At the airport we took the taxi for 250 rs. At the prepaid counter it was told 300 rs. You can bargain more hopefully to 200. We reached by 9:30 and the counter at the railway station opens only by 10-10:30, so we just stood by for 1- 2 hours, we couldn't go anywhere because of the luggage.
The scorching heat, the humidity was killer. The counter eventually opened at 10:30 a.m. .We landed up paying 550 to the guy at clearing as bribe. The actual amount is 350 for 24 hours. As our bikes reached a day before in the evening hence we paid 525 Rs. We got our bikes out. They were fully packed so we removed the packing and cleaned our bikes. And put the mirrors back.
- A Swiss knife to remove packing from bikes else you’ll have to pay someone to remove the packing.
- 5 liter empty can as bikes won't have oil while packed and transported and in case the petrol pump is far you will have to drag your bikes even before the trip starts
- A good cloth actually multiple number of clothes to clean bikes (We eventually landed up using all handkerchief of Dhivakar. Thanks Dhivakar :p)
Once we got our bikes, we realized that for Dhiva's bike speedometer and trip meter was not working... It took us a while to get the bikes started. With some kicks here and there and chokes etc. we got all set. We put our gears on, divided 5-liter petrol in 3 bikes and moved out of the station. Just few km away from the station, we got our tanks filled for 800 rs each.
And then we set the road on fire..:D....
To do in Lucknow:
Eat tundi Ke kabab in Aminabad. As we were late we didn't but we've heard they just melt in your mouth...
We started for Faizabad. On the way there are many restaurants, we stopped at Zaayka. The food was decent, actually yummy for my north Indian taste buds. We also charged our mobiles in the hotel (This would be a good thing to do as GPS comes handy in lot of places).
Our route of 324 km which we planned for this day was Lucknow -> Faizabad -> Basti. Here we took the diversion to not go Gorakhpur n took diversion to Naugarh. Unfortunately, this route was very deserted and roads were pretty bad. We kept riding till evening and late in the night. As I am a new rider, we rode slowly 40-60 kmph speed. There were no living species on the roads and for a long time we kept riding through the jungle. By this time I was little sleepy and tired. In the jungle we saw some dogs… did I say dogs!! Oh sorry!! Foxes J… turned into dogs in my sleepy state.
Beware: There is another place in India called Lumbini which confused us as everyone told Bhairhawa is far though Lumbini was shown only 28 km. Around 12 in the night we reached Saunali. Some people suggested us Sanju lodge but we were so tired that we took the first lodge we found named ‘TBD’. It was not bad but not great too. The guy was kind enough to give us toast and milk in the night.
We got freshened up, packed our stuff, got Indian currency changed to Nepali rupees.You can get them exchanged anywhere in Nepal because the exchange rate is same everywhere*. Once we started riding, we realized that place for permit was just 500 meter from the hotel
*100 Indian rupees = 160 Nepali rupees.
Steps to get the permit.
- Get a gate pass made
- With the gate pass, go to the window where permit is made.
- They fill the form. You need only RC and DL Photostat and original. The person whose DL is shown needs to be present in person. Pay 980 Nepali rupees.
- An officer comes and checks the bike.
In our case, the officer who checked our bikes didn’t ask us to open our luggage but just in case, it would be better to put cover (tarpoline in our case) after the permit and checking.
We took the Xerox copy of permits. Bought a local SIM to keep in touch with our families. For SIM you need passport or any id proof, it’s Xerox and a photo. Fill a form, pay some money and you have a SIM to use and be in touch with your loved ones J
Afterwards, we stopped by at a restaurant ‘named’ for brunch. There are many restaurants available. The food was decent. We had dal fry, rice, roti and tea. With full stomach, we started for Lumbini ‘Birth place of Lord Buddha’, 23 Km from Bhairwah( Permit location). Lumbini is the place where Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam. Here Lord Buddha stayed till the age of 29.
In Lumbini, at the entrance Indians have to pay 50 Nepali rupees. The inside of the temple is quiet and calm. Grass field, peepal tree, Buddhists, saints sitting under it. Lake, flags flipping in the air with Buddha mantra written on blue, green, yellow and red cloth material. These flags are something you see through out Nepal and Sikkim.
The inside of the temple is protected with barricades etc. One has to maintain silence inside the temple. The exact location is a stone and that’s exactly where he was born.
After imbibing the peace in our heart, we decided to start for Pokhara.
Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal. Three out of the ten highest mountains in the world — Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu — are situated within 30 miles (linear distance) of the city, so that the northern skyline of the city offers a very close view of the Himalayas. Pokhara valley is rich in water sources. There are many lakes there. One lake which we surely suggest you should not miss is Phewa or Fewa lake
Pokhara is around 200 Km from Lumbini. The road for Pokhara is mountain trails but the roads are well built with few bad patches in case of landslides. The ride was mesmerizing with river on one Side and mountains on other. On the way, we stopped at a waterfall and took few pictures.
As we had started after lunch, we continued late in the evening and in the night .Yet again by the night I was tired and we stopped at a place to have tea. I had a tea and we met this cute spiky hair guy named Aban sharu. A character in the trip who was remembered till the end for his cute smile and smart hair cut. And then we reached to ‘Pokhara’ - the city which never sleeps’ as was mentioned by everyone we met on the way. And not surprising at all we found a soul in the city that never sleeps’: p. He guided us to some hotels. Late in the night at around 12 am, we got into ‘Lake Peace’ hotel and crashed in our beds!
This was the rubber necking day in Pokhara. In the whole day we covered around 25-30km. First on our list was Bullet base camp. It’s located on Mansawar road. After quite searching we found it only to our dismay that it was closed as its owner from Holland had gone back to his country. There we met a guy ‘Name I don’t remember’ who was getting his bullet repaired. The bike had a Punjab registration. The guy was from Austria and has a home in Goa and every year goes to Austria for 6 months. Comes back to India for 6 months , picks up his bike from Goa and goes around India, Nepal etc. Looking at him I was like a bachha in front of him. So there are really people who do what they love to do.
After lunch at ‘don’t pass by me’ restaurant. The food was good, the location is nice with a lake view but expect to wait for your food as it took us around an hour to get our food.
Next we left for Mahendra caves from Base camp. Roads are very nice and steep. You always have a view of mountains while travelling in Pokhara. The day was cloudy with dainty breeze but luckily with no rain
While strolling around Mahendra caves, we took a wrong turn and reached a road which was steep and full of stones. As this was just the start of the trip and we had many more places to go, we decided against this adventure as we knew we have many more adventurous trails to look forward to in our 3 weeks road trip.
Next we rode to Sarangkot from Mahendra caves. This definitely is not a place to be missed if you are traveling to Pokhara.At an altitude of 1600 meter, this village gives a striking view of Himalayan range and the lakes at the same time.
The roads were nice until a point where due to construction we landed up riding in a patch full of mud and stones.I am sure once this construction is over, up till the summit, you will have smooth roads to enjoy.
At the summit, 3 of us just got lost in our worlds because the beauty in front of us was nonpareil. The mountains, blue sky, a lake in front of us, cold wind and the gliders in the air. We spent around an hour or two here. Sitting, talking, taking pictures, meditating. We ate yummy momos and I drank tea.
Against our hearts desire, we decided to start back as the roads were steep and it had already started getting dark. So with the beauty in our minds and peace in our hearts we set back for the hotel
Before going back to the hotel, we dined at a Korean restaurant though an interesting café called Apple café can be found near Gorakha museum. I would recommend this restaurant only if you want to eat but please seek no information here. The young girl, who served us didn’t have much knowledge about Pokhara and activities in Pokhara and was very conscious of our queries for the information.
On lake view road, you could chillax at Blue café which offers live music and happening crowd. The place was full of foreigners and had many delights for the eye: p. The city also offers many dance bars, though I would suggest, you should go there only to have a hearty laugh. The place wouldn’t gratify to any of your hormonal desires :p.
We stayed away from the heart of the city, as we reached really late but in case you would like to stay in Pokhara , we suggest lake view road which offers many hotel options.
PS: Pokhara is a place for paragliding. At a cost of 4500 Nepali rupees a decent para gliding can be done.
Places to see in Pokhara
- Bullet base camp
- Mahendra caves
- Gorkha museum
We started for Kathmandu around 9 a.m. Today’s plan was to reach Last resort via Kathmandu, a distance of about 230 km. But today before starting to ride we had a breakfast in a roadside hotel. There are many good options available but we wanted to save time and quickly finish eating in a place on our way.
With our hands on the wheel (The door’s way), we got rolling to the Last resort.
Note: This could have been changed in our plan to spend 1st 3 days in KTM and the go last resort come to Dhulikhel and go to Ilam instead of going last resort first, coming back to Kathmandu and then again going until Dulikhel to go Ilam.
The ride to Kathmandu was lush green. There were fields with rice growing and step farming being done. The roads were smooth with no glitches though needless to say that it was completely mountainous terrain.
We stopped by at a resort for lunch where we chilled out until our food arrived. To others surprise around (Dubuku and the restaurant staff: p), I and Dhiva did salsa here while waiting for our lunch. After sumptuous lunch, we hit the road again.
On the way we found an interesting thing. A family was shifting their trading stuff over a river, using a basic pulley. To experience this interesting endeavor we went by the river and did some pulling which was great fun J.
We reached Kathmandu around 6:30 p.m. This was the worst part of the trip. Traffic jam, pollution and chaos. It seemed like the peace which we experienced in past few days would soon be churned out of us if we don’t run away from there. So, without entering the city, we took a right turn for Dhulikhel. After a ride of around 70 Km we reached Dhulikhel by asking around. There we called up Last resort to confirm that we are arriving tonight. It was already 9:30 p.m. and Last resort told us, it will take us 3 more hours!! And I was like, What!!! I was already tired and as always sleepy. So without wasting anymore time, we continued riding. Initially the roads were good. As Last resort requested us to have dinner out because their kitchen would be closed by the time we reach so we ate our dinner of rice, dal, chicken and spinach in a roadside hotel. The food was simple yet tasty and fresh. The hotel owner was very talkative and as always the language of smile broke all the barriers. He told us about Tibet border where we could go without permit and that to go to Kailash Parbat, one needs to take permit and can only go through travel agents.
With full stomach, sleep in my eyes and every bone cracking, we started again. Few kilometers further there was a check post. Generally almost everywhere, we saved ourselves from opening our luggage but no at this one. Here, we were asked to open our luggage. I tried to coax them into ‘these are clothes, please, we are getting late blah blah’ but these army people didn’t budge. As this was a major check post with Tibetan border in close vicinity, they were extra cautious.
As human beings we were angry as we had to open the luggage and it was night and Last resort was still pretty far but also respectful as they standing there in the cold night, away from their families were still doing their job to the best of their capabilities.
Now to save time, we didn’t pack and just kept the tarpoline on the luggage and started again. The road was rough and it was pretty dark. It had everything to offer to an adventurous rider -stones, pebbles, water, and mud. You name it you had it. At that place and that time of the night, expecting any soul was a funny expectation but after continuous riding, with the fear of getting shot in case we took a wrong route and reached Tibet, 2 guys on bike came to our rescue. They told us that last resort was still 2 km away and gave us a landmark.
Finally we reached the Last resort. As the name suggests, it is really a last resort. There was no electricity. We parked our bikes, took our luggage and walked on a wobbling Bridge with a sound of river under us but we couldn’t see anything. We reached to our tent, kept our luggage went to eat the cold dinner (This was a very nice gesture of last resort to server us something even though they had already told there will be no food). We came back in our room...did I say room…neat!! Our cute little tent …and we slept like babies.
In the serene surroundings of Last resort, I really liked the dining area- Airy, sitting system with cushions nice music playing all the time. People chilling, relaxing, laughing, talking around. It seemed like a content world in itself. We ate our breakfast, got ready and went to the bridge where Canyon swing and Bungee jump was supposed to happen. Dhiva kept scaring us but somehow it wasn’t working. I was the first one to go. I went to the podium :p . I got ready, wore the protection gears. Slowly, went on the edge. At this point, I had nothing in my mind. The instructor there told 3,2,1 jump and I jumped and this was the first time I realized what is a free fall. For a few seconds I could not feel my body…I was in air and was shocked!! And then I came back to senses. I shouted I love you Ma, I love you Guchad. I love you all. Once the momentum died and my swing came to a rest, I was pulled by a rope to the assembly point at the base of the mountain. Vinod, the guy who pulled me to base was very friendly. He asked me about my experience and if I was scared. While waiting for Dhiva and Naveen, I had an interesting conversation with Vinod where he told me that he jumps everyday J and that now jumping is his way of life. He also told me that the first jump is always easy as you don’t know what to expect but 2nd is worse and then eventually you get used to it. This definitely was an interesting conversation but a very bad suggestion because next I was going for Bungee jumping which was supposed to be my 2nd jump.
First Dhiva came, who was expressionless and then later smiling. He jumped without any qualms. Next was Naveen. I don’t know why but I thought Naveen will be scared as he was really quiet before the jump but he was the chilled out dude smiling all through the while.
Now was the harder part of trekking back to the resort. While trekking back, we decided that we are spending a day more in last resort because it is really a fun place. We discussed with Prakash (the care taker in Last resort) on our plan to extend and then I went for bungee jump. Vinod had already scared me. The girl before me was scared, didn’t jump for a long time and kept holding the guy. This all scared me so much that when my turn came, I told I don’t want to go…he told ok fine, it’s your money, it will get wasted. I told I am fine with it. And then he told jump it’s ok…he said 3, 2, 1 jump nothing…I held him, he told me please leave me else you will put my life in danger and again 3, 2, 1 jump…Nothing… And then I told myself, Just do it… and I took 2 deep breath and woooommmmpppffffff!!! Hunnn!!
It wasn’t the best of the feeling…I was like Jesus Christ…And kept shouting mamma…mamma…because this was not fun this was scary. My legs were shivering and I felt the belt will open and I will fall. After swinging in air for few more minutes, the last resort crew got me down. Honestly, that moment I was like thank god it’s over. But once done, I was like phew!! Done and it was amazing!! And then I actually thought, what the hell, the fear was all in the mind. I should’ve just gone and should’ve flown like a bird…May be next time! If there is any J. Here few leeches also bit me while I was waiting for troop to start the trek back.
Once I reached the resort, we had lunch. We got ready and then started for Nepal-Tibet border on bikes. The place was busting with trading activities. There were lot of trucks and packages. People were moving packed stuff here and there. We went on the bridge (Photography is not allowed at the line). Half of it belongs to Nepal and half to China. It was funny, how we human beings divide this one universe by just drawing a line. Anyways, we went pretty close to the line. I so wanted to do salsa there with Dhiva but we were little scared also :p. We came off the bridge, clicked some pictures and rode back to the resort.
After a tiring day, ate our dinner over lengthy discussions, jokes and memories. Afterwards, we went around the resort a bit. It’s a beautiful resort spread across huge area. They offer many adventurous activities.
And came the time of the day where we cuddled up ourselves in our blankets :) and went deep down into the dream world. The only difference was that these were days when we were dreaming every moment even while we were awake: D
The day of canyoning*.
After the daily ablutions and our breakfast, we got ready for canyoning. We went around the resort; clicked few pictures on the bridge where bungee jump and canyon swing is done. Went exploring the route to the river from the resort but then were called for canyoning by Prakash.
We got dressed in canyoning suit. Without any briefing Pola (our guide) and us started our trek up. After few minutes of trekking, we reached to the place where the canyoning is done. Pola briefed us and on asking he told, he has done canyoning countless number of times.
I was the first person to start; I went down, lost balance and fell. Pola again taught me how to release the rope and be tilted to the the rock and I started again. Slowly, I completed the first milestone and then Dhiva and Naveen came. On the second stone, I hit the rock and got hurt but while hanging in the air with no option to give up, continued. 3 of us slowly and steadily learnt it and improved at it and successfully completed the whole canyoning. Pola was the quiet kinds with a genuine smile on his face. Our second guide was very funny and talkative. He pronounced my name as Choti and since then Dhiva and Naveen started calling me Choti. :/. Well all in all, It was an incredible experience. We simply loved it. But it was also very tiring. My back was hurting as I had put too much pressure on my back and my thigh had got hurt due to the balance that I lost. It was paining and had swollen.
If you are travelling to Nepal, then as per our group your trip is incomplete without having gone to Last resort and done the adventurous activities, they have to offer.
Our guides packed up and we started our trek up. Prakash, the care taker told that among the Indian groups which generally go, our group was the first one who finished it so quickly!! Bravo my dubukus :p… My company matters ;).
We reached back to the resort, took bath and went for lunch. After 2 days of English food, today was rice & dal etc. This is how human body changes. When in Bangalore, I don’t eat rice at all and here I was craving for rice J. I after 2 days ate to my heart’s content. (When Joe eats to her heart’s content, she always over eats :p). Next the only thing that we could ask for was a sleep but we had to start back and so we packed and started back around 5 p.m. We covered around 100 km and reached Kathmandu, Thamel. Thamel in Kathmandu was suggested to us by many people. We were happy that we took this suggestion because it is really a traveler’s paradise. There are numerous options for hotels, restaurants, shopping, pubs, discs and dance bars :p.
We checked into hotel named down town. The let go chilling out mood is in the air in Thamel. For the first night, we ate in a place called Bamboo shoot. I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant because Sangria here was shit and also because there are much better options available in close vicinity.
Here we also gave our clothes for laundry. It was 50 rupees for 2 kg. And it takes a day but as we knew we are staying over in Kathmandu for next 2 days so we gave our clothes for laundry.
This day we planned to visit places in and around Kathmandu. Keeping a local map handy is suggested so that you can efficiently plan your day as Kathmandu offers many places to see and visit. We got ready late enough to straight head for brunch. We wanted to try Nepalese food. The hotel suggested us to try Newari food (specialty of Nepal: Buffalo meat). To my taste buds which are still getting used to the chicken, buffalo meat was horrible: p. Here we were also offered a local drink. I had a sip of it. It tasted much stronger than even whisky. As we planned to ride, we refrained from any drinking
With buffalo in our stomach, we started for Pashupatinath temple where only Hindus are allowed :D.
The temple was dirty. The peace which one would look forward to in a spiritual place was missing. Everybody seemed to want money. I clicked picture of few saints who had painted their face and they scolded me and asked for money. I really got scared of them because I thought they will snatch my camera. A pandit saw us and started praying quickly just for the money. While leaving I saw a dead body being put into the water. That sight was so sad and disheartening that I just wanted to run away from the place.
Next we went to Boudhanath (Boudha). There is a short cut available from Pashupatinath to Boudhanath. Any localite will be able to guide you. After few km of ride, we reached the temple. In my childhood, I had been to Nepal with my family. And the only memory I had from that trip was of this temple and Nagarkot. The ticket there was 40 Nepali rupees. This was a beautiful place with a world of its own. There are many shops around Boudha and many things are available. We went inside, circled around the wheel of life. Walked around the Boudha and came back. The temple closes at 6:30 p.m. hence plan your visit accordingly. In case you want to buy Buddha stupa, wheel of life or the Buddhist flag. This is the place where you can find it all though expect the prices to be higher. You can try to bargain and get the best possible deals.
With the sun setting down, we rode back to our hotel in Thamel. Got freshened up and set out for shopping. You can find some good quality North face brand pants, bags, shoes etc. here. I and Dhiva wanted to go for salsa but for this specific weekend salsa was cancelled. All disappointed we made it a restaurant, pub, disc hopping evening. First we went to a restaurant with a live band playing. The band was pretty nice. They played some of my favorite tunes from Pearl jam and Pink Floyd. Next we wanted to go to Fire but had an expensive cover charge so instead went to a pub on the roof of the disc. The band here was much more mature and more rock and metal. They played megadeth, metallica and some pink Floyd. Thamel has some decent to good pubs to offer though we didn’t find many discs.
This was the laziest day of our trip. We woke by 12. Went and had lunch in the same hotel came back and slept.
In the evening went out did some shopping ate dinner and dozed off again :p.
Missed in Kathmandu:
- Salsa :p
The next 2 days were supposed to be only riding. For this day we planned to cover around 270 km. While packing saddle bags on the bikes, one of the shop owners told me, it’s a very unique thing that a woman is riding and that too such a long ride. He told me very good, very good and all the best. This made me really happy.
To go 11 am, we landed up going back to Dulikhel. There took a right turn and started for Bardibas. The road was very nice. The mountains on one side and the river on the other. The road was amazingly smooth.
After continuous riding for 3-4 hours, we stopped for lunch and again it was rice, dal, potato, chicken and spinach.
Here I clicked pictures of swastika and all those kids. Swastika and the other girl were so beautiful albeit so simple and sober. The shades of swastika were killer. I loved her shades and her lips. I am sure, she will be a hot babe when she grows up and will break many hearts :D.
After having ridden for a while there was a part where the road was being constructed and here we came across the first long stretch of treacherous road. Well I can’t even call it a road. It was all mud. I fared well until on a right turn I couldn’t control the bike and fell (My first fall :’(). A guy came and helped me. Naveen took my bike and parked it down. I wasn’t scared at all and not even angry but I just wanted to start riding back. We started again and there was a car going. I was standing in the corner for the car to go. It honked; I got scared, lost control and fell againL. Again Naveen to my rescue came and picked up my bike. Here we took a break for sometime and then started again.
After ½ an hour of more riding on the mud road came the real, basic simple but beautiful Nepal country side. The river was flowing next to us. We parked our bikes sat next to the river. Felt the water and the breeze and the mountains in the distance. A man was grazing his cows. He came and talked to us. We clicked pictures with him and he was very happy. Later on, of his neighbor came who clicked our photos. We clicked his pictures also and started again for Bardibas.
Our plan was to reach to Bardibas. And without any doubt we reached late in the night. Here we stayed in hotel Gautam. The dinner was horrible here. I just ate for the survival and slept early as we had next day full of ride again. This place required ac though as it was hot here.
We started for 11 am now. This was supposed to be 373km. This was the straight plain NH road with nothing much to offer a rider than speed. We rode at a speed of 80 kmph continuously for 3-4 hours. Took our first bum break to have some special pedas. After few more hours of riding, we stopped at a road side hotel for lunch. (This was always the trend, even If a hotel took time to cook, we would chill out and dream and would never ask hotel guy to hurry up until we realize we have spent 2 hours waiting for lunch). The food came. We quickly ate and started back.
After 3-4 hours of riding again, took few minutes break and had tea and red bull and then continued riding towards Ilam. Once the mountain road started, it was suddenly unexpectedly very cold. We must have ridden just few kilometers in the mountains and we found clouds and fog so much so that we could not see what lay 10 meter ahead of us. I was loving it because I had never ridden in the midst of the clouds but I was also little safer as I was riding between Naveen and Dhiva. At one point, we realized that this was not safe as it was very difficult for the front rider hence we decided to stop and stay. We found an interesting resort but there was no place available. Based on inputs from the resort owner we went 5km back to the check post. There we found a hotel Bishal and as expected at 12 in the night, it was a bad place to stay in. But they were very nice to us. At 12 in the night they cooked rice, dal, and chicken for us. We ate to our heart’s content and went back to the room to sleep.
Well we barely managed to sleep in that room but the dust on the road sometimes makes you prone to the smells in the blanket also: p. Have you ever seen two people watching sheela ki jawani early in the morning. If not there is a quick glimpse for you
We woke up as early as we could and started so that we can be out of that room as soon as possible. We went 5 km the same direction, we had the last night. On the way we stopped for breakfast at the resort where we wanted to stay in the night. I ate some sweet parantha, couldn’t take it much. The hotel owner told us that we need not go to Ilam and instead can go Darjeeling via pashupatinath. So after eating food, buying special Ilam chocolates and tea we started for Darjeeling. And through pashupatinath we reached Darjeeling in an hour’s time. Finally, we were out of Nepal… What!!! Yes we were out of Nepal ouch!! I was nostalgic but at the same time was looking forward to our ride to Sikkim.
Darjeeling -> Sikkim ( Gangtok -> Mangan -> Lachen -> Gurudongmar -> Lachen -> Lachung -> Yumthang -> Yumsodam -> Lachung-> Mangan -> Siliguri -> Guwahati -> Shillong -> Cherapunjee -> Guwahati -> Jalpeguri -> Bangalore.
And through pashupatinath we reached Darjeeling in an hour’s time. Finally, we were out of Nepal… What!!! Yes we were out of Nepal ouch!! I was nostalgic but at the same time was looking forward to our ride to Sikkim. We clicked some pictures and left for Darjeeling. It was pretty cold so we stopped by to cover ourselves, wear sweaters and gloves. The place was lush green. And voila!! Our mobiles were also working now!!
Anyways, we moved and reached Darjeeling city. We saw the 1852 built toy train. There are toy trains trips available for 240 rs. twice in a day starting from Darjeeling station. This train takes you around Darjeeling and takes you to some of the places like museum etc. in Darjeeling. According to our plan we wanted to be spend more time in Sikkim and its mountains and its peace so we decided to start for Gangtok that time itself. Darjeeling is a town where you have many places to see , good places to eat and ATM’s.
On asking around, we got to know that there is a way a nice NH kind of way to go Sikkim from Darjeeling but there is also another short but bad way with a old wooden bridge. I have always been the crazy one but this time I am not sure why I was little uncomfortable with the whole idea but we still the true riders took the bad road. And oh man!! BAD are you kidding me! It was a bloody killer road. Downward slope, steep, full of stones like stones and so steep that I was shitting in my pants :/. At one place, I Jyoti Sharma (Born to ride: p) gave up and told Dhiva, do we really have to go from here? Can we not take that good road and Dhiva smiled and told; now we have already come a long way so we can’t go back L…which definitely made sense…. So I kept riding. Here I realized my limitation, that I couldn’t balance myself on a steep really steep right turn. And at one such steep right turn (Bloody right turn :@) I had my 3rd fall. And this time the petrol started coming out of tank, my knee guard got stuck to the accelerator that the bike was making horrible sound. Naveen came to my rescue and from there we decided that in favor of time, bike and my life, I will not ride on that road and I sat pillion , was dropped at the wooden bridge and Dhiva and Naveen went and got the other 2 bikes. (I will never pardon myself to have given up here though :/).
So I was left at the Darjeeling- Sikkim border with 5 army men, my unicorn and a pepper spray in my pocket. Honestly, with the Delhi rape case I was very tensed. Well but then I slowly started coming out of my inhibitions and started talking to those army guys. They were decent and nice. One of them was a great fan of sai baba. Finally , Naveen and Dhiva came and we went through the next adventure of dragging our bikes through the 172 years old, feeble , almost broken at so many places, wooden bridge.
And here we were in Sikkim J. The place has a charm in the air. The peace seemed overwhelming. The greenery was sweeping over in and around us. Here we stopped by at a dhaba and had the spiciest aloo sabji with chapatti and Wai wai noodles. I also had really amazing tea also.
From here we started for Gangtok. The road to Gangtok is a NH but pretty busy with lots of buses and trucks. The soot from the trucks and the dust and mud on the road will leave you with a layer of make up on your faces. At some points the dust in the air made it difficult even to see the vehicle going in front of us. Here we checked in a hotel few km away from MG marg named Royal Residency who gave us a room in basement (very nice and decent) for 1200 INR. The hotel offers decent food also but we choose to go out to MG marg and eat.
PS: We suggest you take a hotel near MG marg to avoid finding taxi’s in the night and landing up paying them 150 bucks just for 2-3 km.
After freshening up we left for MG marg. After walking for a while we took a taxi and reached MG marg. The place feels like a mini Europe…The pictures below would tell exactly why? We ate in a Chinese restaurant. After dinner, we went walking around on MG marg for some time. Now we started the process of taking taxi again and even when 150 seemed too much for 1st one eventually others asked 180, 200 etc. Finally we got taxi for 150 rs. In the taxi guy didn’t know I am a girl. He asked from where are you people and Dhiva told south India and he said south Indians are good. North Indians are ridiculous and to this Mr. Dhiva added they are loud also. I wanted to ‘Pal odo churven Dhiva with my clenched teeth ;)’. Finally we reached to our room and slept as next day we had to wake up early to get the permits J.
Next day morning, we woke up and went for the permit. The tourist office on the main MG marg misguided us that we can only go through an agent. Once Dhiva mentioned about his last year’s trip, they asked us to go to Deputy secretary office down the road. This place is walkable from the MG marg though you can always take your bikes to the office and park them in a parking lot. In the office we met Re’zma J. Man!! she was addicted to facebook. She will do a task for 2 minutes and then chat on FB and then work!! It was funny and we had an example in front of us how Mark Zuckerberg makes money and
You need following documents for permit
- DL original and Xerox
- RC original and Xerox
- Pollution certification original and Xerox
- ID proof original Xerox
- 2 photographs
We had all the documents and their Xerox but we reached by 10 o’clock and by that time Re’zma had to leave for a meeting due to which we landed up waiting for the whole day in the permit office. The office opens at 9 a.m. and we suggest unlike us if you be there by 9 with all documents and Xerox then your work can be done earlier and you could utilize the day to see the Gangtok. And while waiting for NOC we met SAB ‘ Sore Arse Bikers’. Well they are the interesting set of crowd. Guys with REs , KTMs and back home with Busa etc. so all in all super duper experienced riders J. I was a kid in front of them in riding experience, skills and even physically :p. Finally at 4 in the evening, we got our NOC. Well just before we could get the NOC, Re’zma lost all the photo copies of our documents. Luckily (Thanks to Dhiva’s over planning) we had another pair of Xerox of all our documents so we gave those and got our NOC. Next was to reach at 7 a.m. and show our NOC and get the actual permit. Here the officer is available for an hour else the officer will be available in the tourist information centre from 9 a.m onwards.
Finally once we got the NOC, met the SAB group in MG marg and went for breakfast+ lunch + snacks everything together as we had not eaten anything since morning. Gangtok has many decent restaurants to suit your taste buds of different ethnicity. The place also offers lot of interesting things for shopping warm clothes, antiques. I bought a singing bowl here. I had never seen or heard something beautiful like that. When the lady told me how to use the singing bowl, I didn’t even realize the peaceful hymn which was around in the air was from singing bowl. I bought a bowl for 1500 INR but there are many cheaper options available though I can’t vouch for their quality. We went to room order Rice + chapati and Dal tadka which was pretty decent. We had also bought a local wine and it was only 40 rs. but I can surely tell you please don’t even waste those 40 rs. It was horrible, we wasted it all after having just a sip :p
We woke up early got ready but still reached the place only by 7:15. The SAB group was already there with bikes and all set with Amod taking the permit. This is a lesson for us to be more punctual but we love being dubukus and we love to travel at our pace. Well as we were late so it took us 15-20 minutes to get the permit. Finally we got the permits for Gurudongmbar, Yumsadong , zero point but not for Cholamu L. Happy and sad both at the same time, we ate breakfast (Puri sabji and jalebi) in MG marg and went to room , packed our luggage, packed them on bikes and started for Mangan. The road from Gangtok to mangan is really bad.
PS: There are 2 roads from Gangtok to Mangan. The route which we took is shorter but the road is bad. The other road is very nice with just 2-3 bad patches (really bad) though longer than the other road.
Mangan is the place where you will find the last petrol bunk. Hence here we filled our tanks full and also filled the petrol in a 5 liter can. Here in a hotel we also had food. The momos are the best thing to have in these places .Hot yummy momos, dal roti and tea were served to us. After break and rest of 1-2 hours, we started again. The plan was to reach Lachen today. The road was as expected really bad and there were these intermittent water bodies with pebbles. At one of these places my bike Tyre got stuck in the water at a big stone and instead of putting my feet down in the water and relax and wait for Naveen to come, I panicked and pressed disc brake too hard, lost control and fell J. My next fall..