Monday, November 24, 2014


After our awesome adventures in the Himalayas and in Chitwan National Park, we had about a day and a half to explore Kathmandu. When we arrived at the bus station in Kathmandu, Gore was there to greet us with a smile. He guided us on a short walk back to the Himalayan Traveler's Inn, where we would spend our last night in Nepal.
The Nepalese get creative with bamboo scaffolding
Tractors serve as cars
Trucks are decorated with all kinds of colorful messages
We spent that evening exploring the streets of Thamel, the area of Kathmandu that is probably most-visited by tourists. The streets are filled with stores and restaurants and small alleyways where it would be very easy to get lost. It would also be very easy to get hit by a car, as the small roads are not really large enough to accommodate cars, motorbikes, and people! Thamel could probably best be described using the Australia word "chockas", which means "filled to the brim" or "packed".
Surely this cannot be safe?!
We went on a mission to find a good pizza place for dinner and fortunately we succeeded! After reading a few reviews in "The Rough Guide to Nepal," we settled on Roadhouse Cafe, where we split a four cheese pizza that was topped off with one of our favorite finds in Nepal, yak cheese. For dessert we stumbled upon a bakery that was selling half price pastries after 8pm, meaning that the baked goods were basically free!
Yak cheese was the best part of this pizza!
The next morning we enjoyed a lazy sleep in and then headed to New Orleans Cafe for breakfast. It actually felt as if we were in the French Quarter all while being in the middle of Kathmandu. Apparently it is a favorite hang out spot for ex-pats, and we could see why.

After breakfast we set out on a bit of an adventure. We decided to walk to the Swayambhunath Temple, or as Western people call it, the monkey temple, with only a basic idea of the direction we were headed. Fortunately we came across a few English-speaking people along the way who helped guide us in the right direction. We were expecting a similar experience to our monkey temple visit in Ubud, however, we only came across a handful of monkeys. There is a very steep set of stairs leading to the temple, and an entrance fee is charged at the top. Unfortunately the temple has become very commercialized and there were many people trying to sell souvenirs at the top. We ignored that stuff and enjoyed the beauty of the temple and the views of Kathmandu.
Kathmandu locals enjoying the Dashain swing
Our target was the big gold temple but we struggled to find the right roads to get there!
We weaved in and out of this neighborhood along the way
Temple entrance

Part of the Kathmandu Valley

From the temple we headed to Durbar Square, where we did not actually go inside any of the buildings but we enjoyed the architecture from the outside. Interestingly there are little stands around the square where they are trying to lure tourists in to pay for a "ticket", but we found we were able to walk through/around the area without paying.
Durbar Square
At that point we headed back towards Thamel, stopping at yet another bakery along the way, ha! We also visited another temple that was just off the main street.
Walmart in Kathmandu?!

Our next stop was the Himalayan Traveler's Inn, where we packed our things and showered (we paid to have the room until 9pm because we had a late night flight). Arjun was there, so we had one last cup of tea with him and talked about the highlights of our Nepal trip. That night's dinner was a repeat of the night before, as we loved the pizza so much that we went back for more, followed by a trip to the bakery where we stocked up on baked goods for our trip home. That decision, unfortunately, was probably a poor one, as we suspect Erik got food poisoning from one of those leftover baked goods. He was sick for over a week after we returned back to Melbourne. :(

Arjun had arranged for a taxi to take us to the airport and he, along with the owner of the Himalayan Traveler's Inn, presented us with a khata, a silk scarf that is used in ceremonies, arrivals, and departures as a Buddist tradition. Our flights were uneventful this time, and we actually arrived back to Melbourne a bit early. Nepal ticked all the boxes for us and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Like many other destinations, Nepal is now on a list of places that we can't wait to go back to visit.
Back over "home" soil. An aerial view of Western Australia!

No comments:

Post a Comment