Arriving in Kathmandu

Our time in Thailand drew to a close and we made our way back to Kuala Lumpur for our flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepal would be a new experience for us as neither of us had been there before and it was our first immersion together into true poverty.

photo 2-4
Not all of Kathmandu looks like this.

On one hand it would present the most challenging aspect of our travels as we got off the beaten path that is Southern-Thailand where tourist infrastructure is aplenty. On the other hand we were going to stay with my sister in her apartment so we had the best sort of guide and someone to teach us the way of the land.

At this point I was weighing up who on the plane I could eat when we crashed into these mountains.
At this point I was weighing up who on the plane I could eat when we crashed into these mountains.

We flew into Kathmandu in the early afternoon and as we begun our descent, I saw peeking in the distance my first glimpse of the mighty Himalayas. In my excitement I threw my travel pillow at Chris to get his attention and beckoned him to the window.

Jo: “Look, LOOK it’s the Himalayas!”

Chris: “nah.., thats just a cloud”

Jo (utterly convinced it was the himalayas): “No it’s not!! It’s the Himalayas!”

Chris: “ No it’s too high up, it’s just a cloud Jo”

It did in fact turn out to be the Himalayas (I was right! *victory dance*) but instead of staring pensively out the window in awe of the highest mountain range on earth, we spent the time bickering.

As the plane descended through (scarily!) close mountain ranges, we were able to see the whole of Kathmandu laid out before us. The buildings looked like little brown shoeboxes and there appeared to be no rhyme or reason to the structure of the city.

People advise not to eat meat in Kathmandu. I wonder why?
People advise not to eat meat in Kathmandu. I wonder why?

Kathmandu is loud, dirty, noisy and special. If you’re looking for a quiet break then avoid staying here, head for the mountains or the countryside. Never has a whole country been more fond of laying on the horn. People here use the horn as an “I’m coming up behind you warning!” and we have agreed that if the horn was banned, the whole country would crash and burn.

Sitting on a unesco heritage listed building
Sitting on a unesco heritage listed building

During our time in Kathmandu we are staying with my big sister Kim. Kim works for a local NGO here in Kathmandu as a research assistant. Kim is one of my favourite people in the world and I am so grateful to be able to stay with her as we really haven’t lived together for about ten years (!!). Kim has a sweet little apartment in the Lalitpur district of the Kathmandu Valley, which about is about twenty minutes drive from Thamel.

For the last couple of weeks we have been spending a lot of time using the apartment as a base to see the sites of Kathmandu, mooch around, eat lots of delicious food, watch a lot of movies and generally just relax and enjoy ourselves.

Say no to drugs and yes to momos.
Say no to drugs and yes to momos.

A typical day sees us eating breakfast at home and doing a couple of hours of writing and general housekeeping in the morning, having a delicious lunch at our favourite cafe and then heading out to see some of Kathmandu in the afternoon. For dinner we usually eat cheap, local food. Plates of steaming spicy momos, flavourful Katti rolls (fresh roti stuffed with chicken and paneer) and big plates of the national dish, Dhal Bhaat.

much picturesque. wow dog. such temple.
much picturesque. wow dog. such temple.

It’s easy to forget that Kathmandu lies in the shadows of the great Himalayas but sometimes when the clouds clear over the city you can see the stunning outline of the mountains above. It is reminiscent of times when you look past the noise and chaos of the city and are reminded of how special this place is. Be it in the wrinkled face of lady sitting on some temple steps, or a quiet moment sipping sweet chai outside a teashop.

Moments before we nearly got plowed down by a car.
Moments before we nearly got plowed down by a car.

We are so looking forward to getting to know Kathmandu and Nepal and taking on the challenge of writing about this country.

Have you been to Kathmandu or Nepal before? We would love to hear more about your time here, any recommendations are more than welcome! Please leave a comment or send us an email at dirtypawsblog@gmail.com.

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10 thoughts on “Arriving in Kathmandu

  1. Great post. I loved Nepal. We spent about 6 weeks there. Albeit with two of them with my girlfriend in hospital with a tropical disease.
    Our favourite eating place was the green organic cafe on the balcony opposite roadhouse pizzeria in Thamel. Great veg biryani.
    We didn’t trek or do base camp or anything like that, but we did watch the sun rise above the Himalayas and above the clouds (as per your post) from Nargakot – which is well worth the trip – on a battered old tourist bus from Thamel.
    Got a few Nepal posts on my blog. Check them out. I’ve got a country category box at the bottom of my page.
    Enjoy Nepal 🙂

  2. MOMOs are the best. I live on them. I love them. I adore the mountains and can’t wait until July when I can get back up to the Himalayas, this just gave me the itch!

  3. Great pictures! I wish we’d had a few more days in Kathmandu to explore. It’s definitely an interesting (and unique) place. It would have been amazing to stay and explore with someone who lives there. It was hard to get our bearings without someone helping us to figure out what was what.

    1. Yeah I agree! It can be a bit overwhelming so it has been great to have someone to show us around. Expats always know where to eat as well.

  4. It looks just fantastic! Even though you describe it as loud, dirty, noisy.
    From where I come from, a little and clean town in Northern Italy, loud, dirty, noisy sounds exotic and fun! 🙂
    Hopefully I get there one day too 🙂

    1. Haha I think you always want what you don’t have when travelling. Its is really stimulating which is awesome but the beeping does get a little tiring. Northern Italy sounds amazing. Eat some pizza for me. 🙂

  5. Beautiful pictures! I’ve been fascinated with the idea of visiting Kathmandu ever since I heard the Cat Stevens song 😛 I think I’d get tired of the noise pretty quickly, but it’s definitely on my list. I think I’d spend more time in the mountains… Anyway, great post and great blog!

    1. Thanks so much! The noise in the city is pretty crazy but I like a bit of crazy sometimes. The mountains are beautiful and definitely more peaceful. 🙂

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