Certainly nothing in the United States (or New Zealand) can prepare you for the chaos that is traffic in the cities of Nepal.
Countless people walk on the sides of the roads. Bicycle wind their way past. Swarms of scooters and motorcycles surge in every direction. Cars and taxis dart and weave this way and that. Crowded local buses with every seat filled, the aisles filled, people hanging out the door, and often even people sitting on the roof, speed past. Brightly colored, giant trucks emblazoned with Hindu gods on their sides roar by. And all this is punctuated by vehicle horns in various pitches honking constantly. To add to the confusion, sometimes buffalo and cows wander down the center of the streets oblivious to the traffic. Traffic signals or signs are rare occurrences, and many of the roads are dirt, and all of them have a profusion of potholes.
Outside the cities, the chaos continues; huge trucks and buses pass with the narrowest of openings, on blind corners, blaring their horns, narrowly avoiding collisions with oncoming traffic. It is uncontrolled madness but at a higher rate of speed.
On the mountain trails and often in the cities, people carry enormous loads on their backs. Horses, ponies and mules are also used to carry burdens. And in the Chitwan region, it is not uncommon to see elephants being ridden down the streets.
I didn’t take as many photos and videos as I would have liked. Most of the time when walking, I was dodging this way or that to avoid being hit. When on a bus or taxi, I was just starring with wide-open eyes at everything that was going on all around me, and several times truly fearing for my life. Here is a short video that attempts to capture a little bit of what it is like.