Head for the hills

The NH125 road towards Banbasa was lined with trees and the road was in good condition. When I arrived at Banbasa I am directed right onto the H01 that leads toward the Nepalese border and I pass the train station and along a straight road, which then follows a wide river along to a dam wall. I am not stopped by the Police and am allowed to drive through. They didn’t seem to be so interested in stopping everyone.

Right after Banbasa

This is one very straight road.

At this stage the road becomes narrower and I drive through a hamlet of small cottages. This is Gadda Chauki. I am then stopped by Police in blue uniforms. These are Nepalese officials. They check my passport and ask me to fill in a form, which is almost entirely in Hindi. I am given a sheet of paper with some English translations on and I fill in the form as best I can. There is a fee to pay, and I hold out my money and the officer takes quite a bit. Not entirely sure that I haven’t just been robbed, but I don’t think I should argue. There is then something called Traffic permission, which seems to be a road tax or permit to travel. I hand out more money. I must have done an OK job, because they waive me on and I drive off along another straight road and I pass though Mahendra Nagar.

It's like entering a medieval world.

A short while later I enter the Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, which is a huge forest on both sides.

It's a very different country I am in.

I pass through to the other side and turn right at the junction of Atariya. There’s a petrol pump on the side of a junction, so I pull over an top up the tank. I have got into the habit of doing this. You never know when a full tank is going to be useful. The pump owner was an Indian man who had moved here some years ago and spoke some English, and was kind enough to give me an idea of the area and recommended a teahouse to stay at. A little further along the road I drive into Dhangadhi. My stop for the night.

The Nepali word bhatti translates well as “teahouse” and we should be able to find a few along the way, although I can’t find one here. It is a bit much to call some of these village establishments a hotel, but the Nepalese use of English translates restaurant or eating place as “hotel”. Trekking in the Nepal region is often best from teahouse to teahouse. I will be eating locally, but will be sleeping in the camper tonight.

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