If you have just read the above tip you will be able to see why I didn't fancy catching the bus from Kathmandu to Dunche for my latest trek in Langtang – Well not both ways !!
So I decided to splash out and go by Toyota Landcruiser, As usual I got my friend Nirmal at HMA to organise the hiring of one and as I had 2 other trekking companions to split the cost with it wasn't too expensive. To cut the costs down further I also placed a posting on here and Lonely Planet Thorntree's and got one other person, so we had four westerners + our Nepali “Staff” (3).
The vehicle that Nirmal found us was Great, The Driver. Hari was competent and the journey went as smoothly as the road allowed and was a Much more Pleasant experience than the bus of 10 years before – and NO the road wasn't any better !!
Cost in Spring 2010 was $150 inc so split four ways hardly excessive – I would recommend Anyone thinking of trekking in Langtang to opt for the same mode of transport, at least on your outward journey !!
On a number of occasions I have booked a 4x4 vehicle to go to remote areas or with a big load of luggage to Pokhara or Ilam, and I have used National Tours Services on a number of occasions. This has always been good, however, you will be surprised about the cost of vehicle hire, especially the 4x4s. There is a price range involving criteria such as the road quality etc.
For longer trips, out of the city, a travel agent could organise a car and driver for you. Do try more than one agency to get the best deal. Also be clear as to what is included and what not before payment.
We used this mode of transport for a trip from Kathmandu, to Nagarkot, then to Bakthapur before returning to Kathmandu.
Buddha Transport Service, based in Kathmandu, offers great rental services. Vehicles of many kinds, with driver. They have drivers that do really know their business and theri way around. I have used them both on official business and odd hours sort of transport, as well as more special services kind of thing, with safety in mind. i have used them during bandhs - road strikes - where they have apparently struck deals with the bandh organisers so their vehicles can pass certain roads or sections at speicla times or they are adviced which roads will not bel blocked.
Another possibility to travel long distances in Nepal is by taxi / private car, This is a much more realistic proposition if you are in a group of 3 or more and are able to split the costs. But if you aren’t travelling on a budget, want a bit more comfort or are travelling in a tight timeframe and need to get to a trailhead quicker then it is a good option.
There are two ways of hiring one.
1) Go to a travel agent and book one, Personally I would go and se Nirmal at HMA, make sure that the travel agent knows exactly what sort of car it is that you are looking for, stipulate whether you require the driver to be fluent in English and make sure you are hiring a car that is going to be big / comfortable enough for the passengers as well as all the luggage
2) Approach a taxi on the street and get a price direct, you will then know Exactly what it is that you are hiring and how fluent the driver is in English.
Fuel prices are on the up in Nepal. March 2008 a litre of petrol was anything between 80 NPR and 100 NPR. So this obviously effects the price that you will pay.
Typically a private car to take you from Kathmandu to Pokhara would cost you from $80 to $100 in March 2008
This is an adventurous tour of about 1.000 km through the evergreen Nepali side with landslides blocking the road from time to time, over the high passes of the Himalaya and through the waste lands of Tibet. Massive road construction forced us to take the worst ways possible - suffering a flat tire and a broken axle of another jeep. But I guess next year the charm of the bone-rattling, neck-breaking Friendship Highway will be gone with the arrival of a real highway that deserves the name. The same trip will be so comfortable, I would miss the jumps ;-)
Can you see the narrow road on the left side above the steep cliff on the first two pics? These roads have no mercy - one little mistake and you will see these green gorges from the ground ;-)
This highway is closed every night, because Maoists are blocking the street. So try to leave Kathmandu or Pokhara before noon, or you will have to spend the night in Mugling sleeping in your taxi/bus/car. All the rooms were fully booked.
I've driven in quite a few different countries and experienced several different driving styles but nothing prepared me for Nepal, and Kathmandu in particular!...
If you want to pass something you blow your horn.
Just because something is coming at you doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to overtake anyway, you just flash your lights and keep going.
If the person you want to pass is happy to let you pass they indicate on the side they want you to pass on (think about it!).
Whilst you're passing you blow your horn again to let the others know you're coming.
Once you've passed quite often you blow your horn again to say thanks.
Buffalo wander down the middle of the streets as some form of religious traffic bollards. If you hit one you go to prison.
... The roads in Kathmandu are very noisy!
Having said that, despite the cocophony everybody remains calm and sits in the chaotic gridlock blowing their horns. It's fascinating to watch.
... absolutely the most caotic traffic i've ever seen anywhere in the world ... if you take a taxi, you're sure to have some near-death experiences (the only good thing is that cars really dont'g go that much fast ...)
Hyatt Regency Kathmandu Kathmandu
5 Reviews and 481 Opinions Stayed almost 3 weeks on business in April 2011. The public areas are nice and the rooms are looking...
See all 110 Hotels in Kathmandu
Fishtail Lodge Pokhara
7 Reviews and 169 Opinions Fishtail Lodge is the most beautiful hotel we ever stayed. Even though it is small in size but its...