I had never thought that I would miss Kathmandu so much. There’s no city that can replace my love for KTM because it’s perfect. What is there to not love about this place; the tight streets with the thin buildings, the shops selling the most beautiful scarves and crafts, trekking gear and teas; the fellow travellers walking around with beards, in a uniform of baggy trousers and dusty vests, looking like they love it too. The juice stands, the little rickshaws, the people, the restaurants and even the dust. It is my kind of place.
The streets are so thin, and footpaths pretty non-existent, so you end up walking in a line flush against the shop fronts to let cars and bikes pass. Kathmandu sucks you into the vortex of its fast pace and chaotic atmosphere. Swerving between cars and beeping motorbikes as you squeeze through the narrow streets, you will be greeted by eager street hawkers and the humming throng of people on every street, lane and corner, while your senses go into overdrive and the dust gathers pace around you; locking you into the frenetic world that is Nepal’s magnificent capital city and its gateway of tourism.
Exploring Kathmandu is like stepping back in time. You will find a haven of old, decaying yet decadent architecture; wonky but still stable structures; the intricate details of carved wooden doorways and window frames; shop fronts so low that you can easily miss the treasures inside; narrow streets filled with shops dedicated to specialist businesses from fabrics to dentistry and quiet courtyards where community spirit thrives.
Sooner than you realize, you will master the main roads that lead to the bustling local markets and main open squares such as the well-known Asan Tole, Indra Chowk and the ancient Durbar Square – all of which you can use as main navigation points to find your way forward and, in good time, back. But the fun is in getting lost and, somehow, you will find yourself back at a key point on the map from which to start exploring again. It really is a labyrinth teeming with life, sounds, smells and colour.
If you are one who craves complete serenity, you won’t find it here. However, beneath the layer of frenetic activity lies a simplicity of life in the in tea houses and snack shops where the shouts of street sellers and busy streets are swapped for the kind nature of the local people wanting to get to know you. Subdued backstreets and residential areas on the outskirts will throw you into the heart of local life as you wander with no direction, where the calmness of the temples and open courtyards await you before you prepare yourself for jumping back into the chaos of the main lanes and markets places. Every twist and turn is a surprise and each and every day you venture out into the city you will be guaranteed to find something new.
Even in the midst of a fuel blockade, with ordinary middle-class workers forced to spend an entire month’s salary on one canister of LPG, we have faced the challenges with patience, fortitude and humour. Power blackouts are frequent, but I guess we got used to that too.
On the main roads, young and old clamber onto a ladder at the back of each bus for a free ride on the roof. Some bring bags and suitcases, others their confused goats.
Dreadlocked wanderers in tie-dye no longer congregate at Durbar Square to smoke pot, though you might catch sight of a 21st-century hippie with bulging Aladdin pants in the streets of Thamel. That legacy persists in the name ‘Freak Street’, a small thoroughfare near the old royal palace, and the T-shirts that tell you the word ‘Nepal’ really stands for Never Ending Peace And Love.
In short, I miss roaming around in Thamel, catching up with people for tea in Basantapur, visiting Garden of Dreams with single friends for no reason, Pashupatinath – thanks to Mom.
And of course, the love of my life – Buffalo momo. We Nepalese can have momos for three meals- breakfast, lunch and dinner without complaining. There’s something about the momo back home that you will never find it anywhere else. Nope, not even when you try and make it yourself or is it the “Momo masala magic ”? Oh I will probably have to do another post just for Momos 😛
Oh how can I forget WaiWai. No Indians, the one manufactured in Sikkim doesn’t count at all because the ones in Nepal just beats it. Om Nom Nom <3
You probably have heard enough about the reasons why you should visit KTM and I obviously am not going to give you a different reason. But here are the top 4 reasons why you SHOULD go to Kathmandu at least once.
World Heritage (UNESCO Site)
With a whopping 7 world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley it is no wonder why Kathmandu ranks as one of the most historical cities in the world. After a couple of hours exploring these stupas, temples and squares you will know exactly why visitors to Nepal are already planning their next trip before they finish their first one.
If you love shopping for textiles, then you will love Kathmandu. Cashmere, pashmina and wool scarfs seem to be everywhere throughout the Thamel tourist district in Kathmandu. As you walk through the vibrant streets, be prepared to negotiate hard for the best available prices.
There is no shortage of restaurant choices in Kathmandu. Momo, otherwise known as mouth-watering Nepalese dumplings are something everyone must try before they leave Kathmandu. You’ll be served with a variety of food items in the Newari cuisine that will please your taste buds like never before.
The people in Kathmandu approach tourists with a smile and appreciate the tourist dollars. In particular, they love it when you compliment the beauty of their country.
Kathmandu is as fascinating as it is frantic; as charming as it is chaotic. A melting pot of culture, history and religion, its exotic atmosphere is unique and not easily forgotten. I cannot wait to go back home and hopefully sit in a pretty garden or rooftop bar and just take it all in. Every second is a photo op, and I just want to capture it all.
Thank you, Sunny because, without your photography skills, my post would have been just another post about this town. And yes it does make it colourful like the city is? 🙂
Sunny – I haven’t told you enough that your work is beautiful. Yeah maybe a little less than my dad but you’re so good. You travelling to places because of your job makes me jealous 🙁 I miss you Maya <3
You guys, follow this guy on Instagram. Here’s the link :