EBC Day 03 - Boudhanath & Pashupatinath

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TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System) Card

I had decided to head to the TIMS office as early as possible in order to obtain my TIMS card as my main reason for being in Nepal was to go trekking. I also wanted to get it over with so that I could enjoy Kathmandu without it weighing on my mind. So after extending my stay in the hotel for another night - I gave USD10 and received NPR170 in change (which would mean that it come up to about NPR870) - and after my compulsory morning coffee which cost NPR30 at my favourite Newa Mo:mo Restaurant, I went in search for a mountain bike to rent.

On the way I stopped by several bookshops that were nestled in, and at times almost engulfed by, the rest of the shops that lined the crowded streets of Thamel. I had read a lot about the trek that I was to do beforehand and had guidebooks in e-book format on my Kindle Paperwhite but thought that an actual guidebook may come in handy. I was surprised by the high costs of new guidebooks however and was dismayed at the complete lack of second-hand copies so I ended up taking up the offer of one of the shopkeepers who had photocopied pages that detailed the treks of Nepal from the extensive Lonely Planet guidebook. This ended up costing me NPR200 instead of NPR2400 for a new guidebook.


As I stepped out of the bookstore, I realized that I was starting to feel very comfortable with the streets of Thamel as they were a lot more calm and less noisy than the other backpacker haunts in other major cities in Asia such as Kho San Road in Thailand and Pham Ngu Lao in Vietnam. The early morning light also gave the streets a much softer look as the sun was still low in the sky and the sounds were more hushed as everyone was still groggy from their sleep. The newspaper man seemed to be the only exception to this though as he walked up and down the streets screaming something in Nepali with his hand outstretched to the sky holding the latest edition of the newspaper written in the Devanagari script. The sound of his voice would always surprise me every time I heard it as I would not have expected something so loud to come from a man with such a small frame!

After a while I came across a little shop that rented out mountain bikes tucked in one of the little alleys hidden from sight. The cost of the bike was NPR1000 for the whole day including a little chain lock, which was pretty steep. I was also extremely reluctant to leave one of my passports behind as a 'security deposit'but after some contemplation I decided that I didn't have any other option, so after checking the brakes and the suspension, I passed my passport to them somewhat hurriedly as I was very eager to brave the Nepali roads!

Directions to the TAAN Office. The information from my Suunto Ambit for this part of the cycling trip can be found on my Movescount Page.

Location of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) office for the TIMS card

I was familiar with the route to the TIMS office (Nepali : नेपाल ट्रेकिङ एजेन्सीहरू संघ) as I had walked there the previous day and it also turned out that cycling on the roads of Nepal was far easier than I had assumed. The traffic was far less chaotic than some that I had encountered before although the prevalence of motorbikes was definitely comparable to the streets of some South-East Asian cities. The biggest difference that I noticed however was the sheer number of Royal Enfield bikes with their low guttural rumble on the roads. After 2.8 km of cycling, I reached the TIMS office and all I had to do was just fill in the form, show them my (other) passport, pass them 2 passport sized photographs and pay the fee. The fee came up to NPR1745 and funnily enough they only accepted Nepalese Rupees. Fortunately I had changed sufficient USD into NPR prior to the trip. Once I happily had my green TIMS card (green is for individual trekkers and blue is for group trekkers) in hand, I proceeded to make my way to Pashupatinath.

Next (Day 3) : Boudhanath & Pashupatinath (Part 2)

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