Jiba Lamichhane is a businessman who has traveled to around 100 countries till date and, as a rule, doesn’t repeat a vacation spot as there are so many other places in the world to see and explore. His travelling days started when he went to university in Moscow where he would save all year and travel during the term break in July and August. Compiling his experiences, he wrote his first book ‘Sarsarti Sansaar’ which is being launched this Saturday. The Week’s Isha Upadhyay caught up with him to find out more about the experiences that inspired him to write his book.
He has been to Singapore many times and yet each time he goes, he is awestruck. He doesn’t know what it is about this city that draws him in so much and is thankful that he gets to keep visiting for business purpose as he chooses not go to the same place for a vacation twice. In the course of him going there over a period of 28 years, the development that the city has undergone is surreal and it makes him believe that there is nothing that can’t be achieved if you set your mind to it.
Prague, the capital city of Chez Republic, is home to a number of famous cultural attractions and he feels like even walking the streets is like walking in a museum. Attractions such as the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square with the astronomical clock, and the Jewish Quarter are some of the places that mesmerized him. Some of these sites have even been included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. The architecture of the whole city still leaves him marveling over it whenever he thinks about it.
Maldives is a group of islands in the Indian ocean that have islands that are only 1.5 to 2 meters above sea level. The government of Maldives is even said to have been buying lands in Australia and Bangladesh in order to evacuate the citizens because at the rate the oceans are rising, the islands will disappear in the next 100 or so years. The beauty of the islands mixed with the fact that the sand he stepped on might disappear into the ocean in the near future is what fascinated him about this place.
A country that faced such major setbacks with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has rebuilt itself so beautifully that it makes him see what wonders mankind is capable of when they put their minds to it. The country also makes him sad as he finds himself comparing these developments with that of Nepal’s and lament about where we could have been if minor inconveniences didn’t obstruct our path to development.
His travel bucket list
He has always wanted to travel for a length of time in a train. He has his eyes set on the Trans-Siberian line that is 10, 214 kilometers long. It is scheduled to take seven days, 20 hours and 25 minutes to reach from one end of the line to the other. However, due to lack of time, he hasn’t been able to fulfill this wish he has had since his college days.
Having never been to Latin America, he wants to go on a trip through it all; entering through the Caribbean’s and traveling through Panama, Argentina, Brazil and then to Chile from where he can charter a helicopter to reach Antarctica. He has been looking into it and has planned to take a month off in 2017 for it.
On his first day in Moscow, he and a few of his friends got in a cab to go sightseeing around the city. The chatty cab driver asked them where they were from and when he didn’t recognize Nepal, they gave the standard statement – it was a country near India. The driver became very excited and stated singing ‘Mera juta hein japani’ and talked about how there were Bollywood movies in theaters with Russian dubbing. At the end of the day, the driver refused to take money for the day and told them he was honored to have spent the day with people who come from the land of Raj Kapoor.
Having extensively traveled to many places in the world, experience has taught him a few lessons that The Week had him share.
If you are traveling with young kids, always put a note in their pockets that states the name of the parents, the contact number, and the name and address of the hotel you are staying in. Brief them that in case they cannot see any family member around, they should approach a policeman or another family that has kids and give them the note and tell them that they are lost. “My younger son was four years old when we were in Vatican City and he got lost. If I hadn’t done this, we wouldn’t have found him as easily as we did,” says Lamichhane.
Wherever you travel always keep your passport, your ticket and your money in your person, preferably the inner pocket of your jacket and not even your handbag. “We were returning from Portugal to Madrid when the handbags of the girls in the compartment next to ours were stolen at night. Thankfully the thieves had some conscience and left the passports in the dustbin in the corridor but everything else was gone,” he shares.
Always take a picture of, or scan, your travel documents and email it to yourself. Even if you lose everything, you can still log on to your email and the copies may turn out to be life saving.
If you google how the public transportation in the area is like, you will end up saving a lot of money. While you are at it, also google the top 10 places to visit in the vicinity or buy tickets for the hop on, hop off buses as they will give you a tour of the city at low prices.
Wherever you travel be careful and don’t be chatty with all the nice strangers. There are people who con you in ways you cannot even imagine. Lamichhane had just disembarked in Moscow and was walking towards the exit when a well-dressed man with a suitcase walked by him and dropped a wad of cash right in front of him and hurried away before he could call him back. “As I raised my foot to step over the money and walk away, another man came and picked it up and insisted that we share the money since we both saw it at the same time. He wanted to go to a secluded place to divide the money,” explains Lamichhane. He had heard about this trick before and hurried away from the man but there were many people these tricksters had successfully conned and looted right at the airport.
When traveling if you have a transit of more than eight hours, try to get a transit visa so that you can visit a few places in the said county and fully utilize your trip as well as your time.