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Old 8th January 2019, 13:20   #1
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Default Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

"If you’ve been putting off a trip because you’re waiting for someone to go with — stop. Just go. Don’t let others hold you back from your dreams. Trust me, along the way you’ll make plenty of friends — from other solo travelers who thought “Screw it, if I don’t go, I’ll never go” to locals interested in meeting new people. You’re never alone when you travel.

More than that, solo travel gives you ultimate freedom. You wake up and it’s just you — what you want, where you want, when you want. In that freedom and infinite space of possibility, you meet yourself. You hit the limits of what you like and don’t like. There’s no one to pull you in any one direction or override your reasons. Want steak? Get steak. Want to leave? Leave. Want to try bungee jumping? Go for it.

It’s sink, or swim and you must learn how to survive — who to trust, how to make friends, how to find your way around alone. That’s the greatest reward of solo travel: the personal growth. Each time you go away, you learn to become a little more independent, confident, and in tune with your emotions and desires.
I always believed in the quote - "Travelers are dreamers, who make their desires for adventure a Reality!"

Prologue:

I have been dreaming about crossing the country on my motorcycle since a very long time. I was too stubborn to do it alone, as I always wanted to do it solo. I have pulled of a couple of long solo rides in the past all across India, so it wasn’t tough to convince family. The feeling when you start from your home to be on the road for the next 30 days covering all sorts of climatic conditions is scintillating. As soon as you make progress, you tend to become more confident about your ride and everything related to your ride.

Details of the Trip:

Countries covered: Bhutan, Nepal & India
No. of states ridden in India: 11 (KA; TS; AP; OD; WB; JH; BR; SK; UP; MP; MH)
Total Kilometers clocked: Around 9,000 Kms
Motorcycle used: 50K Kms old KTM Duke 390 (MY2016)
Start Date: 8th December 2018
End Date: 31st December 2018

Route Taken:

Bengaluru – Ongole – Vishakhapatnam – Bhubhaneshwar – Cuttack – Kolkata – Purnea – Siliguri – Phuentsholing (Bhutan) – Thimphu – Punakha – Phobjika – Haa Valley – Paro – Siliguri – Gangtok – Siliguri - Kakkarbhitta (Nepal) – Kathmandu – Pokhara – Mustang – Pokhara – Lucknow – Nagpur – Hyderabad – Bengaluru

Google Map Screenshot

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-ride-map-2108-december.jpg

Preparations:

As far as preparations of the ride goes, it was majorly divided into:

1. Route planning
2. Solid Itinerary
3. Immigration process
4. Upgrades to the Motorcycle

Route Planning: This started 2 months before the start date of the ride. I reached out to various riders/travelers from automotive fraternity who traveled through those routes. Gathered information on the quality of roads I was planning to ride on, along with the overall personal safety during night or day time as a solo rider. After finalizing the routes I moved to the immigration part, which is described in detail below.

The hype with permits!

Here are some pointers which you need to keep in mind for immigration in Bhutan & Nepal -

Immigration Process for entering Bhutan:

Office remains closed on weekends and government holidays, 0900 – 1700 hours are the standard working hours. At the immigration office you need to fill the form and go inside the immigration office for your biometrics. Once that gets completed you are required to meet the Immigration Officer. The person I met was playing darts inside his chamber, you read about the happiness index of Bhutan before.. right?

You have to be active while conversing with the immigration officer. They usually ask for the reason for your visit. They might question you about your profession too along with some general questions. They didn’t ask me much though.

Documents required:

1. Fill a standard form available at the counter (free of cost)
2. Two passport size photographs of each traveler
3. Valid ID proof (only Voter card and Passport is accepted, no Aadhar card) and birth certificate if below 18 years.
4. An undertaking for Solo travelers
5. Itinerary of your trip
6. Hotel booking voucher
You will have many agents around you so if in case you find it difficult to manage, you can take their help at a nominal price of INR 200-300/-

Documents required for Vehicle permits:

1. Valid Driving License
2. Registration certificate (RC) of your vehicle
3. Insurance
4. Pollution certificate

Deposit a fee of Rs. 100/day if you are travelling in your car/ motorcycle, the vehicle permit office (known as RST Office) is located 10 minutes from Immigration office (if you extend your stay without obtaining permissions, you have to pay a fine of Rs. 1800/day).

To be on a safer side I took 2 days extra.

Important: Plan to reach Phuentsholing by 0900 - 0930 hours with all the required documents and photocopies. Finish the immigration work by 1200 – 1230 hours and head to RST office for the vehicle permit. RST Office shuts down at 3PM so you need to get everything done before that else be ready to stay a day at the border for that night. Also 1300 – 1400 hours is lunch break at the RST office so plan accordingly. Also, they don’t accept INR 2000 notes!!

The currency of Bhutan (Ngultrum) is at par with INR. They accept INR everywhere so it easy to make transactions in Bhutan with INR.

Once this is done – head straight to Thimphu as this is where you need to get the personal immigration extended. It is advisable to get the places like Punakha, Wangdue, Phobjika, Haa etc entered in the vehicle permit at the RST office itself as you don’t have to visit again at Thimphu RST office for the same. However, for the personal permit you need to visit Thimphu Immigration Office and get the permit extended for the places you wish to ride/drive. It will take upto 3 hours.


Immigration Process for entering Nepal:

Entering Nepal is fairly simple viz-a-viz Bhutan as you just need “Bhansar” for your vehicle and an ID Proof for yourself.

Nepal shares border with India at multiple places. I entered via Siliguri - Mechinagar border and exited via Sonauli border.

However, the currency is something which needs some work around. I reached the border via Naxalbari (WB) very early in the morning hence had to wait a little for the currency exchange. By 7AM there were shops on the India side where I converted currency. It is advisable to get it exchanged within India as they will accept 200/500/2000 notes easily whereas those are banned in Nepal. Although 100INR is widely accepted everywhere but you need to convert it everytime.

Once you get the Nepalese currency just go to the Nepal Immigration Office and get a form for 20 INR and provide all the details to the person selling the form. He will fill the form (you can DIY as well) for you and enter all the details. Nepal follows a different calendar so don’t be surprised by looking at the dates on the form. They will need 2 passport size photographs along with your vehicle documents and DL.

Once you get that you just need to pay at the cash counter. It is good to take bhansar for 2 days extra as it is just 100NPR per day. If you wish to extend your Bhansar later then you need to get it done at Kathmandu Airport (afaik). Hence a couple of days extra should be of no harm. Also 100INR=160NPR.

You need to keep the Bhansar slip very safely throughout your stay in Nepal as this will be checked whenever a cop stops you anywhere!!
If you wish to ride to Mustang – you need to visit Pokhara/Kathmandu Immigration Office with all the necessary documents related to your vehicle like (RC,PUC,Insurance,DL) along with Bhansar slip and your ID Proof along with 4 passport size photographs.

You need two permits for Mustang:

1. ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project): 1000/- NPR
2. TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management Systems): 600/- NPR

Once I learnt about all this the last part was preparing the motorcycle for the ride. It included:

1. Michelin Front PSR Tyre
2. New Exide MF Battery
3. New Chain Sprocket
4. Full Service
5. Via Terra Element Tail Bag
6. Via Terra Side Stand Shoe

This ride was very challenging in terms of climatic conditions which included riding in subzero temperatures and staying in temperatures which were around -10 degrees. Even a basic bowl hot daal with raw veggies tasted like a sumptuous meal in those conditions. I faced a couple of small hiccups wrt. motorcycle, but somehow managed to pull it off without spending much time on it. It’s a part of the adventure, right?


Day 1: Bangalore – Vishakapatnam (1050 Kms)

Route: Bangalore – Kolar – Mulbagal – Tirupati – Naidupeta – Nellore – Ongole – Vijayawada – Rajahmundry – Vishakapanam

As always, the night before the start of the ride will be filled with anxiety no matter how seasoned or how less experienced you are as a rider. I had experienced this before my solo ride to Leh from Bangalore in 2017 where I overslept by 5-6 hours on the first day due to things kept for the last day.

This time I made sure I prepare everything well in advance so that I get less stress on the day prior to my ride. But things don’t go how you plan right?

Luggage for the ride - Via Terra Fly Tank Bag, Via Terra Velox Saddlebags and Via Terra Element Tail-bag
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1129.jpg

After packing and keeping everything aside for mounting I was not able to find the puncture kit which I thought was inside my saddlebag. Made some late night calls to my friends and decided to borrow it on the way in the morning. But later sat peacefully and found it in the boot of my car, sigh! With everything in place, I went off to sleep at 00:00 hours.
Just slept for 3 hours and was ready to hit the roads by 0400 hours. The level of excitement for such a big ride was enormous. Bid adieu to Bangalore and hit the highway.

Fully Loaded KTM Duke 390
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1130.jpg

The roads till Kolar were super smooth and I covered distance fast. However, after that it became extremely foggy with so many diversions and truck traffic. Somehow managed to reach Tirupati at 0800 hours.

Somewhere on the way to Mulbagal
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1159.jpg

Temperature also became pleasant, had quick breakfast and tea somewhere near Tirupati and proceeded towards Naidupeta. I was aware that the roads were bad and single lane until Naidupeta.

I hit the 4-lane highway at around 1200 hours. After that I was able to cover 90-95Kms in an hour, on the way saw a group of KA registered bikes. Later got to know that one of the rider whom I overtook at Ongole Toll plaza was a dear friend and a fellow T Bhpian along with other guys who were T Bhpians and HVK members. Later we all met in Bhutan again.

The super smooth NH16
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1201.jpg

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1199.jpg

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1209.jpg

Bangalore to Vishakhapatnam was like silence before the storm. I just rode hard that day and reached Vishakhapatnam at 9PM in the night. Slept like a baby after having dinner which was a very spicy Mutton Biryani (realized next day morning)



Day 2: Vishakhapatnam – Kolkata : (950 Kms)

Route: Vizag – Ichchapuram - Bhubhaneshwar – Cuttack – Balasore – Kharagpur - Kolkata

Since I rode hard on Day 1, I decided to give my body proper sleep and decided to reach Kolkata late during evening. Started my ride at 8.30 AM from Vizag, after struggling for 30-40 mins in Vizag traffic, I was on the highway NH-16 by 0915 hours. But to my surprise there were many road undulations with potholes and lot of diversions for the first 50-60Kms. Since the weather was pleasant I did not get frustrated but managed to ride through.

Highlight of day 2 was riding alongside Chilka Lake and having lunch at very famous Chilkha Dhaba which a friend suggested. A rider buddy from Bangalore who recently moved to Bhubaneshwar decides to ride with me from Berhampur till Bhubaneshwar. I met him around 1200 hours and after a few pleasantries exchange we started riding towards Chilka Lake.

Entering Odisha
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0001.jpg

Your's truly in HiViz Jacket
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1232.jpg

Chilka Lake
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0012.jpg


After spending some time at Chilka Lake we decided to break for Lunch at the very famous Chilkha Dhaba (all thanks to Rocky and Mayur from Highway on my Plate). Food was delicious at the dhaba – we tried rice, naan and crabs.

Crab curry
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1248.jpg

However, finding a table there was very challenging and leaving the fully loaded bike unattended outside was not a good idea since it was very crowded. You know how our loaded bikes gather attention, right?
After speaking to the owner of the dhaba finally managed to get a seat right at the entrance and parked the bike right at the entry gate. Can’t help all bikers are like that..

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1250.jpg

After having the meal it was already 3:30 PM and I was supposed to reach Kolkata which was another 560Kms away. I decided to bid farewell to the other rider and I proceeded towards Kolkata. Stopped in the evening near Cuttack to taste the famous “Chena” of Orissa. After a quick snack break I rode towards Kolkata.

Odisha Sweet "Chena"
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1253.jpg

The roads were well maintained throughout NH16 with adequate petrol bunks on the way, all were accepting cards. Petrol price was very cheap in Odisha along with ample highway hotels on the way. However as soon as I entered West Bengal I noticed the traffic was very less as compared to states like OD.

I reached Kharagpur around 9:30PM and after that the last 100 Kms to Kolkata were extremely smooth and very well lit. Met my college roomie in Kolkata and explored a bit of it in the night. Had a very late dinner around 3AM and crashed for the day. Next day was a rest day!

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1262.jpg

One of the many hoardings which I noticed in Kolkata
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1272.jpg



Day 3 : Kolkata (In and around)

This day was kept for tasting Bengali sweets and Arsalan’s biryani, visiting Victoria Memorial and getting the chain tightened at KTM Service center.

A few pictures :

Mishti Doi
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1292.jpg

Arsalan Biryani
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1338.jpg

Gurr Rasogulla
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1342.jpg

Victoria Memorial
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1308.jpg



Day 4: Kolkata – Siliguri (700 Kms)

Route: Kolkata – Bardhman – Asansol – Dumka – Naugachia – Purnea – Kishanganj – Siliguri

At this point my friend who hosted me in Kolkata got an itch to ride as well, he decides to give me company for a couple of days on his Dominar 400. Being a local of West Bengal, he suggested me to take Farakka Bridge route. However, I checked with fellow Bhpians and everybody suggested Dumka Purnea road. I zeroed on Dumka Purnea route – biggest mistake of the day!

We crossed Jharkhand
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1375.jpg

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1374.jpg

The route was full of truck traffic as Farakka bridge was closed for repair work, so the entire traffic was on this route. I literally felt like throwing away my bike as it became so hot with so many truckers blocking the entire highway full of dust. Cars were coming wrong side and blocking the way for even bikers. It was one of the worst experience of the Indian Highways after a very long time. I have seen such chaos in some parts of Uttar Pradesh 20 years back when I was a kid.

Apart from traffic and people sleeping in their cars you will have plenty of fuel pumps and eateries on the way along with cows and dogs on the highway loitering around.

After struggling through dust and traffic we finally managed to escape the chaos and reach Siliguri at 2300 hours but the adversities didn’t end there, the OYO room which I booked denied check-in as it was very late when we reached the hotel. I got really annoyed and later took a room in a nearby very shady hotel as I was supposed to start at 0500 hours the very next day. Got a very basic room for 800/- and he got us some food (roti and chicken curry) at 1230 hours which was quiet tasty.

The good part about the day was the meat bhat which we ate in Bihar in one of the lines hotels. It was super yummy.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1381.jpg



Day 5: Siliguri – Phuentsholing – Thimphu (305 Kms)

Route: Siliguri – Sevoke – Oodlabari – Mal Bazar – Banarhat – Jaigaon – Phuentsholing – Gedu – Chukkha - Thimphu

Started the ride early as the stay was not that great in Siliguri and I was too excited for Bhutan. I was on the road by 6AM and rode directly towards Phuentsholing. The route was very scenic with tea estates and greenery all around.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1402.jpg

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1408.jpg

I reached the border at 0900 hours, withdrew money from an IndusInd Bank ATM just 300mtrs before the border. This ATM was quite advanced and lets you select the denomination, pretty cool eh? I made sure I carried less number of 2000 currency as they don’t accept that easily. Also, as per RBI notification you are allowed up to a limit of 25000 Indian Rupees per person to carry inside Bhutan (FYI).

I started off with the Immigration formalities since I was early I did not see many tourists around. Usually people start coming around 1100 hours onwards. Please refer to the Immigration procedure mentioned above if you need to know how it needs to be done.

I managed to get the vehicle permit before 1500 hours (refer to the instructions above for vehicle immigration) and started for Thimphu directly. There are two check posts which will stamp your permit/passport: one is 12 kms after Phuentsholing and the next one is 30 Kms before Thimphu. Do not miss these check posts as they are very particular about entry and exit of the traveler. They update everything in their system and if you miss getting it stamped, be ready to pay a heavy fine at the next check post.

I reached Thimphu around 1900 hours. It was freezing cold to ride but nobody was using high beam so it became a little easier for me to ride. I booked an Airbnb stay and the hosts prepared a nice meal with the local delicacy “Ema Datshi” along with veggies, rice, dal and some cottage cheese snack which I enjoyed a lot.

On the way to Gedu
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0028.jpg

Entrance of Thimphu City
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1443.jpg

Ema Datshi
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1445.jpg

Last edited by Aashish_390 : 10th January 2019 at 02:07.
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Old 8th January 2019, 14:50   #2
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Day 6: Thimphu (Permits Extension) – Punakha (90 Kms)

Route: Thimphu - Semtokha – Dochula Pass – Lobesa – Punakha

First thing after freshening up I went to Thimphu Tourist Immigration Office – submitted the documents and filled a form to get permission for visiting Punakha, Phobjika, Wangdue and Haa Valley. After submitting the documents sat for sometime at a café which was at a junction. I just enjoyed the traffic scenes in Bhutan sipping my coffee. No honking whatsoever with first preference given to the pedestrians. Decided to visit the Buddha Dordenma statue by the time the permits get ready. Here are some pictures of the Buddha Statue.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0032.jpg

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1474.jpg

Came back to the Thimphu Immigration Office fully geared up, collected the permits and started the ride towards Punakha. Made sure to reach a little early since it was very difficult to ride post 1800 hours in Bhutan because of very cold weather. On the way witnessed -

Beautiful Thimphu City
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1493.jpg

Dochula Pass
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0079.jpg

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1547.jpg

Reached Punakha around 1900 Hours, checked in to a hotel as soon as you enter the village near the Indian Oil petrol bunk. The room was decent with all the basic amenities. Decided to get the food and drinks from outside. Landed myself into trouble while I was looking for food. I was searching an Indian hotel in that village when a kid tried helping me and started showing me the way towards the restaurant. After looking at that kid running in front of me I decided to ask him to sit as pillion. With the kid as pillion we went to hotel which was just 100-200 mtrs away. I parked my bike since it was very dark in the night I did not notice the parking slot properly. While I was on phone – I saw Bhutanese Policeman waiting for me near my bike. As soon as I went down, he started interrogating me with questions like where am I from, what am I doing here etc.

Later he told I violated 4 traffic rules :

1. Entered one-way road on my motorcycle
2. Parked my bike in a 4W parking
3. Made a kid sit behind me without helmet

And lastly he said which freaked me out:
The kid whom I asked to sit as pillion was a girl and some local person informed police about me.
I was seriously tensed at that time but somehow managed to convince him that I didn’t know that the kid was a girl. Since I was in my riding gears he realized that I just reached that place. After some advice from him which went up to child trafficking he let me go and suggested a very nice Indian hotel as well

Some pictures from Punakha :

Punakha Suspension Bridge
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1587.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1603.jpg

Punakha Dzong
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Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0121.jpg



Day 7: Punakha – Phobjika Valley (90 Kms)

Route: Punakha – Wangdue – Phobjika Valley via (Wagdue Phodrang – Nobding Hwy)

Reached Phobjika Valley in the afternoon and it was extremely cold. The temperatures were below 0 degree. Since it was an off season most of the hotels were shut and the ones which were open were a little expensive. Met a few locals and decided to stay at a local’s house. The family was very welcoming and sweet with two kids who provided great entertainment throughout the stay. The owner prepared a very nice dinner and got some local beer as well. I went out to star gaze in the middle of the night and the view was breath taking, couldn’t take photos as it was freezing to death outside the house. I just enjoyed the view and came back and slept.

Some pictures from Phobjika Valley:

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1747.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0129.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0150.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0152.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1704.jpg



Day 8: Phobjika – Chelela Pass – Paro (250 Kms)

Route: Phobjika – Wangdue – Semtokha – Chelela Pass – Paro

Started from Phobjika around 9 AM due to extreme cold in the morning. The owner provided some hot boiling water to freshen up in the morning with a hot cup of tea. The bike was covered with a thin layer of snow but started in one crank..

After bidding adieu to the hosts started riding towards Paro, the cold wind was making it really tough for me to ride. The most affected body part was the hands – I was constantly touching the engine/crank case to get some heat. In between somehow I kept my left hand on the exhaust assembly, it was so cold that I didn’t realize anything until my leather glove had a hole in it and my finger got burnt. It was that extreme !!

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1733.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1743.jpg


Somehow with the help of Maggi and hot cups of Tea reached Dochula Pass again and moved ahead towards Chelela Pass.

Chelela Pass
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1777.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1788.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0159.jpg

Black Ice
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1764.jpg

Took a nice hotel in Paro to relax a bit since I was done with homestays at that point of time. Went to explore Paro in the evening and the scenes were very peaceful.

Few photos on the way to Paro
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1755.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1752.jpg



Day 9: Paro – Tiger’s Nest Trek

This was the last day in Bhutan and I was really excited about the trek. Took a cab since I didn’t want to take my bike to the trekking point. Started the trek at 1000 hours and by the time I came back it was 1600 hours. It took me 6 hours for the entire trek and it was very difficult as per my trekking standards. I haven’t done anything like that before. The key is to not give up no matter how much time it takes as the view is really breath taking. I was awestruck when I saw the monastery that close on a cliff. A must do when in Bhutan.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1812.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0169.jpg

Later that night I met with fellow TBhpians (Uday, Suhas and co.) and it was great catching up with them. Unfortunately we didn't take any picture.



Day 10: Paro – Siliguri (310 Kms)

Route: Paro – Chukkha – Phuentsholing – Jaigaon – Hasimara – Dhupguri – Jalpaiguri – Siliguri

The time came to exit the beautiful country, I decide to start a little early and head towards Sikkim but not everything works as per the plans right?

Started from Paro at 0600hours, although the temperatures were really low and it was freezing cold I was riding and enjoying the views as nobody was around. Ended up spotting a plane ready to take off

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1867.jpg

As I was waiting for the Sun to show up and show some mercy I noticed that the rear of my bike had gone down a little bit and the bike started behaving weird at corners. When it started bouncing a little too much I realized I am in for some good adventure. The next thing I saw –

The rear suspension conked off
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-shocker.jpg

With this broken Suspension I managed to ride through Bhutan and enter India. As soon as I entered India I withdrew some cash from the same ATM since I was scouting for Rs. 100 note to use in Nepal after the ban.

The first thing I did after entering India was to call KTM Siliguri and checked with them for a new suspension. Luckily they had one in spare which was for 2016 models. I just rode directly to Siliguri from there without any breaks and got it replaced.

KTM Siliguri
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1862.jpg

It was evening already by the time I got it fixed, so decided to stay back at Siliguri and head towards Sikkim the next morning.

Last edited by Aashish_390 : 10th January 2019 at 01:59.
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Day 11 : Siliguri – Gangtok (120 Kms)

Route : Siliguri – Sevoke – Melli – Rangpo – Singtam – Gangtok

Once I got the bike fixed the prior day it started raining, I was aware of the weather conditions, hence it didn’t come as a surprise. It was due to a cyclone which was moving towards Andhra Pradesh from West Bengal, so it was just a day when I had to manage rains in winters.

Started the ride at 0600 hours from Siliguri, it was raining during that time as well and the rain gods showed no mercy throughout the ride.

Rain Ride Ready
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1870.jpg

Tanked up in Siliguri and started riding towards Sikkim. My helmet doesn’t have pinlock visor so had to ride with a visor slight up just for the air to pass in. That was making my face go numb but somehow managed to ride through the beautiful roads in Sikkim.

River Teesta
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1886.jpg

West Bengal – Sikkim Border
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1891.jpg

Beautiful landscape on the way
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Reached the hotel with muck all over myself, luggage and the bike. Took some water to clean everything, had lunch and slept for a while since the ride was not easy. Woke up in the evening and went out to explore the happening MG Road in Gangtok. Enjoyed a local drink Tongba and had dinner at one of the cafés on MG Road.

MG Road
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1922.jpg



Day 12 : Gangtok – Ravangla - Siliguri(200 Kms)

Route : Gangtok – Singtam – Namphok – Yangthang – Ravangla (via Dorjee Kazi Marg) – Singtam – Melli – Sevoke - Siliguri

It was a sight to witness a very clear sky and snow-clad mountains from the balcony. That was enough to motivate and excite me for the ride, as I rode to beautiful and serene Ravangla in Sikkim. This place was in my to do list since a very long time and that is the reason I added it to my itinerary since it is not far from Siliguri which was the base point for me.

I started around 0800 hours from the hotel, the weather and views were so good that I rode a little more upwards towards Tsomgo Lake. Was aware that I needed permits to cover those places which I didn’t have. However, since I have visited Nathula and Tsomgo in the past so I just enjoyed the ride till whereever I could and then took a U Turn towards my actual destination – Ravangla.

The roads to Ravangla were not in the best of shape from Gangtok but the views enroute made sure to cover up for that.

Morning in Sikkim
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1941.jpg
After Singtam - towards Ravangla
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1949.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2018.jpg

After riding through the rough patch from Singtam for 40 kms I managed to reach Ravangla. You need to buy a ticket to visit the statue, being an Indian I just had to pay 50INR. The premises was extremely clean with adequate security. Parked my loaded bike outside and carried my tank bag with me since it contained all the valuables, gadgets and camera equipment. After looking at me, carrying bag in one hand and gears and helmet in another, the security person asked me if I would want to keep everything inside the security booth. I gladly accepted the offer and kept everything inside it safely. After that as I entered, I witnessed a humongous Lord Buddha Statue with snow-clad mountains at the backdrop. A sight which got registered in my brain forever. It was breath taking – just like how I saw in some videos online.

Ravangla Buddha Statue
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After spending some time there and enjoying some hot momos, I was ready to head back to Siliguri. Checked with the local taxi drivers for the best route, they suggested me not to take the route which google maps suggested via Namchi as it was extremely bumpy, however that route would have taken directly Melli. Since, I had the luxury of time I decided to take the less bumpy route which connected me to Singtam and then same route to Siliguri which I took on the way to Gangtok. The ride till Siliguri was peaceful and I reached and checked in the same hotel where I stayed earlier.

After reaching Siliguri, I just grabbed some sweets and dinner along with a couple of chilled buds. I relaxed a bit and prepared the bike for the next adventure – Mustang Nepal!!



Day 13 : Siliguri – Kathmandu (550 Kms)

Route : Siliguri – Naxalbari – Mechinagar – Badhramal – Sindhuli – Dhulikhel – Nepaltok – Kathmandu

With so much excitement and anxiety I started the ride early morning, around 0530 hours since I had to do the immigration, get a local sim card and exchange currency. The road from Siliguri till Nepal border via Naxalbari was very smooth as it’s a part of Asian Highway.

Asian Highway
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I reached Naxalbari at 0630 hours and looked to exchange money in India itself as 2000,500 currencies would be accepted, however there were no shops open that early in the morning. I just spoke to some locals over a few cups of tea, who gave me an assurance that the shops would be open by 0900 hours.
I waited till 0700 hours and then decided to check with the Indian Police a little further near the border. Before the border I noticed a few road side stalls selling lottery tickets. One of the guy guided me to a CEAT Tyre shop which was open, and that kind person exchanged Indian currency for me.

With the Nepalese currency with me I entered Nepal for immigration.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2048.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2051.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2052.jpg

I have described the entire procedure for immigration in the first post – please refer to that.

Once I got the Bhansar slip for the bike it was around 0830 hours and I still had to cover around 500 Kms to reach Kathmandu. I knew the roads in Nepal were not that great hence started quickly after getting a local number.

Riding in Nepal was like riding on State Highways in India. Grabbed some breakfast and lunch enroute and proceeded towards Kathmandu. The roads in Nepal are constructed tad differently viz-a-viz Indian roads, as there are a lot of stones which are visible on the roads which results in lesser grip, more tyre noise and ultimately it will be a weird experience initially.

One of the many pulls which I crossed
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2069.jpg

The roads towards Sindhuli and Dhulikhel are curvy as it’s a ghat region. The roads are well laid and it’s fun to ride on those roads.
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2085.jpg

By the time I reached Kathmandu it was dark. The capital city welcomed me with really bad traffic and to add to it, the mobile data which I got with the local sim somehow got exhausted while it was kept inside the tank bag. I was greeted by many bikers in Nepal with a thumb’s up gesture, I made sure to interact with one of them as I was riding just on the basis of sign boards and by asking people. The guy whom I spoke to was very helpful, he not only rode with me till my hostel but also recharged my phone since he was not able to navigate towards the end inside the narrow lanes of Thamel.

Stayed in Zostel Kathmandu
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2089.jpg

After freshening up I explored a little bit of Kathmandu with the hostel inmates and had a great time at Zostel in Thamel.

Nepal runs on Dal Bhat
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2099.jpg

Streets of Thamel
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2098.jpg



Day 14 : Kathmandu (Local Sight Seeing) – Pokhara (220 Kms)

Route : Kathmandu – Chisapani – Mankhutar – Phisling – Bimalnagar – Bandhardik – Pokhara (H-04 Prithvi Hwy)

In the morning Kathmandu looked really different as compared to the night, with office goers everywhere on motorbikes. Plan was to visit Syambhunath Mandir and Boudhanath Stupa and head towards Pokhara. After grabbing some breakfast on the way, visited both the places.

Boudhnath Stupa
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0188.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2144.jpg

Aerial View of Kathmandu City
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0193.jpg

Syambhunath Mandir
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0195.jpg

After checking out from Zostel I started towards Pokhara and was aiming to reach there by 1700 hours. The roads were well laid and were full of Pulsar 220 riders. Nepal has a lot of P220’s, like A LOT!
I reached Pokhara during evening and it was extremely cold. I stayed at Zotel during my stay in Pokhara as well. A few pictures from the ride –

Gorkha Bridge
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2154.jpg

Because gear comes first
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2166.jpg

Zostel Property
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2168.jpg

After freshening up – just took an evening stroll and chilled in one of the lakeside café with a few other travelers whom I met in Zostel.



Day 15 : Pokhara Sight Seeing (Mustang Permits)

Pokhara Immigration Office :
Address: Damside Rd, Pokhara 00977, Nepal
Phone: +977 61-465167

This was the one of the days where there was no riding involved, sigh! Had a late breakfast at the hostel and headed towards the Pokhara Immigration Office for the permits for Mustang. I reached the Immigration Office by 1000 hours and applied for both the permits (NCAP & TIMS).

More details in the first post regarding the immigration procedure.

I was sent to the chamber of the Immigration Officer as the ladies sitting at the reception told me that I was not allowed to take my IND registered motorcycle to Mustang. I knew this was baseless, hence after meeting the Immigration Officer and answering a few questions related to solo travel, safety of oneself etc. I was granted both the permits.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2178.jpg

Meanwhile through biking networks, I met Dr. Ujjwal who hails from Patna and is working in Pokhara in one of the hospital. Since, it was a holiday for him, he made sure to take me to some less touristy places in Pokhara. We had lunch together, purchased some woolens for lower mustang as the temperature there showed -12 degrees Celsius.

Riding was fun on this Suspension Bridge
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2179.jpg

Snow Clad mountains are missing due to fog, however lemon tea was really nice at Shanti Stupa, Pokhara
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2189.jpg

After bidding adieu to Ujjwal, I went back to Zostel, cleaned and lubed the chain and prepared the bike for the Mustang adventure. Packed my luggage while everybody was chilling since I didn't want to disturb anyone early in the morning. Hostel rules!!
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Day 16 : Pokhara – Muktinath (Lower Mustang) (212 Kms)


Route : Pokhara – Kushma – Beni – Tatopani – Lete – Jomsom – Kagbeni – Jharkot – Muktinath

The day had come for the extreme adventure which I was yearning for since a long time – Mustang!! I just wished the bike to remain perfect on this circuit as there will be no help whatsoever. I interacted with a few locals and other bikers and re confirmed about the route and the level of off roads to expect for Lower Mustang. Everybody suggested that “there are absolutely no roads after Beni till Kagbeni and the temperatures will vary from -2 degrees to -12 degrees throughout the day”. With all this in mind I woke up right at 0400 hours and started my ride at 0530 hours.

It was bone shattering cold for a ride during that time in Pokhara. As soon as I started, there were water streams and broken roads to give me company after 10 Kms from Pokhara. It was still dark, and I didn’t want to stop anywhere as it might have gathered unwanted attention. Since google maps were not working I just checked for directions at a teashop where a local bus stopped. After that I just rode in that extreme condition until there was some light. The roads after Kushma till Beni were good, at least manageable. Reached Beni around 0900 hours and had breakfast with several cups of tea to keep myself warm.

After this the misery or adventure starts – call it whatever you want. It is only 70 kms from Beni to Muktinath but it took me 7 hours to cover it.

Started riding towards Tatopani and the condition of the road was very bad with loose sand all around. Since my bike was running on street tires (Michelin PSR) which were 20K kms old then, I was struggling at places which had some climb with loose sand.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2219.jpg

After this loose muc/sand got over I encountered slush with black ice and water streams. Asked myself, “that’s what I wanted right?” I decided to go till wherever I could, else return as there was no point in taking such risks. But the rider inside me whispered “I know I can”. Without bothering about time, I continued riding and reached Tatopani. Got my permits stamped and moved forwarded.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2230.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2233.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0197.jpg

The road was getting worse from bad and till that moment I didn’t encounter any huge snow-clad mountains. Just when I thought where the mountains were, I noticed a board. The “Welcome to Mustang” board!!

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2245.jpg
Enough for some cool pictures? Naeh!

With so many blows to the underbelly of the motorcycle I just continued slowly and reached Lete. This ride from Beni was so excruciating and due to the adrenalin rush I couldn’t take many photos as the goal was to reach Jomsom/Muktinath before sun went down.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2237.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2268.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2300.jpg

As if slush, loose sand, big boulders on the road were not enough there came river crossings to challenge me. 20 Kms before Jomsom I saw a wooden log painted with Jomsom and an arrow on to it. Since there was a landslide, the road was closed. How on earth would a JCB reach there to clear a landslide was something that came to my mind. Since there was nobody around me, I was a little apprehensive initially about taking the route, but had no other option right?

Went inside the river bed route to cross some water streams, to be honest those were not very deep and I was able to manage even though it was afternoon and it should have been ideally at its max.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_2294.jpg
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Kids posing and happy to see an alien
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2289.jpg

I reached Jomsom around 1500 hours and continued towards Muktinath. It was around 1600 hours when I reached Muktinath Temple, visited the temple and explored the place a little bit. Since it was getting really cold up there, I decided to take an accommodation either at Kagbeni or Jomsom.

A few pictures of Muktinath :
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0201.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0203.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2319.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-dsc_0207.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2333.jpg

Helipad at Muktinath for devotees
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2328.jpg

After that I reached Jomsom at around 1800 hours, just grabbed a cup of hot tea and asked the hotel guys to prepare a simple veg meal for me. Since, I didn’t take any breaks for lunch I just hogged onto some steaming hot rice and dal and slept with I don’t know how many quilts and blankets on top of me.



Day 17 : Jomsom – Pokhara (200 Kms)

Route : Jomsom – Lete – Tatopani – Beni – Kushma – Pokhara

Woke up in the morning to notice that there was no water in the washroom since it got frozen. Waited for the Sun to show up and sat outside and had tea with the hotel owners and a few locals, heard their stories. Hats off to the people who are staying there and facing such conditions daily.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2356.jpg

After a cup of tea with them, it was time to say goodbye and head back towards Beni/Pokhara. As soon as I started riding I noticed my hand was not moving, it was so numb that I could not press the clutch properly. I started touching the crankcase and engine case to get some warmth. After a few kilometers since it was not helping either, I stopped for tea to provide warmth to my body. While riding somewhere I kept my left hand (with gloves) on the engine casing, I didn’t realize that my finger touched the exhaust of the duke (all thanks to the positioning of it). Later I noticed a hole in my glove and a burnt finger. It is still healing and getting back sensation slowly.

While this was not enough, and I just wanted the bike to take me to Pokhara safe and sound, there came the river beds again. Usually, the water level is low in the morning, but it wasn’t !!

It was just the double of what I witnessed on my way up, not sure if I took a different route since there was absolutely no one around.
Picture of the water stream

As soon as I reached near a big water stream I was a little cynical about entering it, with absolutely no human being around. I waited for a couple of minutes for anybody to turn up if something went wrong, but when no one came I took a shot at it. To my surprise the bike submerged where the water level touched my knee. It was really difficult since the length of the stream was quite a lot. I tried dragging the bike towards the side but as soon as I did that, my boots along with the bike started going inside the loose wet sand. After struggling a bit, I managed to drag the bike towards the starting point again. This time I didn’t sit on the bike and somehow managed to drag the bike and cross that river. After this river stream saga, I stopped roadside to drain the water out from the boots since it was freezing cold. Sat there in the sun for half an hour and prepared myself for the slush, black ice and loose sand ahead.

That river on the LHS
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2360.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2362.jpg

Started again after a short break and reached Beni at around 1400 hours. I was carrying extra fuel which I used in Jomsom and I reached Beni which has a petrol bunk. You get fuel in black as well on this route but I am not sure about the purity. After I reached Beni the bike was covered with mud all over and it looked like this –

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2365.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2375.jpg

Reached Pokhara in the evening where I stayed again in Zostel. Since it was Christmas, they had a party organized. I had a great time with the fellow travelers and celebrated that I reached back alive.



Day 18 : Pokhara – Lucknow (550 Kms)

Route : Pokhara – Tansen – Butwal – Sonauli – Gorakhpur – Basti – Faizabad – Lucknow

Since I couldn’t sleep on time the previous day, I started the ride at around 0630 hours. Since Lucknow is my hometown and I was aware of the routes hence I had the liberty of a little delay. It was hilly till Butwal with extremely foggy conditions and ghat sections. I managed to reach Butwal around 1100 hours.

Made sure I exchanged the remaining Nepalese currency before exiting Nepal. I was asked a couple of questions at the border by the Indian Police before they let me in. Just had a small lunch break on the way near Gorakhpur and reached Lucknow in the evening.

It was a great feeling to enter my country after such a big adventure.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2384.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2397.jpg

Last edited by Aashish_390 : 9th January 2019 at 22:49.
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Day 19 & 20: Lucknow (Home Sweet Home)

Since I was on roads for close to 3 weeks before I reached Lucknow, I just wanted to relax in my hometown. Spending time with family and friends was my main agenda along with tasting the delicious mughlai awadhi cuisines along with some home cooked food.

Since I had two buffer days in Lucknow, I decided to give my motorcycle for an oil change and a quick wash in one of the KTM service centers. I reached the service center around 1200 hours with an assumption that I would get the bike back in 2-3 hours. The washing guy spent a lot of time cleaning it as it was very dirty, he used diesel to get the frozen muck off. I noticed that the bike was not air dried but was kept in open for some time. (read further to know what all drama happened later)

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2419.jpg

Finally, the bike comes to the service bay for oil change. Since the KTM technician is a known mechanic from Lucknow who earlier used to work on Pulsar 220, acted a little proactive and started tightening all the clamps, nuts and bolts. While adjusting the clamps which were on the hose pipe of radiator he accidently created a small hole in the rubber pipe since the screw driver slipped from his hand. Since the engine was off, he didn’t realize that it damaged the pipe. After all the necessary checks the bike came out for delivery. While I was settling the bill, the mechanic noticed coolant dripping from the bike. To add more to the misery, the spare part was not available anywhere in Lucknow which we got to know after a lot of phone calls to other places. I was not happy since I gave them a completely niggle free bike. The KTM people checked with me regarding my return route, and if I could get it fixed on the way back but I wanted to get everything sorted in Lucknow itself. After manually checking everything the mechanic suspected that they had the spare, but it was not reflecting in the system. Since the service center was relocating during that time, all the spare parts were transported to the new place. Since I shared a very good relationship with the KTM/Bajaj guys there, he took me to the new place on his motorcycle and looked for the box number #79 as that box had that part. There were close to 500 cartons which were kept in that new service center, after spending 30-40 mins he found the carton and we got the new rubber pipe. I was extremely happy, and the pipe was replaced.

Damaged Hose Pipe
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2428.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2427.jpg

The drama didn’t end there, after all this when he cranked the engine – the bike failed to start. Even he was surprised to witness all those things. After checking with the ECU Diagnostic Tool, the fuel pump came out clean and was working fine. He checked the fuse under the tank and voila! – we noticed a lot of wet dust inside that, he cleaned that using a cleaner and the problem resolved.

Spent my entire day in the svc and came back home. The coolant level dropped to a good extent, but I knew that’s normal since the radiator sucks some of it initially. Next morning when I checked the bike thoroughly I noticed a lot of coolant which was accumulated in the belly pan of the bike. I freaked out a bit but knew that he didn’t clean the belly pan before fixing it back, however I wiped it using a cloth while he worked on the bike. I was suspicious of some leakage again because all the pipes were opened from the T of the radiator so there was a high possibility of a leakage. Got the belly pan cleaned, topped up coolant and tested the bike in heavy traffic in Lucknow for 50 kms and everything looked fine. I took a sigh of relief and recharged myself for the big homerun.

Meanwhile I did try out all this in Lucknow

Tunday Kebabs
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_5925.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-tunday.jpg

Dastarkhwan's Chicken Masala and Mughlai Paratha
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2445.jpg

Raheem's Nihari
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_8904.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_5916.jpg

Sharma Tea
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2450.jpg



Day 21: Lucknow – Nagpur (1050 Kms)

Route : Lucknow – Kanpur – Orai – Jhansi – Sagar – Narsinghpur – Chindwara – Saoner – Nagpur

I have done this route many times in car and bike both, so I knew where I had to break for food, tea etc. The only tension was related to the motorcycle and the coolant level. Although I was confident since I had service back up at most of the places. With this is mind I bid farewell to my family early in the morning at 0500 hours and started for Nagpur.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2462.jpg

NH-44 Kashmir - Kanyakumari Highway
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2468.jpg

The road condition was brilliant throughout. Unlike most of the riders I don’t get bored on 4Lane highways as well. I love riding on those with music. I reached Jhansi at around 0900 hours and took the first tea break along with some quick bites. After that it was just sheer riding, stopped at Satyam Dhaba at Sagar for lunch, food was very good here.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2478.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2486.jpg

The roads like always were in very good condition and it is advisable to take Chindwara route since there are multiple diversions on the Seoni stretch. After riding hard, I reached Nagpur at around 1800 hours. Met a friend and hogged on to some spicy Kolhapuri styled Chicken at the very famous Babbu’s in Momminpura in Nagpur.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2488.jpg



Day 22: Nagpur – Hyderabad (500 Kms)

Route: Nagpur – Hinghanghat – Adilabad – Nizamabad – Hyderabad

I planned to meet a few friends in Hyderabad which made the ride quite relaxed for the day. The bad patch near Hinghanghat was also manageable with almost no bad patch but a couple of diversions. Overall, it didn’t affect the average speed much. Reached Hyderabad in the afternoon and later met my friends and had my favourite Shahghouse Biryani.

Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2501.jpg
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_4347.jpg



Day 23: Hyderabad – Bangalore (590 Kms)

Route: Hyderabad – Shamshabad – Kurnool – Anantpur – Bangalore

Finally, the ride was coming to an end, there were so many emotions which ran through my mind while I geared up. The last day of the ride is always notorious and one has to be extra careful as most of the times we are in a hurry to reach home which makes us a little complacent.

I started from Hyderabad around 1000 hours after having breakfast and stopped for lunch near Anantpur at Dolphin chain of hotels/dhabas on the highway (saw a couple of them with the same logo and name). The food was very spicy and waiting period was quite high IMO. After having lunch, I reached Bangalore at around 1700 hours. As always, it was a very smooth ride on this highway. Also, it was a great feeling to enter "Namma Bengaluru" after such a long time.

Last picture of the ride
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_2546.jpg

Thank you for reading.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 19th January 2019 at 23:50. Reason: Small typo corrected. Thanks
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Old 10th January 2019, 02:27   #6
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Default re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

Note from Support: Thread moved to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th January 2019, 08:23   #7
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Default re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

Epic is not the word man. What an entry into the forum. Boom! Bookmarked your trip plan, will be super useful when i get going some time soon.

Did you mention anywhere which month this trip was done in?
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Old 10th January 2019, 10:37   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

What an opening, brilliant write up. Super adventurous, driving through black ice, slippery roads, rain, soft roads, no-traction surfaces and you did not slip even once.

Kudos to you that you managed to write this up within a week after travel with all those tips on travel planning and mouth watering local delicacies.

rating well deserved 5 stars...

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 10th January 2019 at 10:50.
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Old 10th January 2019, 11:00   #9
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

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Originally Posted by Aashish_390 View Post
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading? It was an absolute pleasure going through the report and pics! Welcome to the forum and thank you for taking the time to share the trip details. Quite an entry - but please do share if you have any more pics or details to post!

Hoping to do a similar trip this year end, but no - certainly not solo! That's another level altogether - hats off!
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Old 10th January 2019, 11:43   #10
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Did you mention anywhere which month this trip was done in?
Dec 2018; Christmas is mentioned in one of the post.

Quote:
Start Date: 8th December 2018
End Date: 31st December 2018
Wonderful adventure; not everyone happens to execute such long solo road-trips.
Two questions: How do you manage such long vacations? How do you take notes during travel? You have put up travelogue within 10 days with as much details as needed.
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Old 10th January 2019, 12:14   #11
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Nice trip. I have noted the itinerary for my next trip.
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Old 10th January 2019, 12:16   #12
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

Luggage System on the Motorcycle

One of the non team-bhp readers asked me to add the details about the luggage system I used on this ride, which I forgot hence adding it here :

Used Via Terra luggage systems for Duke 390 which included Fly DSLR Tankbag, Velox Saddlebags and Element tail bag.

Fly tankbag and Velox bags have been used extensively during my previous rides since a couple of years and they serve the purpose well. They have always kept the gadgets and clothing safe during my long rides.

Element Tail bag was a new addition on this ride, as I used to tie a backpack using bungee ropes earlier. I was a little apprehensive about the tail bag since the terrain which I planned to ride on was really bad and would test the bag completely. To be on a safer side, I carried a couple of bungee ropes, if the bag didn’t withstand the torture. However, never got a chance to use any.

The bag was very easy to mount every morning and took only a minute to load it on to the bike. The space inside the bag was quite a lot to fit my clothings, puncture kit, documents etc. also, it was very easy to access while on the go. The pockets were very handy and useful for such rides. Tested the rain cover too, and the bag was well protected during rain ride days. Much better and secure than bags tied with bungee. Overall, I think I am going to use this tail bag extensively, as it will be great for short adventures as well where one does not require saddle bags.

One thing which can be worked upon are the zippers used in the side pockets of the Element bag. It was getting stuck as the cloth liner which was used to stitch the zip on the pocket was going inside the zipper while closing it. I somehow managed to do some small jugaad to fix it. A very small issue which might be only with my bag who knows? Since all the other zips in my other bags works like a charm.

But overall a great product for short and long rides.

Apart from this I also installed a side stand shoe from Viaterra so that the side stand doesn’t take the damage on uneven surfaces. The shoe is still intact on my bike and provided good support to the side stand and balanced the bike on worse of terrains.

The only thing you need to keep in mind with both these products is –

1. You need to fix and tighten the side stand shoe with Loctite so that it doesn’t fall off due to vibrations

2. Element tail bag rear straps needs to locked properly above the rear fender as it tends to become loose. I used to entangle it below the straps and it worked like a charm.

The Lugguage Setup
Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke-img_1199.jpg
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Old 10th January 2019, 12:20   #13
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

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Originally Posted by Aashish_390 View Post
"If you’ve been putting off a trip because you’re waiting for someone to go with — stop. Just go. Don’t let others hold you back from your dreams. Trust me, along the way you’ll make plenty of friends — from other solo travelers who thought “Screw it, if I don’t go, I’ll never go” to locals interested in meeting new people. You’re never alone when you travel.

More than that, solo travel gives you ultimate freedom. You wake up and it’s just you — what you want, where you want, when you want. In that freedom and infinite space of possibility, you meet yourself. You hit the limits of what you like and don’t like. There’s no one to pull you in any one direction or override your reasons. Want steak? Get steak. Want to leave? Leave. Want to try bungee jumping? Go for it.

It’s sink, or swim and you must learn how to survive — who to trust, how to make friends, how to find your way around alone. That’s the greatest reward of solo travel: the personal growth. Each time you go away, you learn to become a little more independent, confident, and in tune with your emotions and desires.
I always believed in the quote - "Travelers are dreamers, who make their desires for adventure a Reality!"

Prologue:
Awesome ride and so well written Aashish! It was great to read your log! Pictures and your words on Mustang especially are amazing! When you said you're heading to Nepal next, I was really tempted and even mentioned this to the other guys on Sena when we were heading towards Lucknow from Siliguri.

It was a pleasure to meet you and getting to know you! Hopefully, we'll ride together soon instead of meeting up in different states and Countries!
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Old 10th January 2019, 12:28   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

Quote:
Originally Posted by aah78 View Post
Note from Support: Thread moved to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Epic is not the word man. What an entry into the forum. Boom! Bookmarked your trip plan, will be super useful when i get going some time soon.

Did you mention anywhere which month this trip was done in?
Thank you Red Liner. The dates are mentioned in the details sections in the first post, it was from 8th December 2018 - 31st December 2018.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
What an opening, brilliant write up. Super adventurous, driving through black ice, slippery roads, rain, soft roads, no-traction surfaces and you did not slip even once.

Kudos to you that you managed to write this up within a week after travel with all those tips on travel planning and mouth watering local delicacies.

rating well deserved 5 stars...
Thank you Thermodynamics. I did struggle at many places where the rear tyre skidded badly on snow and got stuck in loose sand but somehow managed not to drop the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Thank you for reading? It was an absolute pleasure going through the report and pics! Welcome to the forum and thank you for taking the time to share the trip details. Quite an entry - but please do share if you have any more pics or details to post!

Hoping to do a similar trip this year end, but no - certainly not solo! That's another level altogether - hats off!
Thank you CrAzY dRiVeR. All the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sukiwa View Post
Dec 2018; Christmas is mentioned in one of the post.

Wonderful adventure; not everyone happens to execute such long solo road-trips.
Two questions: How do you manage such long vacations? How do you take notes during travel? You have put up travelogue within 10 days with as much details as needed.
Thank you sukiwa.

1. Last 10 days of December were holidays as it was a shutdown period for us. Moreover, there is not much work in December hence, it is easier to take leaves during that time.

2. I didn't take any notes but took a few before starting the trip wrt. routes, permits etc. apart from this I had everything in my head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by contactme27 View Post
Nice trip. I have noted the itinerary for my next trip.
Thank you. All the best.
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Old 10th January 2019, 13:05   #15
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bhutan & Nepal | Solo | 9,000 km of Adventure on a KTM Duke

Wow! Rated 5-stars for this lovely thread. I am also from bangalore and wanting to do this ride in the following months based on leaves I get.
Your post was very insightful and inspiring.
Pardon if I missed in your post if you considered changing tyres or were you on stock metz?I am considering to change to a used button tyre on the rear of my R3 just for this ride, do you think that is worth taking the effort?
PS- That agv k3 is slaying in your pictures <3
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