After a crazy month of travels through China and Tibet, I was ready to just take it easy with a two week trip to Kathmandu. The city is known for being a destination hub for trekkers worldwide and the city has no shortage of shops selling all types of mountain gear and clothing.
It’s a great place to get knock off North Face equipment. The city itself is quite busy and there is almost no street you can walk down without feeling like you’re going to get run over by the local drivers but the people here are extremely friendly and almost all of them speak English fluently.
Definitely a welcome change after traveling through China for a month. And it’s not just English they speak. I can remember my friend and I waiting for our bus to show and a local street vendor selling fruit approached us. When he found out my friend was Argentinian, he immediately started talking Spanish. After a couple minutes of conversation, we saw him walk up the street to approach some else for a quick sale.
The guy he approached, wanting no fruit, mumbled something in Russian and sure enough, the guy started speaking fluent Russian right back to him. It was impressive. And you’ll find that most Nepalese that approach you don’t always want to sell you something. Many truly have an interest in learning about where you’re from and will want to talk to you with no hidden agenda. After staying in the center of town our first night, we found another place about a ten minute drive from the center of town next to a place called the Monkey Temple.
From this fifth floor balcony of this guesthouse, you’d have a view over Kathmandu on one side and on the other, a view towards the Monkey Temple.
I’m not sure just how many monkeys were around this temple but the number was in the hundreds. Wasting no time when we arrived, we decided we wanted to check the place out. After passing some cows, chickens and stray dogs in the street, we headed up the path to get up to the temple. It wasn’t long before we came upon dozens of monkeys.
Thankfully I knew better than to carry any visible food or water on me but some others there weren’t so knowledgeable and they learned the hard way. When we reached the top, there were literally monkeys everywhere surrounding us on all sides.
For the most part, they would keep their distance but you always hear stories of some rabid monkey biting a tourist and if you’ve not had a Rabies vaccine, which I haven’t, it will definitely keep you on your toes while walking around. If you get bitten, you have less than 24 hours to find a vaccine and in many of these remote cities and towns, they do not carry vaccinations so you’d have to fly to the closest major city.
One of my friends at the guesthouse actually went out for food one morning when two monkeys jumped onto here and grabbed a grocery bag right off of her. She was so caught off guard since they came out of the woods that luckily she didn’t put up a fight. We spent about two hours at the temple just wandering around and watching all the crazy monkey business taking place. I won’t go into much detail on here but you will see monkeys do some crazy and disgusting things if you stick around long enough…
Another thing you have to get used to while here is the power outages. Somedays its fine, other days it may go out two or three times in one day. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m in a restaurant sitting in the dark as the power just went out again…. Wait, it just came back on. That’s good because there are no back up
lights in the streets and its a long way back to my place…
So most of the rest of my time in Kathmandu was spent simply walking the streets and getting to know the locals and the lifestyles of the Nepalese people.
For most people, Kathmandu is simply a stopover as they make their way towards the Himalayas to do some trekking. Pokhara is the major destination for trekking which is north west of the city but many others will travel in the other direction towards Everest. Since we’d already spent a lot of time in the Himalayas and wanting to escape the cold, we decided to travel to another popular spot in Nepal and booked a trip south of the city to Chitwan National Park…