A day in Bhaktapur, Nepal with a motorcycle tour guide

A day in Bhaktapur, Nepal with a motorcycle tour guide

I’m recalling my past travels in Nepal last 2014. It is such a beautiful country, I wish I can go back someday.

****

After a few days in Kathmandu city, I decided to venture out and head to Bhaktapur. I found an American couchsurfer host and despite being 60, her radiance and outlook in life makes her aura younger.. I might be flattering her so much because I’m surfing :)) but really she’s awesome!

She recommended that I go around and hire her adopted Nepali grandson to tour around so that’s what I did one day. We started very early, around 6AM..

Although we could have went out of the house of my couchsurfing host at 5:30AM, I just had a hard time going out of bed coz I’m not a morning person. On the other hand, Bimal, my tour guide, was very prompt.

It was chilly, around 10 degree, and as we go up the mountain using Bimal’s bike, we stopped at a great spot overseeing the Himalayas to take a picture of the sun rise.

It was beautiful.


sunrise in Nepal


And seeing beautiful places has just started.. After a brief tea stop, we went on top of a hill in Nagarkot. The sun was already up and the Himalayas looks sparkly stunning.. the top of the world is at sight.. and I said to myself how lovely is your dwelling place dear God.


this grasya is in nepal


Then after a while, we descent to see the surrounding hills , rice terraces, cool breeze. It was picture perfect that we periodically stop so I can take a pictures..  I’m not a good photographer though but hope you like the picture


nepal


Then we went temple hopping.

Nepal, a country between two giants India and China, has an interesting religious culture.. For example, my Hindu tour guide performed Buddhist traditions when we went to a Buddhist temple.. so despite the difference, I’m glad to observe that religious tolerance is very much apparent.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Riding a motorcycle instead of going on group tours made my trip flexible. We stop whenever I want to take pictures and we went on roads not passable to regular vans. For those who wants to avail of motorcycle tours, I paid 1000 nepali rupeess plus entrance fees plus lunch to the tour guide. If you know other cheaper options, let me know though ^_^

For those who own bikes, you may want to check out best metzeler motorcycle tires at bikebandit.com

My Favorite Restaurants in Pokhara, Nepal

These are restaurants in Pokhara where I personally have eaten.. they are not sponsored nor was I bribed to promote these restaurants.. ^_^ I’ve been spending quite some time in Pokhara already and while others have gone trekking, I’m window shopping ;D.. and eating in different restaurants and drinking milk teas in different cafes. Here’s a list of my favorite discoveries:

1. Hungry Feel– This restaurant located in far north of lake side has a local ambiance. It has cheap but delicious food, and occasionally has international staff. Plus great wifi and inverter too! They wouldn’t mind if I stay 3-4 hours geeking while sipping my milk tea… and they don’t even charge me for the electricity! Just my conscience bugging me to at least buy milk tea while I’m using their resources.. I give this restaurant a great kudos.. please visit them for a good karma.. the place don’t look posh but hopefully if there will be lots of customers, they will have funds to improve the restaurant.


Feel Hungry, Pokhara


2. Third eye. Also located in the north of lake side. I love their Neptali breakfast. I even order Neptali breakfast even for dinner. And they have a good view of the lake for those who want to have a sort of romatic view. You can charge your laptop and WIFI so this is added to my star list of restaurants. Price is not that expensive as compare to other posh restaurant even if the view looks posh really.. except for occasional flies. Good thing, when a fly landed on my milk tea, they replaced it for free. Well done ^_^

3. Neptalia. A bit expensive and one time, the chowmein is a bit salty.. but the eggs benedict is an eye candy.. I want to just take picture of it..


Neptalia, Pokhara


The reason why I chose to eat in this restaurant despite its posh prices is that I can charge my laptop even without electricity and wifi is fast… and yeah the eggs benedict is like a work of art. Staff are cute which is an added nice view.

4. Sunset View. This is just below my hotel.. A bit expensive which sometimes way above my budget.. I know I’m a budget traveler localted in a posh hotel and restaurant, but maybe I’m just lucky I get to stay in posh places without ruining my budget :P

Wifi is not good and if there is no electricity, you cant charge too.. so its good if you just want to drink your chai and reflect on life.. while in a beautiful cozy restaurant.


sunset view restaurant


5. Small store in the street... I don’t know how to read in Nepali yet but you should see this small small store on the East near the crossing opposite S-Mart in Lake Side. If you have a strong tummy like me, I recommend checking this restaurant. They have one of the cheapest places I can get rice and veg curry and milk tea for 100 Nepali Rupee.. and some local people are eating there too. No wifi or electric charger though.. its just on top of my head because local restaurants should be promoted too.. even if they are in front of a dusty road with flies around.. not for the faint hearted! I didn’t get sick after eating there just so you know.


Nepali Indian Restaurant in Pokhara


6. Asian Tea House – I learned about this eatery from a fellow couchsurfer Noah Rosen. The place is small, but the servings are HUGE! My place was in the north side of lakeside so I rarely went to the south side of town.. and even if I do, its a wee place inside a small alley so you wont be able to see it immediately.. But once you discover it, your tummy will be very happy ^_^

Check out the review of Asian Tea House on Tripadvisor

 

So these are the restaurants where I fill in my daily food intake.. Most of them are located in the North of Lake side.. feel free to check them out. There are still coffee shops to explore, that will be another post. ^_^

10 things to buy in Nepal

My time to go home is nearing and after two months, it is a tradition to share the happiness I have received in Nepal to my friends and family back home so hopefully ripple effects of happiness can be achieved even in small material things.
When traveling on a shoestring budget, this is a hard task :D.. but prices of stuff here are not so expensive as compare if you will buy outside of Nepal so there will always stuff to buy if you want to. Although to be honest, I’m still looking around for 10 pesos keychain but cant find it. Oh well. So what to buy in Nepal before you go?

1. Jewelries. It reminds me of being human… I drool at the exquisite jewelries being displayed on the streets specially in Thamel, Kathmandu.. the jewelry stores looks like one of those stalls you see in crowded Divisoria or Baclaran. Yet I’m amazed that people just pass by at the displays like normal… and there’s not even a security guard in sight. Dear Lord, please don’t let burglars read this. Cost: 100 Nepali Rps for small pendants to 100+ dollars for exquisite jewelries


Nepal jewelry


 

2. Thanka paintings. These very detailed paintings on cotton or silk makes me think there is a code hidden behind these arts somehow… and I’m impressed there are lots of Thanka artists in Nepal, it has become their source of livelihood too.. I wonder if these artists will survive if they transfer to a busy Metropolis. Cost around 10 dollars for small paintings


thanka painting


 

3. Weird facemasks and decorations. Some of them have religious meaning but some are a bit scary. That is why they are interesting. The scary ones are good gift to an enemy ;D


weird masks in Nepal


4. Dolls. Another interesting stuff in the store shop. This might interest voodoo practicioners LOL! But really they are cute.. Costs 500 – 1500 Nepali Rupees


dolls in Nepal


5. Tshirt. Well, this is a normal stuff to buy in any country that you visit. So you can show to others you have been to this country.. Costs 300-400 Nepali Rupees

6. Pashmina sweatshirts. I also find these stuff in India. I forgot which one is more cheaper. This is a different kind of fabric that is obviously expensive in other countries. So don’t miss to buy it while you’re in Nepal (or India). Costs 2000 Nepali Rupees.

7. Decorated Tablecloth/Bed cloth. If you are into home decoration, and have more money to buy, please don’t miss to buy this. I’m impressed at the bling blings and the patience of the ladies behind these elaborate art.. I do hope they are paid well


table cloth decor


8. Keychain magnets. If you don’t have so much space in your luggage and no more money on your pocket (spell ME), this is a good buy for friends and family. The cheapest ones I found is 30 Rps, but I might find a more priceless one, I’ll keep you posted. Costs 30-100 Nepali Rps, you can find cheap ones in bookstores

9. Tea bags. I have become reaquainted with milk tea and I missed drinking it regularly as I used to when I was in India.. Sorry dear coffee, I’ve chosen the healthier alternative.. break muna tayo. Cost 80 – 120 Nepali Rps

10. Spices. Specially for those who wants to cook. I will make sure to buy these before I go so I can cook Dal Baht Torkari at home.

So those are the stuff you might want to buy when you go visit in Nepal. Did I miss anything else?

A visit to the birthplace of Buddha: Lumbini, Nepal

Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha has a 30 degree tropical weather. Hello familiar feeling.

Internet and electricity is crap though, so you are forced to enjoy the present moment. Surrounded by sleepy villages, not much to see except stupa and pagodas.. lots of pilgrims by the way. Buddhists and curious travelers (like me) meditate, take pictures, offer prayers and money to the site where Buddha was born.. There’s 200 Rp entrace if you want to get inside the nativity place… I wonder what its like to visit the birthplace of Jesus, or Allah then..


 
birthplace of Buddha


Lumbini is a very peaceful place indeed.. although I’m not sure if your peace will be disturbed if you walk around the neighbourhood to see mudhouses and poor condition of living. Remember Buddha was born rich yet when he went out of his palace, he was disturbed by the poor conditions of his surroundings? Well, there are still people living like that near his palace..


Lumbini, Nepal


Anyway, if you choose to see the beautiful side, there are different kinds of bird species in the area that you cant usually see from crowded cities.

Most of all, prices of food is relatively cheaper in Lumbini than in Pokhara.. stuff yourself there if your next stop will be Pokhara.

To be fair, guest houses are far better in Pokhara, the guest house where I stayed in Lumbini is not very clean plus WIFI and electricity is intermittent so I’m not gonna promote it even if its only 400 Nepali rps.. I know you get what you pay for but really it can be better coz I got a 5 dollar room in Pokhara and its in a beautiful hotel..

If you feel like it, live in a monastery, amenities will be basic but you can marvel at awesome temple architecture.. I’ve never been, but might go out of curiousity ;D

Lumbini is 7-8 hours away from Kathmandu.. But I went at 7pm and arrived the next morning around 5:30am.. If you go via local non aircon bus in Gongabu Bus station in Kathmandu, you will need to pay 600 Nepali Rupees. Don’t worry about the AC, its cold during night time..

Hope this helps you have a background of what is it like in Lumbini. ^_^

Life in Hetauda, Nepal

Life in Hetauda, Nepal

I’m here for a couple of days now.. internet and electricity is such a challenge and you know how it goes for online workers who’s internet is lifeblood? Yeah its kinda killing me softly.. but not for long coz I’m transferring to another location with inverter, solar panel, heater so hopefully despite intermittent electricity, life will resume as normal.

But life’s irony is delicious vegan food is making me healthy here.. I think I’m getting fat! And despite that I still am able to donate part of my funds to the children’s home where I’m currently at the moment.

Is this a way of joking me dear God? ^_^ Below are the pictures of lovely kids eating with their hands (spoon and fork is not the norm here) and you’ll see the tablet donated by Smart Communications PayITFwd program is already being tinkered.



what spoon and fork?
kids in nepal


And the weather is a good break from chilly Kathmandu.. it feels like Tagaytay, around 20 degrees  during daytime. Guess since internet and electricity is a challenge, I need to do activities offline too.. I think I’m gonna make a book.