I'm recently planning a trip to Nepal with some friends in October 1st from Guilin, China, and wondering which part of this country to visit and what to see, kinda interested in temples and culture there, so might spend a week or so. We have never been to Nepal before. Do we need to join a group or get someone make the itinerary for us or if it's better just go with the flow? what do we need to pack ? Is it safe there? Does anyone has been there have any suggestions?
In one week you don't have enough time to go for a classical trek (unless you completly skip other things).
So my suggestion is you stay in Kathmandu valley: Kathmandu (Dubar square, Bodnath, Pashupatinath, Swayambunath), Patan, Bhaktapur, maybe a one day trek to Nagarkot.
You could also look for an excursion to Chitwan National Park, but it will take 3/4 days in total going from Kathmandu and coming back.
So the best is maybe to stay the whole time in KTM area. In this case you do not need to join a group.
Nepal is safe. The major concern for visitors is taking care of water and food.
[ Edit: Edited on 23-Apr-2014, at 05:18 by Alain13 ]
I'm going to be in Nepal for around a month October 24th - November 24th.
I am going to base myself in Kathmandu and just go with the flow.
Any tips on where to stay to meet people?
If you want an excellent base in Kathmandu then have a look at the Shechen Guest House in Boudha. It's in a v.quiet spot and only a quick taxi ride (400 NPRs) from the centre of town.
Me and OH had a couple of nights there last week and paid 1605 NPRs (£10) per night for a clean ensuite double and breakfast. The guest house is attached to the Shechen Monastery, and has beautifully tended gardens which are great to relax in.
Staying in Boudha is far better than following the flow in Thamel. The latter will quickly get on your nerves as you'll get constant low level hassle from traders, beeped at every few yards by taxis, motor bikes or cycle rickshaws. There's loads of shops in Thamel, but it's same same every few yards, and with the building being 5 or 6 storeys high and the lanes being v.narrow you feel claustrophobic. There's no views whatsoever, apart from some of the rooftop restaurants. But as the air in Kathmandu is so polluted you'll only get any distant views after heavy rain has settled the air and dust down. We drank in a couple of bars, Tom and Jerry, and Paddy Foley's. Both were boring. Restaurants are fine though, cheap and plenty of them.
Don't go looking for swans and ducks on the Bagmati River either. It may be holy, but it's basically an open sewer for almost it's entire length through Kathmandu. I didn't believe it until I saw the river bank, and every bridge you cross the scene is the same. Very sad.
Spend a couple of hours in The Garden of Dreams if you want to escape the chaos.
[ Edit: Edited on 24-Apr-2014, at 04:25 by PompeyPete ]
I agree with Alain (posting 2) about places to visit, although the cremation gnats at Pashupatinath is a bit of a weird experience. We went out of morbid curiosity. Entry Fee of 1000 NPRs for non-Hindus is on the steep side too, particularly as 80% of the place is out of bounds to non-Hindus!
Bhaktapur, which should be a great place to visit is severely let down by the constant stream of motor bikes which surf the narrow streets aimlessly. Again the entry fee is steep at 1500 NPRs.
[ Edit: Edited on 24-Apr-2014, at 04:38 by PompeyPete ]
Hi JosieH and Shane,
It's not necessary to join a group though. You could come in Nepal and accommodate at the place of your own choice. You could get guides easily with nos. of tour and trek agencies in Kathmandu.
And There are many hotels that will give you the services. I recommend you Royal Penguin Hotel located near Thamel. Visit the site for more info: www.royalpenguinhotel.com. And popular one is Kathmandu Guests House.
Definitely, the roads are a hustle here. Be careful about that too.
Also, Shechen Guest House in Boudha is a good choice, if you stay in Bouddha area.
You need to pack summer dresses and few extra layers for this time, in the season mornings are chilly. But gradually it will be hot.
Hope you can enjoy a lot. I am sure you will enjoy a lot because i am a guide myself and people who come to me has been satisfied and enjoyed with what Nepal has to offer.
[ Edit: Edited on 25-Apr-2014, at 00:57 by Ram C. Basnet ]
Thank you all for your suggestions and advice.
I have only just started using these forums, so it is great to have so many informative responses.
The guest house in Boudha sounds a lovely retreat. I may mix my time between Thamel and Boudha.
Also, is there any other villages/towns that you recommend to visit in Nepal, I will have flexible timings, so could stay in Nepal for up to and over 2 months...
I am tempted with the Everest base camp trek, but it sounds pretty intense...?
There are many villages that would retreat you with the beauty. Popular regions are Langtang, Ghandruk, Bandipur, Pokhara, Dolpo, Jomsom, Muktinath, etc. Also, enjoy Rafting/canyoning at trishuli river, Bhotekoshi, Sundarijaal respectively.
Everest Base Camp Trek is intense but it is easy with the experienced guides as they will make trails for you in difficult areas. But this year because of the Avalanche that took on April18, killing around 16 Sherpas, it's nearly to close this year. Not confirmed yet.
And if you would like surf in websites of agencies which would give briefs about the areas. You could visit clearskytreks.com too, only if you would like
Happy to help.
Thank you all for your informative responses.
As that's easy to travel in Nepal on my own, i would just book the tickets and go with the flow. I've been talking to some guy in a local travel agency about this trip. He has actually offered quite reasonable rates, but just as my last trip to Thailand, i did enjoy a free and easy trip.
Thank you again for all the suggestions here! I will get prepared for this trip and hopefully it will be a memorable one! Cheer!
Good to hear about that. Enjoy a loads.. And also be aware of some street kids. They might follow you for money. And also, in Bhaktapur esp, we have seen, locals asks for money for taking their photographs.