A Travellerspoint blog

Nepal

Thamel

The great search for Boudhanath

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We returned to Thamel a third time for a couple nights to rest up before flying to Bangkok. I'm not one to be picky about lodging but after the first place we found reeked of cigarettes and the second still showed evidence of a fire, we decided to splurge a little on a clean room with heat and almost no black mold. Such a score for Thamel! We enjoyed relaxing and indulging in Milkmandu, a local milk that is what dreams are made of. If you are evenr in Nepal, you might be able to find it at Himalayan Java. We spent our nights in search for the perfect pashmina blanket and enjoying buff momo for the last time.
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On our last day we decided to visit Boudhanath- a humongous pagoda in the center of the city. Google maps said it was about 7 kilometers, or a walk just over an hour. We screen shot turn by turn directions as well as the map and we were off! After about 30 minutes and taking blind turns as there are NO street signs we started asking for directions. When we told them of our destination, the reaction was "why you walk??? Too far!!" Feeling determined and enjoying the cool weather we pressed on. Many time "roads" turned to dirt paths but eventually as we kept checking we were going the right way and eventually people were less and less stunned that we would walk so far... A good sign in my book! We finally made it to a huge intersection and were directed to walk up the road. After another mile I caught a glimpse of the pagoda! We had left the hotel a mere 4.5 hours ago! After laughing from relief we explored the temple. It was massive but simple and covered in prayer flags afrom all angels. The whole pagoda is in a village square that also has a few monasteries surrounding it. As the sun was quickly setting we snapped some photos and grabbed a cab ride back to our hostel to pack for Thailand and rest our weary feet.
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On our flight home we flew even closer to the Himalayas. Unfortunately they weren't on our side of the plane but a kind man let me snag a photo from his seat. I managed to hold it together and not cry this time (just barely).
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Posted by AlohaInAsia 06:27 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Pokhara

Majestic mountains and peaceful pagodas

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Oh man.. Where to start with Pokhara? We originally booked just 2 nights but instantly added 2 more after seeing the lakeside and feeling the incredible kindness in what is still the most amazing hotel we have stayed in. Pokhara is a beautiful town 7 long hours away from Chitwan. On a clear day if you are lucky the Annapurna range is reflected in the lake and can be seen surrounding the town. Unfortunately we caught overcast days but it didn't stop is from exploring!
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Our first quest was to hire a boat to go across the lake and take the hour long hike up to the Peace Pagoda. The hike was fantastic-going through tiny villages that provided spectacular views of the lake. At the top was a beautiful temple that was pretty crowded with school kids. After wandering around we found a cafe with a view and shared a pot of the best masala tea I've ever had!

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Afterwards we decided to walk down in search of "Davis Falls", a place I had seen pictures of but had no idea how to find it. In true Nepal form, we found just one sign to guide us and the rest of the directions we got from locals as we crossed our fingers that they understood us. After a couple hours we found ourselves in the city. Crap. Surely we had passed the elusive falls. We were approached by a young boy who assured us the falls were just down the road... Yay! After a few blocks we were greeted by tons of tour buses and vans-a sure sign we were in the right place. The falls were very crowded but for a good reason. They are small set of falls that go into a seemingly bottomless cave. Exhausted from our unexpected long journey we grabbed a cab back and cozied up for some Nawari food.

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Two days later we were ready to press our luck and hope for clear skies to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas from a nearby hill called "Sangrakot". Once again directions were vague. Something about getting a cab at 5 am, driving almost all the way up and walking 15 minutes or so in the dark to a viewpoint. 15 minutes turned into a very steep and confusing 40 minutes. We were close to sunrise and not at the top but had found a great spot to enjoy the view alone. It was nothing short of breathtaking. Fishtail mountain was right in front of us in all its glory as we watched more and more of the Himalayan range become visible as the sun rose. THIS is what being in Nepal is all about! After it warmed up a bit we got directions to the top and enjoyed the magnificent view. We had opted for a one way cab ride so we could hike down. It was super steep and at one point we had to trade an orange for directions. We passed a couple people headed up and I felt pretty sorry for them! Once we got to flat ground and the lakeside path we were surprised to see it was 11 am... we had been gone 6 hours!
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After some coffee and breakfast we tucked in for a nap in or cozy room. The rest of the day was spent leasurly walking the town and drinking more great coffee.
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Posted by AlohaInAsia 11:53 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

Chitwan!

Searching for a rhino

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The road to Chitwan was interesting! Very windy along side a cliff where at many times there was barely room for one bus with no guardrail to protect us. Not for the faint of heart! Chitwan is a national park known for its wild animals and occasional tiger sightings! When we arrived Dominic was pretty sick so I took off on my own to watch sunset by the river, have dinner and get him on some meds. When I got home, Dominic was in a panic. He had taken waaaay to much cough medicine, woke up in the dark to find me gone and an elephant outside our room. He was freaked out at the time but now we laugh hard about it.
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The next morning we went to the river so I could bathe an elephant. I got to sit on an elephant while it was instructed to spray us and then tossed us of its back. It was such a crazy experience!
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After that were had lunch then met our guide to take the jeep safari. We started by seeing a few huge birds and a couple lizards. About an hour or so in were finally found what were after.., a rhino! It was across the bridge but they let us leave the jeep behind and run across for a better view. It was incredible to see it in a protected environment and not a zoo.Afterwards we went to a crocodile breeding center and drove out of the park in time for sunset.
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Posted by AlohaInAsia 08:52 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

Nagarkot!

What this trip is (mostly) all about.


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Nagarkot! Nagargot!!!! That's pretty much all you hear as a local kid leans out the door of your bus the whole drive up the mountain. Nagarkot reminds me much of going to Haleakala. The goal is to drive up a mountain, freeze your bum off while hopeing to see the most glorious sunrise or sunset of your life. We stayed the night to see both. After a very long uphill "15 minute" walk at about 6,000 ft high, we finally found our hostel... Which was of course up several flights of stairs. However, when we reached the top I had found my holy grail-The Himilayas! I had done tons of research and while Nagarkot gives you good chance at a view, clouds and fog often block the mountains. So I was hopeful, but still stunned that we had gotten lucky for a beautiful clear afternoon.
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We sat and had dinner while watching the sun set over the mountains. It's by far one of the special moments of my life.
large_IMG_20141123_041735.jpg As the temperature dropped rapidly we retreated into our room- which was so terrible, even for Nepal standards. The bathroom smelled so strongly of mold I opted out of showering. We had no heat and tried to make the most out of sharing our twin bed with blankets that were still a bit damp. We also later discovered there was no hot water! It's fun to laugh at now but at the time it was pretty miserable.

We woke up the next day at 5:30 feeling cold and hopeful for sunrise. In true Nagarkot form, it was too cloudy and foggy to see the mountains or even the houses 20 feet below us. Still running on the high of the view from the day before we enjoyed the foggy morning, had breakfast and hightailed it out of there for warmer climate.

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Posted by AlohaInAsia 07:26 Archived in Nepal Comments (2)

Bhaktapur

Honey lattes and king curd


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We took a verrrry local bus to Bhaktapur and as usual had no clue where we were when we got off. They must teach the locals here to be compassionate because once again a young local girl and her mother offered to guide us to our hotel. All they asked in exchange was a photo with us. We immadiatly forked over $15 and 2 passport photos to get our pass into Durbar Square for the length of our Visa. We went crazy taking photos and wandering the square. Along a side road a little boy approached me and asked, "Mango? Biscuit?" I thought he was asking to show me to his parents store, so I follow him. As Dominic predicted we wound up in a convenience store where he begged me to buy him cookies and soda. I agreed to one biscuit and juice. I had been conned out of 35 cents. It's also in these alleys that Dominic and I discovered "buff momo”.. delicious streamed dumplings that we ate in a small room with all locals.
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Later in the afternoon we discovered ”Beans", a glorious coffee shop fun by a great young guy who not only sings american sins while he works and plays with the tourists babies but also greets everyone with "Nameste, how are you? Where are you from? Anything for you-everything for you!" He is also the same wonderful person who introduced me to honey lattes and king crud which is made from yak milk and can only be found in Bhaktapur. He was getting off work soon so he showed us to a great local restaurant. The type of place only 5% of you would be willing to eat in but we are there twice and throghly enjoyed a liter of their home made rice beer.

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The next morning we woke up early to view and photograph the temples before the crowds were climbing all over them. Then it was time to pack and head for the hills... Nagarkot!

Posted by AlohaInAsia 20:25 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

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