Bus from Kathmandu to Besi-Sahar

Nick and I started by checking out of the hotel and walking around. We had left around 6:30am so it took a while to find a place that was open for breakfast. It seems that things don’t tend to get started until 9am or so. We found a place at another hotel and each got the simple breakfast (2 eegs, 2 toast, and tea/coffee – 130NPR). After breakfast we met an Australian lady who had taken 27 days to do the Annapurna circuit. She thought I was crazy for wanting to do it with such a small pack and in such a short period of time.

Nick left around 8:30am and I searched the city for the Nepal Tourism Office to get my ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit). Eventually I found the office, after following the scattered, hard to understand directions of a whole bunch of helpful Nepalese strangers. When I went to get the permit, I was told that I would have to walk around several more blocks to get 4 passport photos – 2 for the ACAP and 2 for the TIMS card (4 photos – 200NPR).

I had everything done by 9:45am, apart from the TIMS card, since the office didn’t open until 10am. They also said that it would cost 1700NPR for the TIMS card, while the guidebook said that it was free. Supposedly this changed 2 years ago.

Got a city bus to the “new bus station” (20 soles ~30 mins). People told me that even though it was 10:30am, the last direct bus to Besi-Sahar had left. I would have to take one bus to ??? and then transfer to a bus to Besi-Sahar. The first bus was 5 hours and very similar to the collectivos in Peru – privately run, crowded, very efficient, and there’s always one there. Periodically, at pick up spots, kids would come on board trying to sell things – watches, toys, snacks, and one of the most common, that I didn’t figure out for a while, was a long piece of cucumber with salt and chile. They cut it in half lengthwise and serve with an appropriate amount of spice. I also ate a packet of cookies I had bought for 10NPR along with 2 bottles of water for 25NPR each (though I think the seal was broken, so I purified it just in case. There are stories of people filling up empty water bottles with river water and reselling it.) I sat beside a Nepalese woman who spoke a little bit of English.

Arrived at the transfer point at 3:30pm and then transferred to a bus to Besi-Sahar. The driver seemed rather slow and stopped a lot to talk to people. The ride took 3 hours, reaching Besi-Sahar by 6:30pm. I stayed in the first hotel I came across, right opposite the bus stop. It was 600NPR (which seems quite high, in retrospect.) Had chicken curry and rice for dinner, followed by apple pie (supposedly apple pie is quite popular along the trek. I didn’t find it amazing.) While I ate, I heard protests along the main street, and there was a march of people carrying flaming torches. It felt very mob-like – but they did not appear aggressive.

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