CLEAN DRINK NEPAL - OCT 2018
On October 8th, our LAST MILE TEAM arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal ready to bring clean water to people in need.
THE PROJECT OVERVIEW
On Ocotober 8th a small group of travelers on motorcycles will depart from the remote city of Nepalgunj right on the Indian border in the low Terei region of Nepal. From there we will travel north into the foothills of the Himalayas. As we work our way into the deep river valleys and steep hillsides of the Rolpa and Dolpa regions, we'll visit a number of remote villages to introduce them to the MSR SE200 Community Chlorine Maker. Each rider will be supplied with their own unit and get the chance to deliver it, person-to-person, to the village leaders. Our guide and translator, Vishu Sijali, will help facilitate the handoff.
It is important to mention, these are villages and communities awaiting our arrival and aware of the tools we offer for their use.
We'll continue to push eastward towards some of the highest mountains in the Himalayas. We'll end the trip in the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara. Start to finish, we will spend a total of ten days on motorcycles. The riding will be challenging, if just because the roads are terrible and the bikes even worse. The days will be long and full of mishaps and uncertainty. Adventure, as they call it.
- Start Point: Nepalgunj in western Nepal on the border of India
- End Point: Pokhara, a resort town at the foot of the Himalayas
- Total Number of days on the motorbikes: 8
- Seats available for the trip: 6 on motorbikes, 3 in a comfortable SUV
- Total length of trip from airport to airport: 15 Days.
- Number of people we can feasibly provide clean water to: 1,500
When we set out to access the remote corners of Nepal, to reach the places where villagers have been abandon by tourism revenue and government support, it was obvious a motorcycle was the best mode of transportation for the task. Nepal's roadways are horrible and worse than many "Jeep roads" in North America. Motorcycles can also maneuver around construction zones, slow traffic, herds of cows, and other hazards which helps to knock down the miles quickly.
There are not many choices for motorbikes in Nepal. The Royal Enfield Bullet 300 is the most iconic machine of the Himalayas. It's built like a tank, but it rides like one, too. We will use Royal Enfield bikes simply because they're so tough. There will be a chance to possibly rent the new Royal Enfield Himalayan. Built for off-road riding, it might suit taller riders better and it can carry more gear more comfortably. That said, there is not an easier bike to ride than the old standard, the Bullet 300.
THE SUV OPTION (Miniumum of 3 team members)
We are going to add one SUV to the project. It has a major role to play toting gear, but also supplies needed to get water systems integrated into villages. The truck will be used to buy and deliver water tanks, hoses, and buckets. So, it will be a valuable tool. Nepal also requires a local driver, so it would be best if we put three people in the truck. The SUV crew may have to walk into some homestays in the Mustang Valley.
Oct 8 - All riders land in Kathmandu, some likely late in the evening. We will be there to greet each traveler and transfer you to the Hotel Traditional Comfort for a nice rest in the center of town.
Link to: Hotel Traditional Comfort
Oct 9 - We will spend the day in Kathmandu seeing the sites and getting rested from the long trip. This extra day is helpful if luggage is delayed. Our friend and professional guide of 20 years, Susan Mannadhar, will give us a tour of the World Heritage sites in the city. This is a good time to get asymilated with Nepalese culture and stretch your legs. Kathmandu is a must-see and it is good to do on arrival. The hotel can store items you don't want to take on the motorcycle ride.
We'll have a cocktail party on the roof of the Hotel Traditional Comfort to get acquainted, make some chlorine, and rally for a big adventure.
Oct 10 - After a short 60-minute domestic flight to Nepalgunj, we meet Vishu for the start of the trip. He will transport the bikes to the starting point. The first day will be short as everyone gets used to their bikes and riding on the wrong side of the road. It also takes time to get used to navigating around goats, kids, cows, cows, and more cows.
Oct 11 - 14 - We begin our journey but our exact route and itinerary will remain fluid. The objective is to work our way east while stopping to place water units in villages we have targeted before hand. The integration of a unit takes the better part of a morning. It might be necessary to stay long enough to work out the details of buying and installing a water tank. This phase of the trip is big adventure. If you like a firm plan, this might be tough. It's also why we are taking very basic camping gear. We would rather duck into the forest and sleep than drive into the night looking for a place to stay. Your safety is paramount.
Oct 15-17 - By this point you have done a lot of great work. You're tired. And while some parts of the trip have been beautiful, you deserve a dose of amazement. We will ride past ancient mountain towns into the remote and rugged Lower Mustang Valley. We'll ride through Annapurna National Park and you will see it's high summit, the 5th tallest peak in the world. You'll sleep under Dhawlagiri, the 7th tallest mountain in the world. On the 16th, we'll ride over suspension bridges, brave a couple river crossings, and visit the Buddhist monastaries of Muktinath. This is your time to revel in the splendors of Nepal. Later that day we arrive in the beautiful mountain town of Pokhara.
Oct 18- In Pokhara we'll stay at a brand new hotel. Each rider will have their own bungalo. For kicks we can catch a movie in the open-air theatre overlooking the lake and eat pizza and drink Nepali beer. If you haven't had enough fun, you can paraglide, take a helicopter to Annapurna Base Camp ($350 of the best dollars you can spend), or just chill on the lake in a rented boat.
Oct 19 - A short walk to the airport and a 17 minute domestic flight puts as back in Kathmandu and the comfy beds at Traditional Comfort.
October 20 - Either add another day to explore more of Kathmandu, or fly home. Most flights are in the evening. Although we will see several great attractions in Kathmandu on the first part of the trip, there is no way to see it all. An extra day visiting the city is nice as there are amazing temples and museums to visit.
OUR GUIDE AND THE FOUNDER OF ALTITUDE RIDERS
The founder of Altitude Riders and Camp 7000, Vishu Sijali has lead trips for more than a decade. He has guided mountaineering expeditions to the summit of Everest, Ama Dablam, and other 8,000 meter peaks. He leads multi-week treks and has guided motorcycle rides in India, Bhutan, and Tibet. He's very capable and nobody knows western Nepal any better. He is determined to conduct his tours in western Nepal to help bring tourism revenue to the people who live there.
Central to the mission of Clean Drink and Altitude Riders, our travels are designed to not disrupt the cultural integrity of the communities we visit and assist. Sustainability and responsible cultural exchanges are our top priority.
It's very important to Vishu, and to me, that we do our best to stimulate the meager tourism industry in western Nepal with home-stays and home-sourced meals. This gets pretty rough, but you'll meet amazing people and it goes a long way to helping to integrate the water systems.
We will eat at local homes and small restaurants. Vishu is always mindful of our health and selects our food options carefully. Your health and wellness are critical concerns but we also want you to experience local flavors. Where necessary, our cooks will prepare meals in camp.
EMERGENCIES AND RISKS
Everyone needs to understand how remote this part of the world is. There is minimal government help should there be an emergency. There are no ambulances and few medical services. Please ride within your limits at all times.
- Visas to enter Nepal are acquired at the airport in Kathmandu on arrival and cost $20.
- It is advisable to check with your doctor about vaccinations. Do get malaria pills as we will be near the lowlands of India
- Arm yourself to the teeth with stomach remedies, but do not get Cipro as your go-to antibiotic. It does not work in Nepal. The bugs love it. I can give you the travel-tummy low down.
- We will help with the booking of domestic flights to Nepalgunj and back to Kathmandu
- Make sure you have 6 months left on your passport expiration date!!!!!!!!