Here’s a trip account of my bus ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara:
Chanced upon the Greenline ticket office just underneath the North Face store where I came from along Tri Devi Marg, the same street as the Garden of Dreams. Dec 30 tickets were all sold out so I got Dec 27 outbound and Dec 31 inbound instead which meant changing my travel plans as I had originally planned on heading to Dhulikhel on those dates. Got front aisle seats on both dates which the ticket guy wrote on the white envelope for my tickets. The ticketing system doesn’t seem to be automated as in order to get my seat number and confirm my Dec 31 return ticket, the guy at the counter had to make a call, perhaps to their office in Pokhara.
Paid USD 50 for the RT tickets and my bus seats were booked! Easy!
Arrived about 10 minutes before 7am today and saw the bus idling by the roadside in front of the office and a few tourists by the curb. I showed my ticket to the bus conductor who was stuffing large backpacks underneath the bus and was told to go to the office to “check.” Inside, the guy at the desk put a check mark on my name, remarked “seat 2” and put a check mark on my seat number written on the white envelope.
Yes, there’s a seat number
After using the toilet (head to the marble steps at the left outside the office), I climbed back to the bus only to find a young white girl who looks like a funky version of Hillary Duff seated on seat # 1. I gave a weak smile (I prefer to be seated beside guys as there’s no need to be conscious about personal space) and just as I was about to take my seat, she said “My boyfriend . . . my boyfriend,” while putting her right hand on the seat. “But I’m in seat #2,” I said. “There are seat numbers,” she exclaimed wide-eyed and quickly skeddadled out of the seat and out of the bus. A few minutes later she boarded the bus back again this time with her boyfriend. I took a peek and saw they’re seated at the 2nd to the last row. Hahaha!
The conductor handed out 1L bottles of water and then we departed at 7:30am with the bus less than 2/3 full.
Contrary to what I was expecting, the ride wasn’t so bad. The worst part was getting out of Kathmandu’s traffic jams and getting stuck in another jam somewhere along a narrow mountain road just outside the city. Other than that, the ride was comfortable. Our elderly driver drove carefully, albeit a little too slow for me, and I felt safe all throughout. About two hours into the trip, we took a toilet stop.
At 11:30, we pulled into the Riverside Springs Resort at Kurintan, Chitwan for lunch which was included in the bus ticket. Served buffet style, it was good—- rice, dahl, vegetable curry, spinach, chowmien, pork with chili, and green salad.
The resort was really nice and plush.
The Trip continues
Back in the bus and we continued the trip passing through towns and some mountain roads. No traffic jams anymore and as we neared Pokhara, it became noticeably warmer, enough for me to remove my jacket. You could also the majestic Himalayas. There was ond final toilet stop before we arrived in Pokhara.
We arrived at the tourist bus stop around 3pm already. I was surprised at how traffic Pokhara was. Got off the bus and was approached by a taxi driver. Took his offer of NR 300 (guidebook pegged it at NR 200, albeit a little hard to bargain down to) for the ride to Hotel Celesty Inn. You could actually walk from the bus park to Lakeside by exiting right and following the road but I’m glad I took the taxi instead as it turned out to be quite some distance from the bus park.
Welcome to Pokhara!
It’s easy going to Pokhara. Simply book your bus ticket and ride. There are cheaper USD 10 tourist buses but I chose Greenline since I’m particular about staying in front. Read accounts of how some conductors don’t follow the seat numbers just so they can put Nepali people in front because they’re prone to motion sickness. Saves the conductor from all that cleaning.
There’s also a bus company called Travel Nepal that has super deluxe buses with a 1-2 seat configuration which is great for solo travelers if you snag one of the solo seats on the left side of the bus. Same cost as Greenliner, USD 25. I had bought my Greenliner bus tickets when I found out about it.
UPDATE ON THE RETURN TRIP (DEC 30)
Followed the same procedures of checking-in, etc.