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Nepal, Kathmandu and Mount Everest.

Elissa had organised to meet her mum Leonie in New York for a week or so and Pete, who wasn’t invited, decided to go and do something that Elissa wouldn’t probably never want to do, look for tigers in India. However when I reached Heathrow I found out that I couldn’t get a visa on arrival (New Zealanders can, but not Australian) and so instead of splending much time in London trying to obtain one I was well advised to do get it in Nepal.

Nepals claims to fame. Pretty impressive really....

Nepals claims to fame. Pretty impressive really....

It was great to see Nepal. I flew into Kathmandu and stayed in a hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu city centre, for few days. This is where most tourists stay. Thamel has heaps of hotels, restaurants, tour operators and life about the place. It was safe and my hotel room wasn’t too expensive for a touristy place, only around $30USD per night at a reasonable hotel. You can find cheaper if you look but its definitely the area to stay in.

The busy streets of Thamel

The busy streets of Thamel, Kathmandu

Not a bad room for $30USD per night.

Not a bad room for $30USD per night. Blue Horizen Hotel.

There are several temples, both Buddhist and Hindu, and monuments in and around Kathmandu. I visited all the main and most impressive ones, such as Swayambhunath or monkey temple, which is about a 15 mins drive west of Thamel.

There's a few stairs you need to negotiate before reaching the temple.

There's a few stairs you need to negotiate before reaching the temple. There is an entry fee (300NR) only about $4

Swayambhunath Temple, is worth a visit...

Swayambhunath Temple is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage places. I saw a lot of buddhist giving offerings and worshipping here.

A monkey of the Monkey temple (Swayambhunath)

A 'Holy Monkey', as they are known, of the Monkey temple (Swayambhunath).

There is a place in Basantapur, a 10min walk south of Thamel, which is where you’ll find Hanuman Dhoka in Durbar Square, a World Heritage Site. This is a complex of palaces and monuments that is quite impressive. Its worth the 300 Nepalese Rupees for a visit.

ddd

Hanuman Dhoka Palace in Durear Square. A World Heritage Site, in Basatapur.

Yet another Temple which I wouldn’t perhaps bother with especially if you’ve seen others, is Boudhanath. Although it is one of the holiest buddhists sites in Kathmandu. It is not far n0rth of the airport. The airport incidentally is east of the Thamel (Kathmandu City) and around 500NR which is around $7usd in taxi, dont pay any more than that.

Me at Boudhanath temple

Me at Boudhanath temple. You can climb on up on it which is cool.

A huge statue of Buddha in the Boudhanath temple

A huge statue of Gautam Buddha in the Boudhanath temple.

Young and Old monks in the temple

Young (Right Hand Side) and Old (LHS) monks worshipping in the temple.

The most fascinating temple was in Gaushala (right near the airport) and is the Holy Area of Pashupatinath. Its the most significant Hindu temple in the world. There are lots of locals there, for various reasons, such as worship. But the most amazing thing I saw were open cremations by the river. High priests get cremated on one side of the brigdge and other castes cremated on the other. No one looked at me disapprovingly when I took picture (from close up) of the process either.

The Pashupati Holy area. Locals 'hang out' on the river bank

The Pashupati Holy area. Locals sitting on the bank of the Bagmati river.

Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple. The holiest Hindu place in the world.

Temple

People come to pay there last respects to women at in the Pashupatinath Temple.

Temple

A dead women with uncovered head is about to be covered in straw and cremated.

r bo

The womens body burns with the help of wood and straw.

deer

On lighter side, you can also visit a fenced park next door to the holy site where there are lots of deer and monkeys. It was a great surprise find...

Aside from that, Kathmadu is another very busy city. The driving is crazy. The people are pretty friendly. They always asked me where I was from and guessed Australian before I could answer. The begging, especially from kids can be intense. I had a situation where I bought a postcard from one kid then he told ten friends and I almost had to run.

I also had a situation where a older looking mother followed me into the supermarket asking me to buy her “meail” “meail” “meail” I worked out she wanted milk and I thought ‘well thats better than giving her money’ but when we went to the milk aisle she pointed out the biggest powdered milk box I’ve ever seen and claimed she had 5 kids!!! I gave her a bit of money…

There is no shortage of traffic in this city.

There is no shortage of traffic in this city.

I must admit the only thing I really knew about Nepal, apart from the fact that monks lived there, was that it was the home of Mt Everest. The tallest mountain in the world!!! 8848m high to be precise. I didn’t have time to climb even just to base camp. It takes about 10 days to get there and cost ~$1000usd. Instead I hooked up with a mate, Tim Heath, and we decided to get a chartered flight to see the 8848m high Mountain Peak. For $130USDpp for the flight we thought it was money well spent.

The Himalayan Mountains. Nepal has 12 of the 14 highest peaks in the world. The other two are in Pakistan and India.

The Himalayan Mountains. Nepal has 12 of the 14 highest peaks in the world.

Mount Everest with a little cloud cover.

Mount Everest with a little cloud cover. We booked through Mukesh, he gave us the best price. He approached me in Thamel, Kathmandu. www.nepalguidetreks.com

Mount Everest

Mount Everest is also found in Tibet (China) which also has a base camp. In Nepalese Mt Everest is known as Sagarmatha, in Tibetan it called Chomungu.

Tim and I. proudly holding our certificate acknowledging that we flew to Everest and back. Been there, done that, bought the tshirt, next!!!!

Tim and I, proudly holding our certificate acknowledging that we flew to Everest and back. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, next!!!!

I’m glad I took the advice on the steward at India airways and visited Nepal. It was good to see. Getting my visa, by the way, only required a morning visit to the India Consulate in Kathmandu (need to apply before 12pm – best get there around 9am) and then I picked up my passport with visa that afternoon (its cost aprrox $30usd). Visa on arrival for Nepal – $25USD.

If I had more time in Nepal I would have loved to have visited:

Chitwan National Park. It is the oldest and most well known NP in Nepal and is a world heritage site. It takes about 4 hours to drive there so you need to do it over a few days. There’s a chance of seeing Bengal tigers, gharnials (elongated/narrow snouted crocodiles),  Asian Rhinos and occasionally Asian Elephants as well as countless other cool wildlife….

Lumbini, 200kms east of Kathmandu. Why here? Because its the birthplace of Buddha.

Check out a few more photos in the gallery:

 

Hot Air Ballooning, Cappadocia

Tigers in India
MADAGASCAR VOLUNTEERING
GORILLA TREKKING
Ace Way to See Photos:Click
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