A cold and sunny day about town in Gouda, the famous cheese-town. For the first time this year the open-air cheese market was going on again. Big rounds of cheeses were being traded right in the center of the historic town. What a sight to behold…
After walking around town and enjoying a snack of traditional cheese soup, fried cheese roll and old cheese sandwich the day-trip was topped off by a visit to the “Kinderdijk” collection of historic windmills (19 of them, the largest collection of windmills in the world in one place!). Enjoy:
My friends at TINGS www.tingsblog.com recently posted about a trip I really want to make when I am in Nepal next time. Such good info, absolutely not to be missed!!! I have featured their lovely hotel earlier on this blog and it has really been my home away from home ever since I found the place in an alleyway off Lazimpat road. We have had such good times there together, even had a big party for the ChautaraGallery artist friends there one year – such fun and good times and fantastic food!
Yesterday we got back after the most stunning trip we’ve ever done in Nepal!
We have been driving on beautiful roads on all continents on this planet. According to Annette this circuit has some of the most beautiful roads we’ve ever seen in our life.
This is the circuit we took:
1. Kathmandu (A) via Muglin (B) to Pokhara (C)
The first time you take this road you love it. The second time its OK. After that it’s a nightmare. After Muglin – towards Pokhara – you get the first beautiful views of The Annapurna Range. Here the traffic gets easier…We left Kathmandu 6:30 am (before all the tourist buses) and reached Pokhara 5 hours later.
2. The Siddharta Highway: Pokhara (C) via Tansen/Palpa (D) and Butwal (E)
This is the old road between between Pokhara and Lumbini. The road is stunning! through beautiful valleys picturesque and charming colorful villages,
We stopped over one night in Tansen. The city itself was a big disappointment. We should have stayed outside the city in a place with a view. We left Pokhara 12:15 pm and reached Tansen 4:15 pm.
3. Butwal (E) via Narayanghar & Sauraha (G) to Hetauda (H)
We left Tansen around 6:30 am and reached Butwal in Terrai an hour later. At 10 am we had breakfast with our friend in Narayanghar where we stayed). In the evening we went to Sauraha for sun downers & dinner (30 minutes away).
Before we left the following morning we went shopping: Tuborg Strong – the champagne of beers – is only available in Terrai. And at Tings when we get at chance to bring them to Kathmandu.
4. The Tribhuwan Highway: Hetauda (H) via Daman (I) back to Kathmandu (A)
We left Narayanghar around 10:30 am and reached Daman at 4 pm.The reason why we took the circuit counter clock wise was because Annette wanted to drive towards the Himalaya Range… a very wise decision.
This part of our 4 days travel is among the most beautiful trips we’ve ever done…If you don’t believe us – click on the pix below
The following morning we left Daman at 8:15 am after a sunrise so beautiful that we kept asking ourselves why we haven’t visited Daman before… and why all tourists are send to Nargakot and Dhulikhel when Daman is only two hours from Katmandu…. this does not make any sense at all
Do you have the time and prefer to travel on your own by local buses this circuit is perfect to combine with popular treks from Pokhara and/or more exotic trips to Lumbini and or Janakpur and Illam in the far east.
Almost all of our guests who visit Nepal for the first time have Pokhara and Chitwan on their itinerary.
And a lot of them also want to go to either Nargakot or Dhulikhel to get a view of the Himalaya range. We would never do this after this trip.
We would definitely skip Nargakot/Dhulikhel – the Himalaya view from Daman exceeds the both places by far! And in stead of the usual Kathmandu (via Mugling) – Pokhara (via Mugling/Bharatpur) – Chitwan (via Mugling/Bharatpur) – Kathmandu route we would definitely take the above circuit. The only reason why we haven’t done it before is because we have spend all our time starting up Tings.
The total time of transportation is around 5 hours longer… BUT that is a very cheap price to pay to escape from the horrible Mugling/Bharatpur Highway.
The bonus is a fabulous scenery, NO TRAFFIC!, fantastic roads (the quality of the roads is much better compared to the popular tourist trail) and a possibility to drop by Lumbini (F) which is only 1 hours drive from Butwal and/or trips to Janakpur and/or Illam for long term travelers.
There are all kinds of accommodation along the way – and you can find them all online. We stayed in a modest home stay in Tansen (500 NRP) and an expensive resort (80 US) in Daman instead of the 1,000 NRP Guest House around the corner…
We had our own car. But the local buses run frequently between all destinations on the map. An alternative is renting a car – more expensive but maybe more convenient. If you are planning to fly – DROP IT and spend the money on a car.
The ultimate way to take this circuit is a Motorbike….!
Annette & Thomas