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From the Jungle to the Himalayas in 24 Hours

Journey through the vast landscapes of Nepal from the lush-green jungle to the hectic city of Kathmandu to the majestic mountains of the Himalayas in 24 hours.

Bhaktapur building and mountains

by Alessandro Ramazzotti

11 de jul de 2023

What would you think if you were told you can go, within one single country, from a tropical jungle to snowy mountain peaks in less than 24 hours? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?! Well, in Nepal this is possible!

Are You Ready?

Nepal is an incredibly diverse country, and moving around it is rather complicated due to the lack of flatlands. Buses need to climb up and down numerous hills, and reaching places as near as 30 kms away can take up to two hours. Nevertheless, if you are ready for: 1) an early morning wake-up; 2) long bumpy roads; and 3) risking your life on the extreme Nepalese buses; then you are ready to go from the jungle to the Himalayan mountains in less than 24 hours!

From the Jungle to the City – Sauraha to Kathmandu

Visiting Sauraha is a must on your trip to Nepal. It’s a town at the outskirts of the Chitwan National Park, in the south of the country at the border with India, where you feel like living in “The Jungle Book”. There, a recommended stay is Tiger Tops. If you ask the owner, he can arrange for you a minibus to Kathmandu that leaves early in the morning. Actually, very early! Expect to set the alarm between 3 and 4 AM. 

A shop with hand painted wooden masks and string puppets

Photo by Alessandro Ramazzotti

The bus ride takes about 8 hours, and it will leave you at Kalanki. Given that it will be about lunchtime, you can opt for a quick bite at one of the numerous cafes and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the area. Once your belly is full, ask at the Kalanki bus station – just out of the Ring Road – for a ticket to Trishuli. There might be either buses or minibuses, and they run quite frequently, therefore finding one should not be too hard.

Keep in mind that it’s better to buy the ticket from the official counter, otherwise, the drivers who independently offer you rides might charge you a tourist price – 2 or 3 times higher than the official one.

From the City to the Mountains – Kathmandu to Dhunche

Going out of Kathmandu, after the days you spent in Sauraha, will be a priority! Indeed, unless you enjoy polluted air, heavy traffic, and incredible amounts of chaos, you will probably wish to leave Kathmandu ASAP. The ride to Trishuli should take about 4 to 5 hours, and you should be able to reach Trishuli before the last bus to Dhunche leaves at 7 PM. Catch the bus to Dhunche, and enjoy the extreme ride on the Nepalese mountain roads. It’s a long ride, but the landscapes will be increasingly beautiful, and at about midnight you should reach the quiet village of Dhunche, at the entrance of the Langtang National Park. The next morning, you can wake up surrounded by the beauty of the Himalayas!

A Nepali Temple

Photo by Alessandro Ramazzotti

Be Aware That…

  • The weather changes quite a lot from the jungle to the mountains, and you should pack wisely.

  • If you plan to hike in the Langtang National Park, you will be asked to pay a fee when entering the Park (which is about 2500 NPR). If you want to avoid paying the fee, you can just say that you don’t want to hike, but only spend a few days in Dhunche. Later on, there will be other block posts, so it will be impossible to hike the famous Gosaikunda Trek without paying. We took buses to go deeper into the Trishuli Valley, and reached Thuman, a very remote village. From there, you can hike around without problems, as there will not be any block posts, and local people are extremely friendly.

  • If you are afraid of heights, do not look out of the bus window on your way to Dhunche.

  • Although the accommodation in Dhunche is extremely affordable, the food is much more expensive than in Kathmandu and the rest of the country (expect to pay for a plate of chowmein about 300 NPR).

1… 2… 3… Go!

If you love adventure, and you are not afraid of challenges, Nepal is a country that will blow your mind! The variety of ecosystems, the colors and the sounds, the intense flavors of the foods… everything will stimulate your mind in ways you did not believe possible. Time to pack and go!

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