Kathmandu -> Chheubas – driving, first little dramas, walking

7. + 8. April 2024



The start was scheduled for 3:30 and so I waited on time. The shared taxi arrived at 4.00 am and my guide Tenji was already in it. And then we drove through dark Kathmandu and picked up all the other passengers right outside their front doors. It became light and at 6.00 a.m. we were finally ready to leave the city. And there we had to wait again: a flat tyre.


flat tyre


I can’t remember who else was in the car apart from an Australian woman with her porter guide, who wanted to hike to Lukla and pick up her plane-flying friends for the Everest Base Camp Trek. She had never been above 2,000 metres. We travelled on a good road along the river, there were villages and fields.




river with shore


The driver said the road was so good because it was built by the Japanese. Then the army came marching along and I asked him who the enemy was. The driver said he was the enemy himself. He was a Maoist. He had once worked as a salesman in Saudi Arabia, but was probably not so successful. And so he has been travelling this route there and back for 7 years now.


driver on the right


road construction work break


At some point we crossed the river at an altitude of 350 metres. I was also quite warm by now. And then the car quickly climbed up the mountains and drove over and around them, winding here and there. And in the end we were in Phaplu. That’s at 2,200 metres and that’s where the tarmac road ends.


This is my guide Tenji (with me). He endeavoured to take a nice photo every day to send a happy report to his boss via the Wahtsapp. However, after a few days it was no longer so joyful and then there were gaps in his reporting. More on that later.


reportphoto (either the cap or the script are reversed….)


Accommodation, evening walk, dinner, night etc. were all fine and not worth reporting. The next morning we set off at 7.30am in a pick-up. The road wasn’t tarmac and was bad and we bounced back and forth in the car. But not really bad.




We had also picked up people again and also goods for further up. 3 people were a Japanese-Canadian couple with their porterguide, who are actually climbers and now wanted to hike at altitude for the first time.


Wwaiting during loading


On this road there was also work going on




And once, village women decided to chop a ditch in the middle of the road and the car had to take a long diversions.




The motorbike could be manoeuvred past


Then the first drama took its course. The porterguide was sitting behind me and after this little forced break he somehow constantly had his arm in my neck and didn’t look good at all. It turned out that he had become intoxicated and now had a breakdown. According to the couple, this had happened the day before and they were no longer happy with him. And so there were discreet conversations with the agency and my guide and me and everything. At first he wasn’t supposed to notice anything because he was still supposed to carry the luggage until the promised change. Although he was really over the hill, he had recovered a few hours later and later marched off happily with his luggage. To break the story already by now: from the next town but one, a replacement was actually there and the two travellers were very relieved.


In the meantime, here are a few pictures of the landscape:








We picked up another hitchhiking German couple. They had been travelling with their tent for a few days. He was carrying a large rucksack and was suffering from knee pain. They squatted on the loading area and ended up haggling over the price of a lift. Shortly before Paiya, the actual destination, we came to an end. There had been a lot of landslides here (but no human damage) and we would have had to wait too long, so we got out.




getting off


Hiking start (to the left the recovered porterguide)


Rhododendrons and other trees were in bloom, which looked very pretty:






And hiking people also looked pretty.


hikers 1


hikers 2


So we first travelled along the road and then through small villages or further up. That felt good after all the driving. At a place called Chheubas on the map, there was a small lodge where we stopped off with the climbing couple, slept and then the next morning we were to start the just-hiking part. But before that, a beautiful view of the late sun:




And because that’s already a bit much, I’ll introduce Tenji more in the next blog post. And also the landscape. First of all, let’s get our orientations: we are east of Kathmandu, we travelled a bit in the midlands and then turned north, heading further and further north towards Mt Everest and other mountain giants.


And I can already say that I was in for quite a few surprises the next day!