There are no combinations of words that can perfectly describe how I feel about Nepal. Anxiety, excitement, worry, purity, angst, happiness. The emotions are vast, much like the landscape of the country. Nonetheless, after having spent some time there a few years ago, Nepal has very quickly become a country that I always recommend people make the time to visit during their lifetime.
Touching ground in Kathmandu can be very daunting, but once you get past the madness that engulfs the airport, you’ll find yourself in a land so diverse you won’t know where to start.
Lucky for you, I’ve written down some of my favourite spots from the country’s capital, that even after 5 years, I’d still indulge in given the opportunity!
Where: Mandala St, Thamel
It can be a little hard to find this gem, but once you’ve discovered the nook where OR2K is hidden, you’ll have difficulty wanting to leave. Eating at OR2K is an experience within itself. Upon entry of the vegetarian Middle Eastern restaurant, you become encompassed by the eccentric art, tantalising smells and happy atmosphere. Best of all, OR2K is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner – sidenote: it’s totally OK to return for all three meals, I can’t be the only one who has done this can I?!
Must try: Pizza Toast
Where: Jhamsikhel Road, Lalitpur
It’s ok to crave a little Western dessert once in a while when you travel. If the craving hits when you’re in Nepal, be sure to grab a taxi and head 20 minutes out of Thamel to the centre of Ring Road. Here, tucked away on the North-Western side of the round-about, you will find Café Hessed, a café that offers doughnuts so tasty you’d think that God had made them himself.
Must try: doughnuts of course!
Do always accept the offer of momo’s to eat and lassi’s to drink. You’ll never find any that taste as good outside of the country!
a) Eat with your left hand, this is the hand that is used for toilet matters. Always eat and greet people with your right hand!
b) Don’t eat Western food. It will make you sick!
Where: Narsingh Chowk Marg, Thamel
The atmosphere is always fun at Buddha Bar. Cheap drinks, shisha, friends and a nice view of the street, doesn’t get much better than that!
Have fun, be careful and stay with a group of trusted people.
Go to Fire Club. EVER.
Nepal is like the mecca for all things outdoors. For backpackers and adventure lovers alike, it’ll be like Christmas walking the streets of Thamel, surrounded by countless outdoor/hiking gear stores.
Haggle! Don’t be afraid to negotiate a price with storeowners. My key is to always go straight to half the price that they offer and go from there.
Be stingy. Remember, Nepal is a low socio-economic country that thrives off of its tourism.
Where: Swayambhu, Kathmandu
Swayambhunath is an ancient religious temple in the Kathmandu Valley. Located on top of a hill, you get a great view of the city from the temple. In Tibetan ‘Swayambhunath’ means ‘sublime trees’, which can be well understood upon visiting. Surrounded by trees and inhabited by lots of monkeys, this temple is definitely worth the visit!
Himalayan International Yoga Academy
Where: Inchnagu Narayan, Kathmandu
Escape the hustle and bustle of the lively Thamel for a weekend or two and retreat at the Himalayan International Yoga Academy. Tucked away in the hilly terrain of the Kathmandu Valley, HIYA offers a range of yoga and meditation courses as well as accommodation, vegetarian meals and alternative medicine options.