I’m thrilled to share the refreshing experience I’ve had in my 4 days in Nepal.
We arrived at 8:00pm in Nepal. We did the usual agenda and paid for our VOA (25USD). Did the wrong move of having almost all of my money changed at the money exchange counter right before the immigration (that’s a tip not to do the same thing) As planned, we’ll start the city tour and trek on day 2, so our hunt for an authentic Nepalese dinner was on top of the list that night. I always do my research whenever I go to a new place but what we picture in our heads may or may not be right and that’s the beauty of traveling, right? If we knew right away what would happen, then that makes it less exciting. But of course, I had to make a number of mistakes before I realized that. Proud to say that I learned my lesson 😛
I chose a place to stay near the city center through booking.com. It has all these filters that could help you land on the perfect place you want to stay in and does the job for you. I’m the cheapest person ever and that’s a fact, I don’t mind staying in a cheap place and so even if the rating was mediocre at 7 something I still went for it. And I honestly tell you that it was one of the best decisions I made for the whole trip. Sure the place wasn’t perfect, but it was quite the right thing you get for 36USD. Yup, 36USD for 3 nights. It was located next to Thamel that made food hunting very easy and simple. First impression was that they were irresponsible because I booked a shuttle to pick us from the airport prior to our trip and when I called upon arrival, they said that they did not send anyone. But as it turned out, something that seemed inconvenient could actually be the best thing that could happen. We booked a taxi from the airport and they charged us 7USD instead of the 15USD that I originally booked online. To check out the place yourself, you can check the link below.
Paknajol, 44600 Kathmandu, Nepal
Fast forward to food hunting, yes, yes and a million more yeses, I already did research for good food reviews around the area and we tried first Black Olives Cafe Thamel.
Momos are one of the Nepali delicacies you have to try when you get there (chicken or veg). I didn’t notice it until now but I think made a habit of drinking local beer when I visit a new place and had collected pictures of them without really having the intention to do so. It’s a cool travel tip, try every beer of every country 😛
I planned this beforehand and had booked through an online trekking guide called Alliance Treks & Expeditions (p) ltd. Kul was the contact person and he was cool (OK lol.) I sent e-mails to different guides I saw online just to compare prices and that’s basically how I came across him. We booked a tour to Nagarkot day hike. Originally that was the plan but visiting Nepal on monsoon season could change things a bit. I always say this cause it’s true, but it doesn’t take much to amuse me. Despite the weather during the time we visited, I appreciated the beauty and concept of booking a tour to Nagarkot. On a much clearer weather, you’ll be able to see the Himalayan range and the peak of the Mt. Everest. That’s one reason to come back, right? It was pouring when we arrived and we were prepared clothing-wise. The tour included a trek to Changu Narayan village with approximately 4 hours trek to reach from Nagarkot. But the guide had advised that we go by car since it was raining and the road going to Changu Narayan would be muddy. It’s not that it was a problem for us, but thinking about our safety and considering how well he knows the place then we agreed.We arrived at Changu Narayan and off we went to the first Hindu temple we visited 🙂 It is one of the many Hindu temples you can find in Kathmandu but it is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s evident that Kathmandu is still recovering from the earthquake last 2015 but they still managed to preserve the cultural value of each
After exploring Changu Narayan, we decided to trek to a nearby village to visit their corn fields and rice fields and see a better view of the Kathmandu Valley.This tour costed us 75USD each inclusive of breakfast, Nagarkot trek and pick-up/drop-off to/from the hotel. If you’re planning to get a chance to see the peak of the Mt. Everest, best time to visit is October – November, March – May.It was an unforgettable experience because aside from sightseeing and visiting the temple, we were able to talk to our guides and know more about Nepal. Our guide, Lali whom I highly recommend has shared his experiences with hiking to the base camp.When we came back we were craving for Italian so the search for Pizza was on. Food from where we come from is more expensive than back home, so we took this opportunity to eat good food valued at an acceptable price. 🙂 We didn’t go anywhere fancy throughtout the whole trip, all our food expenses were less than 2000NPR.
day 3Renting a motorbike was already in my mind while planning the trip. But I was discouraged with what I came across online and so we decided to leave our helmets home. But after our 1st tour we saw a bike rental office and visited just to inquire. We learned that he only charges 25USD for one day rental, without any deposits but we had to leave the riders’ passport. Why was I discouraged at first? I saw bike rentals wherein you had to deposit 500USD even when you’re only going to use it for a day. But we had found something that I’m pretty sure caught my bf’s attention. Being located in Thamel as I’ve mentioned, is one of the best decisions because it pretty much has everything, from restaurants to bar, souvenirs and motorbike rental offices.The itinerary:
- Bhaktapur (roughly 30 mins away from Thamel) – 1500NPR or 13USD
- Swayambhunath Temple (also known as the Monkey Temple) – 200NPR or 2USD
- Kathmandu Durbar Square – 1000NPR or 9USD
Who does not love spontaneous trips? We chose Bhaktapur Durbar Square first because our guide the day before highly recommended the place because there were a lot to see including the Golden Gate, also Changu Narayan temple that looks like the temple we’d visited the day before. Also, we were able to people-watch and observe Nepalese way of living. We thought that was it for Bhaktapur but we were able to explore one of the oldest cities in Nepal. There were 4 different squares where you can see the livelihood of Nepalese in tourist areas like Bhaktapur.The disadvantage of riding around the city was that the pollution was bad. The roads were dusty and if you’re planning to rent a motorbike yourself, best to take a face mask with you.Bhaktapur offers differnt kinds of scenes, from temples to lakes to souvenir shops. People wouldnt know we’re Filipinos if it weren’t for the cameras were holding. We didn’t experience anything bad with the locals and they’re usually very helpful in pointing out places when we get lost or coming with you to show the toilet.Our next stop was a little challenging to find. Though with the help of google maps, one missed turn could lead you like an important government office :))) But we found our way, through the traffic and dusty streets of Kathmandu to the Swayambhunath Temple also known as the Monkey Temple.
The temple was crowded with tourists from all over. You could see the temple from afar as it was standing on a hill. While on the way up, we already saw a number of monkeys playing around. It freaked me out a little but they were fun to watch and wouldn’t harm you unless you made fun of them.You will get to see a clear 360 view of the city on top by the Swayambhunath Stupa. I learned that a Stupa means a monument dedicated for Buddha and intended for meditation. I’m not a follower of Buddha but I’ve sought comfort from his wisdom everytime I catch myself drowning in self-pity. I hate myself for that but I am always reminded by the beauty of life when I try to pause and think of all the good things I have.
I will make a separate post for Kathmandu Durbar Square, as well as day 3 and 4 of our Kathmandu experience. I hope that you’re liking it so far hehehe.