Kathmandu: Basking in the shadows of the Himalayas

Kathmandu Travel Blog

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From the rooftops.

After a night in Seoul and a tearful goodbye with Jiyoung, I caught a flight to Bangkok, Thailand. I had a 23 hour layover so I was determined to make it into the city as fast as possible to catch some sights. I did make it into the city quickly, but couldn't catch many sites. After I tried to get a tuk tuk to a temple I was driven around to two different jewelry shops instead of where I wanted to go.

A road in KTM.
Scammed! I jumped out, found a cab, and finally made it back to where I wanted to be. By then, however, it was getting dark. Have to save Bangkok until I have sufficient time to see everything.

Yesterday morning I woke up fairly early, caught the 7am bus to the airport, and caught a 4 hour flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. On the way in we got a fairly good view of the Himalayas towering above the countrysides. The flight attendants said the tallest one was Everest, but from 30000 feet up they all look tall, so I'm not sure which one actually was.  The ones we saw were quite amazing, though.

After leaving one of the biggest airports in the world in Bangkok, I was a bit surprised at the airport in Kathmandu.

The monkey temple.
 It was just a 4-5 story red brick building with no boarding gates. We hopped out of the plane and walked into the terminal. I paid 25 bucks, got a visa, got my baggage, and was in a taxi all within 30 minutes! Wonderful! (It took me 20 minutes just to walk from my terminal to passport control in Bangkok! That airport is huge!!)

The taxi ride from the airport was one of the crazier rides I've had in a car. Bikes, motos, cars, animals, and people all slammed together with no lanes, no traffic devices, and no order at all. We made it through, though, and I escaped none the worse for wear. After getting a hotel, I proceeded to walk around for 2 hours(!!) trying to find an ATM. For some reason I couldn't get my bearings. To add to that frustration were the touts accosting me every ten feet.

Monkey temple
It was a bit.... overwhelming. Finally, I found an ATM, got some money and grabbed a meal and everything's been fantastic since then.

Kathmandu reminds me a lot of Guatemala. There are lots of people standing about, seemingly doing nothing. There are lots of other people peddling various wares. There's a bit of chaos in the streets (err...a lot of chaos, actually) and people are constantly weaving through cars and avoiding bikes and rickshaws (pedal rickshaws!). There are lots of people wearing very colorful, traditional clothing as well. In Guatemala, it was the Mayans draped in splendid colors while here it's the Hindis... and maybe the Tibetans?? Very pretty, very vibrant. Even some of the smells here remind me of Guatemala (not exactly nice smells, but distinct!.) And of course, everything seems completely overwhelming at first.

Baudhath stupa
After a few hours you understand and get a bit used to the routine and everything is much better.

This morning my street erupted into life at 5:30 so I was quickly awake and ready to start things off. I headed up to the roof and watched the sun creep along the rooftops of Kathmandu, slowly illuminating little surprises here and there. The rooftops were teaming with plant life and birds, and in the distance I spotted some beautiful temples perched on a hillside. Then, as I looked towards the north, peaking over the mountain tops circling the town, I caught a glimpse of Mt. Gamish (sp?) rising almost 25000 feet above the earth. It's snowy slopes glowing in the early morning rays as the sun slithered down its sides. Awesome.

Today will be filled with explorations and I'm about to set off for one of the temples I saw on the hillsides, this one said to be almost overrun with monkeys. Then, I'll meander through the streets a bit more and see what I can find. Pictures to come! Until then....

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From the rooftops.
From the rooftops.
A road in KTM.
A road in KTM.
The monkey temple.
The monkey temple.
Monkey temple
Monkey temple
Baudhath stupa
Baudhath stupa
Baudhath stupa
Baudhath stupa
Kathmandu
photo by: sharonburgher