Many people fly to Lukla (the so-called world’s most dangerous airport,) but it’s quite expensive and cuts out on at least 3 days each way. So the 3 guys I met on trekking partners and I all agreed that walking in was the way for us. The traditional route is taking a bus to the town of Jiri, but we found that by jeeping into a town called Salleri, we’d save 3 days of up-and-down climbing.
I was up at 3 this morning and after meeting the guys and a short taxi ride, at the jeep stand at 3:30. There was no one there. We were supposed to leave at 4:15. Some people did show up but still nothing was very clear. After much standing around, jeep changing, standing around, and sitting around, we set out at 5 after 5.
It was a beautiful road–figuratively stunningly so at times. (It’s a new road, built by Nepalis with Japanese support, funding, and equipment. It’s supposed to be finished in 2015 but already–with lots of diversions–people are making the trip.) We were packed in tightly; four people per seat, so 12 people in a smallish jeep. There was a lot to talk about with the guys. All of us were tired but it was nigh impossible to catch any sleep on those bumpy roads.
We passed so many small communities, cows and goats and chickens and just life everywhere you saw. Drove through a river valley and then climbed slowly, slowly, slowly up into the mountains. We stopped for breakfast puri and aloo jeera and then for lunch at a place with 100 rupee daal baht. At one point, we stopped for about an hour-and-a-half because of a strike or road work or something. At any rate, the 12 hour jeep ride ended up taking 16 hours, and by the time we arrived at Salleri it was 9 pm and quite dark.
We were worried a bit about finding a place to stay, but the jeep took us to a guesthouse Bruised from the grueling ride–the last 2 hours was a potholed, uneven track that even the 4-wheel drive struggled with, we stumbled out and ordered daal baht and mint tea.
Although we were only 1522 meters up, it was quite chilly. I slept in my thermals inside my sleeping bag, and wasn’t too warm. This bodes poorly!
From / To: Kathmandu to Salleri
Elevation: 2390 meters
Lodge: Laxmi Lodge Hotel
Budget: 650 rupees