NEPAL: A real treasure

Just when the plane is landing, one would see a peaceful, idyllic, fairyland-like scenery of green area, high mountains, and small brown villages with quaint houses. I started to "feel at home" when exiting Kathmandu airport and seeing the town, the animals in the road, and the traffic. The sounds, sights and smells made my spirits immediately rise and told me that I would REALLY like it here! Those senses confirmed my feelings! Nepal is a treasure!

I went on the usual tourist trail, staying in tourist areas like Thamel ( good guest houses for the uninitiated and first time traveller to Nepal) where the usual comforts are ( it is Kathmandu's answer to Kao San road in Bangkok)- Even there, one can wander around and look at Hindu and Buddhist shrines which are everywhere and unique and being used! Religion and spiritualism seem to be everywhere in this kingdom!

Just outside Thamel, one can wander through the narrow lanes and streets of neighbouring villages and see all the different ways of life, shops and the smell of sweet incense in the air as well as different spices and cooking aromas! A treat for the eyes, nose and all the other senses! I went into Tibetan restaurants and sampled the dishes, especially yak butter tea!

My Nepali friend whom I stayed with in his modest flat, took me around by motorbike to ancient Nuwari villages in the Kathmandu valley area. Life seemed to stand still there and when passing by, people would wave and smile at us. I like tasting Nuwari sweets and the ubiquitous Momo dumplings with a spicy sauce! I do anything for delicious milk tea- similar to Indian tea.

Pokhara- another touristy destination, is a town with many things catering to tourists, and a big human made lake which has a nice scenery and boating options surrounding the area.

Nagarkot is a small town ( a bit off the tourist trap but still quite visited by foreigners) as there are many guest houses in the area where some good views of mountains ( and start of the Himalaya range?) begins. There are fun shrines and other local unique interests in the area, but in my opinion, I found the "high road" a bit depressing and dilapidated looking. Bhakhtipur is a beautiful ( touristy) town, which has some kind of award national preservation from a UN organisation for its beautiful architecture and intricate carvings on the window frame on the buildings.

Lumpini, a town in the south, near the Indian border, is the place where Buddha was born. It was FREEZING cold when we went there and had a convention for Lamas so my Thai friend and I were the only ones who were not wearing red monk clothing during that time. One could walk around the garden and the different historic interest sites pertaining to Buddha and his birth. Many people praying and incense wafts through the air. We hired a local, kind man with a car to drive us from Pokhara through treacherous and rather dangerous roads which were teaming with potholes, huge boulders blocking the roads, as well as scary police checks along the way ( some said dangerous for Westerners?- My driver said that I was "Thai" as my other friend was and hence not bothered)

I wish to wander through the more remoter areas and do some easy and "beginners" trekking, wandering through small villages and see some Tibetan village life and sleep in tea houses for the night. I am NOT a mountain climber or a big trekker, just interested in different cultures, and seeing and trying to communicate to other people, building bridges of friendship and peace. 


Post a Comment