Passing a Morning and Getting a Sunrise in Sarangkot, Nepal

SARANGKOT …. is name of a village with an altitude of 1,400 meters above sea level in Kaski District, Gandaki Zone. Located in Phokara which is a centre of tourism in Nepal, it makes Sarangkot as one of favorite destinations. Why ?….Because Sarangkot is the best viewpoint for observing Himalayan Mountains.

Eight Himalayan peaks which can be seen from this village pushed me to put this village name in my itinerary.

First day in 2018….Happy New Year, Donny!

Sarangkot as if close in my eyelids. I ordered a daily rental taxi for USD 10,1 at Phokara Lodge Hotel where I was staying. The good news was I would pay it jointly with 3 other tourists.

It was still dark when Mr. Raj -the hotel staff- woke me up, “the driver is ready at downstairs,” He said. Brushing my teeth and washing my face only, I immediately descended hotel stairs to meet the driver.

Driver’s hospitality was implied from every smile which was thrown in front of me. His amazing English accent shows that he is also a good guide for every guests. According to him, ability to speak English is a must because tourism is heart of Nepal’s economy.

On early morning I started my trip to Sarangkot. A trip as far as 12 km, its large portion of route would pass through Phokara-Baglung road.

I became a lucky person because the sky was clear since yesterday night. It means that I will see beauty of Himalayas without cloud obstructions.

Entering Sarangkot gate, Bus was stopped and I paid for USD 0,5 to buy a entrance ticket. It only took 30 minutes to arrive in Sarangkot parking lot.

Entrance ticket

Climbing dozens of stair, I was aware that I was at a height. But it was very early morning, making it hard for me to saw the view below me.

A moment later, I arrived in spacious courtyard. This is the viewpoint which I mean. There were already a lot of tourist who sitting on edge of hill and waiting for sunrise. Some professional photographers look busy in preparing cameras and other equipments.

Temperature was 4o Celsius. It was defeated by a shadow of Himalayan charms which filled my imaginative realm.

Time was seem to be going on for a long when we were waiting for a thing which is loved.…Sun in Sarangkot also….as if tease me by delaying its appearance to warm the Himalayas.

The sun was came….

It began to shows its bright ray.

Just choose!.…the nose of the sun or the nose of that charming girl.…
That villagers must be happy, seeing beauty of Himalayas every day.
Look at that Machhapuchhare peak…!

When the sun’s rays hit ice glazes at Himalayas top, golden color would shine and it made my eyes hard to blink. Fear if that luxury view just vanished….Oh my Goddess

The dawn was ended, I could see a real view of that courtyard. This is it:

A courtyard to enjoying beauty of Himalayas.
If you are still unsatisfied and want to see in more height….You can go up to roof in left of courtyard.
Or at top roof in right of courtyard.

Immediately moving to other side of courtyard !. You will see a closing view, namely Phewa Lake which is geographically located in south of Sarangkot village.

Don’t look at the person !….just look at the lake !….focus!….focus!

After staying above for 2.5 hours. I decided to go down. The village view which wasn’t visible when I departed, finally seen clearly and beautifully when I slowly left Sarangkot peak.

Citizens’ housing from above.
Downing dozens of stairs.

Actually, if you don’t want to bother going there in very early morning from Phokara, you can stay around Sarangkot and come in a day before. There are several inns which provide rooms for tourists who will enjoy Himalayas in Sarangkot.

One of inns there.
Many restaurants too

After downing hill for 15 minutes, I finally arrived back in parking lot..

Visitor’s cars in parking lot.

After met again with our taxi driver, then I visited Purana Bazaar to see trading activities in that Phokara’s famous market.

Menembus Pagi Mejemput Fajar di Sarangkot, Nepal

SARANGKOT….adalah nama sebuah desa berketinggian 1.400 mdpl di Distrik Kaski, Zona Gandaki. Terletak tepat di kota Phokara yang merupakan pusat turisme di Nepal menjadikan Sarangkot sebagai salah satu destinasi favorit. Kenapa demikian?….Karena Sarangkot adalah viewpoint terbaik untuk mengamati Pegunungan Himalaya.

Delapan puncak Himalaya yang bisa dilihat dari desa ini mendorongku menaruh nama desa ini dalam itineraryku.

Hari pertama tahun 2018….Happy New Year, Donny!

Sarangkot seakan dekat di pelupuk mata. Taxi sewa harian seharga 1.100 Rupee sudah kupesan di Phokara Lodge Hotel tempatku menginap. Kabar baiknya Aku akan membayarnya secara patungan dengan 3 turis lain.

Haripun masih gelap ketika Mr. Raj si pengurus hotel membangunkanku, “driver sudah siap di bawah”, sahutnya. Hanya bersikat gigi dan membasuh muka, Aku segera menuruni tangga hotel untuk bertemu sang driver.

Keramahannya tersirat dari setiap senyum yang terlempar di hadapanku. Aksen Inggrisnya yang menakjubkan menunjukkan bahwa Dia juga seorang pemandu yang baik untuk setiap tamunya. Menurutnya, kemampuan berbahasa Inggris menjadi sebuah kewajiban mengingat pariwisata adalah jantung perekonomian Nepal.

Pagi-pagi buta Aku memulai lawatan ke Sarangkot. Perjalanan sejauh 12 km ini porsi besar jalurnya akan melewati jalan Phokara-Baglung.

Aku menjadi orang yang beruntung, karena sejak malam langit terlihat cerah. Artinya Aku akan melihat indahnya Himalaya tanpa halangan awan.

Memasuki  gerbang Sarangkot, kendaraan diberhentikan dan Aku harus mengeluarkan 50 rupee untuk ditukar dengan entrance ticket. Total hanya perlu 30 menit untuk tiba tepat di pelataran parkir Sarangkot.

Entrance ticket

Menaiki puluhan anak tangga, tersadar bahwa Aku berada di ketinggian. Tetapi gulitanya pagi, membuatku susah melihat pemandangan di bawah.

Sekejap kemudian, Aku tiba di luasnya pelataran. Sepertinya ini adalah titik pandang Himalaya yang dimaksud. Sudah lumayan banyak turis yang duduk di bibir bukit menunggu datangnya fajar. Beberapa photographer professional terlihat sibuk mempersiapkan kamera dan peralatan lainnya.

Suhu 4o Celcius  terkalahkan dengan bayangan pesona Himalaya yang memenuhi  alam imajinasiku.

Waktu seolah berjalan lama ketika Kita menantikan sesuatu yang dicinta….begitupun Surya di Sarangkot….seakan menggodaku dengan menunda-nunda kemunculannya untuk menghangatkan Himalaya.

Pucuk di cinta ulam pun tiba

Dia mulai menunjukkan batang hidungnya  

Tinggal pilih aja…hidung matahari atau hidung si charming itu….
Penduduk desa itu pasti bahagia, setiap hari melihat indahnya Himalaya.
Lihatlah puncak Machhapuchhare yang lancip itu….

Ketika sinar surya menerpa lapisan es di puncak Himalaya, maka warna keemasan akan memancar dan itu membuat mataku susah berkedip. Takut kemewahan itu sirna begitu saja…….Hadeuh….Bahasamu Don.

Pagi yang sudah tersibak, Aku baru bisa melihat bentuk pelataran sesungguhnya. Ini dia:

Pelataran untuk menikmati indahnya Himalaya
Yang ga puas dan kurang tinggi….boleh naik ke atap di kiri pelataran
Atau atap di kanan pelataran.

Segeralah berpindah ke sisi pelataran lain. Kamu akan melihat pemandangan penutup, yaitu Phewa Lake yang secara geografis terletak  di sebelah selatan desa Sarangkot.

Jangan liat orangnya…liat aja danaunya…fokus!…fokus!.

Setelah berdiam diatas selama 2,5 jam. Kuputuskan untuk turun kembali. Pemandangan desa yang tak tampak ketika Aku berangkat, akhirnya terlihat dengan jelas dan indah ketika Aku perlahan meninggalkan puncak Sarangkot.

Perumahan warga dari atas.
Menuruni puluhan anak tangga

Sebetulnya jika tak mau repot berangkat pagi-pagi dari kota Phokara, Kamu bisa menginap di sekitar Sarangkot dan datang sehari sebelumnya. Di Sarangkot terdapat beberapa penginapan yang menyediakan kamar untuk turis yang akan menikmati Himalaya.

Salah satu penginapan disana.
Restoran pun banyak

Menuruni punggung bukit selama 15 menit, akhirnya Aku tiba kembali di pelataran parkir.

Mobil pengunjung di tempat parkir.

Menemui driver taxi yang menemaniku, kemudian Aku di ajaknya menuju Purana Bazaar untuk melihat aktivitas perniagaan di pasar yang terkenal di Phokara.

Bus From Kathmandu to Phokara

December 31, 2017

300 rupees is enough to go by taxi for 10 minutes from Thamel to Kantipath Rd. If you want to walk, you need 20-25 minutes if no stray.

In my mind, bus would standby at Rainbow travel agent office. Not like that, all of buses from various travel agent lined up along Kantipath Road.

Bus di Kantipath2All buses were ready along Kantipath Rd 

Do you want to breakfast …. backpacker budget?

Cafe breakfast2The café open at Kantipath Rd left side

This is it … in the middle at buses queue.

My ticket was booked via email from Jakarta for 700 rupees but I would pay on the spot. The problem is….my seat was changed to other bus because the Rainbow bus seat was full (I think the agent catch the customer firstly and then if seat are full, they can move the passenger to other bus. It’s like usually there…. haha). The other great one is…. I just was gave the ticket then the agent ordered me to found the bus by myself along the buses queue at Kantipath Rd based to bus license plate. I confused actually….Nepali numeral is different with latin one. Half an hour to departure at 7 o’clock. Back again to rear queue to asked the bus coordinator …… well, he said to me….just looking for a green light bus number 3 from the front, He didn’t want accompany me….hahaha, back to front queue again! Okay … .The bus starts at 7 o’clock exactly. The journey would take 8.5 hours and I got 1 litre of free mineral water.

toilet nepal2doubtful in the first time….wooow…..clean actually

Bus would stop four times

Break stop 1. 09:30 for toilet break 15 minutes and

Break stop 4. 14:30 for toilet break 15 minutes.

Rumah Makan Phokara2restaurant along Kathmandu-Phokara

Break stop 2. 10:30 for breakfast and

Break stop 3. 13:30 for lunch. 20 minutes. Few or more you take a lunch, you should pay 400 rupees.

jalanan nepal2along the trip….scary but amazing

During the trip, you will be shown typical things in Nepal:

– Leaves of many trees are white because of dust

– Many large billboards were installed in the middle of rice fields

– Many suspension bridges connecting hills through cliff.

– pass Candhragiri cable car tour

– rafting along bus route

– many residents sunbathe to reduce the cold 5-11 °C by playing carom or surround fire.

During the bus trip, it will go up and down around mountains. On right side is cliffs if the bus from Kathmandu. Just relax, bus run slow and safe. Most cars, trucks and buses are produces by Tata Motors from India.

I thought, bus with tourist sign would not take passengers along trip, but I saw bus conductor took local people in the middle of the trip 2 times, but still comfort, no someone stand up in the bus. My trip was delayed because the tire deflated 15 minutes before Phokara. The teenager conductor changed tires hardly, many local taxi driver helped him. During repairing, I was looking for 100 rupee a little plastic bag of oranges for 100 rupees. Finally, I was moved to other bus.

tourist bus park2Tourist Bus Park….on arrival, many local taxi drivers will offering you their services

At Phokara, bus will stop at Tourist Bus Park. Look the Himalaya background….very beautiful.

If you want to go to Kathmandu several days later, better you immediately search travel agent for bus ticket to Kathmandu near there. Agents will offer three types of prices from 600, 700 and 800 rupees. It depend on the quality of the bus. I took 600 rupees one. For me….. cheap is the best.

Bus dari Kathmandu ke Phokara

31 Desember 2017,

Budget 300 rupee cukup untuk naik Taxi selama 10 menit dari Thamel ke Kantipath Rd. Kalau mau jalan ya 20-25 menit kalo ga pakai nyasar.

Bayangan gw busnya standby di kantor Rainbow Travel Agent. Lah, ternyata semua bus dari berbagai travel agent baris menyemut di sepanjang Kantipath Road.

Bus di Kantipath2

Semua bus mengantri di Kantipath Road

Kayak Gituh……

CafeMau Sarapan….budget backpacker?

Cafe breakfast2Café yang buka di sisi kiri Kantipath Rd.

Nih ada….Tepat di tengah antrean Bus

Tiket sudah dipesan via email dari Jakarta seharga 700 rupee tapi bayar di tempat. Masalahnya cuman satu, kita dioper ke bus lain karena bus Rainbow sudah penuh (kayaknya mereka yang penting tangkap dulu customer, perkara ditaruh di bus mana, itu urusan belakangan…hahahah).

Hebatnya lagi, kita cuman dikasih tiket lalu suruh cari bus sendiri di sepanjang antrian Kantipath berdasar plat nomor. Ya puyeeng lah….angka Nepal kan beda dengan angka latin.

Setengah jam menuju keberangkatan jam 7. Balik lagi ke antrian belakang buat nanya si koordinator bus……yah, dia cuman bilang cari aja bus hijau muda nomor 3 dari depan, kagak mau nemenin…..hahahah, balik ke depan lagi donk!

Okay….Bus mulai jalan jam 7 tepat. Perjalanan ditempuh dalam 8,5 jam berbekal 1 liter air mineral gratis.

toilet nepal2Ragu-ragu pas pertama mau masuk….woooww….ternyata bersih

Bus akan berhenti empat kali

Break stop 1. Jam 9:30 toilet break 15 menit dan

Break stop 4. Jam 14:30 toilet break 15 menit.

Rumah Makan Phokara2

Rumah makan sepanjang jalan Kathmandu-Phokara

Break stop 2. Jam 10:30 breakfast dan

Break stop 3. Jam 13:30 lunch. 20 menit. Dikit banyak kayaknya musti bayar 400 rupee.

Selama perjalanan, kamu akan diperlihatkan berbagai hal yang khas di Nepal:

– Dedaunan sepanjang pepohonan berwarna putih karena debu

– Banyak papan iklan besar dipasang di tengah pesawahan

– Banyak jembatan gantung yang menghubungkan antar bukit melewati jurang.

– melewati wisata Candhragiri Cable Car

rafting sepanjang sungai yang dilewati jalur bus

– banyak warga berjemur matahari untuk mengurangi hawa dingin 5-11°C sambil main karambol atau mengelilingi api.

jalanan nepal2

Sepanjang jalan menakutkan tapi menakjubkan

Selama perjalanan bus akan naik turun mengelilingi pegunungan dengan sebelah kanan jurang jika bus dari Kathmandu. Tenang aja, Bus jalannya pelan dan aman. Kebanyakan mobil, truk dan bus disana adalah produksi Tata Motor dari India.

Gw fikir, bus sudah bertuliskan Tourist gak akan ambil penumpang di jalan, ternyata 2 kali kondektur ngambil orang lokal di tengah jalan, cuman aman sih, ga sampai ada yang berdiri.

Perjalanan sempat molor karena ban bocor 15 menit sebelum Phokara. Kasian kondekturnya anak belasan tahun, pontang-panting ganti ban, beruntung para sopir taxi pada ngebantuin. Sempat pulak cari jeruk 100 rupee dapet sekantong platik. Karena terlalu lama akhirnya kita dioper ke bus lain.

tourist bus park2

Tourist Bus Park….begitu sampai langsung diserbu para sopir taxi

Di Phokara Bus akan berhenti di Tourist Bus Park. Himalaya di belakang ituh loh…..cuannteeekkkkk.

Jika mau balik ke Kathmandu sebaiknya langsung cari travel agent untuk pesan tiket bus ke Kathmandu. Mereka akan menawarkan tiga jenis harga dari 600, 700 dan 800 rupee. Mungkin tergantung kualitas bus nya. Gw sih ambil yang 600 rupee. Biasa….. murah is the best.