Driving in Nepal has got to be the most terrifying experience of my life. I normally just shut my eyes- and pray to quickly arrive. In Nepal, we drive like the British- they drive
on the left side of the road but they sit on the right side of the car. In the Capital the roads are a mix of dirt and paved- don’t be surprised by potholes the size of hot tubs. There are no traffic lights, traffic cones, traffic signs—it’s pretty much a free for all. Monuments, trees, or maybe a sign that is propped up mark intersections ( chowk in Nepali) and traffic circles. (For example, when I take a taxi from the heart of Kathmandu to my part of the city I direct them a certain tree…and then from there I walk to my flat) If the road is paved- there are no lines. In the hectic/touristy part of town they have cement pylons- but other than that the lane is up for interpretation on how wide your lane is. Which is kind of a problem because buses take up more than a lane- taxis sometimes drive side by side in one lane- and if this didn’t sound dangerous enough you have to watch for motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes, bicycles with engines, and bicycles dart in and out of traffic.
My city is about an 16 to 18 hour drive from the capital- most of the road is paved, but sometimes its gravel. The flatland of Nepal isn’t bad to travel on- you pass through a National Forest (lots of monkeys, antlered deer, elephants, and supposedly some tigers and red pandas)- you cross some bridges you think wouldn’t support a car. (true story- and of course the river is crawling with crocodiles) The real adventure of the drive is through the mountains. The highway that runs through the country basically runs through the flatlands, called the Terai, but then roads lead off the highway into the mountains. The mountain roads are ridiculously windy, they are steep- and they same rules apply about traffic and width of the road. If we are in the city- you have to watch for people, goats, cows, chickens, dogs…pretty much anything that is going to wander into the
dirt path and all the problemslisted above.
Needless to say- driving is an adventure. Our driver is AMAZING- she only almost killed us once- but in her defense we
told her the wrong direction- and when doing a turn around the end of the road was soft ground and I feel we almost kind of slide right off the cliff. Thank the Lord for 4 wheel drive.