Tourist Bus dari Kathmandu ke Pokhara

Antrian bus di Kanti Path Road.

Cukup dengan Rp. 40.000 untuk menunggang taksi selama 10 menit dari Thamel ke Kanti Path Road. Jika tak takut tersasar, kamu juga boleh menempuhnya selama 20-25 menit dengan berjalan kaki.

Imajinasiku mengatakan bahwa bus yang sedang kukejar ini akan standby di sebuah kantor travel agent. Tetapi kenyataannya jauh diluar perandaian. Semua bus dari berbagai travel agent berbaris menyemut di sepanjang Kanti Path Road.

48 menit menjelang keberangkatan, kusempatkan bersarapan ringan karena ini adalah perjalanan panjang yang aku sendiri tak tahu bagaimana manajemen waktu perjalanannya.

BG’s Coffee Shop yang sudah buka di sisi Kanti Path Road.
Bisa juga sarapan di trotoar, gaes….Duh, anak sholeh bantu bapaknya jualan.

Tiket sendiri sudah kupesan via email dari Jakarta seharga Rp. 92.000, hanya saja pembayaran dilakukan di lokasi keberangkatan. Transaksi aneh yang kujumpai pertama kali di luar negeri. Kini masalahnya hanya satu, aku harus dioper ke bus lain karena menurut si penjual tiket, bus yang kupesan sudah fullseat (sepertinya ini memang strategi mereka, menjaring penumpang via email terlebih dahulu dan perihal akan ditempatkan di bus yang mana, itu urusan belakangan….Hahaha, cerdas).

Hebatnya lagi, Aku hanya diberikan selembar tiket lalu diminta untuk mencari bus secara mandiri di sepanjang Kanti Path Road berdasar plat nomor yang tertera di tiket. Penuh percaya diri kuiyakan perintah itu. Hanya saja, baru saja berjalan 5 menit mencarinya, aku mulai kewalahan….Ya puyeng lah!….Numerik Nepal kan berbeda dengan numerik latin!.

Parah….Kini setengah jam menuju keberangkatan mulai dihitung mundur. Tak berbekal akses komunikasi apapun, aku kembali lagi ke titik awal pencarian untuk bertanya kepada si penjual tiket yang nampaknya merangkap jabatan sebagai koordinator bus. Kelimpungan dibuatnya karena aku tak menemukan batang hidungnya. Kutunjukkan tiketku kepada beberapa orang di sekitar, mereka hanya manyahut “wait!….wait!”. Berusaha menyamarkan kepanikan dengan 15 menit tersisa menuju waktu keberangkatan, mataku lekat mengawasi satu persatu kerumunan orang untuk menemukan orang yang kucari. Yes, aku mengenali warna hijau penutup kepalanya dan kalungan handphone poliponik di lehernya. Kuhampiri dan memintanya menolongku menemukan armada yang termaksud dalam tiket….Beuh, dia hanya berucap singkat “Looking for the light green bus….Row number three from the front”. Melihatnya sibuk dan tak mungkin menemaniku mencari, aku segera berlari menuju barisan terdepan.

Akhirnya armada hijau muda bertolak tepat pukul 7. Berbekal seliter free-mineral water, aku terduduk di kursi paling belakang bersama mahasiswa asal Korea yang kemudian akan bercakap akrab sepanjang 8,5 jam perjalanan menuju Phokara.

Interior bus.

Sepanjang perjalanan, bus akan berhenti empat kali.

Dua kali untuk toilet break selama 15 menit yaitu break stop ke-1 pada jam 9:30 dan break stop ke-4 pada jam 14:30.

Selain toilet break, bus juga akan 2 kali berhenti untuk makan masing-masing berdurasi 20 menit. Break stop ke-2 untuk sarapan pada jam 10:30 dan break stop ke-3 untuk makan siang pada jam 13:30. Aku sedikit memperhatikan meja kasir rumah makan, terlihat bahwa sedikit banyaknya makanan yang diambil, penumpang secara merata membayar Rp. 53.000.

Duh imoetnya….
Harus cepat kalau ga mau ditinggal bus.
Bahkan aku tak sempat menguyahnya…..Masuk mulut langsung telan.

Selama perjalanan pula, aku sungguh terpesona ketika tersuguh pemandangan dari sisi kanan. Dedaunan yang memutih karena tertutup tebalnya debu jalanan, papan-papan iklan raksasa yang terpanjang di tengah pesawahan, jembatan-jembatan gantung penghubung antar bukit, kegiatan rafting di sepanjang sungai dan ramainya wisata Chandragiri Cable Car. Bahkan aku bisa dibuat tersenyum dengan tingkah warga yang berjemur di tengah hawa dingin 9°C sembari bermain karambol atau beberapa dari mereka mengelilingi api yang dinyalakan di pelataran rumah.

Debu….Lihatlah !
Sawah pun menjadi lahan komersil.
Punya tetangga ga tuh?….

Perlahan bus menaiki, menuruni dan mengelilingi pegunungan dengan jurang di sebelah kanan. Aku tak terlalu khawatir karena bus berjalan pelan. Satu hal yang kemudian membuatku tersadar bahwa kebanyakan mobil, truk dan bus di Nepal berasal dari pabrikan Tata Motor, India.

Lihatlah truk di area pertambangan di sepanjang Kathmandu-Pokhara.

Kupikir moda bertuliskan Tourist Bus ini tak akan mengambil penumpang di jalanan, ternyata dua kali kondektur ciliknya menaikkan penumpang, hanya saja tak sampai ada yang berdiri.

Perjalanan sempat terhenti karena terjadi kebocoran roda pada 15 menit sebelum mencapai Pokhara. Kondektur belasan tahun itu pontang-panting untuk mengganti roda, beruntung 3 sopir taksi datang membantu. Dalam kondisi seperti ini, aku masih sempat saja bertransaksi di sebuah pasar tumpah untuk mendapatkan sekantong jeruk seharga Rp. 13.000. Tetapi perbaikan yang terlalu lama dan tak kunjung usai, akhirnya aku dioper ke bus lain.

Taksi jadoel tapi ekslusif.

Di Pokhara, bus akan berhenti di Tourist Bus Park dengan pemandangan pegunungan Himalaya di belakangnya…..cuannteeekkkkk luar biasa.

Tak mengindahkan serbuan para sopir taksi, aku bergegas menuju sebuah kantor travel agent tak jauh dari tempatku turun. Yup…Aku berinisiatif untuk langsung memesan tiket balik menuju Kathmandu karena nantinya aku akan terbang ke New Delhi melalui Tribhuvan International Airport. Travel agent ini menawarkan tiga jenis harga tiket yang berkisar dari dari Rp. 80.000 hingga Rp. 105.000 tergantung dari kualitas bus. Tak ambil pikir panjang, aku memilih harga termurah.

Tourist Bus Park.

Yuk Explore Pokhara!

Lihat video terkait artikel ini disini: https://youtu.be/sSDNtAYx0tQ

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 Pokhara 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 Pokhara 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 Pokhara-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 Pokhara, 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 Pokhara’s famous market.

Bus From Kathmandu to Pokhara

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 Kantipath2

All buses were ready along Kantipath Rd 

Do you want to breakfast …. backpacker budget?

Cafe breakfast2

The 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 nepal2

doubtful 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 Phokara2

restaurant along Kathmandu-Pokhara

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 nepal2

along 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 Chandragiri 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 Pokhara. 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 park2

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

At Pokhara, 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.