Nepal is a gateway to the top of the world, with eight out of ten highest mountains in the world. It is almost synonymous to Mount Everest, although there’s a trail from Tibet, Nepal trek is more accessible. It may not be a popular Filipino destination but Nepal has so much to offer, even following a devastating earthquake. It is visa on arrival, cost of living affordable, and its people hospitable. In six days we visited Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan.
It wasn’t our first choice of country but I believed we’re exactly where we needed to be. For some reason we didn’t get a visa for Egypt, we ended in Nepal instead. It was jammed-packed week, everyday was a different adventure, and every activity was either exhilarating or relaxing.
So here are the few things we did in Nepal
Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city of Nepal, located approximately 1400 meters above sea level in Kathmandu Valley. It is rich in culture and history with its palaces and UNESCO World Heritage temples.
Shopping in Thamel District.
The place is vibrant, loud and bustling with people. You can find everything you need, from fine dining to a Lassi (a curd drink with sweet and salty flavor) stall, fancy shops and local stores, travel agencies, money changer, budget hotels, night clubs and tattoo houses. The whole place is also WIFI zoned.
Many of Nepal’s temples are UNESCO World Heritage sites and temple visit is one good way to immerse one’s culture. Temples displays its people stories in its wall, their way of living, belief and traditions. The few we visited in Kathmandu Valley were Syambhunath Temple (Monkey Temple), Patan Durbar Square and Krishna Mandhir Temple. Temples affected by earthquake are undergoing restorations.
Pokhara, the city of lakes, is the second largest city of Nepal next to Kathmandu. It’s around 200 kilometer and 6 hours from the capital. Three out of ten highest mountains in the world can be seen from the city, Dhaulagiri (7th), Annapurna (10th), and Manaslu (8th), all from Annapurna Mountain Range. Also 25 km due north of the city is Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), a sacred mountain that sits majestically outside our hotel window.
Rafting in Trishuli River
Exhausting but amazing. Can be done on the way to Pokhara
The river is Trishuli, named after the trishula or trident of Shiva, a powerful god in Hindu pantheon. Legend says that Shiva drove his trident into the ground in Himalayas to create three springs– the source of the river. The drop off point is 3-3.5 hour bus ride from Kathmandu. The part we rafted was 25 kilometer and we travelled for 3 hours. The rapids are well spaced out so we had lots of time appreciating the surroundings without being bored.
This is called Ladies Delight, the roughest rapid we had.
Paragliding starts at Sarangkot viewpoint, 20 minute drive from Lakeside, Pokhara. The ride was steadier than I imagined. It was smooth and easy, I thought it would be uncomfortable but it’s pretty cozy. We hovered over Phewa Lake, saw the whole city and snow capped mountains.
After paragliding we went back to Lakeside to register in HighGround Adventure office, they’re the bungee operator. From there we rode a small 4×4 truck to bungee site. It is above the short cliff, they just added metal structure to make the jump off higher. The drop is 70 meters with three seconds free fall before string recoils. On our way we stopped for a cow crossing the road, cow is sacred in Nepal’s religion, so we respected it and waited for it, but it sure took its time crossing.
Boating at Phewa Lake
A serene lake with a view of Annapurna Mountain Ranges will capture your heart. Mount Machhapuchhre reflects on its surface, a sacred mountain that’s off limits to mountaineer. Boats are available for rent at Lakeside for 500 rupees. Good for relaxation after strenuous activity. Birds can be heard so as the gushing of wind, the leaves, the sound of paddles against the water. The lake is next to the city but in a different world.
Bahari Temple can be found in this island in the middle of the lake.