The sentence we repeated over and over in Nepal was “we have to come back here.” We stayed in Kathmandu for a little over a week and it was not nearly enough. There was so much more we wanted to explore and one day we will return during trekking season to hike the Himalayas properly.
We found the relief of cooler temperatures in Kathmandu, less crowds (and cows) and calmer streets. We found extremely kind people, beautiful art and Momo! We ate copious amounts of Momo everyday. They were the perfect blend of the Chinese and Indian influence that you see throughout Kathmandu. They were pillow dumplings filled with curried vegetables and potatoes. They were readily available and extremely inexpensive.
We also found a city still showing effects of the 2015 earthquake, daily rolling power outages and on-going construction everywhere you turned. Make no mistake, Kathmandu is a safe and wonderful place to travel, even with the effects from the earthquake. The aftermath has not been detrimental to the spirit of the city or the people and with slight adjustments to Western comfort levels (expecting readily available electricity and smooth streets) it is a wonderful destination filled with temples, marketplaces and tons of outdoor excursions.
On our second day, we set out to explore the city and visit Swayambhunath (or Monkey Temple). Monkey Temple is definitely a fitting name. Monkies were all over the place! One grabbed onto my scarf as I walked by and I had to yell at it to let it go. Another monkey tried to steal coconut out of my step-son’s hand. They are fast and mischievous, but oh so cute to watch.
Swayambhunath had beautiful views and sights. We climbed the many steps up to the main stupa (shrine) and were greeted by hundreds of prayer flags, statues and religious art.
A huge reason we wanted to visit Kathmandu was to visit the Himalayas. We came at the wrong time of year to get a great view, and so again we declared “we have to come back.” On our third day in Nepal, we visited the quaint town of Nagarkot which is known for it’s views of the Himalayas.
Do you see them back there?
The boys climbed up this tower hoping for any chance of a view, but it was far too cloudy. Still, we sensed their presence and it was nice to be amongst their majesty.
Next, we visited Durbar Square, an ancient square that used to be the entrance to the palace. Durbar Square was highly impacted by the earthquake and some of the structures were completely gone or had significant damage. Still, it is a must-see destination filled with ancient architecture and interesting temples.
The highlight of our trip was taking The Mountain Flight on our last day in Nepal, which we had not planned on doing, but our time in Nepal became extended and we had to take advantage of it.
We had a change in our travel plans and a few hours of frantic re-structuring of our trip. We arrived at the Kathmandu airport to fly back to Delhi, where we would spend the last four days of our trip and leave from India. However, we were not able to board our plane because we did not have the Indian visa. The visa we initially got was single entry and because we left India already, we were not able to return without doing the whole visa process again. When we left the Delhi airport, we saw stations for “Visa on Arrival,” and we wrongly assumed we could get our visas when we returned. Why they have signs that say “Visa on Arrival” when you actually cannot get a visa on arrival (you must apply ahead of time) is still confusing to me. Still, it was a big lesson learned and we decided in the end, to not return to India but extend our time in Nepal and fly home from there.
The Mountain Flight is an hour trip that gives you AMAZING views of the Himalayan Mountain range and an up close experience with Mount Everest.
Guys and gals, I saw Mount Everest!
It’s pretty implied that it’s HUGE, right?! But, WOW, I don’t have enough adjectives to describe how enormous and majestic it truly is. It towers above the clouds and you feel as though you are being sucked into it’s stratosphere. It is a absolutely amazing sight and I completely teared up being in the presence of such an overwhelming force of nature. I kept saying WOW the whole time and felt completely inarticulate, but there really was no other word.
I would absolutely recommend The Mountain Flight. It’s a must if you are ever in Kathmandu. It’s a small plane, so everyone has a window seat and you are invited up one at a time to the cock pit for clearer views and picture taking.
In between the sight seeing and Momo eating, we got a chance to meet some of the nicest people on this planet. I will share more about the beauty of the Nepali heart, in my next post.