The Balthali Trip: Never Break From the Herd

About 40 km from the heart of Kathmandu lies Balthali, a village situated at the junction of Roshi and Ladku rivers. It’s perfect for a quick getaway from all the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Bus Ride

A relaxing trip, the purpose of our visit to the village. I sit here and ponder if I should call it a remote village? Well, it’s not remote per se, but not what you would call easily accessible either. Our day started like any other day, with the hustle and bustle of work and deadlines, especially so today cause we had a 3:00 PM departure time and needed to wrap up everything before hand.

So the day began like most days,  making sure credentials were right, sites were being transferred, revised and updated before we left for our weekend getaway. Organized by the marvelous Alliance Social Club (ASC), 3 member of our Alliance were scheduled to go on this trip. Catch Themes, Theme Palace and WEN(that’s where I work).

I was specially pumped up to be going on this trip. I had missed the previous 3 trips due to illness. I was unfortunate enough to fall sick every single time, and consequently have been made the butt of the office water cooler jokes. Matter of fact throughout the whole day I got “well wishers” come up to me and take my temperature to make sure I didn’t have a fever. So it’s fair to say I was looking to make up on some lost time(which i did).

Anyway, so back to the trip, after we wrapped up work, we had our tea, a cup of tea with haluwa and clear the bladder. We were told it would be a 2 hour bus ride to our destination, so if we left at 3:00 we’d reach our destination via bus around 5:00 and a short hike later we’d be where we needed to be. What we didn’t count on was the extent of the Kathmandu traffic jam, from our office at Kumaripati to Koteswor via Baneshwor we got stuck in the quintessential city traffic an hour added to our time.

By the time we got to our destination a second problem arose our driver hadn’t made this journey before and as such was confused, and asking the locals the path wasn’t helpful either :D. As soon as we landed 4 broke from the pack and thus broke the golden rule of both horror movies and hiking trips NEVER LEAVE THE PACK.

Road to Balthali

Fast forward 3-4 phone calls later the driver has finally found the path, it’s a narrow one, the path doesn’t fit two buses side by side and when it does, we’re talking about inches of separation. So on the way we witnessed a master class in driving by our bus driver. Honking and turning and backing up and finding spaces where none should exist.

This was all after an ill advised foray by the group to go “Hiking” up to the top. Believe me there would be plenty of time for that later(although at the time it seemed a good idea with the path being so narrow and all). So an hour on the bus we arrived.

Walk in the shade

Now time for the hike, by this time it’s still 6:30 bright and since we’re at some height a bit cool as well. So the smart man that I am I decide to break out the jacket i’ve brought along for the trip. Now i’m nice and cozy and ready for the trip ahead. First we go down, through a pathway of stones and shrubs, thank god it’s not raining. We trudge along and we reach the bridge, darkness strikes, in a snap of a finger it went from bright and nice to dark and scary, we don’t have a guide to tell us which way to go, so we’re guessing the route, luckily though we’ve brought the modern day survival kit, smart phone torches. So the gang break out their smart phones and shine a light. It’s all uphill from here, and now the jacket no longer seems a smart idea.

I don’t know if it’s the sedentary lifestyle of a developer but that hike shouldn’t have been that hard 😀 . Anyway by the time we reach the top we’re sweating bullets. I’m relieved to see that the people around me are as sweaty as I am though. So i’m looking forward to some R&R, at this point I hear Subir callout “We;re at the wrong place, this isn’t our hotel”. Apparently there are 3 hotels at Balthali,

  • Balthali Village Resort,
  • Balthali Hill Resort and
  • Balthali Eco Hill Resort.

On the itinerary before the trip we were told to Balthali Village Resort that apparently was a spelling mistake, we were supposed to be going to Balthali Eco Hill Resort. So we arrived at our destination, praise the lord. Now remember the team that I told you had broken from the back? the 3 musketeers and D’Artagnan? Well they were still under the impression that our destination was Balthali Village Resort. So unfortunately those guys were two hills away that’s right they had first gone to Balthali Village Resort, then Balthali HIll Resort and finally made there way to us. By the time they arrived they were more sweat than meat.

Room to Read

Now we begin the R&R part of the trip, snacks first, we were greeted with Popcorn, Potato Chips, Fried Chicken, Prawn Crackers and some sort of vegetarian option(ugh). We devoured this of course. After the food we settled down for some fun. Bishnu and Anil picked up the guitar and Madal and behold sweet music ensued. After an arousing and fulfilling round of songs to pick up the spirits, we were now definitely in a good mood.

Thus continued the night, dinner then songs by the campfire, the weather was beautiful here, not too hot, not too cold. Ahaam I apparently was a little too eager to make up for lost time and I might have enjoyed the night a little too much. All the same though, i enjoyed it as much as I possibly could.Thus ended the night on a very high note, with a full belly and songs of love and joy in our hearts.

The next day, i slept in. There was a hike to the nearby temple of Shiva but like i said i had a bit too much of fun last night. So i slept. After a good breakfast and lunch now we prepare for the road down. A slight drizzle is in the air, but its time to go back home.

The same trip again, but this time it’s mostly downhill so we have no problems, and the slight drizzle instead of causing a problem is actually helping, it’s not that hot. So we reach the bus the driver arrives and we leave.
20 mins down the trip, Sachet 2 members of our party are missing.

Ah, the problem, like i said the road is narrow it’s impossible to turn the bus around, and what is worse is that the 2 members for some unthinkable reason have thought it a good idea to come down on there own terms. They were given the final call, told it’s time to go, like everyone else and yet they didn’t come, What followed was an hour long wait at the base of Balthali village. The team now took the time to eat and drink bit of tea. While two misfits made their way through the hills.

In the end it was quite a good trip, refreshing just what you need to recharge your batteries.

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