The breathless beauty of Nepal and Japan travel blog

View of Swayambhunath Stupa from terrace at Helena Bar

Want to buy a mask? No thank you

Rickshaw anyone




Big colourful Buddhist prayer wheel

Kala Black Bhairab - fearsome Shiva with a garland of skulls

Taleju temple Durbar Square

Durbar Square from above

Splashed out for a rickshaw ride back to hotel - it was...

We are at Hotel Potala for two nights and our location is very central, being in the heart of Thamel which is the main tourist area. There are bars, restaurants and souvenir shops all around and the sound of music continues till around midnight. Yes truly party central. Grae's long hair invites offers of marijuana or hashish, nice!

Our room is basic with a very narrow double bed, tv, wardrobe and side table. We have an ensuite with a shower, western toilet and tiny corner basin. The shower is not enclosed so the whole ensuite gets wet. The floor tiles are slippery but they have provided a pair of thongs. There is a terrace on our level with views of the surrounding area.

Outside in the street, culture shock wasn't too severe, being similar to India with people, rickshaws, motorbikes, bikes and taxis everywhere. Thankfully a lot less cars tooting, than India. There is not much footpath and most times we walk on the side of the road, which varies between new tarmac, uneven pavers and mud. There is a lot of dust and many people wear masks. I tried it for a little while but my oversized sunglasses keep steaming up.

We walked to Durbar Square, following the Lonely Planet's walking tour south from Thamel. We passed various shops selling prayer flags, brocade fabric and ritual scarfs.Saw various stupas and temples along the way. Safely crossed at Asan Tole, Old Kathmandu's busiest junction. What a colourful and noisy insight into Nepali life with vegetable and spice sellers. One of the junctions was for centuries the start of the caravan route to Tibet and for anyone who knows Cat Stevens, he wrote his song Kathmandu in one of the smokey tea houses here.

Finally we reached Durbar Square, which sadly was badly affected by the earthquake with most temples completely destroyed.

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