So, I decided to be adventurous and took the land route from Kathmandu, Nepal to Varanasi, India. I’ve learned three things.
First, you never should do that again. As cheap as it was and as fun as it was, it’s something that you should only do once just for the heck of it and not ever again.
Second, the journey was not as uncomfortable as I thought, just scary as hell. I had to take a 8-hour bus from Kathmandu to Sunauli, then a 10-min jeep ride from Sunauli to the border, then exit Nepal, check into India, then a 3-hour bus ride from Sunauli to Gorakhpur, and then an 8-hour train ride from Gorakhpur to Varanasi. The total trip time was 22 hours.
On my bus from Kathmandu to Sunauli, I saw three accidents: a bus-car head-on collision, a bus-bus collision, and a bus on its side. Being on a bus, you can imagine how scared I was. On my jeep to the border, there were 19 people who shared it with me. I literally felt like as I heading into a war zone; all that missing were some guns and uniforms. And on my train ride to Varanasi, it was uncomfortable as hell!
And lastly, I learned that India never ceases to surprise me, even after spending nearly 6 weeks here. My first arrival in Varanasi was absolutely shocking! A friend (Leah) has previously said that everything in Varanasi is in your face: life, death, prayer, worship, etc. I got the grasp of it once I saw a dead body on the entrance to the train station. Again, you can imagine my surprise to get into Varanasi at 5am, sleep-deprived with rickshaw drivers approaching me, and being in a very grump mood.
However, after the initial shock, I grew very fond of Varanasi. I met three fellow solo travelers: a guy from Australia, a guy from Spain, and a guy from Russia. We went sightseeing yesterday and visited several temples and Sarnath, the place where Buddha attained enlightenment.
I’m supposed to have dinner with two of my friends (Calder and Hutch) from abroad tonight, so looking forward to it!