Sensing that I am more adapted to the local transport system, I opted to board a public bus, with the objective of saving money and visit one of the places in Nepal described by some guide book as a true treasure hidden somewhere up in the mountains, none other than the town of Bandipur.
If you hire a taxi from Pokhara to Bandipur for a day trip, the usual charge is around 4,000 Rupees, but if you brave the many stops and head-banging bumpy ride of local bus, it will only costs you 360 rupees for round trip fare. To choose which bus can be quite confusing, so I am particularly thankful to a Nepalese gentleman (owner of one of the hotel in Pokhara Lakeside) who directed me the correct bus that I needed to take.
From Pokhara it will be a two hours ride to the town of Dumre, from the main road of Dumre another mini bus ride is needed to go uphill and reach the mountain top village. With very limited ride going up and down the 1030m elevated town of Bandipur, the bus will not move until every space is filled up.
Upon reaching the final bust stop and stepping outside the mini bus, I was immediately amazed on how something so architecturally beautifully built is hidden atop the mountain. The mixture of tall-old buildings, red bricks, narrow alleys and the surrounding scenery of mountains and farm fields is something so familiar and yet completely new, as if I have seen and walked similar alleyways before but then again, they are mostly places that do not require to go up to such elevation.
There is very little practical information available about Bandipur, last I checked there is only one hotel advertised over the internet and the price is not budget travel friendly even. But the truth is, there are a lot of small inns that can accommodate visitors, so I was actually disappointed somehow that I wasn’t able to spend at least a night at this town.
Bandipur is a complete community originating from Newari culture. They have pharmacy, banks, library, shops, postal service and most importantly schools- all these existing over a façade of a century old neighborhood.
It is said that people of Bandipur lives longer than the rest of Nepal. I’m not sure what is their secret but looking at them always moving and doing something, maybe that’s the reason. But then again, this is something that is quite obvious in this country, everyone is moving and even women are helping on chores deem as man’s task.
There were only few tourists who want to experience this hilltop town, which actually added to its over-all charm- though it graciously let the outside world in but still only few dare to go up to the mountains and experience the one of a kind Bandipur.