How to explore Nepal with low costs
by Oleksandra Lozovyk
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Dreaming of visiting the mysterious country, hidden in the mountain peaks, that attracts tourists from all over the world? But are you not a mountaineer and haven’t the opportunity to set off for the unforgettable track into the depths of the Himalayas? Do not despair. There is always a way out. I will share the experience of how to plunge into the life of a mountainous country and spend no more than $ 100 per week.
The place to visit #1. Kathmandu capital
If it is hard to breathe because of dust, unpleasant scents, mixed with incense odors, if your eyes run from the mass of colors and the sounds of ritual bells, the noise of the road and annoying sellers make you feel dizzy, welcome to Kathmandu. This place is full of unbelievable power, ancient knowledge and shattered by the consequences of the earthquake and the increasing poverty. The main touristic places are spread out all over the city, so you have no many choices of transportation, and most likely you have to use local transport or to spend much money on the taxi. It is quite possible to deal with taxi drivers about the acceptable price, if you catch the car not in the city center. Back to my experience, most part of my trip I have walked by foot or used local buses. These adventures allow you to pass through the Nepali lifestream like nothing else. As a tourist, I was happy to know that such symbolic places as Durbar square, Pashupatinath region, and Swoyambunath stupa are still functioning worship directions. That’s why GPS navigator is your best friend here. Using it you can easily avoid entrances with tourist fee, walking a little bit along the calm lanes of the ancient city to reach your destination secretly.
You will be astonished by the immensity of Durbar square and hundreds of its dreaming temples. It is especially amazing in moonlight night. Don’t be afraid to visit it for a while during the evening hours. Take some rest at the shabby stairs of temples, listening to the echo of the sleepy city, feel all the unique atmosphere of this place through yourself.
Another one point to do here is to see the little goddess. One time a day (most often it is about 2-4 pm) you can see a small girl in the window of the cozy yard behind the wonderful wooden carved doors. The locals believe she is a vivid embodiment of Kumari goddess. This special girl is chosen by following the determined rituals. After admission, she lives under the supervision of plenty tutors until the first blood drop appears. That is the time to choose the next goddess embodiment. Close to the official entrance to Durbar square you can find the lost colorful Durga temple. Its multicolored cornices attract the sight and the local servant will tell the true history of this place and traditions to all wanderers no worse than any other tourist guide.
And how not to mention Thamel marketplace with noisy streets you should explore dozen times. Traditional clothes and sport staff, spices, tea, coffee, herbs, minerals, singing bowls, thanku, cashmere scarves and antiques…Here you can find everything your soul wishes. Though you cannot afford souvenir shopping, just walk through the vivid streets, talk with sellers about life and politics, try local ice cream – kulfi and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Asian anthill under the colorful clouds of praying flags. In case you are lucky to visit Nepal at the beginning of May, you will explore the Buddha birthday celebration with street musicians near the tiny altars, who are singing mantras for Buddha glory.
Transport and apartment: it is quite easy to reach the city center from the airport on the local bus (about 20 NPR). There is a plenty of hotels, hostels, and guest houses with price range 4-40 NPR. Personal recommendation: Famous House Kathmandu hostel
The place to visit #2. Lalitpur (Patan)
This small town has spread out not far from the capital. Centuries ago it was Kathmandu actual part. I was lucky to wander along its dusty lanes when the weather was rainy, that’s why this place had become connected with the haze of pleasant sadness and dreaminess for me. As all ancient cities, it has the iconic Durbar square with Mall statue and incredible temples. But if you got lost through the tiny streets you could stumble across the marvelous place – Golden temple. This Hindu place empowers the indescribable energy, despite it is so weeny. At the upper floors, there is cozy Tibetan monastery.
Hinduism and Buddhism are together. Combination of powerful religions you could hardly imagine, that is so common case for Nepal.
Lalitpur is mandala place. So to buy handmade mandala on the rice paper is point number one to do here. There is a small workshop across the street from Golden temple. Here you can find mandalas for every taste, which were made by Tibetan art school students.
Transport and apartment: you can reach Patan from the main autobus station of Kathmandu, Ratna park. There are various apartments in the city, but my personal advice is to come back to Kathmandu as one day is quite enough for the first date with Patan.
The place to visit #3. Bhaktapur
The potter city crowns the Golden ring of Kathmandu valley. The biggest temple in Nepal shines in its heart. Dust, colors, distant bells ringing in the wind and the master, who is retrieving the secret from glue with accurate tender hand movements at the potter square. That is Bhaktapur…
Personal apartment recommendation: Friends guest house.
In case you are tired of city bustle and wish to enjoy mountain landscapes, tremble of calling wind, drift in the beams of sleepy sun and stay alone for a while with yourself, visit Nagarkot or take a short trek to Namo Buddha monastery.
Hope, my recommendations will accompany your journey and help to approach its integrity to take a special corner in your heart.