There are few ways of transportation in Kathmandu. Private, public and your own feet.
Taxis are probably your best option when you are new to the city and don’t know where, when or why. So you can easily save hours of looking for the place you want to go by just hopping into the taxi. The catch is, that it is the most expensive way of going anywhere here. And when you’re a foreigner, expect doubled, tripled or even higher price. The trip by taxi to the centre can cost locals 50-100-or even 200 rupees if it is really far away. Foreigner will have to pay from 200 rupees up to the limits of the drivers’ greed. And though it is still pretty cheap for foreigners as 100 Nepali rupees are worth about 1$, I don’t feel like arguing about the price every time before I enter a taxi. Because you always do it BEFORE you enter a “Facebook”, “Angel”, “Don’t follow me” or any other cab. Remember, Nepal is a poor country and for the drivers here you are a walking ATM. So in order to avoid unpleasant situations, always ask about the price before. And always argue about it and not at one cab only – it is better to check more taxis before entering one. You can also rent a motorbike or a scooter, which would be a bit cheaper (there are lots of them on the streets), but if you don’t know the way, it won’t be very useful either.
Second type of the transportation is bus, and here is where the fun begins. There are sometimes bus stop signs, but very few of them. You won’t find anywhere timetable, bus numbers or anything, because they just don’t exist. As I’ve already mentioned in another post, Nepali people don’t have any sense of time, so all those schedules would be for nothing. They do it in a very easier way. When you’re already at the bus stop, you wait. There will come plenty of minivans in many directions. Again, don’t expect to be it that easy 😉 In every bus there is a kid shouting the direction they are going. So you have to listen carefully for the name of your district, otherwise you will go into another destination. It is also better ask them twice about their direction, because the names are sometimes similar, they pronounce it in a way difficult to understand and it is very loud on the streets, because everyone feels like beeping around. When you get into the bus, you’re halfway there. Another half is to find yourself a place. You can consider yourself lucky when you have a seat, because when you don’t, most probably you will be squeezed like chickens going to the slaughter 🙂 I think it is the best way how to describe it – in those small minivans, where in Europe fit normally 6-8 people, they can pack there up to 30 people and I am not kidding. Best part of it is, that nobody is complaining, as it’s pretty normal. “Be glad that you’re in and shut up”. I think it’s the best way how to get to know the Nepali culture from the inside 🙂
And third way are your own feet. I don’t recommend it to you, unless you have your own GPS or a smart phone with local SIM, in order to avoid your last savings on the roaming. Why? Because if you don’t know the neighbourhood, and you are alone (without locals going with you) you are as good as FUCKED UP. You can ask locals about the direction, and when they understand you, they will show you the way. Everyone will show you the way, but not the way you need. For the first time I was looking an address I was running in circles for 2 hours till it got already dark, I was all wet from sweat, but finally I have found it. Next time I was smarter and printed out myself a map of the district with the big cross where I need to go. The problem is, that there aren’t any street names or signs you could look for and asking locals about the way turned out to be a disaster again, as they just don’t know how to read the map. Even with names written on it, it is pretty useless to ask them for help.
So much for today about the topic, and here you can find a video about the transportation with a small surprise at the end. After I have seen it, I knew, that nothing else would surprise me in Nepal.