After a long weekend of food poisoning to welcome us back to India, I’m finally up to letting you know my suggestions for your next visit to Nepal!
Whenever we travel to a new place, I inevitably find my way over to Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. I always walk away with a treasure trove of activities, shops, and restaurants to explore at our next destination. They did not disappoint this time. I found out from Rough Guides that Kathmandu has a decent population of street children in part due to children from remote towns being told they can find work in the tourist industry in Kathmandu, only to arrive to find no work.
As is the case in many under developed nations, it is difficult for anyone without wealth to sustain a living. Kathmandu surprisingly had a decent number of fair trade shops that are trying to address this very issue. I’m always a big fan of fair trade as it can have positive influences for generations and keep children off the streets. Two that we visited were Hastakala and Mahaguthi.
Outside of fair trade, I’m just a fan of good food and clean living. And so, here is my short list: Nepal.
HOTEL: Gaju Suite Hotel via Agoda.com – it was incredibly clean and the hotel staff were insanely helpful. Anytime we wanted to go somewhere, we simply headed to the lobby with our handy tourist map, and if they didn’t know where it was, they would call ahead for us to get accurate directions. It was the cleanest hotel I’ve stayed in on this side of the world with the best hot water, which was truly a welcomed thing when the temperatures dropped into the 70s at night (a big deal for us since Hyderabad is currently sitting at 108 each day!)
FOOD: There are several good places to eat, like I mentioned last week. A few worth noting are:
Pumpernickle Bakery – When Lonely Planet mentioned a “yak cheese sandwich” I knew we had to try it. I didn’t take a picture of the sandwich, because, to be honest, it didn’t look very impressive. But it was incredible! Maybe it’s because we haven’t really had cheese in 2 years, but I was delighted with the subtle taste of the yak cheese. I’ve described it as either a mild or rich swiss, but either way, it is worth the taste!
OR2K – Across from Pumpernickle is an Israeli owned restaurant with falafel and humus. As soon as they said falafel, I was in. The one thing that Lonely Planet left out was that it is more of a hangout for young western adults who chain smoke, smell of pot, and have dreadlocks, than a young couple looking for a causal lunch! If you don’t want to smell like smoke for the rest of the day, go early for lunch or stick to the outside wrap stand. The falafel was good and the humus decent.
Helena’s– Helena’s has a great restaurant, with traditional floor style Nepalese seating inside and a roof top terrace that gives great views of the area. They had a good Western and Indian breakfast, as well as traditional Nepalese food at night.
We also got some pastries at a little shop a few doors down from Pumpernickle that was shockingly good. India is not known for its sweets or pastries, and so when I bit into a true chocolate filled crescent I knew we had struck gold!
SITES: We honestly didn’t see too many sites.
Kathmandu has a rather large number of World Heritage Sites as well as historic buildings. Many of them are in Durbar Square. As an FYI, Durbar Square costs about $8 per person to enter. We, being cheap, didn’t pay to actually enter the square and see the buildings that are there, so merely took a few shots from the perimeter.
There was a lot of other things we would have loved to do and see while in Kathmandu and Nepal, so my greatest suggestion is to give yourself more than the 3 days we had. You’ll wish you had had a little more time!