Bhaktapur, Nepal via Motorbike - More Than I Bargained For

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March 31st 2012
Published: April 26th 2012
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Monkey Temple KathmanduMonkey Temple KathmanduMonkey Temple Kathmandu

It takes so long to edit photos on this site that I will just edit a few from each site. The next 50 or so pics are from the Monkey Temple.
Last summer a friend asked me if I'd be interested in going to Nepal. 'Of course,' I said. Who wouldn't be interested in going to Nepal? So we planned this trip for April and I have finally arrived! I arrived last night after an uneventful flight. I waited in line for almost an hour to get my visa (25USD). Ravi, my tour organizer, met me at the airport with quite an entourage - himself, a driver, and my guide, Nabin. ( Only I didn't know Nabin was going to be my guide.

I was taken directly to my hotel which was in the tourist area of Kathmandu called Thamel. I saw a lot of stuff I'd like have while looking through the window of that car. I think my hotel was called Hotel Buddha. It was fine since my friend and I had booked the budget option. I was tired and it was getting late. Ravi had offered to take me to Bhaktapur in the morning on his motorbike since my friend wasn't arriving until the afternoon, and I agreed, not totally naive, but somewhat naive, about the motorbike ride ahead of me.

I had breakfast at the hotel the next morning. Part of me didn't really believe we'd be going to Bhaktapur on a motorbike, but Ravi was true to his word and showed up with a helmet. A helmet. One helmet. For the driver. Apparently in Nepal, the law states that only the driver of the motorbike has to wear a helmet. Okay, no problem. I rode motorbikes in China and Vietnam with no helmet. But not on a major highway!! The ride took about 45 minutes and once I swallowed my heart and got it back in the right place, and stopped thinking about what would happen to both of us if we hit something or had to stop suddenly, I actually enjoyed the ride with my handsome Nepalese tour organizer. There are a lot worse things I could be doing besides riding on a motorbike through Kathmandu with a good looking guy! But driving on the left is just a suggestion in Nepal, not a rule at all.

Once we arrived, I paid the 15USD to get into Bhaktapur and we parked the bike and started walking. Bhaktapur is a well-preserved ancient city outside Kathmandu and the entrance fee goes towards the restoration of the city. It's built mostly of brick and wood and looked very expensive to restore and maintain, but it is very well-preserved and very clean. Even the streets are paved with bricks. Rabi used to be a trekking guide, not a city guide, so his information about Bhaktapur was limited, but I really didn't care. It was nice not to have to listen to a lot of information. We just walked around and I took pictures. There is also some great shopping there, but since we were on the bike, I didn't buy anything. I have to highly recommend a visit to Bhaktapur. We stayed over an hour, but it would be easy to spend a whole day there. Next time.

The ride back was a little less, umm, exhilarating, because we took surface streets instead of that big highway, but there was still a lot of traffic. When we got back to Kathmandu, I didn't have anything to do, so Ravi asked me if I would like to have dal baht at his flat with his sister and sister-in-law. Wow! I had no idea what dal baht was, but sure! His flat was near my hotel, so he said. I really couldn't tell. I met his sister and sister-in-law and nephew. Dal Baht is rice, dal, and greens and is a little bit spicy. It was good and it was interesting to see where he lived.

Afterwards we headed off to the airport to meet Megan. By the time she got her visa, it was almost 4PM. We went to the hotel and Ravi and Nabin, our guide, told us about our trek and then Nabin took us to the Monkey Temple (200NPR) so we could see a bit of Kathmandu before leaving in the morning. The Monkey Temple is huge and appropriately named. We saw a lot of monkeys! There were lots of steps to climb to the top, and once we got up there we were rewarded with a polluted view of Kathmandu, more monkeys and sleeping dogs, and lots of stupas. It was really worth a visit and we stayed for about an hour. It is a Buddhist temple, but Nabin is Hindu and a trekking guide, so information was limited, but we didn't care. I enjoyed just walking around and not having to think. The monkeys were seriously entertaining! And the view actually was worth the climb to the top.

Nepal is like India in that locals pay a cheaper entry fee than foreigners. I think that makes sense in countries like India and Nepal. I've visited several countries where that's the case and I think it is a great thing.

After Nabin dropped us off at the hotel we decided to get some dinner and do a bit of shopping. We ate at the Black Olive across from our hotel. I had a gorgeous Greek salad in an effort to be healthy. Nepal is not like India when it comes to food. I wasn't at all wary of eating raw fruit and veg and I never once checked my bottled water for sediment. Afterwards we, well Megan, did a bit of shopping. She is quite the bargainer and I will be sure to shop with her when we return to Kathmandu! I was impressed! She bought a few things and we both bought trekking pants, which I wore during all four days of our trek. There is a plethora of trekking clothes and gear available in Kathmandu for dirt cheap prices, especially if you bargain. I paid about 12USD for North Face trekking pants that would have cost 50-80USD at home. Maybe they're real, maybe they're not, but they were comfortable and sturdy and didn't tear when I fell on a tree root. While I was trekking, not in Kathmandu.

Time for bed. We're off to Pohkara tomorrow before our Annapurna trek.

Additional photos below
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13th April 2013

Thanks for visiting my home town city. I'd like to share some of my snaps around the locality

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