The Road to Bandipur

Bandipur Travel Blog

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Leaving Kathmandu Behind

Met the group at 8:30 AM for departure.  Befrore departure I turned in a bag for storage at the Kathmandu Guesthouse that I would not be using during the trek.  Walked out of Thamel to our bus as the bus was too big to get into the streets of Thamel.

It was about 140 km to Bandipur.  Estimated drive time - 4.5 hours.  You can do the math for average speed.  Getting out of Kathmandu was a challenge.  This city is a throbbing mass of humanity with little or no organization.  And it stretched for miles.  Just when I thought we might be escaping the valley, there were more buildings, more people, more motorbikes, more cars and trucks.

A truck and a pair of Buddha eyes along the road.
.. all figthing for the same bit of space on the narrow roads.  It was absolutely crazy.  Finally we reached the top of the ridge that signified the end of Kathmandu Valley and left the madness behind.

But only for a different kind of madness.  We started descending into the next valley.  Down, down, down, from 1500m to 500m or so of elevation.  Accompanied by the hiss of the air brakes and a cacophony of car horns we headed down the road to the valley bottom and beyond.  Organized chaos travelled this road as well.  There were only about six near bone-splitting crashes, but at the same time there seems to be some pattern to the passing traffic/oncoming traffic dilemma.  What I do know is that there are no organized passing zones.

Main street in the village of Bandipur.
  The driver passes when he feels like and often seems like he leaves whether someone is coming towards us to the fate of Buddha, Krishna, or whatever other gods might be around here in Nepal.

For a long while we continued following the river downstream in the valley.  We stopped for a short tea break about 2.5 hours in and then proceeded on our journey.  At the Marysangdi Khola we turned and followed this new river upstream.  Passed a hydroelectric project that provides power in Nepal (occassionally it seems).  Finally we turned off the main road for the 8km climb to Bandipur.  From the valley floor it was about a 450m climb on the road to Bandipur at 1050m.

Bandipur was once a regional trading center between India and China.  With the building of the major roads in Nepal, the city has lost that status.

Trying to see the Annapurna Himal across the valley (it doesn't appear very well at all).
  Today it is a small, sleepy town that caters to some travellers heading to or from the Annapurna region and the villagers farm and send some goods to Kathmandu.  It was a far cry from the bustle of Kathmandu and a great way to while away the afternoon before starting the trek proper tomorrow.  The "Old Inn" was a rustic little spot.  Not much in the way of amenities in the room (a bed, a reading light, and a small table), and we share a common bathroom, but it has its charms (and would be better than most of our lodging for the next three weeks).

We took a short walk through town, and saw many children.  Several wanted to practice their English with the western tourists.  One particular 10-year old girl was a favorite and asked several of us our names, ages, and nationalities and then would repeat them back to us.

A suspension footbridge across the Tusuli Khola.
  She was so bubbly and personal it brought a smile to all of our faces.  Other kids were just as entertaining.

The weather was warm and hazy today, so no great views across the ridge toward the Annapurnas.  Going to try to get up early in the morning to see if I can get some views of the high mountains.  So calling it an evening even though its only 9:30 PM.  Not that there is really much to do here after dark anyway.

Sidebar - I need to remember that I am not Nepali size.  As my head keeps reminding me, many doorways and ceilings in Nepal are not built to accommodate someone over six-feet tall.  I've banged my head several times already (and would continue to do so throughout the trek).

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Leaving Kathmandu Behind
Leaving Kathmandu Behind
A truck and a pair of Buddha eyes …
A truck and a pair of Buddha eyes…
Main street in the village of Band…
Main street in the village of Ban…
Trying to see the Annapurna Himal …
Trying to see the Annapurna Himal…
A suspension footbridge across the…
A suspension footbridge across th…
Homes in Bandipur.
Homes in Bandipur.
Homes and terraced farmland.
Homes and terraced farmland.
Kids playing in the river.
Kids playing in the river.
My room at the Old Inn in Bandipur…
My room at the Old Inn in Bandipu…
Roses growing outside the village …
Roses growing outside the village…
A multitude of small inns in Bandi…
A multitude of small inns in Band…
Kids playing in Bandipur.
Kids playing in Bandipur.
Looking down at lower elevations f…
Looking down at lower elevations …
A moth rests on a flower.
A moth rests on a flower.
A small stupa in Bandipur.
A small stupa in Bandipur.
A small bird sitting and singing i…
A small bird sitting and singing …
The sun rise spreads light on some…
The sun rise spreads light on som…
Trying to see the Annapurna Himal …
Trying to see the Annapurna Himal…
Bandipur
photo by: lrecht