Sauraha, Chitwan, Nepal is small town filled with tourism. Tourists fill Sauraha from March until May to visit Chitwan National Park. Since, tourism is major part of life in Chitwan there are several ways to get around; tongas, motorized vehicles, and walking. Tourism impacts the types of transportation available in town.
There are a few animals that are used to transport people in Sauraha. The first I have already mentioned, elephants. People use elephants for jungle safaris. The next most used animal for transportation purposes are horses. Horse drawn carts are call tongas (ton-gah). Tongas are small carriages that can fit up to eight people. It is much slower than motorized vehicle but sometimes buses do not come on time and tongas are really reliable.
There is a bus in Sauraha that travels around town and to the next town. It is only twenty five Nepali rupees to ride the bus (thirty five cents). This bus is fast and cheap but not reliable. In Nepal there are no bus schedules.
How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around?:
Typically, at home buses come every fifteen to twenty minutes. Here in Nepal that is not the case. I have waited for a bus for nearly two hours and when it passed the bus was filled so I could not get on. The buses are small, one time I counted only fifteen seats but the drivers will fill the bus with as many people as possible. The bus had nearly fifty people on it. That day I learned to plan ahead just in case the bus did not come or was filled.
My favorite form of transportation is man power because it is most reliable. I prefer to walk or ride a bike to get to where I need to go. I usually do not have to go far to get to a grocery store or a shop. Not all of the streets are paved and now that I think about it I have never seen a sidewalk in Nepal. So, I walk on the side of the street. I always forget that people drive on the left side of the road in Nepal, whereas at home we drive on the right side of the road. When the first car passes me I realize I am walking on the wrong side of the road and I have to cross the street.
I have learned that most local children have to walk to school. There is a bus that students can arrange to pick them up but it costs money. The public school system does not provide buses. A lot of students and their families cannot afford to pay for the bus so they walk. My friends told me that some children walk as much as two hours a day to get to school. We are very lucky that public school systems in the USA provide buses.