Kathmandu, first step in our Nepalese journey! The opportunity for us to discover our first country in the Indian sub-continent, a small country surrounded by the two demographic powerhouses. The rich architecture of Kathmandu will please many visitors, even if the city has been recently damaged by horrific earthquakes…
Welcome to Nepal!
We arrive in Katmandu at the small Tribhuvan International airport. After a quick stop in the Emirates, we finally reach Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. We will stay here for one full week as you have already lot of things to do and see in the region. We stay in a hotel recommended, by our travel guide, Kathmandu Garden House, a French married with a Nepalese woman. There’s no luxury and the rooms are simple, but cleaned. We are near the Thamel area, where travellers usually stay and it’s a good location in the heart of Kathmandu. By this way it is not anymore the famous place frequented by hippies in the 1960s where you could easily taste more or less strange “drugs”. Well, it is possible it is still the case in some bars but the town has so much more to offer. It is not a museum city and it is lively, economic powerhouse of Nepal
First of all, one of the funny thing is the size of taxis and cars, often very small to fit in the usual narrow streets, a legacy of a rich history, also highlighted by many monuments and stupas everywhere. Anyway, it is very easy to go around in the city as the taxis are cheap and can weave in and out but allocate some extra time are there is a lot of traffic. Nepal is quite safe nowadays and Nepalese people are very friendly. We are far from the timr when a communist guerilla was active in the 90s and now the country try to capitalize on its strenghts and all the monuments and buddhic temple give a tangible form to this unic culture, stuck between the two giants China and India. This remarkable architecture can be seen mot only in Kathmandu but also in other towns of the valley, notably Patan and the Durbar Square and Bhaktapur, really a beautiful town-museum. Among the most amazing things to see are the two stupas built on top of small hills from which you can have a beautiful view of Kathmandu: The stupas of Swayambhunath and Bodhnath are incredible and make for the post card of a travel to Nepal. Definitely unmnissable! Just as an information, we did this trip before the devastating and deadly earthquake of 2015, which ruined many old temples and monuments so we don’t know exactly if some of them have been destroyed by the catastrophe, to be check if you can.
About Patan’s Durbar Square, it is very touristic as not too far from Kathmandu center, Patan is now very close to the capital which keeps spreading. But is magnificent and you have small museums telling you more about the square with middle-age monuments and the buddhique culture of the region. Bhaktapur, not far from Kathmandu by bus is also a town-museum for tourists but full of amazing authentic monuments, everywhere in town. We advise you to sleep one night there as it is a complete different atmosphere as usually tourists just come for a day tour from Kathmandu before coming back to the capital for sleeping. In Bhaktapur, you can learn about the everyday life ot average Nepalese people, very attached to their culture, without having to deal with too many other travellers who focus much more on treks on the mountains generally speaking. Well, that’s how we finish our first week in Nepal in the Kathmandu valley, a not to be missed first step before heading off to mountains, the real highlight of any trip in Nepal! We chose to reach Annapurnas rather than Everest as it is “easier” and more popular among not experimented trekkers so we take a bus for Pokhara, entrance of Annapurnas. Bus driving along vertiginous cliffs…not for easy-frightening ones!
Where did we sleep?
- We were sleeping at Kathmandu Garden House, owned by a French-Nepalese couple. Ideal and nothing special to say, cleaned, well llocated in the heart of central Kathmandu. It is really a very quiet place in the midle of this bustling town and you can even read books left by other travellers. We recommend this place, definitely!