After staying for six months in Bangkok last year we finally left my favorite city late in the afternoon for our evening flight to Kuala Lumpur. As soon as we arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport, we immediately walked around to find a nice spot to rest and nap for a few hours. Our flight to Kathmandu is one of the earliest flights during that day and most of my fellow travelers at the airport were all still groggy and sleepy.
As I walked passed by the baggage check station, immigration counters up until the boarding area, I was trying to contain my excitement. It’s been awhile since I last saw Kathmandu and I couldn’t wait to see it again. I was in Kathmandu a few years before this trip as part of my first solo backpacking tour around Asia which lasted for six months. Kathmandu holds a special place in my heart.
While waiting to be boarded, I was observing my fellow travelers who looked as excited as I was. There were only a handful of tourists during that day and most of the passengers were Nepali who were eagerly waiting for their flight back home. Most of them perhaps are overseas workers. And now that their work is over they could finally be reunited with their families again.
Our Flight to Kathmandu
As soon as we boarded the aircraft, I prep myself for a few hours of sleep. It has became my habit in my travels to force myself to sleep in flights to avoid being bored and of course to get some needed rest. I had been sleeping for a few hours already when I felt the turbulence and then followed by a sudden drop. Everyone was still calm and then it happened again, and again, and again and the girl sitting behind me began to cry and then vomited afterwards.
I saw the locals onboard praying as well. It seemed that the weather wasn’t cooperating. The pilot announced that thy’re having visibility problem and told us that we couldn’t land yet. So we were circling around Kathmandu Valley for a few minutes until he finally decided to go for it and try to land. He tried and succeeded and we were able to finally land in Tribhuvan airport.
Everyone onboard clapped. I felt their excitement! We survived the turbulence and they could all finally see their families they have left behind. As for the tourists like myself, we could finally start exploring Nepal starting with Kathmandu!
As soon as we arrived, we boarded the taxi and went straight to Boudha where we spent most of our time in Nepal. Boudha was the area recommended by a fellow traveler we met in Himachal Pradesh in India. She said that it’s a more relaxed environment than Thamel. She stayed in Boudha for a year as a volunteer in one of the clinics in the area but unfortunately she was back in Australia when we were in Nepal and did not had the chance to meet her again.
As soon as we were settled, we contacted our Nepali friend whom we met in Sikkim, India and asked if he will visit. And he did visit a couple of times and traveled with us in other places in Nepal.
Living in Kathmandu for Three Months
Living in Kathmandu for three months is a huge eye opener for me. It was so different when I first visited this city a few years back and stayed for only a week and lived in a guesthouse. This time, we lived in a local’s apartment and used public transportation every time we go out.
One of the challenges that we encounter was the consistent power outage. It’s like there were only a total of eight hours in a day where we had power (4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the afternoon). Luckily, they are following a schedule which makes it easy for me to just plan my online tasks based on the loadshedding schedule.
Another challenge was the water supply. If we lose power, then we also lose our water supply.
It was ok during the first month but it’s starting to get onto me on the second month. But then I reminded myself that I would only experience this for three months while most of the locals in Kathamandu are going through this most of their lives.
I also gotten used to wearing face mask to filter out huge particles of dust although I’m sure that I was still inhaling fumes and small dust particles. Most locals, I observed were wearing it as well on a daily basis. It was the first time that I wore a face mask and I only opted to wear one only after I gotten sick.
Exploring Kathmandu City, Kathmandu Valley and other Places in Nepal
Although we had a small place that we used as a hub in Kathmandu City, we still ventured out of the city to visit some places in Kathmandu Valley like Patan, Gokarna, Swayambu and Nagarkot. And we also ventured outside to Pokhara and Chitwan.
I love walking around Kathmandu City especially near the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu and Patan. It’s like a living museum. There’re so much beautiful crafted windows and doors to be seen and also so many intricate wood carvings and bronze sculptures here and there. I also love walking around Boudha where there are so many stupas and monasteries.
Kathmandu may not be one of the cleanest and most organized cities in the world but it’s definitely one of the most charming because of all the beautiful historical artworks that surrounds the city.
The countryside of Nepal is also gorgeous. The snow peak mountains of the Himalayas, the beautiful and serene Phewa Lake and the abundance of wildlife in one of my favorite places in Nepal – Chitwan National Park.
Thoughts and Reflections
Nepal is a beautiful country. I love walking around Kathmandu City. There seems to be something new to see and marvel at. I love seeing the animals of Chitwan roaming free in their natural habitat. I love staring at the beautiful snow peak mountains of the Himalayas.
I was lucky that during the three months I spent in Nepal that I did not experience anything horrible nor met any unscrupulous people maybe because I looked like a Nepali and blend in very well with the crowd. I also realized that most of the people we talked to had met Filipinos in the Middle East and had great memories of their Filipino friends and a lot of them are still in touch with them. Maybe this is one the reasons we were treated quite nicely by the Nepalis that we met. They met very generous and caring Filipinos a few years back and they’re passing the kindness to the Filipinos they’re meeting along the way.
Nepal also taught me to stretch my patience a bit longer and to be kind to the people I meet along the way. Living in Kathmandu for three months helped me see how fortunate I am. Life is quite harsh for a lot of people and yet they don’t let their struggle put them down. You still see them smile despite of the hardships that they’re going through on a daily basis.
I see so many similar qualities between Nepalis and Filipinos, maybe that’s why for some reason I felt at home in Nepal.
Thank you Nepal for the wonderful memories that you have given me! May our paths cross again in the future!