Project 365: Day 134 – Thank god for the SAARC!

12th November 2014 – Kathmandu, Nepal

Before the officials in white shirts, sent me shuffling from table to table,
Before I gave up, and pursued my choice of becoming a rebel,
Before all that craziness got to my head, sending it into puddled waters,
There was a little boy, a flock of pigeons, and me. All in a temple spell.
Kathmandu darbar square in Nepal.

Clearing a path, took a whole new meaning here. – Kathmandu, Nepal

I moved to Bhaktapur last evening, about 20 KMs from Kathmandu. Primarily, because I was tired of the crazy part of Thamel that I was living in.

Bhaktapur is beautiful, but I have not had a chance to explore it yet. I rode back to Kathmandu in the morning, to see the Kathmandu Darbar square, which I couldn’t see before. Very similar to the Patan Darbar Square which I visited yesterday, the one in Kathmandu is like an elder brother from the UNESCO heritage family. And the best thing? I had to pay the same price as a local!

Nepal actively supports the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Coordination) tourism campaign. So, if you are from a SAARC member-country – which includes India – you pay ticket prices much lower than other foreigners. The Patan Darbar Square was 500 NPR for my Singaporean friend, while I paid only 150. And the Kathmandu Darbar square was 750 NPR for foreigners, while I paid only 200. Who said there are no benefits to having an Indian passport?!

Most of the morning was spent watching a little kid run through a group of pigeons, in front of the square. He cut an idyllic figure into the temple background, before the crowds slowly moved into the frame. At that point, I gave up clicking and went to the Transport office in Patan.

When I crossed the Nepal border, I had to pay a road permit tax of 226 NPR per day. I had paid this amount for 13 days, which is only another 2 more days from today. But, with all the love I am having with this country, I wanted to extend the road permit for a few more days. Hence, the transport office in Patan.

Well, at least it is heartening to know that Nepal has the same bureaucratic issues as India. I was shuttled from table to table in the transport office, half of them not understanding a word I said, and I didn’t understand the remaining half. Finally, one guy – who spoke fluent Hindi and English – gave me a somewhat concise answer. I could get the road permit here, but before that, I had to pay the road tax itself in another building. Something like a tax department or something, which was far away from the transport office. Then, come back, present the payment receipt to a couple of different departmental desks, get their signatures, and I could get my renewed road permit.

Without a road permit, the fine for riding a motorbike in Nepal is 10 USD per day. I decided to take that risk, instead of all this bureaucratic nonsense.

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Unless mentioned otherwise, all pictures are taken by the blog admin. If you would like to use them for any commercial or non-commercial purposes, please contact for approval.



About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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