Kathmandu to Soti Khola
Our guide, Kazi, met us early at the hotel, by 6:15am. We had eaten breakfast, packed our gear, and had already dropped extra bags at the hotel desk for storage while we were away.
We zipped across the city to the local bus we would take us to our trail head. Getting there early to ensure we got seats—good seats—was important for us. (One of us is 6'4" tall and another gets terrible motion sickness.) All our gear ended up being tied to the roof of the bus, so we pulled out our valuables, stretched our rain covers around the bags, and tossed 'em up.
The ride was long and dusty. We initially got stuck in a traffic jam inside Kathmandu before we paused for a quick break on a roadside stop outside the city about 3 hours in.
We stopped for lunch midday after leaving the main road. Dal Bhat for everyone. Kazi, our guide, was less than impressed with the quality of the restaurant chosen by the bus driver, but it worked out fine for all of us in the end.
The road leaving the last mid-sized town was rutted, dusty, and precarious. It was extremely rough driving, but we had lots of fun and found it exciting! The week before we traveled, the road was an impassable mess as the rains had kept the road deep in mud. There were locals as well as larger crews out repairing sections of the road as we passed.
We arrived at the last small town just before sunset. We would have had another 2+ hour hike to our first night's destination but our guide arranged a jeep to take us as the sun was setting. We were grateful as the jeep crossed a river after it was pitch black out and the drive was less than 45 minutes.
Upon arriving in Matchu Khola, we checked into the only lodge still with available rooms and ordered our supper. Dal Bhat and hot tea for everyone. The meal was great, we were tired and so we crashed quickly.
- Bring a face mask to cover your mouth and nose. The dust on the road will fill the bus or jeep on every road.
- Leave early to get the earliest bus, and the best seats. Later buses risk getting to your destination after dark if there are any delays on the road.
- Be prepared to be separated from your luggage. Have your valuables packed such that you can pull 'em out easily and keep them with you. If you use a rain cover (I don't), put it on for the drive as the dust will get into every nook and cranny.