Our first mode of transport to get from India to Nepal was train. Thankfully a second class train, so pretty comfy for our 6 hour journey. I can’t even remember the name of the town in India that we stopped at to be honest- All the train journey’s are starting to roll into one! From the train station we got on a bus that would take us to the border- Another 3 and a half hours north. The sheer size of India will never stop surprising us! God be with the days that we thought the journey from Sligo to Dublin was the longest trip in the world! The bus to the border didn’t have any air-conditioning, instead, it had small fans hanging off the roof at the back, not ideal, but could have been worse. When we arrived at the border we first had to get stamped out of India at the Indian immigration office. The office is not what you’d expect- it was tucked in off the road and looked like all the other buildings on the street with just a banner across the door.
After going through the Indian border we walked across ‘no mans land’ and to the Nepalese immigration office, which was not much better. The heat was immense. We were all sweating after a 3 minute walk. We had to fill out a couple of forms to get granted our Nepalese visa’s, but there were no seats in the air-conditioned office, we had to sit outside at table with no shade and fill them in. It was so hot that sweat was dripping down our faces and onto the visa forms and smudging our writing. This experience is up there with the sleeper train as one of our worst memories from our trip to date. It was just so so hot!
When we finally got our visas and crossed the Nepalese border, there was a beautiful air-conditioned bus waiting for us. Getting on that bus was the best feeling in the world!
That night we stayed at a small hotel just inside the Nepal border as we all wrecked from our day of transport. The following day we hopped on our bus again to start our trip to Chitwan.
First stop on this journey was Lumbini, which is said to be the birth place of The Buddha. We walked around the temple and took some time to sit under one of the many trees in the garden. There was an eerie sense of calm throughout the entire property. I don’t know why, but the prayer flags hanging up around all the trees are so beautiful. There were monks sitting around the gardens meditating. They were so still and peaceful even with tourists walking around them.
As we continued on our trip to Chitwan, we started to realise that Nepal definitely does not have the best roads. We were bouncing around the bus, sometimes literally lifting off our seats. A break for lunch could not come quick enough. We pulled in at the side of the road in front of a row of buildings which had flat roof’s made from metal slates, being held up with wooden pillars. I think it’s safe to say that none of us were overly enthusiastic about lunch when we seen where we would be eating. As you walked into the restaurant there was a massive clay stove with a fire lit, and big old fashioned pots siting on top cooking our lunch. We were lead to the very back of the restaurant, and wow; the view. There was a balcony looking out over a valley and surrounded by green mountains. The view was absolutely breath-taking. It was the first time that it properly hit us that we were in the Himalayan mountains- finally! For lunch we had ‘Thukpa’, essentially a veggie noodle soup, and it was delicious. Another reminder not to judge a book by the cover. This was our best lunch spot to date.
With full tummies we continued on our way to Chitwan National Park….
Róisin & Bernard