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Old 15th November 2012, 15:25   #46
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Default Re: Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)

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^^^
I believe a road is being constructed along the Kali Gandaki. Did you encounter it? What does it do to the trekking experience?

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Sutripta
From Besisahar to Manang they have succeded in building rough patch roads with lot of resistance from local people, after this no road exists till Muktinath. Trekkers have the option of walking in wild path or mud road. On the other circuit that is from Muktinath to Beni in Mustang territory very thrilling and circutous road exists, which is uncertain due to landslide and water flowing across the mud trail. Sorry for the late response as I was away from the network.
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Old 28th February 2013, 23:35   #47
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Hi all, I am revisiting this post after a long time. I recently made another road trip to Kathmandu and as some of you had requested more pictures of the drive, here it is. This post has pictures from the border of Nepal /India to Kathmandu. The route is exactly the same as what is mentioned on pg 1. i.e from Siliguri-Kakkarbhitta-Hetauda-Mugling-Kathmandu.


The first section of the drive inside Nepal is pretty similar to whats on the Indian side. Straight roads with small shops on the roadside. From Kakkarbhitta to Itahari (approx 120kms) is quite densely populated so cautious driving is required
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0013.jpg


After Itahari the roads are a bit open. You will also pass some tea gardens
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0017.jpg


The condition of the roads on this highway were quite acceptable
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0015.jpg


But the surface of the road is not smooth tarmac, but more like the pic below. Rough pebbles held together by tar. In a nice car you wont feel uncomfortable as the suspension smooths out the ride, but on a UV or a bus, I guess the ride will be not so pleasant. The road noise inside the car is very high due to this surface , but braking is very very effective!
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0019.jpg


350 kms of the trip (out of 630+kms) is pretty much straight roads. Then you come to an intersection at a place called Amlekhganj from where you turn right towards Hetauda. From here the roads get interesting You can see the road and some trucks.
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0025.jpg


The road pretty much follows a river all the way to Kathmandu
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0028.jpg


This being the busiest and the only highway connecting Kathmandu to the outside world, it is full of trucks and Buses. And the entire stretch of the journey is on single lane roads, so extreme caution is advised as regular overtaking is required.
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0035.jpg


The roads are quite wide and smooth. But after some blind corners you are confronted with landslide damaged sections which might take yo by surprise. So manageable speeds are recommended. The road cuts through hills as it nears Kathmandu
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0043.jpg


The closer you get to Kathmandu, the steeper the roads get. It also gets busier due to the slow moving trucks
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0048.jpg


The hills in the background is where we have to reach. Kathmandu city is a valley surrounded by hills all around, so to get there first you have to climb all the way up then head down into the valley
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0052.jpg

15 kms from the entry into Kathmandu we come to a place called Naubise. From here it is a fairly steep section all the way to Kathmandu. The steepness is no problem for private vehicles, but it is a challenge for the many many trucks that are headed to Kathmandu. And this makes it very very difficult for us private vehicles. Overtaking slow moving trucks on a slightly steep and winding single lane road with many many blind turns is an interesting challenge
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There are a fair few switch back turns as seen below
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0056.jpg

But they are wide and flowing enough for even long busses to make the turn so no problem for private vehicles
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0051.jpg


Now and then you will come across a stranded truck that stopped for some reason and now cant seem to get going again due to the steepness. Situations like these can cause huge traffic jams. We were stuck in this spot for only 15 min, luckily
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0063.jpg


At the top of the hill is a place called Thankot where your papers and car will be checked and your vehicle registered.
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0064.jpg


From here is all the way downhill into Kathmandu Valley. Journey complete
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0066.jpg


So this much for now, In my next post I will upload pictures of the vehicles I came across inside kathmandu valley, and I must say, what variety they have, chinese, korean, indian, japanese, european, malaysian etc etc and I aint talking about the restaurants
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Old 5th March 2013, 22:41   #48
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Default Re: Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)

Here we are guys, with pictures of the Automotive scene in Kathmandu (Part 1). Hope you like it


The NAZA motor company all the way from Malaysia (I had to google it to find its origin lol)
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0082.jpg


UFO motors of china brings to you the 5 Door RV. Is it original? Not really, it looks like the previous generation Toyota RAV4
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0084.jpg


A two star Police officer in Nepal gets a Toyota Fortuner! In India I guess you would get a Bolero or if they are lucky, a Scorpio. Its funny, The poorer the country the better the privilages
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0077.jpg


Our good old Mahindra was present in Nepal with full force!
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0085.jpg


A Ssangyong, but dont know which model it is. Does anyone know? What ever it is I am sure it will be heading to India sooner or later
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0086.jpg


The National Taxi of Kathmandu, the M800. I saw no other models being used as taxis
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Its Badge read, Toyota LandCruiser II. I guess this was the pre Prado Model from the early 1990's but still going strong after all these years
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A Toyota corolla from the early 1990's being used as a wedding car. I am getting the impression that before the Indian and chinese car invasion of Kathmandu in recent years, Toyota must have been king out there
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A Kia Picanto, a very good looking hatch. BTW KIA motors is owned by Hyundai
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The white sedan is a 1970's Toyota Corolla! My friend told me these cars were widely used as meter taxis during the 1980's and 1990's. Now a days they are a rare sight in Kathmandu after the maruti Invasion. So they were sold off to smaller towns outside kathmandu where they still do duty as taxis! Thats Japanese reliability for u
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The KIA Sportage, brand new, it hasn't even got a number plate yet. I dont know about how capable a 4x4 it is but looks wise they are very very nice. Come on Hyundai India, with such great products in your portfolio, why not bring some in???
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Ahh yes a Toyota Hilux again from the 1990's (I think not sure of the age). The white colour of the vehicle and the white coloured Number plate means this belongs to a government Department, how lucky!
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0102.jpg


A toyota HiAce van. These vans were everywhere in Kathmandu. Locally known as "Jumbo", these were being used as mini buses. With narrow streets in and around kathmandu, instead of big slow buses, these were being used, all privately operated.
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0103.jpg


A Hyundai Tuscon, one of the most popular SUV's out there in Kathmandu. They were everywhere!
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0104.jpg


Affectionately known as Safa(clean) Tempos, there are all run by battery power. Good work Kathmandu!
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0105.jpg


A Proton WAJA, a Malaysian luxury car. Globally a dud, but I saw a few in Kathmandu
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A Police Pickup, I think its a Mazda Bravo?? maybe?
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Another favorite among Kathmandu residents, a Daihatsu Terios. A petrol powered mini suv, compact in dimension, perfect for a crowded place like Kathmandu. The previous gen of this model is sold in India as the Premier Rio.
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0110.jpg


A symbol of wealth and success, the Range rover. I saw many Freelanders, and a few Range Rover Vogue as well. These are hard to spot in the day time. But are out in force on weekend nights. I was quite surprised to see so many high end Rangies considering Nepal is one of the poorest countries. This one I found at a parking lot in Kathmandu, A Rangie from the 1990's
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0111.jpg


Our very own Tata Nano being advertised at a shopping mall in Kathmandu. I only saw a few Nanos on the streets. I guess just like in India it has not really taken off in Nepal as well.
Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)-dsc_0112.jpg


END OF PART I.
TO BE CONTINUED.....
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Old 22nd March 2013, 16:37   #49
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Thanks for sharing the pictures and something from your trip.

Great pictures! The wedding car picture. That would be at home in an album from the 70s in India. Thanks mate.
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Old 31st August 2013, 07:10   #50
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Default Re: Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)

Awesome travelogue with beautiful pictures For long I have been dreaming
of visiting NEPAL by car { I own HYUNDAI i10 at present ] but till now I could
not make it for one or the other reason. After reading your well crafted travelogue I am feeling as if I have visited NEPAL Thanks for all the efforts you made
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Old 31st August 2013, 09:49   #51
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Default Re: Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)

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Awesome travelogue with beautiful pictures For long I have been dreaming
of visiting NEPAL by car { I own HYUNDAI i10 at present ] but till now I could
not make it for one or the other reason. After reading your well crafted travelogue I am feeling as if I have visited NEPAL Thanks for all the efforts you made
You should definitely go! I just finished reading a travelogue in Team-Bhp just now about a Linea from Bangalore going all the way up to Leh and back. So compared to that Kathmandu is absolutely possible in your i10.

DO remember what one of our Forum Sticker says, " LIVE TO DRIVE"
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Old 31st August 2013, 10:35   #52
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[quote=amrisharm;3223642]You should definitely go! I just finished

Yes Amarish I fully agree 'LIVE TO DRIVE' Anyway thank you once again for
your prompt reply. In case if I need further guidance I will get in touch with
you Can you kindly PM your e-mail ID and contact info?
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Old 3rd September 2013, 20:13   #53
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Dear Amrish,

I have a question to be clarified. Whether holder of a Permanent Indian Driving Licence { LMV } can drive a Car/Van in NEPAL? Whether Indian Driving Licence is recognised by the cops/transport department or one has to obtain an INTERNTIONAL DRIVING PERMIT? and I am told there are 14 Zones in NEPAL whether the rules are the same in all the Zones ? Please also inform me the availability of good workshops in NEPAL who are conversant with the Indian Cars
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Old 9th September 2013, 08:49   #54
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Default Re: Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal)

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Originally Posted by KALSANKRPAI View Post
Dear Amrish,

I have a question to be clarified. Whether holder of a Permanent Indian Driving Licence { LMV } can drive a Car/Van in NEPAL? Whether Indian Driving Licence is recognised by the cops/transport department or one has to obtain an INTERNTIONAL DRIVING PERMIT? and I am told there are 14 Zones in NEPAL whether the rules are the same in all the Zones ? Please also inform me the availability of good workshops in NEPAL who are conversant with the Indian Cars
Permanent Indian driving licence is valid in Nepal. the same rules holds good in all the zones, in certain areas you have to take special entry permits for example when you are entering forest and trekking circuits you have to get the vehicle permit. there are plenty of garages who are well versed in repairing Indian vehicles,
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Old 1st October 2013, 09:56   #55
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Hi Amrish,

I have planned a trip from siliguri to kathmandu this december. We will be three of us driving an ecosport. Plan to start from siliguri on 30th dec and cover the stretch in 2 days making a halt at either janakpur or hetauda. I wanted to ask about the different route options you mentioned from hetauda to kathmandu in your first trip post. Did you take the same "Red Line" route for your second trip as well? Do you have current information on the other two routes you mentioned, specially the "Green Line" route which you mentioned was work in progress back in Oct, 2011?

And yes great information and pictures from your trips to kathmandu!!

Thanks.
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Old 1st October 2013, 16:42   #56
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Hi Amrish,

I have planned a trip from siliguri to kathmandu this december. We will be three of us driving an ecosport. Plan to start from siliguri on 30th dec and cover the stretch in 2 days making a halt at either janakpur or hetauda. I wanted to ask about the different route options you mentioned from hetauda to kathmandu in your first trip post. Did you take the same "Red Line" route for your second trip as well? Do you have current information on the other two routes you mentioned, specially the "Green Line" route which you mentioned was work in progress back in Oct, 2011?

And yes great information and pictures from your trips to kathmandu!!

Thanks.
Hi there, Good on you for attempting this trip. December end and January are the coldest months in Kathmandu so do take a lot of warm clothing. The night and mornings are very cold with daytime filled with Sunshine. You will be able to get great views of the Himalayas in the Mornings.

About the Route, "The Green Line":

This separates from Hetauda and is known as the Hetauda- Kulekhani- Dakshin Kali- Kathmandu route. I have had 2 acquaintances who have done this trip in january 2013 in an Alto and an I 20. Their feedback was that the roads are narrow, with about half unpaved. But absolutely doable now. So no problems for your vehicle. Just be a little cautious as some sections are not wide enough for two cars to pass. Plus some surface is a bit rough.

About your Halt of either in Hetauda or Janakpur, I would recommend Hetauda. Why? Well if you look at Janakpur, I think this town is only about 4-5 hours from the India Nepal Border. So if you stay there, then your drive on day 2 from Janakpur to Kathmandu will be too long and you will hit narrow winding roads towards the evening of day 2. Low light and foreign winding roads are not a good combination.

Hetauda in my estimate, you should reach by 3 pm if you start from the border at 7am, +/- 1Hrs if you take it easy. Then next day you can tackle the winding roads all fresh.

Do carry some good food with you as its hard to get a good place to eat after you cross Itahari (a town 120kms from the Indo-Nepal border).

I log on to Team-Bhp everyday to if you have any questions feel free to ask.
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Old 2nd October 2013, 08:24   #57
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Hi there, Good on you for attempting this trip. December end and January are the coldest months in Kathmandu so do take a lot of warm clothing. The night and mornings are very cold with daytime filled with Sunshine. You will be able to get great views of the Himalayas in the Mornings.

About the Route, "The Green Line":

This separates from Hetauda and is known as the Hetauda- Kulekhani- Dakshin Kali- Kathmandu route. I have had 2 acquaintances who have done this trip in january 2013 in an Alto and an I 20. Their feedback was that the roads are narrow, with about half unpaved. But absolutely doable now. So no problems for your vehicle. Just be a little cautious as some sections are not wide enough for two cars to pass. Plus some surface is a bit rough.

About your Halt of either in Hetauda or Janakpur, I would recommend Hetauda. Why? Well if you look at Janakpur, I think this town is only about 4-5 hours from the India Nepal Border. So if you stay there, then your drive on day 2 from Janakpur to Kathmandu will be too long and you will hit narrow winding roads towards the evening of day 2. Low light and foreign winding roads are not a good combination.

Hetauda in my estimate, you should reach by 3 pm if you start from the border at 7am, +/- 1Hrs if you take it easy. Then next day you can tackle the winding roads all fresh.

Do carry some good food with you as its hard to get a good place to eat after you cross Itahari (a town 120kms from the Indo-Nepal border).

I log on to Team-Bhp everyday to if you have any questions feel free to ask.
That's great information. I'll try the Green Line route then.

About the halt, yes I was also thinking on the same lines. Reaching hetauda on the first day would be the target. I just want to spend a couple of hours in Janakpur visiting the temples around and as i plan to cross the border as early as possible i think i should have enough time to make it to hetauda before it gets too dark.

And yes we will definitely carry lots of warm clothing for that time of the year. We are also planning to stay at nagarkot for a night and i think it will be much colder there though the chance of catching some snow is quite remote. Will be great if we chance upon that.

thanks buddy.
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Old 2nd October 2013, 11:11   #58
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That's great information. I'll try the Green Line route then.

About the halt, yes I was also thinking on the same lines. Reaching hetauda on the first day would be the target. I just want to spend a couple of hours in Janakpur visiting the temples around and as i plan to cross the border as early as possible i think i should have enough time to make it to hetauda before it gets too dark.

And yes we will definitely carry lots of warm clothing for that time of the year. We are also planning to stay at nagarkot for a night and i think it will be much colder there though the chance of catching some snow is quite remote. Will be great if we chance upon that.

thanks buddy.
Oh so you planning to go to Janakpur for sight seeing. Well probably you are aware of this, but just bringing it to your attention, the Border opens its gates at 6:00 am. When we were there, by 5:30 am on the day of our departure, there were already a few trucks and jeeps ahead of us. So by the time we got to the Nepal check post and paid the temporary road tax it was 6:40 am. Then 1 km down from the Border you have to stop at a police check post. Its a small tin shed. Very easy to miss. But you have to stop here and get yourself registered and then they will give you a green coloured temporary number plate. The cop there was telling me that they normally open around 7am ish.. So I dont see you leaving the border before 7 am.

Even if the detour trip to Janakpur takes up about 3 hrs, your ETA at hetauda will be around 6-7 pm. Which is perfectly fine. The last 20 kms before reaching hetauda is a little twisty , but the road is very wide so no problem on that front.

So you can comfortably reach Hetauda on day 1, as long as you keep your detour to Janakpur to less than 4 hrs. From Hetauda to Kathmandu Via the green line is about 5-6 hrs if taking easy, so next day on day 2 you can start a little late if you require additional hours of sleep.

P.S dont forget to collect the Tax receipt at Birtamod. This town is about half hours drive from the border and the tax office is on the left side after you cross the Birtabod chowk opposite the "Eye Hospital". This receipt was demanded to us by the police while entering kathmandu valley.
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Old 2nd October 2013, 13:16   #59
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Oh so you planning to go to Janakpur for sight seeing. Well probably you are aware of this, but just bringing it to your attention, the Border opens its gates at 6:00 am. When we were there, by 5:30 am on the day of our departure, there were already a few trucks and jeeps ahead of us. So by the time we got to the Nepal check post and paid the temporary road tax it was 6:40 am. Then 1 km down from the Border you have to stop at a police check post. Its a small tin shed. Very easy to miss. But you have to stop here and get yourself registered and then they will give you a green coloured temporary number plate. The cop there was telling me that they normally open around 7am ish.. So I dont see you leaving the border before 7 am.

Even if the detour trip to Janakpur takes up about 3 hrs, your ETA at hetauda will be around 6-7 pm. Which is perfectly fine. The last 20 kms before reaching hetauda is a little twisty , but the road is very wide so no problem on that front.

So you can comfortably reach Hetauda on day 1, as long as you keep your detour to Janakpur to less than 4 hrs. From Hetauda to Kathmandu Via the green line is about 5-6 hrs if taking easy, so next day on day 2 you can start a little late if you require additional hours of sleep.

P.S dont forget to collect the Tax receipt at Birtamod. This town is about half hours drive from the border and the tax office is on the left side after you cross the Birtabod chowk opposite the "Eye Hospital". This receipt was demanded to us by the police while entering kathmandu valley.
Yes I think i will be travelling 40-50 kms extras to visit Janakpur instead of going straight towrads hetauda on highway 01, which should take me an hour i guess. A couple of hours to visit the temples would be sufficient so i should be pretty much on schedule.

Didn't realize it would take us that long to leave the border. Thanks for the heads-up on that as well as the tax receipt thing. Can't overemphasize how valuable these bits and pieces of information can turn out to be.
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Old 3rd October 2013, 00:45   #60
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Yes I think i will be travelling 40-50 kms extras to visit Janakpur instead of going straight towrads hetauda on highway 01, which should take me an hour i guess. A couple of hours to visit the temples would be sufficient so i should be pretty much on schedule.

Didn't realize it would take us that long to leave the border. Thanks for the heads-up on that as well as the tax receipt thing. Can't overemphasize how valuable these bits and pieces of information can turn out to be.
Glad to be of service. I am planning another trip inside Nepal from Siliguri to Lumbini (South central Nepal) in feb 2014. I would be very grateful if you could provide me with accommodation info in Hetauda that you will use and your experience from your short janakpur detour once your trip is complete. Thanks . I think I can fit in a visit to Janakpur on the way back if you feel its worth it once you have done it.

Last edited by amrisharm : 3rd October 2013 at 00:47.
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