March 1. & 2.

Again waking up is unpleasant – not because I am so done but because of the rain I hear on the roof. Today I wanted to go inside the park with my guide only who had promised to show me a bee eater colony (!) and a rock python. But in the heavy rain without a raincoat…. What to do. I inform the guide about my decision, turn around and keep sleeping until late morning. Tomorrow my visa is finished so that was not only the last chance but I have to get out of the country. I say good bye to everybody a little after lunchtime before a jeep takes me to the highway. Being a real local bus people are very kind and offer me a seat with a good view… of the rain.

Even though the border is just 140km away it takes more than 5 hours to get there and it is already dark when I arrive at the Nepalese border town. I take a room there, eat a lot and get information about the bus I have to take in india. There seem to be several buses leaving to Haridwar between 6.30am and 9am. Border procedure is supposed to take about an hour. I decide to try to be there as early as possible, get up at 5 and take a shared rickshaw to the Nepalese immigration checkpoint. The immigration officer obviously just woke up at the office and is very kind. I ask him about what happens if the visa is overstayed because I thought about staying a few more days in Bardiya. 30US$ plus 3$ per day… damn I should have done that!

The next shared rickshaw takes me to the Indian immigration passing a customs checkpoint where a drug (?) dog is standing on the road side in between millions of marijuana plants that grow there naturally. Unfortunately I don’t have the camera handy. Indian immigration officers are already drinking chai and reading newspaper when I arrive there. Stamp is done in between to sips of chai and then the call a cycle rickshaw for me to bring me to the bus stand. After all the hazzles and bribe extortions at south east asian borders I am really surprised.

20 minutes later I sit at a chai shop in india waiting for the bus. I am ripped of by the only money changer near or far and change just as much as I need. The bus comes very soon and the driver is very kind offering me the place right next to him with amazing view of the rain, enough space for my stuff and way more privacy than you could expect at an Indian local bus. 300km to Haridwar take us 9 hours.

When we arrive a little before sunset I take a room in a hotel I believe I have slept years ago already. Within half an hour I got money changed, a sim card for my phone and a bus ticket for the next evening. India really feels like home at the moment. I know exactly what to do to get what I need. I have amazing food one or two great chai at the road side and hear the sound of the trains horns at night. Tomorrow I will visit Rishikesh to buy one or two things and enjoy the amazing Ganges view there – for the evening I bought two bus tickets: upper floor sleeper bus which means a double bed for me with window on one and curtain on the other side. Full privacy and view AND I can smoke out of the window during the 15 hour journey.


Bardiya Nationalpark

Feb. 27. & 28.

After that exhausting bus ride I wake up just a little before sunset. I chat to an amazingly kind old English hippie with whom I should have spent much more time and to a crazy French nature film maker who promises to show me good places for pictures on the next day. What an amazing offer – I accept. At night I am hardly able to sleep because of having slept all day. I feel like dying when I get up at 5.30 to go to the jungle. Fortunately I can sleep 20 minutes at the lunch break and we spend the day more sitting and watching than running around. That’s the story of the day – pictures are talking for itself.

Pokhara to Bardiya

Feb. 26

When I wake up this morning the sky is covered with clouds and it rains. I am so happy to have returned the bike yesterday! As soon as the rain gets better I go to a travel agency to get the bus to Bardiya and Indian train ticket to continue my journey after crossing the border. First travel agency wants to send me directly to india – “Bardiya no possible”. I leave. Second travel agency – same. At the third travel agency the guy tells me tourist bus to Bardiya is not possible – local bus will leave either at 1pm or 1.30pm, both take 14 hours and the later one will take the comfortable highway – I take that one.

I enjoy what is left of the morning, check out of the most comfortable room (with the best shower) of this journey exactly at 12 and leave to the bus station a little later. On the bus I realize that the guy has sold me a ticket for the bus through the mountains…. The view is stunning but being seasick for the first time in my life I am not really able to enjoy or take pictures. I have to use my camera tripod to prevent the person in front of me from leaning back – which would definitely destroy my knees over one or another bumphole. I am glad we leave the mountains a little after sunset – when we do so we take a break for 5 minutes. The clutch is smoking really bad and the smell of a burning clutch made my sea sickness worse on the last km. I am happy I did not throw up but even though the road is much better now Its not possible to sleep.

Around 3 am the conductor tells me we are here and throws me out at a military checkpoint in the middle of the jungle. Well…. But the officer says hello and tells me to wait a minute as another guy is coming around the corner offering a ride to his lodge and chai. Well rather chai at the moment as it takes 1,5 hours for his friend to come and pick me up. Arriving at the guesthouse I drink another chai as the sound of the birds draws me out. The garden of the guesthouse is full of beautiful, hard to catch birds. I try my best until past 9am and either talk to a few other guests. Around 9.30 I fall asleep after being up for 26 hours including a crazy bus ride for 14 hours. Best sleep ever!

Tara to Pokhara

Feb. 25

In the morning I enjoy the scenery but still leave early enough not to be in a hurry. The ford at the beginning of the valley is definitely deeper than two days ago and the bridge is blocked for motorcycles with a big rock. Happily two guys help me to lift the motorbike over the rock so no problem. I am really relieved to have passed that spot, get chai and petrol at the village and move on. Minutes after leaving the village I pass I ford I do not even remember. Without looking I ride through it and when reaching the other side I am wet again up to the knees and one of my shoes is full of water – what to do.

Anyway after the side road up the valley the road ford to Baglung (behind the ford) seems to be much better now than when riding it the other direction. Its pretty cloudy today so I skip the plan to go to Dhampus for the Himalaya view again. It will be cloudy anyway I think. In Baglung I make a stop at the cute little roof top restaurant and eat lunch. From now on the road is in a very good condition so I will do the way to Pokhara easily before sunset. I stop at the link to Dhampus at a chaishop. Used to the high prices for tourists around Pokhara I ask for the price before I order chai. The girl who is making cant stop laughing because she just did not expect me to talk hindi.

There is a tube with water too so I take the chance to clean the bike a little. When I am done I jump on the bike and ride the last 20km to Pokhara as fast as possible. Last time I have seen a guesthouse called “Harvest Moon” just around the corner of my old guesthouse. Only for the name I go directly there and as for a room and if they have hot water. Only one room left – the best one with the best view and really beautiful and clean. I take it and when I put down my things I recognize my camera bag is missing!

I jump on the bike again and go back to the last chaishop in high speed. When I arrive there the chai girl is laughing – I don’t know if she is still laughing or if she made a break when I was in Pokhara. Anyway the bag is still there, no problem. I pick it up and head back to Harvest Moon. When passing the reception I ask “Wifi password is Neil Young no?” and the owner replies “You have been here before?”. Now I cant stop laughing.

I go up to the room and being dirty as I am the first thing I do is turning on the hot water. When I step below it I burn myself properly and decide not to move an inch before the water gets cooler – which usually happens quiet quickly. 20 minutes later I cant see the walls of the shower anymore because of the steam. I wait ten more minutes before I turn of the hot water – certified never ending! I return the bike and go to bed feeling very clean and comfortable. Tomorrow I will try to go to Bardiya national park at the south west corner of Nepal. My visa will be finished soon and from there I can be at the border very quickly not to overstay the visa.

Visiting Tara – a tale of love

Feb. 23 – Feb. 24

And it gets better. I get out of the hotel around 5 o clock as the first one wakes up. Instead of money I show them a picture of the bed bug and leave to the bus stand to get chai. After some time I go to enjoy the dawn and then to the sweet little rooftop I discovered yesterday. I want to go to the Nepal Telecom office to get internet working on my cellphone which leaves me time until 10 to have breakfast. The guys there are very helpful and finally get me internet – yeah! First success of the day. Hitting the road I miss the turn to Tara several times thinking “that can not be a highway, or a road – anything that is supposed be used by public….”but it is.

It is for sure the worst road I have yet seen in Nepal, big rocks and little streams and a very fine sand that feels more slippery than ice when wet. And wet it becomes with all this little stream running on or crossing the road. Left hand side abyss right hand side rock wall. I ride on the wrong side of the road – right! And still there are public busses here! The plan for today is to reach Tara which is around 50km. I expect the road to become worse and doubt if I can do that in a one day ride. But I am lucky, after about 15km the road is being repaired and most of it is done. Soon I arrive at a village which, according to the km stories of the people I asked could be Tara, according to google maps it is where the road to Tara links to the highway. And so it is. I get some petrol, chai and a little chat with a local and then take the road into an amazing looking valley. But first I have to cross the river.

Ford or suspension bridge that is the question. After watching a truck taking the ford which seems not to be deeper than maybe 30cm I take the ford. When I arrive at the other side of the river I am wet up to my knees but fuck it – done it! I ride up following an amazingly beautiful river into a romantic, beautifull valley full of rice paddles, suspension bridges and beautiful tiny villages with amazingly hospitable people. From now on I take the suspension bridges when crossing the river. Unfortunately I miss one as I didn’t expect much on the other side and take the wrong way up the mountain out of the valley. When I ask for the way its getting dark already and the people whom I ask invite me to stay for the night. The last kilometers up the mountain had been hell full of steep rocky curves and slippery river crossings edging an abyss to deep to survive a crash down easily. I am happy to accept the offer.

This place is a little more than 2000 metres above the Indian ocean and its just amazingly beautiful. Hospitality reminds me of Pakistan and it is a little hard to say good bye on the next morning.

I go back then the scary road to find Tara the place so many people told me to go. Asking in every tiny place for the way I find another scary suspension bridge people tell me I have to cross. Doing so I get to a more remote part of the valley – the remoteness can be seen easily at some genetic defects of some of the people there. Either people are not so open anymore and rather tend to ignore me more a little after the bridge at Tarakhola. Searching for the right place I go higher and higher up the valley until at 2400m a young guy stops me asking what I am searching for…. I have arrived and stop.

Unfortunately the guys at the place I stop are drinking alcohol in large amounts – don’t know if its to celebrate my arrival or if they did already before… They are farmers and show me their product – low quality but high quantity. I take a few pictures and get away soon when they start to get drunk. They offer to stay for the night but I refuse as they start to get a little uncomfortable probably either because they are drunk and I don’t want to buy anything…. I quickly say good bye and leave. It has been hot all day so I am worried about the ford at the beginning of the valley because I expect the water level in the river to rise. On the way down I enjoy the scenery a lot – that place is just so beautiful with all the flowers, the singing birds of spring and that beautiful river in the middle. 500m before I arrive at the ford at the beginning of the valley a friendly guy starts talking to me just minutes before dusk is falling.

He invites me to his parents home to spend the night there. He jumps on my bike and leads me the direction up to one side of the mountain. It is dark already, the road is steep and full of rocks and now we are two on the bike which makes it much harder to handle under these circumstances. I am really happy when we arrive at his house. I get one of the best Dhalbat (like Indian thali) ever and fall asleep at 1400m up in the mountains on a balcony at the end of February. What an amazing day this has been!

Pokhara to Baglung

Feb 20. – Feb. 22

First morning in Pokhara remains the only one to see the beautiful mountain view. The thunderstorm last night had cleaned the air – the days to come it remains cloudy or at least too misty to see far enough. First day in Pokhara I run around in the city trying to get orientation. I don’t really know why all the people think it is so beautiful here. Behind the 7 storage construction sites there is a lake that might be appealing to non Austrian tourists but the city is dirty and extremely expensive. All is about business only and full of tourists spending shitloads of money. I need a motorbike but cant rent one without passport.

Second day Jason arrives and I get my passport in the afternoon – Indian visa inside. Was not able to find an enfield for rent for a reasonable price the day before and today and my host who was most promising seems to do nothing to make me stay at his hotel – only blabla. Its friday evening and in Nepal saturday is what we call sunday – most shops are closed. In the evening I organize a Pulsar for a real reasonable price for the next day. I make a ride to the hilltop village of Dhampus which is famous for its beautiful view of the anna purna range. Today I only see clouds. I make my way to the trekking permit check point where I have another overpriced chai and back to gokarna again. The pulsar isn’t that bad I think but tomorrow I will finally get my bullet.
The bullet I rent is a 2013 model. Gears left side first gear down…. That is not a bullet. Still the sound reminds me of mine so I take it. In the afternoon I make a ride through an incredible mountain scenery to Baglung where I find a nice little room with a nice view cheapish and cold water only. I make a little walk through town and soon find a sweet little roof top restaurant where I decide to have dinner. Nothing else to do so I go to bed soon…. And I wake up soon! At around 11.30pm it starts itching at the end of the socks at my legs. I think it’s the blood circulation and take them off – and I hardly ever undress in guesthouse beds when its not perfectly clean, not even socks. I doesn’t stop itching so I wash my feet with cold water. I go back to bed where 2 minutes later again it starts itching like hell a little further up.

Damn shit! Bed bugs! I discover the first one seconds later and jump out of the bed. These stupid animals are every travelers nightmare! Last time I had them in morocco and I can exactly remember how long it was itching after. And this time I left the clove oil which is the wonder weapon against them in Pokhara. I search my stuff together and go downstairs to build a bed with the tables at the restaurant so I can rest a little somewhere. Out of cigarettes I write this and wait for the next morning. At the moment it can only get better!

Chitwan – Pokhara

Feb 18. -19. 2015

When I check out at rhino land I am surprised about the small bill. Eight days accommodation and a lot of food come to not much more than 70 US$ for good food and clean and spacey rooms with good view, hot water and a little internet (though for the guiding I recommend Ram, contact details last blog entry). You can contact them at +977-56-580339 or +977-9845065547 and they will pick u up from the bus station. GPS coordinates are N27.57782° E084.49905°.

I booked a front seat next to the driver for the bus to Pokhara so I enjoy the ride a lot. The landscape is amazing and the rivers are of incredible beauty. I have to go rafting here somewhere! When arriving in Pokhara it starts to rain and after I have found a hotel the rain turns into a serious thunderstorm including heavy rain and hail. After exploring the town I am completely wet and in the evening I discover a wild animal that has attacked me in the national park. I have a tick…

Pokhara itself is expensive and full of day tourists and hotel construction sites blocking the probably once amazing view. I don’t like the place but I have to stay at least three nights as Jason whom I met in Halong bay is coming here and will bring my passport with the Indian visa with him from Kathmandu. Before I have this I cant even rent a scooter. I use the time to find out the prices for renting a royal enfield . To me this seems to be the only fun promising way to get away from the tourists at the moment – and I cant wait to ride the Himalayas on a bullet once again!

Boom Bolenath! Happy Shivaratri.

Feb 17. 2015

Today is shivas birthday – a big holiday here and everyone who once experiences it will (have difficulties to) remember. Consuming Marijuana and Hash is kind of legal today and its offered everywhere at the temples. We are in the jungle though so get up early, make little sunrise meditation including some mantra chanting for shivaji and after breakfast we make a move towards back to Sauraha.


Today we walk the right bank of the river so we don’t need a ticket for the park for the nearly 20km walk. Sunrise at the riverside is incredibly amazing. In the jungle we see wild boar, lots of deer and again tiger foot prints – this time from a big male. We arrive at the borders of the “guide needed” area around lunchtime. A big big thank you goes to Ram, the craziest guide I have ever seen. He showed me exactly what I wanted to see and that was under the score:


All in all I have seen 10 rhinos (of which two I didn’t see because we bumped into them in the grass maze and had to run away – I count animals within a ratio of 5m as seen here even though I just smelled and heard them), 8 gharials, 3 slot bears, one tiger (within 5m) a tortoise, 7 wild boar, neverending white spotted deer, barking deer, hog deer and sambar deer, a not counted variety of birds of which the pictures show only a small part. It was the first time ever for me to see slot bears, rhinos and gharials in the wild. Before coming here I never hoped to ever see rhinos or gharials as they are both almost extinct.


If you plan to come here and enjoy the thrill of WALKING through a real jungle, give Ram a call and he will arrange all for you. His prices are more than fair and considering I was taking him as my private guide and he was risking his life to entertain me he is really cheap. His number: 981-2114298 – and tell him all the best from me as he doesn’t use internet to read this.


After saying good bye to the guides I still have to walk a little less than an hour to my guesthouse. Everybody is celebrating and just after stepping out of the jungle (dirty, sweaty and wasted) a beautiful girl stops me calling me bhole baba (today that’s ok) and makes pooja for me. I celebrate with the crowd at her family’s chai shop and then fall asleep soon after arriving at the guesthouse.


Second day inside the national park

Feb. 16. 2015

Today in the morning the guys are in time and we are the first ones to enter the jungle. Tonight we will sleep out there at the borders of the national park. A far walk sometimes on jeep tracks, sometimes through the middle of the jungle and sometimes through the grass tunnel maze searching for Balu the bear.


A few hundred meters after the first watchtower Ram turns right into a grass tunnel. He moves very fast in there and I sometimes have difficulties to follow him but at one point, when I am right behind him, I hear a very powerful roar less than 5 meters in front of us. Ram turns around in the second pushing me back running. Tiger he yells which makes me stop. My curiosity and my aim to take a good picture will for sure cost my life at a point. We have a short discussion and then run out of there as fast as possible. At least tigers give a warning – slot bears don’t. A situation just like this repeats twice with a rhino – Ram is just too crazy. He hears noises of obviously very big animals in front of us in the deep grass and without thinking jumps of the track into the grass risking his life to show me the bears.



We make lunch break at a waterhole during which I see rhino number 8 and a pretty big tortoise in front of me at the water – river ecologists water scan view had been activated. The first animal I can surprise my guide with. Until evening time we arrive at a beautiful watchtower viewing grassland, jungle and a long stretched lake in between. A little before, in between grassland with slightly better visibility we see a jeep some 250m in front of us. People inside pointing our direction…. They have seen us I think when Ram tells me a slot bear with a cub is coming our direction.


This time he probably really saves my life when holding me back… Slot bear is hard, nearly impossible to see between the grass. Damn, no proper picture I think. Minutes later we arrive at that amazing watchtower. Other tourists appear and laugh at me because after running through that environment in an orange t shirt I am covered with black stripes of ashes making me look like a tiger myself. One of the guys has yet travelled 74 countries and is just about to publish a book with pictures of faces he made on his journeys. They made a picture of me too which I would really like to get, so if you read this please send it to my email address.


We are lucky some of the grassland has just been burned down offering a very good view of an area that animals moving in the grass have to cross. I am still busy taking pictures of birds and landscape when Ram gives me the “there is an animal” whistle. Slot bear right in front of us – perfect view! I start taking pictures of it when the mother and the cub appear further away between the burned down grass. Suddenly I hear a deep roaring thunder that seems to make the jungle shake. When a tiger roars close to us in the forest behind the lake dozens of deer run out of the jungle jumping into the water to cross the lake, crocodiles either flee into the water (without attacking the deer), birds fly up and even the slot bears search cover.

The tiger roars a few more times but unfortunately does not come out. I guess Shirkhan just killed a deer and will probably not move so far away from its body for some time. Jungle remains quieter than before and soon we move towards the river as we have to cross it before sunset. Accommodation is directly at the bank of the river offering an amazing view… expensive though compared to the guides fee.

First day inside the national park

Feb. 15. 2015

My guides are a little late so I enjoy one chai more in the morning with a guy from Switzerland. Today we walk (!) to the east and will be back at Sauraha at night. It is the first time for me to explore a national park by walk and considering all the animals being at home here this is rather dangerous. Crawling through the jungle, the grass and the bushland we sometimes are caught in a maze of tunnels formed by grass that is more than 5 meters high. We don’t see further than 3-4meters but this is the place where the animals and especially the slot bears are hiding at daytime. I ask myself what we will do if a slot bear or another big animal appears right in front of us but don’t ask. Pray probably….


Until lunchtime we arrive in an area of a dried out riverbed in the forest. All is full of foot prints of deer, tigers, slot bears, leopards, rhinos,….. On the way back we are far of the ways and even Ram, my guide gets lost some times. At one point we have to cross a river but the place where we could do so using a big tree is occupied by crocodiles. No problem we go 200m downstream and wade… I really have fun and Ram seems to be exactly the right guide for me – totally crazy. That day we see 2 Rhinos, 5 gharials a few wild boars as well as neverending birds (amongst them two hornbills flying rather far away from us) and deer.