Sunday, 15 April 2012

Chitwan to Pame Bazar

After having most of my fuel stolen from the guesthouse in Chitwan, I headed off to Pokhara. My plan was to find a shop somewhere to buy food, and then go out to the overlander campground just near Pokhara.

Sunset on my last day in Chitwan/Sauraha.

I headed back out through the valley north to the Mid Hills highway which goes to Pokhara. This section of road was quite busy with traffic, lots of trucks and busses, but once I got onto the Mid Hill highway it was rather quiet.

This is what I was riding through for half the day...

50000km! That would mean something if it was accurate.
And just after that I got stung in the neck by a wasp I think. It hurt a lot whatever it was...

After that it was mostly boring road until I got to Pokhara where the traffic picked up again. I missed any form of shops that look like they sold anything decent (I've since found cans of beans in Pokhara!). I followed the road west along the edge of the lake to Pame Bazar where the campground is.

Welcome to Pame Bazar.

Pame Bazar...

The Overlander camp ground.

All my camping gear still works!

The view north of the campground.
The camping was cheap, 60Rs/night for me to set up my tent. Motorhomes/caravans have to pay 100Rs plus 50Rs per person. There's a few sites that mention how rough the road is here, but really it's not that bad. It's a bit rocky in places but no worse than anywhere else in Nepal. There's also a bridge that looks like it has broken or never been completed so you have to ride over a dry rocky riverbed to get to the actual campsite, took me a while to figure out how to get over there from the road with the sign on it (you have to go just past that road!).

At the campground were mostly French and Germans (because this is about as far as you can drive from Europe without problems). There was a French family in their van, another French 4wd camper thing, a German couple in their more than off-road capable camper, another French couple in a small van who'd been traveling for 2 years, and then yet another French couple in a big van that had been parked there for a couple of years.

There is power and filtered water available, and there's a toilet and a gas hot water shower you can use which is next to the house. Pretty well set up campground.

I set up my tent far to close to the house though. The family gets up about 6am and from then until 10pm there's loud talking and arguments, with short breaks as they hit the daughter quite hard for some reason so she runs off crying.

They have wifi now which costs 100Rs/day to use but they put a stupid level of security on it. On the check-in form there's a section to put in the MAC address of the wireless device you want to use (so they only allow devices they want to connect), so I gave them my phone MAC address. And then on top of that they use WPA2 which is really not worth the time to break here but it's still perfectly fine for the rest of the world. And then on top of that they don't use DHCP so you have to set up everything manually (now that's just dumb). Ridiculous amounts of security for a place where there are no other houses close enough to be able to steal the wifi. It took the guy about 30 minutes to set up my phone because he had to do it his way. When I asked what he was doing he told me that was just the way it worked, I just kept quiet and recalled everything that makes it so easy to connect to a wireless network everywhere else.

You have to bring your own food too, but in Pame Bazar there are a few places to eat at. I had Dhal Baht at one place and they charged me the "stupid foreigner" price of 300Rs. At another place I had small fried fish and one beer, again at the "stupid foreigner" price of 450Rs. It's cheaper to eat western food in the touristy areas! There was one shop where I bought biscuits and things at nepali prices though, which meant they actually charged the MSRP written on most items rather than inflating it. But one of these places gave me food poisoning AGAIN.

Being sick again I decided I didn't want to hang around and listen to the family argue all day and decided to head into Pokhara and find a room with a toilet to be close to. I packed up all my gear very slowly as everything hurt and I also had to take frequent breaks to rest because I was very fatigued this time.

I was all packed up then I went to pay my bill of 320Rs for two nights so I handed them a 500Rs note, which of course they didn't have change for so they had to run into Pame Bazar to get some. What kind of business will charge you an amount like that but doesn't have change for the closest value note? The answer is every Nepali business, I notice it's very common for them to never have change for anything. It's very difficult to get rid of the 1000Rs notes that the ATMs give you.

Once I got on the bike I felt ok though, for a while. I went to the Butterfly Lodge as that sounded like the best place. Once I asked if they had any rooms he then took me over to look at them, showing me a 1500Rs/room which was rather nice and clean, but well over my budget. He said they had the same sort of room on the ground floor for 1200Rs/night but on the ground floor, and again I said that was too much. I told him my budget was 800Rs/night and then he went on a big long rant about how the room he would show me may not be to my liking for that amount, and that by adding the 10% service charge then it might be worth just paying an extra few hundred Rs to get a better room. I said that was fine but let's actually go look at the cheaper rooms rather than standing round in this 1500Rs/night room. And the cheaper 800Rs/night room is perfectly fine, it's actually quite clean and it's just an old room. On the door of the cheaper room is a sign that said that the 10% service charge will be added to all bills, and I queried this, but he assured me that this room will be 800Rs including service charge.... We'll see how that works out later.

Once I unpacked though the sickness finally hit me and I just collapsed in pain and tried to sleep the rest of the day away. Thankfully sleep worked even better with the dodgy cheap codeine tablets you can buy here.

Here's a timelapse I made of the clouds over the campground:



  1. Great update following you closely for tips for when we do this next year

  2. My advice so far would be to pack imodium, lots of imodium!

    Check out these guys too:

  3. Hi Ryan,

    I've been at the campground for a few weeks now, I've heard all the stories about the family arguments from others and site owner Erich; but they stopped about six months ago (same time as the drinking roxi stopped) You can access the wifi throughout the entire village hence the security but it is strange to have such a high level. I'm in the village now.

    Enjoyed reading your blog, I hope I do not seem argumentative its just after hearing about all the stories people should be aware that the noise is not a problem any more. Great place to chill out

    Take care