These are the sounds that greet you while fighting your way through the crazy traffic in and out of Kathmandu. They are replaced by the tranquillity of turquoise rivers and snow-capped mountains in the distance and hills covered in lush vegetation - and of course friendly villagers, as well as a dog or two chasing the bikes!
My boyfriend and I did the "Road to Mustang" trip on two Royal Enfield motorbikes. We were accompanied by our excellent tour guide, Sonam, and mechanic Raju.
Our first night was spent in a luxurious new hotel in Pokhara. From day 2 onwards we exchanged tar roads for the more adventurous dusty ones. There was sand...and more sand, and huge rocks, uphills and downhills, and hairpin curves with a combination of all those mentioned, but never far from beautiful vistas of the Annapurna mountains and rivers with suspension bridges adorned with colourful prayer flags.
In Tatopani we could already sense we were entering the remoter parts of Nepal, and stopping over for lunch in Kalopani made us realise we were finally living our dream of riding in Mustang. We travelled all the way up to Muktinath (3800m and well above tree-line) and were surrounded by snowy mountains, gravel roads, and colourful houses. Seeing all the colourful yak wool shawls and ladies busy weaving them, we couldn't help but stop and buy gifts to take home. By now the temperature was also well below zero. However, we always had the comfort of hearty Nepali dishes
or Western food like pizzas and pastas or burgers to choose from. We also had the privilege of free wifi at the lodges we stayed in, to send pictures to our friends and families back home in South Africa.
In every village we were always greeted by curious, sometimes shy, laughing children - Muktinath, Marpha, Jomsom,and Kalopani especially. Books and colourful pens, socks and neck warmers (buffs) are welcome gifts for these young children.
Reaching the outskirts of Kathmandu again after 8 days of riding made us want to turn back. We will most definitely return to Nepal, to ride Upper Mustang and more.
Arie and Brigitte
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