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Old 8th December 2023, 18:29   #1
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A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N

Nepal has always been in my mind to visit once in a lifetime, but did not know that the time would come so soon and that is November 2023.
Before starting from Pune, I made sure to service my Nandi (Scorpio N Z8L AT 4Xplor with Apollo Apterra AT2 Tyre and Hella 470 LED bar light). checked and kept all the necessary tools that may be required in Nepal in case of any unforeseen scenarios.
I added a tow rope, heavy-duty Tyre Inflator, OBD Scanner, Puncture kit, and cleaning materials for the car.
Installed 3M white reflector on all silver-colored parts so that it looks natural and good, like roof rails, front /rear bumper, and side claddings, this surely enhanced the visibility of the car at night.

I also added Nepal/Bhutan in my car insurance's geographical location to make sure my car is covered in Nepal.
Bought health insurance for the family for any unexpected situations.
Decided to cover these major places in Nepal :

1. Kathmandu
2. Nagarkot
3. Pokhra
4. Muktinath

I followed the below selected route from Pune to Kathmandu which is through Nagpur.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-punenepal.jpg

Day 1(20-11-2023): I started from Pune Nagar road with my wife, 3-year-old son, and me. left home at 5 AM and reached Rewa by 8 PM. This was a surprise as Google Map was showing 19-20 hrs but I covered in 15 hours which included 1.5-2 hours of total break. stayed overnight on the highway in a decent hotel. the road was very good, only thing is one needs to be cautious of cattle after Jabalpur. Noticed many accidents and injured cows on the way.

Route I followed- Pune-Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar-Nagpur-Jabalpur-Rewa.

The good part was nowhere I got to enter the city, whether it was Nagpur, Jabalpur or Rewa. I kept finishing one highway and the other highway was just joining from outside of the city. This saved a lot of time.

Nandi, having rest in Rewa Hotel and asking for more.
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-rewa1.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 11th December 2023 at 18:38. Reason: Typo
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Old 8th December 2023, 19:48   #2
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 2 (21-11-2023) : Started at 9 AM after a good sleep and tasty breakfast in the hotel. my next destination was Siwan(Bihar). covered 450 Kms in 10 hrs with 1-1.5 hrs of total break. The roads are good but very busy sometimes with commercial vehicles.
Though the highway was 4 lanes but noticed many vehicles were coming in the same lane from the opposite side not the left but my right side, It was risky, I thought they were coming due to some possible diversion but later realized it was normal.
This was the story of the whole of UP and Bihar. at one time I stopped and asked one why don't you go in your lane? he responded, that side road is jammed by Trucks so he is coming in this lane. One said I have to take a right after 1 km and if I followed my lane it would come after 5 km.

Anyway, I reached my destination in Siwan at 7 PM, Had an overnight halt in Siwan.

The route I followed: Rewa-Mirzapur-Varanasi Ring Road-Mau-Siwan.

Day 3(22-11-2023) : Left Siwan at 8 AM in the morning.
Followed the route: Siwan-Mirganj-Gopalganj-Sugauli-Raxaul-Kathmandu.
Though there are 2 routes from Siwan, I chose the short one and it was not a good decision as it was taking me through villages and narrow internal roads. After Sugauli, i got the good state highway. I reached near India-Nepal border at Raxaul. there was a railway crossing just before the border which took at least 20-30 minutes. Finally, I reached the border around 11:30 AM.

Border Gate of Nepal-India.
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-border1.jpg

As I entered in Nepal, the road took me automatically to the Bhansar Office which is on the left side. Bhansar is a kind of permit for the car in Nepal. the charge for each day is 600 NPR, I had to stay for 8 days but I asked for 10 days, 2 days as a buffer. it's advisable to get 2-3 days of buffer. there is a heavy penalty if you get caught in Nepal after your permit is over.
You can go and make the permit by yourself and through an agent also. the agent takes 100 INR as a service charge and gives you Bhansar in 10-20 mins. need RC and DL in their original form to make the Bhansar. charges for 1 day is 600 NPR, if you intend to stay for 10 days then it's 6000 NPR.
one caution, the agent will ask to give him either 600 NPR or 450 INR. giving money in NPR is advisable because if you give 450 INR it is 450x1.6=720 NPR. so better to convert the currency before the border, there are many shops.

Once you are done with the Bhansar the next is to take the SIM card for your mobile. the Indian sim does not work in Nepal. SIM with 7 GB of data is sufficient if you use the hotel's WIFI in Nepal. the sim price is 250 rs.
a caution again here, if you have not converted your INR to NPR you can still do so at this shop because the conversion rate you will get is 1.6. once you enter Kathmandu or other cities people try to give you a conversion of 1.5 only.

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 17:49.
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Old 8th December 2023, 20:29   #3
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

After getting Bhansar, SIM card and INR to NPR cash it was time to move to Kathmandu the first destination of Nepal to explore.
When you check in Google Maps, It shows these two routes only. This route is the shortest but it's through tall hills with really bad roads, water crossings, and sharp curves. somewhere black top roads but most of the time bad roads and many Y junctions where Google Maps will take you nowhere. so also don't blindly follow Google map and whenever any Y junction comes or more than one road is there ask the local people.
If don't have an SUV with high GC and good tyres don't go through this route. even if you have an SUV but you have no experience in driving in hills don't choose this road. This road does not have enough petrol pumps, good restaurants or washrooms.
I wanted adventure so followed this route and enjoyed the drive. I was able to see only Commercial vehicles like Old Scorpio, Bolero, and Sumos.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-mapkath1.jpg

Now if someone has low GC cars or doesn't want to handle the curves and height and needs good roads, they can choose the below map which Google map does not show on its own. this route is through Highway H1, H5, and H4.
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-mapkath2.jpg

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 15:55.
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Old 8th December 2023, 20:54   #4
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

After approx. 50 km from the Raxaul Border the adventurous road started, could not stop myself to stop, get down, and click a photo, kind of first pic in Nepal.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-nandikath.jpg

I started from the Raxaul Border around 1:30 PM and Reached the hotel in Kathmandu around 7:30 PM. 1-2 Hrs. of time goes at the border in Bhansar, Sim Card and Conversion of the money, so keep 2 Hrs. extra.
In my case, google Maps was showing 8 hrs from Siwan to Kathmandu so I was relaxed that I would reach Kathmandu before sunset but 2 hours extra spent at Border which delayed my reaching time.
Sunset happens by 4-4:30 PM, after 4:30 it's all dark.
Since the route I followed was not a mainstream or busy road/highway where would find many cars. driving in the dark gets challenging due to visibility, badly broken roads, hills, and also fewer people to spot to ask for the right road.
In Nepal, one can't cruise fast, the speed will be 15-40Kmph sometimes 60Kmph but not more than that, so here people talk in hours not in km.

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 15:57.
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Old 8th December 2023, 21:24   #5
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 3(23-11-2023) : This was the first morning in Kathmandu and the very first thing I had to do was to visit Pashupati Nath ji, the usual first thing that most Indians do in Kathmandu. the temple was hardly 2 Kms from the hotel, I parked the car in public parking which is a big ground. there is no parking charges and the temple is adjacent to the parking ground.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-parking.jpg


A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-temple.jpg

In the evening, visited Buddha Stupa and Swoyambhu Mahachaitya.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-stupa1.jpg

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-stupa2.jpg

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-stupa3.jpg

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-tmpumon.jpg

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 16:12.
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Old 9th December 2023, 10:37   #6
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 4 (24-11-2023) : It was 2nd day morning in Kathmandu, time to say goodbye and head to the Nearest Hill station Nagarkot. Nagarkot was 1.5 Hrs far from the hotel. I had planned to stay only one night as there was not much to do. had read on Google about the spectacular sunrise/sunset view of Nagarkot.
Visited Budhanilkantha Temple on the way to Nagarkot.
The roads are good and I reached on time. it was cold in Nagarkot compared to Kathmandu. Thanks to my all-winter clothes which I used last in my Manali trip in 2018. Could not see Sunrise due to fog.
later I realized Nagarkot could be easily skipped and that day could be added to Kathmandu or Pokhara as did not find this location worth to spend one night.

Budhanilkantha
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-budhanilka.jpg

On the way to Nagarkot
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-nagarkot.jpg

Sunset view from the roof top of the hotel.
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-nagarsunset.jpg

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 11:06.
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Old 9th December 2023, 11:05   #7
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 5 (25-11-2023) : The next destination was Pokhara, I started by 8 am from Nagarkot and on the way visited Bhaktapur Durbar Square another UNESCO Heritage. the entry fee of 500 NPR per person seemed high to me.


Bhaktapur Durbar Square
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-bhalt1.jpg

Bhaktapur Durbar Square
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-bahkt2.jpg

Bhaktapur Durbar Square [Little Hero busy in his own world]
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-bhakt4.jpg

Bhaktapur Durbar Square
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-bhakt5.jpg

Started for Pokhra from Bhakatpur around 11 AM and reached Pokhra by 7 PM. The road to Pokhara is a mainstream very busy road. road condition is very bad.

On the way to Pokhara

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-pokhraway2-1.jpg


A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-pokhraway2-2.jpg

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 11:19.
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Old 9th December 2023, 11:47   #8
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 6 (26-11-2023) : It was the first morning in beautiful Pokhara. the stay was near to lake so the view was amazing. one doesn't need to go near the lake but can enjoy it from the balcony.


A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-view.jpg



Visited Pumdikot Shiva Temple at noon, Parking is an issue because everyone wants to park on top near the temple. no one wants to park down and walk a bit.
Attached Thumbnails
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-20231126_094846.jpg  

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-20231127_072648.jpg  

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-20231126_131922.jpg  

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-20231126_125411.jpg  


Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 18:15.
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Old 9th December 2023, 12:11   #9
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 7 (27-11-2023) : It was 2nd day morning in Pokhara. visited Sarangkot Sunrise Point. got up early at 5 AM, started at 5:30, and reached the top by 6 AM. Parking was not an issue. there are 50+ steps to reach to viewpoint from the base. limited benches are set up to sit and watch.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-sarangpre.jpg

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-sarangkot.jpg

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-sarangkot0rise.jpg




The next thing was to give a good wash to Nandi. Wash from outside is for 500 NPR in Pokhara.
Before Wash :
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-beforewash.jpg


After Wash :
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-after-wash.jpg

Spent the day exploring Phewa lake and boating, boating price is controlled and fixed. ended the day with Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-lake.jpg

Lakehouse, accessible by boat only, had taken a boat ride to Lake House.
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-lakehouse.jpg

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-cave2.jpg

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 18:19.
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Old 9th December 2023, 12:59   #10
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 8 (28-11-2023) : This is the day I was waiting for, it was an exciting day as I had to start for Muktinath in the Lower Mustang area. had heard and watched so much about the route and challenges and it was time to check that. had got the permits one day in advance for Muktinath with the help of the travel desk of my hotel. the fee was 1000 NPR for each person, with no permit for the kid.
I planned to reach Muktinath by 1-2 PM the same day, Visit the Temple, spend the day sleep, and start returning to Pune from Muktinath from the Next day.

Muktinath is 170+ km from Pokhara and it takes 7-8 hours to reach. I started from Pokhara at 5 AM for Muktinath. The first stop was Tatopani.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-tatopani1.jpg
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-tatopani0.jpg
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-tatopani2.jpg

From Tatopani, the next target was Jomsom. elevation of Jomsom is 2743m and Tatopani is 1190m. We started from an elevation of 822m which is Pokhra and had to go at an elevation of 3800m.
It's not advisable to directly go at 3800m otherwise may get AMS. The ideal way was to stay in Jomsom and make it a base point, go to Muktinath, and return. from Jomsom Muktinath is 70kms in 2.5 hrs.
I had medicine for AMS but did not take it, I thought I was going through the car so my body will gradually acclimatized.
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Old 9th December 2023, 13:29   #11
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Jomsom from Tatopani was 55 kms but the road was not good. very few places it was blacktop.
In most of the places, the width of the road was for one vehicle and that's where coordination was required from other drivers coming in the same way. I liked Drivers of Nepal. they used to Horn/Signal from 500m to tell you to stay there and let them pass. if you have traveled more and other has just started on the same way they immediately used to go back and give you the way. indicator in Nepal is used for giving the pass.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-jm2.jpg

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-jm3.jpg

Hilux at the other side Stopped to let me pass.
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-jm4waiting.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-mukt1.jpg  

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-rt5.jpg  

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-rt3.jpg  

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-rt2.jpg  

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-rt1.jpg  


Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 18:33.
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Old 9th December 2023, 13:43   #12
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Reached Mukti Nath around 12:30 PM. Jomsom to Muktinath drive was good, with tall mountains in all directions. there was a police check at a few places. they usually check Muktinath's Permit and Bhansar. the temperature was 1-2 degrees. we checked into the hotel, had a bath, and immediately rushed to the temple for the darshan of Lord Vishnu. Muktinath name looks like it's Mahadev's name but no it's Vishnu's name. It's the 2nd Dham for Nepali people after Pashupati Nath.
There was a barricade 1 km before the temple gate, can't take car to the temple gate. police allow only those who have a hotel booked, if not then one needs to park in the public parking area and from there needs to walk for 1 km to reach the temple gate.
in our case we had a hotel so we went to the hotel and even used our car to go to the gate of the temple and parked at the gate. the crowd was very small on Tuesday. no wait time or queue was there.

Gate of the temple, there are 300+ stairs to reach the temple premises. once reached then again 50+ stairs to reach the temple.
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-muktemp0.jpg
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-muktemp1.jpg
A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-muktemple.jpg

At night the temp was -7c. Thanks to the heater which saved us.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-heater.jpg

Nandi also got covered by hotel people to avoid any trouble in starting the car in the morning.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-jugad.jpg

At night it was tough to sleep, we were not able to sleep because the oxygen level was around 70-80% at night, and the heart was beating faster than normal.
My Wife and Kid got mild vomiting and restlessness. but after that, we were able to sleep. looks like our bodies got acclimatized.
One caution, AMS tablets are not SOS tablets so if you are going in such area where AMS can hit, start giving 1-2 days in advance of the journey.

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 16:34.
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Old 9th December 2023, 14:46   #13
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 9 (29-11-2023) : It was the 9th Day, time to start going back to Pune.
I chose the below-selected route from the map.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-maptopune.jpg

Muktinath to Sonauli border was 10.5 hrs. away and 300kms. I had Butwal and Sonauli in my mind to stay. I had decided not to drive after 7 PM, Sunset in Nepal happens around 4:30 PM.

I targeted Butawal First, and had two options to come to Butwal from Muktinath the 1st one was 278 km in 10 hours, and 2nd one was through Pokhara 337 km in 11 hours.

Google Maps will not suggest through Pokhara by default, you have to add Pokhara as another point. I will suggest always coming through Pokhara because that is a mainstream road and highway.

A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N-butwal.jpg

I followed one suggested by Google, also because I was saving 1 hr. but it was a wrong decision. that road took me through the isolated hills for 50+ km, and there was not a single car on the route except me. at one place the road ended. but then there was a very narrow passage filled with ruts and a bit of mud connected to other hills. I dared to take my car, and after 600 mtrs there was a village road. this part was risky. don't have pics to show. Finally, I connected to the highway after 1 hour of driving and got relief. though even Google Maps was not taking me correctly on its own suggested route. it was navigating me here and there, thanks to the villagers of Nepal who guided me and I connected to the highway.

I reached Butwal around 7:30 PM and had an overnight stay.

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 19:04.
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Old 9th December 2023, 15:05   #14
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Re: A Thrilling Road Trip to Nepal from Pune

Day 10 (30-11-2023) : I started from Butwal around 8 am and reached the Sonauli border in 1 hour. I converted the leftover NPR to INR and then there was a check post at the border where everyone was scanning their luggage and then crossing the border towards India. on top of that, the queue was long, I will say 30 mins long.
A policeman helped me to allow my car to park near the scanning point, scanned 2 bags, and let me go. It was a big relief.

After crossing the border I crossed Gorakhpur-Basti-Sultanpur-Ayodhya-Prayagraj. the roads in UP are very good but overcrowded.

I thought I would stop at Jabalpur which was 740km in 16 hrs. The arrival time on the map was 11:50 PM. I decided to stop at Rewa and reach by 8 PM. I booked the hotel on the way.
It is challenging to drive at night in the MP section because of the kettles on the road. One has to be alert and look for kettles on the road. they can be on the left side, right side, and sometimes just in the middle of the road.

Day 11 (1-12-2023) : Started from Rewa at 4 AM as the map was showing 1200 km in 20 hrs. I reached my home in Pune by 8 PM in 16 hrs with 1.5-2 hrs of total break.

This comes to the end of the post, I would like to highlight a few points which I learned and noticed.

- It was a total of 4800 km in ODO. The N performed brilliantly. at many bad rough stretches, I was driving at 10-15kmph speed but later noticed Nepali people driving old Scorpios at 40 Kmph.
- I also tried at the same speed, it seemed like the suspension would break or the axle would come out but no I was wrong this is a really tough machine made for such terrain.
One can't drive 100 km at 10-15kmph speed. the suspension worked amazingly. I did not air down the Tyres.
- In Nepal, I noticed people hardly use Horn, if they use Horn means there is something serious.
- To ask for a Pass to overtake, no need to blow the horn, the front car notices you in their ORVM that you want to overtake.
- Whenever they get the space they turn the right indicator and even stop to full to let you go.
- In Nepal, Drivers are very cooperative, they don't think twice before taking their car back to let you go and then they can go.
- There is high inflation in Nepal, so it's costly compared to India.
- People in Nepal are very helpful towards tourists.
- Roads are bad, everywhere. I think it will take 5-10 years to cover all the tourist areas. within the city, the roads are really good and wide.
- There are no toll charges in Nepal.
- Nepali people speak either Nepali or Hindi. avoid English It is not Thailand or Bali.

Last edited by hrishi_dypim : 9th December 2023 at 19:10.
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Old 9th December 2023, 22:22   #15
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re: A Thrilling Road-Trip to Nepal from Pune | Mahindra Scorpio-N

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