Back to the dusty and noisy Kathmandu. Our Tourist bus stopped not far away from Thamel, we could easily find our way back to the hostel. This time we went to another hostel which is also in the quiet street of Thamel. It is much cheaper than the previous one.
Our plan for these few days in Kathmandu is to visit a few famous places recommended by our guide Keshab like the Kathmandu Durbar Square, The Boudha Temple and The Pashupatinath Temple. Andi will do some shopping and I will have to figure out what I want to do next.
As the Kathmandu Durbar Square is not far away from Thamel, we walked there passing streets of old buildings and small stupas. Approaching the junction of the square, we were stopped by a security guard, he said to us we have to buy tickets, where we could see locals walking pass, going in and out of the square. The price for the entrance is NRP750 = US$9. We think that is too expensive. Then we decided to go around looking for other way to sneak in. We tried another entrance but it was all fenced up, after trying the last entrance and failed we decided to give it a miss.
The road condition in Kathmandu is really bad. There isn’t any line or properly pave road, many holes and humps. All taxi are non aircon, they don’t use meter system so we have to agree to a price first before we jump in. Ask for 50% discount from the price they quote if not take the next one. Public bus is impossible for foreigner to take because the location is only written in Nepalese language.
We took a taxi to Boudha also called Boudhanath. A UNESCO World heritage site since 1979. It has been an important place of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists & local Nepalese. The big stupa in the middle stands 43m in height and approximately 40m in diameter. It is surrounded by prayer wheels fixed on the wall. The entrance fees are reasonable; in the surrounding of the stupa there are many shops, cafe, restaurants and some guesthouse. We walked clock wise around the stupa and also one round on the top. The Buddha eyes are mesmerizing! :-)
Next stop will be the Pashupatinath Temple not far away. Pashupatinath is a Hindu temples of Lord Shiva, only born Hindus are allowed to enter the temple premises. We are allowed to have a look at the temple from the other bank of Bagmati river. I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to see. The Bagmati river is used by Hindus for cremation, according to the Nepalese Hindu tradition, the dead body must be dipped three times into the Bagmati river before cremation. The chief mourner (usually the first son) who lights the funeral pyre must take a holy river-water bath immediately after cremation. Many relatives who join the funeral procession also take a bath in the Bagmati River or sprinkle the holy water on their bodies at the end of cremation. The Bagmati River is considered to purify the people spiritually. I felt gross as I see the death body lying by the river bank, kids playing with tube in the river, Hindus showering and having a head shave and 5m downstream death body are being cremated. I wasn’t feeling good the whole time I was there, it was an eye opening scene for me.
We shopped around a bit and I finally sat down to make my plans. I hesitated for Africa! I did another round of calculation, flights, excursion, visa fees, time, etc. It is just too expensive. I might be able to sustain 1 or the most 2 months in Africa not more. I think the most important factor is I felt I had enough. After some discussion with Andi, I finally decided to end my World Trip here! My last target will be an 8 days trek to Langtang valley. I have just enough time to finished that and return to Malaysia before my visa expires. :-) Yes, it's the end!
This time I took a porter/guide since Andi is leaving and not joining me for this trek. I figured a porter/guide will be a good company.
I took a package with another agency. The 8D7N Langtang Valley trek cost US$400. It includes :-
- All food (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.)
- Accommodation. (Lodge)
- Hot drinks. (Tea & coffee) 3 times a days.
- Land transportation (by bus)
- TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System)
- Langtang National park Permit.
- All food, drinks, Lodge, salary, Insurance, Medical, Equipments, Air ticket, land transport etc for GUIDE/PORTER.
- Down jacket,Duffel bag and Sleeping bag.
- All taxes.
- Airport transfer
The night before departure I met with my porter/guide, he is a small and older looking man. He is able to speak good English. His name is Bhes.
It’s finally time for Andi to leave, back to Germany to start his work. Good time always have to end. Hopefully we will meet again soon.
Kathmandu HI Thamel Hostel – (www.youthhostel-nep.org) NRP600 per room/night with shared toilet, NRP700 per room/night with attached toilet, NRP300 dormitory with attached toilet.
Taxi to Boudha – NRP250
Taxi from Boudha to Pashupatinath Temple – NRP150
Taxi from Pashupatinath Temple to Thamel – NRP200
Entrance to Boudha – NRP150
Entrance to Pashupatinath Temple – NRP500