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Our route - I:

  • Lumbini
  • Bhairawa

  • Bhutwal

  • Devghat

    10.02.04 - 19.02.04:
  • Kathmandu

    20.02.04 - 21.02.04:
  • Nagarkot

    22.02.04 - 23.02.04:
  • Kathmandu

    24.02.04 - 01.03.04:
  • Pokhara

    02.03.04 - 20.03.04:
  • Annapurna Circuit

    21.03.04 - 30.03.04:
  • Pokhara

    31.03.04 - 02.04.04:
  • Bardia National Park

  •   Nepal
    On this page, we (will) describe our experiences in Nepal. Apart from the travelogue for this country you will also find a number of links to useful sites, ranging from general information to embassy homepages.

    Written by: Coen

    At six in the morning we are woken up by our alarm clock and quarter to eight we arrive at the Nepali border, just before the long rows of trucks from India are allowed to pass the border. At half past ten we passed customs and we left for Lumbini, the place where Buddha was born. It is a huge park where every country with some Buddhist background has built a temple. We stayed here the rest of the day and went on to Kathmandu on the next day. There were no other vehicles on the road and a group of Nepali told us that the militant Maoists called out a strike day. Since ten years the Maoists fight for a communist republic and recently they increased their activities. The Nepali urgently advised us to take the first possible hotel and wait until tomorrow. With an (unasked for) police-escort we drove to Butwal, the first place with a hotel. All shops were closed and the streets were full of barricades and soldiers.
    The next day we went for a walk outside the village and came to a gorge in the foothills of the Himalayans. North of us the first mountains rose steeply out of the plains.

    On the way to Kathmandu we visited Devghat, a holy place where 2 rivers, different in colour, join. From a small suspension bridge there is a nice view over the river delta. We continued our trip through a 60 kilometre long gorge with under us the mint green river and next to us the dark green forest hills. Sometimes driving was a bit difficult when we had to pass landslides. Then there was not much left of the road except bumpy sand, mud or dirt tracks with crumbled edges, just broad enough for the car. In the small rural villages with big banana trees, the southeast-Asian looking Nepali carry big baskets on their backs filled with fruits, vegetables or stones. It is a lot less densely populated as in India.

    Relief at Durbar square After passing a lot of military check-posts we only reached the outskirts of Kathmandu at dusk and it is already pitch-dark when we finally arrived in the city. It is full, polluted and we end up in a traffic jam!
    Fortunately there is a campsite west of the city so we can leave the dogs when we go explore Kathmandu. Everything is for sale in the tourist area Thamel and the centre is very western. Trekking gear, souvenirs and books are bulging out of the shops and everywhere are western restaurants and bars. Unbelievable after India.
    The following days we apply for our Indian and Pakistan visa, did a lot of shopping and we enjoyed apple pie, cappuccino and Belgian fries. There even was a cinema showing "Lord of the rings III". On one of these days we visited Durbar square, stuffed with Hindu temples, some of them 5 stories high with 3 roofs and beautifully carved beams, balconies and windows.

    Monkey tempel At the end of the week Dorrit's parents arrived in Kathmandu. They booked an organized trip to Nepal. Because there were strikes again and no taxis where driving, we took the risk to drive and picked them up from the airport with our camper van. After 2 days Kathmandu they left for one of the 5 famous viewpoints in Nepal in Nagarkot, so we followed them. Here we made a nice walk in the area and had dinner at the fire side.
    Hans en Anneke went to the Chitwan national park and after this to Pokhara so we also drove to Pokhara at the foot of the Annapurna mountains. There is a campsite in Pokhara, beautifully situated directly at the Phewa mountain lake.

    The following 5 days the four of us spend in Pokhara; paddling on the lake, walking in the forest and the hills around the lake and eating good food. There was a strike for 5 days but except for the soldiers in the town and the lack of traffic we didn't notice it.
    When Hans en Anneke left to go back to Holland, we started to prepare ourselves for the Annapurna Circuit trek; a 20 days trek around the Annapurna mountains.

    Panorama over the Annapurna's At 5.30 am we took the 5 hour bus tour to Besisahar, the starting point of the Annapurna Circuit trek. It was a fantastic trek with many ups and down. The first days we walked through small Nepali mountain villages, the landscape changed every hour and we gained more and more altitude. Parts of the trail went through green valleys and the most beautiful gorges, through forest and through rocky mountains where we had to share the narrow paths with the donkeys. The route went over small suspension bridges, two foot narrow goat paths and along quite a few landslides.
    Hard work to get to the pas A stone avalanche started sliding just as we passed and a hail of stones came falling down on us. Happily it turned out well: we were able to hide under a big stone with our backpacks as covers. After 5 minutes the stones got less and we ran for it. A lucky escape...
    Food and accommodation was provided by lodges and for the lower parts of the trek we had taken our tent with us. From 3500 meter altitude it started to be colder at night so we were happy with our -10 sleeping bags. The 11th day we spent the night at 4200 meter and after a tryout in vain caused by altitude sickness, the 13th day we crossed the Torong La pas at 5416 meter altitude. It was a fantastic moment how we - after a long struggle up the hill, panting for lack of oxygen - finally stood on the roof of the world, surrounded by the impressive white peaks of the Annapurna range.
    The rest of the trek went partly through a riverbed and partly through the deepest valley in the world (6000 meter deep, at 2200 meter between two mountains of more than 8000 meter high), from Jomsom back to Beni.

    On top of the world When we were almost at the end of the trek we wanted to have lunch in Galeshor, near Beni. We had to pass some Maoists standing with machineguns on the bridge to get to the village centre. Ten minutes later they disappeared and about 50 army soldiers came to search the entire village. We took the first possible taxi from Beni to Pokhara.
    A few hours after we left, the Maoists blew up the bridge over the river and attacked the army base. In the night that followed, the army attacked the village with artillery and helicopters and fought with the 5000 Maoist rebels for 12 hours on end, a fight in which an estimated 500 people died.

    After a few days waiting for a non-strike-day in Pokhara, we were able to drive to the west part of Nepal. Here we visited the Royal Bardia National park and went into the jungle with a guide for two days. Apart from many exotic birds we were lucky to see wild elephants and a rhino with baby. We will come back for the Bengal tiger.
    From Bardia we could drive to the Indian border in one day.

    Nepal is a beautiful and interesting country. Unfortunately for the local people there are hardly any tourists left. Hopefully the political situation changes soon. Packed with many nice and interesting experiences and with a great hunger for Indian food we crossed the border...


      Embassy links   Language  
      Foreign embassies in Holland and Dutch embassies abroad
      Foreign embassies in Germany and German embassies abroad
      Foreign embassies in Britain and British embassies abroad
      Embassy of India in Nepal

      General links   Language  
      Lonely Planet World Guide: Nepal
      MyTravelGuide - Nepal
      World Travel Guide - Nepal

    Our top 2:

    1. Annapurna Circuit

    2. Phewa lake


    Visa: you can get a 2 month tourist visa for USD 30 at the border.

    South of the Swayambunath (monkey)temple in west-Kathmandu is the tourist camp site;
    a neat piece of grassland behind a big fence. You can recognize it by the triangle (a tent-sign says the owner)on the gate.

    For 250 NRS (ca EUR 3) a night this is a great place to camp.


    Internet is cheap and fast at Bretzel, opposite of Pilgrim's bookshop in Kathmandu.


    Delicious Tibetan food is on offer at rest. Blue Moon, south of the monkey temple on Swayambunath road.


    Warning: the camping in Pokhara is not what it used to be.
    It is still beautifully situated at the lake side, but now also features as public playground and bus parking and is crowded and dirty. It is very cheap though, for NRS 30 (EUR 0,40) a day.


    During a trek in the Annapurna-area you can park your car safely at Hotel Diamond,
    Lakeside, Baidam 6 (t.o. Mama Mia rest.), Pokhara for NRS 50 (EUR 0,60) a day.