The first understandable concept is that Nepal is not an easy place to access? Totally wrong! Today’s air service has shortened the time of access. Over 50 daily international flights around the world connect to this tiny mountain kingdom. My every trip to Nepal turned out to be the most adventurous and memorable one. Nepal and its people have opened their arms to me at every corner.
As your plane approaches Nepal, and clouds obliterate the ground, yet suddenly, and almost miraculously; the clouds dissipate and you see the hilly aspects of the Kathmandu Valley spread out below you. Quaint houses dot hillsides and fields of rice begin to appear as your plane descends to the brick and mortared Tribhuwan International Airport. In what was once a cow pasture, the airport perches atop a hill and you are taken by bus to the arrival hall. Here, after all of the paper work is completed and fees are met you descend into the luggage section to retrieve your bags and parcels.
Once outside the airport the visitor is greeted with a myriad of taxi drivers, all competing for a chance to make some money from travelers unfamiliar with the transportation system. It is from here that the excitement of your trip begins.
Ancient temples vie with towering buildings for dominance in the landscape. Large sections of the city, given over to temple grounds and religious activities, create a sense of togetherness that binds major religions together in a peaceful and most times harmonious relationship. A rare fact in today’s world.
As horns have been silenced the multitude of sounds has dimmed somewhat, but the creativity and drive of the people has not slowed down. People mill along, across and in the middle of streets! Cows too share roads in the city as well and often times the mass of motorbikes overwhelms the senses as these mechanical vehicles surround your taxi or car.
Kathmandu is not New York, San Francisco or Singapore! Your excitement builds as you begin to immerse yourself into the rhythm and life of the city. Bargain with shopkeepers, search for that just right gift to take home, marvel at the meticulous and beautiful silver in the Patan district of town and be calmed with a cup of tea in a quiet restaurant or small café.
Be stunned by the towering Himalayas and the magical clouds that cling to hilltops and sweep across the valley, changing the light and the ambience almost instantly. If you chance to be in the city during monsoon season the thrill of watching it rain in torrents never ceases to delight and thrill visitors. These rain storms can occur at almost any time of the year and the fun is one never knows just when the dark clouds will tumble into the valley and the rain, thunder and lightning will begin to offer a spectacular show for the visitor.
Pokhara – Trekking is one of the most enjoyable aspects of life in the Himalayas. From strenuous treks to the top of Mount Everest, or more leisurely walks through less difficult and more relaxed areas the wonderful scenery and the way of life that has existed for centuries presents itself as one undertakes any trek through the countryside. Pokhara is the beginning of the wonderful and exciting circling of Annapurna. It is here that one can capture the beauty and the majesty of life in this mystical part of the world.
Chitwan – From Pokhara, one can travel by car over the mountains to the southern part of Nepal, the Terai. It is here that the fascinating site of Lumbini can be found. The acknowledged birthplace of Buddha, it is located just over the border from India. For many years the argument was raised as to whether India or Nepal could claim the honor of the Buddha’s birthplace. It was finally settled and one can visit this holy site, reminding one that Nepal boasts many religions, all co-existing together in a harmonious symbiosis.
The area of Chitwan boasts a national park and the chance to experience the fun of riding an elephant! An experienced guide will take you through the dense underbrush looking for a rhinocerous and keeping one’s eyes peeled for a glimpse of the most elusive animal, the Bengal tiger.
Whether you are staying in a mountain inn or relaxing in a modern hotel in Pokhara, the thrill of trekking, viewing holy sites and absorbing the colorful environment will remain with you for many years to come, as you plunge into the beauty, mystery and grandeur that is Nepal and the Himalayas! Wherever one stays, you will find that people become the most exciting part of your day. Warm and friendly they are always willing to help and insure you of an interesting and exciting stay.
Shoppers will enjoy the thrill of exploring the Thamel district. Here masses of people choke the streets with wide-eyed tourists and locals, all hunting for that great find to make one’s day. And don’t forget to bargain. It is part and parcel of the fun of shopping!
As you site see, taking in the World Heritage sites and exploring the city, you will never cease to be amazed at the vibrancy and excitement that Kathmandu and Nepal has to offer. So, plan ahead and make your next trip one of adventure, discovery and excitement.
Traveling not only broadens our minds, changes our views and makes us more independent, but it also lets us see and makes us appreciate the beauty of the world that we live in and that is truly what makes traveling in Nepal so exciting.