Tag Archives: Nepal

A review: South-east Asia on two wheels

Wow what a ride, around 4400 km in 90 days, which makes more than 1000 km per month.
Could I have done more?  YES, but
Was it enough? YES

I am happy with what I have achieved, I learned a lot about me, other people, nature, stuff, life, …

I choose the bike because:

  • it’s quicker then walking.
  • you have more time to see the landscape than on a motorbike or in a car, where one just rush through everything.
  • On can (nearly) go wherever one wants to go, not like with bus or train.
  • It’s healthy

Did I hate it that I chose the bike? Yes, but the moments where I was happy about my choice are even more important and rememberable, which makes it a great choice.

Travelling “alone” (not with a fix partner who travels same route with you) was a not so good decision. In the beginning I was lucky to have met Tomaz and we kind of travelled along the same route for several days till somewhere after Pokhara. We rarely cycled next to each other, but we always meet up in the evenings.

I review a little bit by country and show my track of each country (more less) on a map below the text. Between Cambodia and Vietnam I made the cut where I took the bus to get to Phnom Penh and then down to the beach. Although there is no line of a trek in Phnom Penh, this doesn’t mean, that I wasn’t there.

My first actual country I visited was Nepal. Not really, because the country I started in was India, but that was just a way to get to Nepal, but I will not report in India, because, the part I saw, isn’t really representative and it was never a destination of my trip.  So Nepal: I like mountains, a part of  Nepal is in the Himalaya mountain area, which leads to me liking Nepal.

A more detailed view on my track in Nepal can be found here.

Cambodia was the country I knew nothing about. People just told me: lots of temples and Ankor Wat (which is also a temple but a great one). As Cambodia is mostly flat (at least the road I took), I didn’t enjoy riding it that much, but it has some nice beautiful landscapes. I also was able to jump into the ocean (for Christmas), which was great.

A more detailed view on my track in Cambodia can be found here.

My favourite country, is Vietnam. It has great landscape and nature with mountains and I haven’t been yet to the norther mountains. I will definitely  go back to that country. On the one side, I will visit the remaining parts in the north, I haven’t visit yet. On the other hand, I want to revisit the parts I already went to, as I missed some places because I was on the bike and didn’t want to take the detour or I simply didn’t knew about them. Also I have made really interesting friends there who I am looking forward to meet again. Also the food, it is amazing, it is not just rice, but it is rice in all kind of different forms and mixed with everything and other stuff to eat.

A more detailed view on my track in Vietnam can be found here.

This is a really short summary. I once tried to show some pictures of my journey to some friends and it took me about 1,5 hours to tell them just a summary of a subset of the stories with some pictures.

I also wanted to write this blog post a long time ago, but I always found an excuse not to write it, but now it is here.

Day 38: departure day

no cycling

Todays goal: get everything to the airport by time.

But first I had to kill some time until my master plan began. I packed all my stuff so that I would have stuff to do in the 10 hours transit time in Singapore and all the restricted stuff in my luggage. I checked out of the hotel and got a free transit from the hostel to the airport offered. After some negotiation they even agreed to pass by Anil’s home first to get my packed bike which was sill stored there. The rest of the morning I spend again on the roof top of the hostel,  reading and doing stuff in the internet. I have never showed the roof top:

After lunch Tomaz came back to Kathmandu and we meet up. 😀

Finally at 16:30 my master plan began: Plain leaves at 9 o’clock. I calculated 2 hours earlier + 1 hour buffer + 1 hour going there + half an hour getting my packed bike,  so in total 4,5 hours from the hostel to the plain. so getting to the airport (5 km away) really took me like 1,5 h with passing by Anil’s home and all the traffic jams😂

Arrived at the airport the entrance was guarded,  so that only people with a ticket could enter it,  so no annoying people anymore who want money from you😀 After a first security check for all luggage everything was normal procedure:

  1. check-in: no extra charge for my bike😀
  2. immigration office: A sign told me to fill out a form,  which was then thrown away by immigration officer😂
  3. security check: quick one
  4. waiting in the departure hall
  5. boarding (as soon as it is open)

The international airport of Kathmandu is an old one. The departure hall has no restaurants or shops expect one. There I got some food. Fried rice heated up in a microwave oven,  plastic fork and no table:

So now my flight goes to Singapore (not Kuala Lumpur as mentioned in yesterday’s post). There I will have at least 10 hours (I am a little confused with time zones) at the airport before my flight goes to Siem Reap in Cambodia😀 Therefore I have my book and juggling balls on me😀

For security reasons I have my bicycle helmet in my hand luggage,  in case it will be a bumpy flight. Actually there was no more space with my luggage or in the bicycle box😂

Day 37: visiting the last place

no cycling

Today I just wanted to visit the last place marked on my map: Boudha Stupa.  I was told it was one of the biggest there is. In the afternoon I was back at the hotel. I had a little headache,  but I don’t know from what. In the evening I met Anil and a friend of him. We went to a china restaurant. My headache got worse,  that’s why I took a taxi back to the hotel and I will try to sleep now.

Due to the headache, I will not upload pictures today. Sorry. There are not that many pictures of today.

Tomorrow I will just get to the airport. My flight to Kuala Lumpur leaves at 9 o’clock in the evening. From where I will get a flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia 😀

Day 36: packing my bike

no cycling

So finally I packed my bike today, with a lot of help from Anil,  without him it wouldn’t have been possible or I had to do it in the bicycle shop.

But first we needed to get a carton box for it. Around Anil’s home there is a halfway decent bicycle shop, but we arrived too early and the shop was closed,  so we walked around grabbed a tea,  we went to Anil’s shoe store and met some of his friends around. After some time we went to get a carton box for 300 NRP (2,57€) and brought it back to Anil’s place. Back there we disassembled my bike (I came with it this morning from the hotel). I had to take of the handle bar,  so that was the first thing to come off. Then we took of everything until it fitted in the box. We started with the front wheel and the corresponding mudguard and checked if it would fit inside the box –> NO

Then we took of the rear wheel with mudguard and rack (the construction where I hang my panniers on.Checked if it fitted –> NO

My saddle was still looking out the box. That was easy,  just simply remove the saddle with the pole. Did it fit? –> the frame yeah,  the rest not everything.

The part still in the way was my front light,  as it made it impossible to place the wheels next to the frame. Did it now fit? –> kind of,  see for yourself:

After we got everything inside,  the taping began. All around the box. I had already bought a roll some days ago. It wasn’t good tape and it was inly a small one. We went out to get a new better role. A transparent tape which is not good visible on the picture,  but belive me,  it’s all around the box. It will be fun to pack everything out again without a knife, as knifes are kind of not allowed inside an airport.

After 4 hours of searching a box,  disassembling and taping we were finally finished. A big thanks to Anil,  without his help and patience I wouldn’t have been able to pack it😂

The rest of the afternoon I tried to print out my flight ticket and spend some time on the roof top of my hostel again.

I don’t know what I will do tomorrow, probably some walking around,  there is still one place on my map, which is marked and I haven’t visited yet.

Day 35: doing nothing

no cycling,  no motorbiking

So today I originally wanted to pack my bike in a carton box as my leg, arm and neck hurt too much to motorbike and I think there is no beautiful day route left here. So I went out for breakfast as every morning and realised how dirty my cloth were from the crash. During the breakfast a cat was constantly walking around my table jumping up and down chairs to get some food from me,  eventually she started sunbathing😂

As my cloth were dirty, I washed them and hung them up for drying at the roof top. I hadn’t explored it yet,  it is a very beautiful place with some flowers and chairs and less noise than down on the street☺️ I spend the rest of the morning and the afternoon there,  waiting for my long cloth to dry, while reading my book and talking to people.

Then finally Anil’s phone (nepalease friend from the Annapurna Trek) was switched on and we arranged a meet up in Kathmandu. I had to take a taxi to get there. Because if the traffic it took me like half an hour longer than the calculated time by maps.me (the offline navigation app I have).

Arrived there I found Anil quickly, we had some tea and moved to another place to have dinner at a nice quite restaurant with music I know from back home. The nepaleas cook worked in Australia but came back to open a restaurant here. Together with a group of artists, he painted the walls,  really beautiful. The wood was no normal nepaleas food,  I had a really good piece of steak with spaghetti and a brilliant sauce,  for normal price☺️

Anil has a car so for the way back I didn’t need a taxi😀 And we figured something out on how to pack the bike in a carton box tomorrow😀

Day 34: On a motorbike

no cycling but biking,  distance: I don’t know,  somewhere in between 70 and 100 km

So this morning I finally got to rent a motorbike. After some negotiation I got a bike for 1400 NRP (11,94€) fuel and helmet included. It was something with I think  125cc.  Good enough for renting and driving the first time a motorbike😀 Afterwards I understood why they went so down with the price. The display for the speed wasn’t working,  so it always showed 0 km/h and kilometers weren’t counting too😂 But I didn’t care about it.

I asked for a good place to ride and went of. Out of the touristic place into the main road into the direction I was told to go. Police told me that the road is blocked by… they couldn’t tell me,  so I went around. Slowly I got out of Kathmandu, some waiting at intersections which were handled by traffic police. Out in the nature and little villages it was a beautiful road up the hill with lots of curves, I git used to shift gears up and down. Really great.
As I had my camera in my backpack it took me lots of time to take it out,  so I didn’t take that much pictures today.

The road to come up☺️

a good part of the bad road to go down

Same as on the bicycle,  always were a helmet, especially if it is a cool one

After reaching the top,  the asphalt disappeared and going down on the other side was more hard and slow work but still nice. Somewhere more down in the valley the asphalt came back and I started to get faster again (not too fast,  normal speed) Eventually there was some water on the road, because of a river I think,  I break with the front brakes and then… I kissed the floor… my front wheel blocked and went into another direction, me sliding on the ground next to my bike. Immediately some people came to help me,  got my bike off the road and stopped the engine. Really nice,  I was back on my feet in no time. I checked,  just some little abrasions and bruises. Luckily I had long cloth and my helmet on☺️ Just my gloves were in my backpack as they got too hot even when riding. One guy told me to get checked up in a medical place 1 km away. So I did, I got into an examination room and the guy packed out clean working equipment,  didn’t touched anything with his fingers,  just with clean pincers until he got out some glows and started cleaning my wounds. He just charged me like 100 NRP (0,85€ 😯) for his work. 

I continued to get back to return my bike. On the way there were even more traffic jams than on the way out. At the renting place they didn’t even noticed anything that the bike had a crash😂

Grabbed some dinner with Jimmy the Australian guy of my dorm and now I am relaxing in my room.My shoulder starts to hurt a little bit,  but I will be fine.

Will I ever ride a motorbike again? Hell yeah,  it was awesome,  I learned from it and now I know better😀

Originally I wanted to rent a motorbike again tomorrow, but I don’t know if there are any more cool roads near Kathmandu and I have to check how I am feeling tomorrow.

Day 33: Sending a package

no cycling

Todays task: sending a package contains my tent,  stove, water cleaning system,  isolation mat and cooking stuff back home as I will never use it. I will keep back my sleeping bag,  as it can be useful when the blanket isn’t that warm☺️

So I informed myself first: price,  opening hours, required documents. First I did a copy of my passport as they need one. Then I organized my stuff so that I could send home my front panniers home too as I don’t need them anymore. I packed everything to send in my front panniers and everything to keep in the 3 back panniers. Outside the guest house I just wanted to know how much a taxi would be to get there,  because walking half an hour with the panniers isn’t the best method. The taxi drivers I asked all seem to don’t know the official post office,  so I decided not to take a taxi but walk. Just out of curiosity I checked out one of the many places, where they offer cargo service. After he got me a price of 8$ I was curious because I know that 10kg cost around 80$ in the post office. Then he told me that it is 8$ per kilo. After weighing my luggage (8,2kg) he tried to calculate the price and always started with 8*8,2+?-x±y=price. You see what I mean,  then I went out to go to the real post office.

Arrived there it was 12 o’clock so I had 2 hours left before they close. Yeah you need at least one hour. Here the procedure

  1. Fill out the form,  which is only available in nepaleas language. On the table there was a form taped,  where the required filed were explained in english,  but still I needed help from a women sitting there (I think she was a post employee). I wrote down sender,  receiver and content.
  2. Bringing the filled out form back to the guy who gave it to me,  he checked it and told me which fields were missing,  so I filled them too.
  3. leaving the form there I needed to find a carton box (they had many of them there) were all my stuff would fit in. Eventually I found one with the help of an employee.
  4. That employee closed the carton with tape and sewed fabric around it.
  5. On this fabric I then wrote the receiver’s address (my father) and my own name and phone number.
  6. By another guy the seam got sealed with wax.
  7. Then I needed to go to one desk who send me back to the first desk to get my form I left there which I needed to pay for (5$).
  8. Finally somebody behind a counter accepted my package. But again I needed to fill out another form with receiver, sender and content. This form was then taped on my package where the address was already written on😂
  9. They weight it (9 kg, the carton box and fabric make the difference hopefully). I paid 6135 NRP (52,69€)
  10. I received a sheet and was told that there is a tracking number on it☺️

20 to 30 days should it take for the package to arrive.

My package is the next to be sealed

As half of the day was already passed I decided not to rent a motorbike today. Instead I visited some more temples and places of worship on foot as yesterday. Originally I wanted to visit 2 places marked on my map but I got stuck in the first place as I had to pay an entrance fee and got a free to pay guide (at the end I could give him whatever I want). So he showed me the temple called Pashupatinath. It’s a place where people are cemented after death. He also explained me a little bit about the hindu religion. After more than 2 hours of going around,  seeing fires where bodies were burning,  I went back to the hotel as it was already 16:30 and the sun started going down.

So and from now on there will be dead bodies on the pictures!

Tomorrow I will finally rent a motorbike (hopefully) 😂

But first I have to drink rum with my russian roommate in my dorm 😀

Day 32: Doing some tourist stuff

no cycling

EDIT: I don’t know what my blog has now,  but it is showing images taken in portrait as landscape, when you download it or open it in a new tab it’s orientated the right way.  Also in my editor it is orientated the right way… I am trying to fix this…

So today on the program were the bigger temples (e.g. the monkey temple) a little bit outside of the touristic center but still in reach of foot distance. So I just marked the points on my map and started walking. By walking through parts where less to no tourists go,  I could see more how life is here☺️ Lots of pictures not that much of text. And it isn’t even everything I saw☺️

sometimes there is a really nice little green park in the middle

While walking some people started to talk to me. On of them then showed me a little bit around and told me a little bit. I forgot his name🙁

Finally there are some people in my dorm at the guest house. With Jimmy,  an Australian guy, I will go for dinner with some more people from Belgium (not Kim and Nathalie),  Netherlands and Japan😀 We went to this one place, where they have the best fries. As far as the guide book is right,  the cook went to Belgium to learn how to make good fries. They were good,  but didn’t have my sauce Andalouse!

Tomorrow I will either go to post office and check how to send some stuff back home as I don’t need it (tent,  stove and water cleaning system) or I will rent a motorbike and drive out a little bit☺️

Day 31: trying to get a new handlebar bag

no cycling

This morning I walked in the touristic streets. First to get some breakfast then to see a little bit of everything,  there are lots of little temples, but I didn’t went out to the big once, that is something for another day.

Then I saw the consulate of belgium:

In front of which was a climbing wall

with one of the coolest training boards I have ever seen

I am amazed of the graffiti and wall arts which are sometimes here

Work security? He was painting the wall. Actually there is a second one sitting behind him also painting

In the afternoon I spend like 5 hours to get a handlebar bag as my old one doesn’t have the impression to last the whole trip. I went to the Vaude store, as they told me on the phone they would have some, but they misunderstood me. When I arrived there they gave me a bag for my rack, where my red panniers are hanging. When they finally understood what I needed, they told me that they sold the last one some time ago… But they called a guy who is asking around and he is currently my last hope. After I left the store I checked out some decent bicycle stores, bu they only sell mountain bikes and no bags… Otherwise I will try to stabilise the bag a little bit.

As I still want to do my motorbike touring, I will probably rent one in the next days, as it was already an idea in Pokhara.

I was just informed that some images are turned the wrong way, you can tell me that , then I can try to turn them the right way.

I also added the video of me juggling 3 rocks at Annapurna Base Camp at day 19

Day 30: Even more beautiful

Distance: 52,59 km Time: 4:48 Total distance: 1432 km

WUHUUU one month on the road. I will probably write something,  a little review of the first month,  when I find the time. For now just my day:

I expected the sunrise to be more beautiful,  but the view was a little bit in the wrong direction,  so only a few mountains had this red color,  but still beautiful.

For breakfast I had spicy curry potatoes,  with omelet and homemade bred😀 The production of the bread:

After 5 km of going down, I got to a junction,  where I had to decide: good road with asphalt,  which all the jeeps were taking and was 80km or the road without asphalt,  40km and no jeeps (remember trucks and busses weren’t on that road). I choose the more silence shorter one. Right decision. The climbing started again (on the other road I would have had to climb too). But it wasn’t as steep as yesterday and there were all the time more flat parts in between. Also the landscape… amazing. I don’t know if it was because of the less traffic (still some motorcycles and few jeeps) or if it really was even more beautiful than yesterday.

Around 12 o’clock I got over the last hill,  to finally see: KATHMANDU

while I was enjoying the view,  taking this picture,  some dogs decided to guard my bike (okay the one on the left looks like he is sleeping)

From now on the road has asphalt again. Really it started on the top of the hill. Going down I finally saw a temple with some monks in it

To arrive closer and closer to Kathmandu

As in Pokhara I had to have lunch with my 2 belgium friends Kim and Natalie,  as they happen to still be in Kathmandu😀

I am not decided yet what to do tomorrow, because I have still some stuff to do before fighting out on 9th December. For example find a box for my bike.