motorcycles here…
After settling in, I quickly checked my bike through and noticed that spokes on my front rim were a bit loose (in the area where big dent was). I was thinking if I should or should not tighten the spokes. Decided to leave them as they were and just keep close eye on those.

Hotel did not have garage, so I was allowed to push my bike inside to the restaurant 🙂 Door was quite narrow, so I had to take one pannier off before getting bike inside.


Tuesday:
Dadeldhura – Butwal:

After breakfast, I paid room and dining. I was surprised because food seemed quite expensive compared to the room price… I guess they took some extra from a tourist.

Once again I had several people around the bike while I was packing. In the beginning this felt strange, but now I am already used to this and it does not bother me anymore.

My plan was to ride smaller roads all the way to the main road and then continue towards east. Locals said that these small roads are also paved, but can you really fully trust what they are saying…
On my ride back, I actually couldn´t find any of these small roads (or they were so small that I just missed them), so I ended up riding same road as on previous day.

It was 150km ride to the main road. Stopped only once to have a quick drinking break. Temperature also got higher closer to the main road I got.

Riding in Nepal is so easy and stress free compared to the India that I think I even started singing inside my helmet 🙂
Most of the day I rode in flat, wide valley. Scenery varied between forests and fields. I was still surprised how green it was everywhere. I could not see any high mountains in the north, only smaller green hills.
During the ride I also noticed that women are doing hard work over here. I saw many waterbuffalo herds and every time women were taking care of the cattle.
I also saw lot of women carrying huge piles of wood on their back! I think my knees would have surrendered under such a heavy loads!

This kind of hard life leaves it marks to the people. And this was really visible in older people…

Towns which I passed looked quite dusty, dirty and poor. Nothing special to see there.
Smaller villages were different thing. Houses were built from mud and had hay roofs. Once again, something that I would have never expected to see in Nepal!

I wanted to stop for a night a bit earlier today, so stopped in Kohalpur to ask hotels. No-one seemed to know any hotels in the area and actually after going around the town, I decided to go forward. Kohalpur was quite dirty and dusty place.

According to GPS, next bigger town, Butwal was around 230km away. I calculated that I could reach this town just before sunset. Positive side was that next day ride to Pokhara would be then quite short.
Stopped to get some fuel and once again bike was covered with fuel… Guy who was filling the tank was just laughing for his mistake. I asked some paper, but I guess this was already over his English language skills, so did not get any paper to wipe excess fuel away.

I kept speed quite high because I knew that I do not have time to be wasted if I want to be in Butwal before dark. I have no idea what is the speedlimit in Nepal, but I also thought/hoped that police do not have radar in here…

I stopped only once to take some photos and have a quick sip of water during this 230km ride.
Part of the road was quite curvy, so this slowed me down quite much.
I remember that one part of the road was extremely beautiful when road was running in quite high on steep green hills. Only thing what ruined this scenery was highpower lines, so no need to stop to take a photo.

10km before Butwal sun finally dropped below the horizon and it started to get dark really fast.
Every single motorcycle and car was flashing lights to me indicating that my headlight was on. Even it started to be quite dark, none of them used their lights.
Do not know what is the reason for this, but it was damn scary to ride when everyone else were “invisible”…

Rode to the center of the town and stopped immediately when I saw first hotel. They did not have network and the price was too high for me, so I decided to ride back few kilometers to the nice looking hotel which I saw earlier.
They did not have network either and “did not know” any other hotel with network.

I quickly checked their room, it was really really small without aircon. Actually there was not any rooms with aircon.
Positive side was that room was extremely cheap, only 3,5€!

After few minutes of thinking and checking GPS for other hotels, I decided to spent a night in this hotel (which did not look so nice when seen from closer distance).

Bike stayed overnight inside the hotel, in reception.

Now I had more time to check my cheap room. Room was tiny, there was barely enough room for bed. I had my own bathroom, but toilet did not work, there was no sink and only cold water was available from the shower.
There was also ceiling fan, but it did not help at all (even at full speed) because room was hot like hell.

Took really fast and really refreshing shower. This time I did not sing, but screamed because it was so refreshing 🙂
Had dinner in the downstairs restaurant. Food was good, but extremely hot…

Room was so hot that I could not stay there. Instead I sat on a hallway, which was slightly cooler. Soon there was 3-4 local youngsters asking normal questions. Spent evening chatting with them and showing photos and videos from the trip.

Was really hard to fall asleep due to temperature and noises from the nearby room. Someone was coughing and spitting there all the time. Sounded like he was ready to die…

At some point I had fallen asleep, but woke up at four because there was extremely strong smell of urine… I do not know where this smell came, but it was so strong that it had woken me up!
Somehow I was able to fall asleep again, but do not want to have similar wakeup anymore!

In these few past days in Nepal, I have noticed that everyone here are spitting! Boys, girls, fathers, mothers, infants, cats, dogs and cows (I am sure that they must spit also, because it seems to be so common in here) 🙂

Nepal has been really hot. Due to high temperature, I am facing similar problems with the touch screen on my GPS as I saw in India.

Wednesday:
Butwal – Pokhara:

After not so well slept night I started my 140km ride towards Pokhara.
Plan was to rest few days in Pokhara. I was not in a hurry, because I still had couple of weeks time before I should ship my bike to Bangkok.

Quite early of the day I passed one Royal Enfield Bullet which had few british flags attached in to her. I continued few kilometers and then stopped to take few photos of the waterfall and wait this guy to appear.

Some minutes later he appeared and introduced himself (unfortunately I do not remember his name anymore). He had bought the bike from Delhi and was now riding around Nepal and India without any further plans.

We decided to ride together and find a place to have breakfast.
Few kilometers further we spotted small village and kitchen. Asked if we could have omelet and tea there. I have never before had such a spicy omelet! I think my face was turning red while I was chewing this breakfast 🙂
We sat there a while and decided that both of us would ride our own speeds to Pokhara and later meet in one bar for a beer.

Before continuing I had to use again my handpump to fill front tire. Luckily it is leaking slowly, so need filling only every 3-4 days… Should maybe change valve, but have not done it yet.

Ride to Pokhara was nice on this curvy, narrow road. Had to be careful because surface was quite broken.
First 30km of the ride was gorgeous! Road followed beautiful narrow green valley quite high. I had to stop several times just to admire this landscape without any hurry…

I had selected hotel from Pokhara (Lonely Planet suggestions) Lakeside. My first choice was Hotel Travel Inn.

After reaching Pokhara Lakeside, I stopped to check my GPS-map a bit carefully. Soon someone stopped his motorcycle next to mine and asked what I was looking for. Told him that I am looking for hotel Travel Inn.
Guy said that this hotel is quite expensive and that he owns one hotel nearby. He promised good deal for me, so I agreed to go and see the hotel and the room.

Hotel and room looked quite ok and the price was only 10$/night.
I asked guy to wait 10 minutes because I wanted to see how Travel Inn looks like (good to have some reference).
Unfortunately Travel Inn was full, so I returned to this other hotel, Hotel Annapurna. Booked room for two nights and carried my stuff to the room.

I heard that it would be possible to do paragliding in Pokhara, so went to the reception and asked how much these flights usually cost.
Hotel owner said that normal price is around 70-75$. Told him that this price is out of my budget and that I could pay maybe around 50$.
Guy said that he would ask several companies and would inform me 30 minutes later what would be best offer.
Later he told me that the best offer was 57$ and flight would be next morning at 11.
Thought about this for few minutes and then decided to book the flight.

While I was unpacking my clothes I decided that now would be good time to do something for my “whitish” t-shirts. Long travel tend to leave it´s marks to the clothes.
Easiest of course would be to buy new shirts, but I did not want to throw away good shirts.

Checked few local stores and found bleach. Excellent! This would be in my agenda after the dinner and few beers 🙂

Picked randomly nice looking restaurant and ordered a steak. Super! Do not even remember when I had steak last time.
Steak was not worth of it´s price, but did it´s job by filling my stomach. Everest tasted excellent.
Massive thunderstorm started while I was chewing this so called steak. It was really heavy downpour and just kept ongoing…
Finished my dinner and rain just continued. I thought that maybe I could quickly run to the bar, but decided to stay in this restaurant because all streets were just raging rivers. I could not even see tires of the parked scooters, water was so deep on the streets!

So, decided to wait rain to stop and had another Everest.

Finally rain stopped and I started searching “Buzzing Bees”-bar. Walked back and forth, but could not find it, so decided to head back to the hotel and start bleaching my shirts.

Read the instructions from the bottle, filled one bucket with few liters of warm water, shook the bleach bottle and then prepared to count correct amount of drops.
Squeezed bottle gently and nothing happened… hmmmmm… Maybe it needs a bit stronger squeeze…
Suddenly there was only one huge drop when bottle released whole content on one spray all around the bathtub, walls and floor!!! SHIT!!!
Everything was covered with purple bleach!!!
I think my eyes were the size of my 19” front tire due to disbelief when I reached shower head and started rinsing bathroom…

Floor and wall tiles were easy to clean, but bathtub was a bit different case…
Bathtub was old and quite scratched, so I was not able to get it clean… Looked like someone had been axe murdered in that bathtub… Nothing helped, so finally I gave up and decided that this was the case now. Nothing more could be done tonight so decided to start sleeping and check bathroom again in the morning.

16 thoughts on “Nepal, days 1-4

  1. Hi Marko,
    It is so interesting to read this blog! The photos are wonderful, so colorful. Can’t wait to see more videos in the future as well 🙂 Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. Have a safe onward journey and greetings from China! Piia

  2. not just thinner, but funnier too, “There are some mountains (in Nepal), but they are really hard to see”. 🙂
    dunno, maybe replace GPS batteries.., :))))

    good to see you in Thailand. what was the reason not ridin’ ?
    overall you okay?
    what happened to the smoke you seen in Turkey?
    will you service the shock?, the front rim? or buy a new wheel?

    so far, bravo, and thanks to get colors to our lives!

    • Hi Sezar,

      Cannot ride through Myanmar.
      Original plan was to ride to Tibet and from there via China to Laos. This plan did not work because China decided that tourists should not go to Tibet…
      So, flying was only option.

      -Marko

  3. Hi Marko,

    Great story once again! Really surprised about Nepal environment. How is your health overall? I remember that you have lost weight…

    Arto

    • Hi Arto,

      Yes, it was really a big surprise to me also.
      I think I have gained some weight now, been taking it slowly and eating more (and few beers also help ;))

      -Marko

  4. Hi Marko!

    Great story once again! Really surprised about Nepal environment. How is your health overall? I remember that you have lost weight…

    Arto

  5. Hi Marko,
    Your great adventure gets greater!
    A Fantastic read and insparational.
    My R1150GSA has done 150,000miles, (250,000klms +_) and its having the first new clutch and rear shock, beat that!!!
    Ride safe, Nick.

    • Hi Nick,

      Greetings from Bangkok!
      I have 3rd clutch and 215000km (First was burned in Italy, second I changed to a new before this trip).
      Suspension: I still have original in good shape (in garage ;))

      Trip is really great!

      -Marko

  6. Hi Marko, the guy with the British flags on his bike was John who I met up with in Pokhara, we stopped to chat on the way there with you . Hope all goes OK, Cheers
    Fred

  7. Just avoid Buddha Air… Their planes seem to have difficulties to stay in the air as planned. My brother-in-law took the Everest spotting flight a year or two ago and it was rather interesting experience (scary too). Hope you and the two wheeled lady have safe trip to Bankok!

    • Hi Jyri,

      I was seriously thinking about this mountain flight with Buddha Air, but then decided that it´s a bit too expensive.
      I am now in BKK, now just waiting till Monday to get my baby out of customs.

      -Marko

  8. Hi Marko Now I learned that there are no mountains in Nepal 🙂 When I look on all your pics then it is really hard to imagine you are in Nepal. Take care & Ciao Gernot

    • Hi Gernot,

      There are some mountains, but they are really hard to see/reach.
      I could have never imagined that Nepal has this kind of “tropical” areas!

      -Marko

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