Crossing the boarder
After a half day on the bus from Gorakhpur, the bus stopped near the border. I needed to pay for a Nepalese visa and I was concerned that I didn’t have exact change in US Dollars. There were some money changers at the border, but the rates were horrible. I decided to take my chances and walked across the border. It was probably the easiest border crossing in my life. No security, no one asked for my passport. It seemed open for everyone. I didn’t want to risk going around without a visa, so went in a building to get that. They took Indian rupees as payment (although I had to pay more). I needed some Nepalese money and I didn’t want to use any money changers. I tried one ATM, but it took Visa only. I had Mastercard. Luckily I had enough money to get in a shared jeep to the next largest town. But after this I only had a few cents left. Cutting things a little close. I did find an ATM that worked and had my first meal in Nepal.
I talked to a couple westerners on the way and asked me if I had a reservation in Lumbini. I said no. They said there is a big festival starting today and there are no rooms left. I got on a bus and took my chances. I did find one room, but it was expensive. I didn’t have a choice, unless I wanted to sleep in a tent with the Tibetan pilgrims who flooded the area. I was planning on spending a few relaxing days here, but because of this fesitval, I could only afford to spend one night. I rented a bike with a broken seat and tried to see as much as I could before sunset. The Nepalese people here seemed friendly. (photos)
The following morning, I bought a small package of crackers and got on the 7:00 direct bus to Kathmandu. I asked the ticket seller how long it takes and I think she said about 8 hours. Twelve Hours later, I arrived in Kathmandu. Most of the time just waiting around for more possible passengers.
Note about Time Zones
Most countries have a nice round time zone, such as +5:00GMT or -7:00GMT. India makes it a little more complicated, the whole country is +5:30GMT. Nepal is even more unusual with +5:45GMT. I’m not sure if this extra 15 or 30 minutes is worth the trouble.