Travelling in Nepal has always had its challenges! When I first went in 1993, the journey from Kathmandu to Lalgadh took 13 hours, and 3 hours after you began the journey, you were further away from Lalgadh than when you started. The last four to five hours of the journey was about 55 miles along a straight road, but it had so many pot holes that you could not travel in a straight line for more than a few yards at a time, and much of the section was spent winding through trees beside the road. To add to that was the frequent near misses, and the sight of various recent truck and buswrecks along the way.
My initiation occurred when I travelled to Lalgadh for the first time to look at a broken Landrover. I spent a day lying under it in a dry ditch while we pulled the gearbox off to discover a clutch that had fallen to pieces. I then had to return to Kathmandu and get a spare part, and return the next day to Lalgadh to put it all back together, and then return to Kathmandu shortly after that. We became used to the journey, but it was always a terrible shock to new visitors who arrived at the end of it physically and mentally exhausted. The road eventually improved when it was resurfaced, and the journey time reduced a lot, but a few monsoons later was becoming a struggle again.
So our rejoicing was great when the new ‘direct’ road between Kathmandu and Lalgadh via Sindhuli was completed a couple of years back and the journey could be done in 6 to 7 hours. Sadly, the recent earthquake unsettled many roads, and this February a great chunk of the new road collapsed into the valley below leaving a 30 metre gap in the road that is impassable to traffic.This will probably take a long time to fix and so we may be back to the old routes for a while. I don’t think anyone was hurt in this case, but it is a reminder of the perils of travelling in Nepal.