I love everything about Nepal and Kathmandu – even the crazy streets, the nutty political situation, and the way everyone says ke garne and just gets on with life as best they can. Many travellers use Kathmandu as an overnight transit point to the mountains – but it really is worth spending a couple of days just wandering around (no need for lots of cabs to get to most places). Of course you can spend months there immersing yourself if you have the time and money!
If you like temples, Kathmandu has one on almost every corner! Sure, there’s Swayambunath, Bouddhanath, and Pashupatinath – the big 3 in the valley – but there are so many more smaller ones that are full of interesting things to see and experience. The best way to see them is to walk around the lanes near Asan, Thamel, Patan and Bhaktapur (the 2 other old cities of the valley apart from Kathmandu). You can’t really get lost and you’ll have a great time. You’ll see stone carvers, woodworkers, metalworkers, weavers and potters in action and maybe even get yourself something special to bring home.
Jewellery lovers will need to bring sacks of money with them to satisfy their shopping needs – Tibetan, Nepali, silver, turquoise, coral, amber, precious and semi precious stones are all available here at great prices. Traditional styles from across the various ethnic groups in Nepal, as well as modern ‘western style’ jewellery can be seen all across town – if you have an eye for quality you will be sure to find something.
Just about any sort of food – veg or nonveg – is available in Kathmandu and you will find anything your heart and stomach desires. Of course, you have to try momos, thukpa (Tibetan stew), the famous Bhaktapur curd, and for those who are of an adventurous nature when it comes to alcohol, raksi and Marpha apple brandy from the Annapurna region. There’s restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casinos to keep you occupied at night – though most things shut by 12.30 or so (restaurants usually open at 7am) you can still pack in a lot of fun in a few days and nights.
Judy grew up in Sydney and her first adventure was digging a hole under the fence at home at the ripe old age of 4. Since then she has spent over 25 years adventuring in Asia and she adores and lives in India.
When once asked "If you were a destination what would you be and why?" Her answer was, Nepal, because she's easy to get to know, friendly, a little eccentric, and sometimes surprising.
Judy has trekked extensively in Nepal for over 15 years and has completed most of the Great Himalaya Trail Nepal in exploratory treks.