This week is a special week – I’m devoting my posts this week to Kathmandu. However I don’t feel like being as ‘wordy’ as I normally am – instead I want the photographs to do the talking (However, this post is the exception!). I’m going to abandon my normal posting schedule; instead each day this week I will release a photo essay on Kathmandu – the people, buildings, markets, and sites.
The first time I came to Kathmandu in 2008 it defeated me. I was in major culture shock. But slowly the city with all of it’s noise, dirt, color, and people charms you. From that first trip I made some lifelong friends – the Gurung family from Puma. My dad and I only had one day left on our Nepal adventure. The 25 days seemed to go fast, and there was something bittersweet about our last day. Not only were we leaving this magical country we experienced together, but we were also leaving our friends.
After a morning of exploring Dubar Square, Giri invited us to his family’s home to meet his brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew. We gladly accepted. For me, any chance to see how local people live is my travel ‘high’. In addition, I knew we’d get some great food! Giri picked us up in his car and took my father and I outside of the tourist area of Thamel. The noise became more faint, the motorbikes and rickshaws started to disappear, the old run down buildings evaporated before my eyes; to my surprise we entered a normalcy in Kathmandu. We had left the mad house and arrived in suburbia.
We were welcomed into his home with open arms and enjoyed sitting and talking to his very well-educated and traveled family. His brother and family had lived in Singapore for the last 20 years as a Gurkha. The conversation was wonderful, but the food was even better. By far this was the best meal I had on this trip. We had Dhal Bhat, chicken wings, curd, juice and the food never seemed to stop!
After lunch Giri surprised us with another treat – a personal tour from him of the sites of Kathmandu. We went to Boudhanath Temple, Pashupati Temple, Monkey Temple, and even saw the bording school that Giri himself attend as a young boy.
For me there is nothing better than having a local show you around, it was pure joy to not have to worry about where to go, who to trust, how to get there…we could simply enjoy ourselves on our last day.
By Barbara at Hole in the Donut Travels April 12, 2010 - 4:37 am
Ooh! After reading this post I’m going to hold you to your promise to hook me up with Giri when I go to Nepal this fall. I agree completely that the best way to travel is to get to know the locals and see the country through their eyes.
By Alison April 12, 2010 - 6:03 am
Looks incredible! I would love to go to Nepal (and about a million other places as well!) I think a trip can be so much more meaningful when you have a local to guide you.
By Sanya April 12, 2010 - 9:09 am
Hi, I’ve just been to Kathmandu & surrounding countryside a week ago. Here are the photos “Faces of Nepal”
I met some lovely people while hiking in Kathmandu valley.
By Lisa April 12, 2010 - 1:25 pm
Yep. That’s the way to do it. Connecting and eating with locals. Sounds perfect. Sigh.
By Mark H April 12, 2010 - 5:46 pm
Having a personalised tour with a local resident sounds superb. I look forward to your photo-essay throughout the week as Kathmandu as I loved the exotic and mystical nature of this stunning and historic city on my one visit. And I agree so much – it took time to get the feel of the place – the bustle, the dust and the regal historic squares.
By Karin February 21, 2012 - 12:25 pm
Thank you for sharing so much! I’m going through my “mid lif travel crisis”, as my husband calls it. So thankful he’s okay with me escaping for some fun trips. Next one is to Kathmandu. I’m very much enjoying your posts. 😉