A Travellerspoint blog

Nepal - the reality

Travel in Nepal is hard work. It is one of the world's poorest and least developed countries.

The domestic flights are expensive and the country has less than 60km of railway track so the only reasonable way to get around is by using the poorly maintained winding roads. Much of the terrain is mountainous. It can take as much as 20 hours to cross less than half the country by bus. Some of the roads are little more than mud tracks with rocks resting on top. In the jeep up to Deurali I was literally being thrown around the back seat the surface was that bad. The track to Fikkal was practically undriveable, we lost our balance on the bike at a snail's pace. Drivers will often fill up minibuses to the point where people are standing up inside and its normal to see people sitting on the roof. The buses have hardly any leg room, the drivers relentlessly use the horn, often have the radio on full blast, speed up to go around corners and bus strikes happen without any warning whatsoever.

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In the taxi back to Pokhara - as you can see I can barely keep hold of my camera

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Food is also an issue, I had Dhaal Bhaat twice a day for weeks, at times all I could think about was a fry up or one of the other endless choices of food we have at home. In Fikkal western food simply wasn't available. When it is available you have to be careful as it is often not prepared in the correct way and can give you a stomach upset (especially on the treks). The water can also be a culprit, many people drink boiled water which is fine but it can cause problems if not boiled properly. Curry soup for breakfast doesn't help matters. At times I was so ill I just had to lie in bed and eat biscuits for days. I liked Nepali food but try to imagine eating you're favourite meal for lunch and dinner every day and you get the idea.

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Washing is another problem, especially in rural areas. Where I was staying there was no bath or shower, I had to fill up a bucket and tip the water over myself. Washing clothes was all done by hand. The electricity supply is extremely temperamental so a torch or headlamp proves vital - especially as the toilet is often situated outside.

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Basically travel in Nepal is a challenge and it really opened my eyes to how unbelievably lucky we are at home, the irony being that we will never realise our fortune unless we witness the other side of the coin.

All of these hardships resulted in something that I didn't feel so much with some other journeys I've done - a real sense of accomplishment when it was all over. I think this element of challenge added to the intensity of the experience, and made me a stronger person mentally. Nepal has to be the most intense/shocking/challenging/surprising place I've ever experienced.

Posted by Neil1983 09:35

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