Skip to main content
ArmourLiteFeatured ArticlesNews Reel

ArmourLite Global Adventurer Hugo Reiner Travels to Nepal

Hugo has now left India and made his way to neighboring Nepal where he is traveling throughout the country. Here’s his first update from Nepal.

Crossing the border from India into Nepal was quite the adventure! Beginning at 5am, I spent about eleven hours on one of the bumpiest bus rides I have ever been on. I sat in the front row of the bus and the view was nausseating as the driver swerved all over the road, very narrowly avoiding large trucks (and people, bicycles, motorcycles, rickshaws, cows, goats, dogs, pigs, homes, etc…) every few seconds. We drove through some of the most remote villages I have ever seen! We also passed through beautiful fields of green where people were picking crops in the sweltering heat. I fell asleep and was woken up by the driver when the bus stopped about 500 feet from the border of India. We were told to grab our belongings, get off the bus, and walk across the border. First stop was a small room on the side of the road where the Indian immigration authorities put an exit stamp in my passport. I then walked under a sign proclaiming that I was leaving India. I was now in a strip of uncontrolled land in between India and Nepal. I continued walking and went under a sign welcoming me to Nepal. I walked into a tiny building on the Nepal side where I bought my Nepalese visa. I then boarded a small bus that was practically falling apart for the hour and thirty minute ride to Lumbini, the city where Siddhartha Buddha was born.

After some much needed deep sleep (I’ve been quite sleep deprived lately) I visited the actual stone upon which Buddha was born in 623 BC. There were dozens of Sri Lankans making the spiritual pilgrimage to the stone. There were Buddhist monks praying everywhere.

After a nearly six hour bus ride I arrived in a tiny village in the Nepalese jungle where I would be staying with the Tharu people. Upon my arrival, the children of the village started going crazy to have me take their photo. I got some absolutely incredible photos! A while later, some of the children started singing “Chammak Challo” by Akon. I took out my Samsung Galaxy tablet and started playing them the actual song. I got some incredible video footage of them singing and dancing along to the music. I promised the children I would print the photos and mail them to the village when I get home.

It was so sad to see the deplorable conditions inside the homes in the village that the Tharu people must endure. The first home I entered was a shack with no electricity. I used my flashlight to illuminate the inside of the shack. I found huge spiders and spiderwebs everywhere! The floor was simply the dirt ground.

The jungle where the Tharus’ village is located is one of the few remaining places where Bengal tigers and one-horned Asian white rhinos roam freely. To better explore the jungle and look for tigers and rhinos, I rode on the back of an elephant for about two hours deep into the brush. Being so high up on an elephant affords you a great vantage point. The negative aspect is you’re at the level of the brush so your body acts as a net for everything. I ended up with spiders, insects and plants all over me. My face was completely entangled in spider webs. A few times bugs even found their way into my mouth! We got deep into a heavy patch of brush after the ‘elephant driver’ thought he spotted something. The elephant was crushing trees with its trunk to go deeper and deeper. We ended up cornering two large rhinos. We were within ten feet of them. I started shooting video as the rhinos tried to figure out how to get out of being cornered. Finally, the rhinos set their bodies into charge mode and battered their way through the heavy brush in a quick instant to get away! What an amazing experience to be so close to a charging rhino!

My next jungle adventure involved a nearly six hour jeep ride deep into the jungle. We were specifically looking for tigers and rhinos. We ended up seeing several rhinos, monkeys, bison, a bear, crocodiles, deer, a wild hog and elephants. But, the tigers managed to elude us! There are only about 125 Bengal tigers left in this jungle so seeing one is a true privilege. My jeep driver only sees about two each month.

About an hour into the jeep ride, the driver spotted a large wild rhino about 75 feet from the vehicle in the brush. He told me to be very still. Instead, “genius” me jumps out of the jeep before the driver can say anything and I slowly walk to within 30 feet of the rhino. I kept my eyes glued to it. There was only light brush separating me and the rhino. I managed to get an incredible picture of it!

So far I am enjoying Nepal so much! The Nepalese people are incredibly nice and they hold such beautiful traditions. Also, I’d like to point out that the Nepalese government and the Nepalese people are taking very good care to protect the natural resources of the country. The jungle area is heavily militarized with surprise check points throughout to stop poachers who seek the horns of the rhinos. They check every bit of the vehicles to ensure no contraband is hidden. With so many rhinos being killed, this is such an important step to protect them.

My ArmourLite Phantom watch has taken quite a beating so far on this adventure. Yet, it’s still in perfect condition. I don’t think any other watch would hold up this well under the circumstances.