I would be remiss if I did not at least mention the more exciting parts of my adventure to Palpa. Keep in mind that traveling in Nepal during the monsoon is generally unadvisable. Also remember that July is the height of the monsoon. Given these two facts, I of course decided to take a bus 200 miles west from Kathmandu to Pokhara, and then Pokhara to Palpa, waaaay out in the middle of nowhere, during the last week of July.
Monsoon is a bad time to travel for several reasons. First of all, everything outside the bus is wet, and inevitably rain leaks in the window and everything inside the bus gets wet too (including you). Second, heavy rains cause landslides that can wash out roads (which, by the way, are basically dangling over cliff edges already). This can be very serious: more than ten people died in landslides across the country on the day I bused from Pokhara to Palpa, luckily none on the road I traveled on. Third, landslides back up traffic for hours. Did I run into a landslide during my travels? Of course I did.
It rained for 22 hours the night/day I left Pokhara to go to Palpa. The ride should have been 4-5 hours long. The road was a muddy mess and thankfully the driver took it slow…that is, until we stopped entirely.
We were at the end of a long line of buses, and we sat there for two and a half hours. What were we waiting for? No idea. But I do know that it was extremely awkward to pee when the only slightly secluded spot was basically over the cliff at the edge of the road. Finally, the driver told us to grab our stuff, and we walked across the landslide. Or rather, waded—the road had basically turned into a waterfall and we had to stomp up and over the mud pile. On the other side, we switched buses—genius! We traded! Unfortunately, this bus was smaller than the first bus by about three seats, so several unlucky passengers had to stand in the aisle. Our new driver was less cautious than the first one, so we made good time…but I was terrified we would either fly off the cliff or run over a motorbike coming the opposite direction.
All in all, I made it to Palpa in one piece. But it took eight hours. The joys of traveling in the monsoon.
Meet Jessie Moravek
I am a 2018 Fulbright Scholar at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Studying for an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation. Click here to learn more about me!