Kathmandu ended up feeling like a second home due to the great people I met and the fact I was able to spend more than 3 nights in one place. Upon arrival to the Hotel Courtyard, Michelle the owner offered me a glass of wine and instead of the normal stuffy hotel check in I’m used to she made it unique and personal and I felt super welcomed and in the company of friends.
The hotel’s courtyard is a great place to camp out and meet it’s interesting guests. Several I met were staying for long periods like weeks and months. A large group of us went to dinner at the Thamel House where we had Nepali food tapas style and we were able to sample 12 different dishes, from soup to dessert. There was also rice wine, champagne and beer. Needless to say I slept in until 4PM the next day. I woke up, had a late breakfast, walked around Thamel and had dinner at the hotel while watching a slide show on Kanchenchunga narrated by Chris Beale, a writer and photographer of treks in Nepal who also contributes to Lonely Planet.
The next day, I piggybacked on a tour with three doctors from New Foundland that were staying at the hotel. We hired a car and driver for the day and visited three sites. The first was a 4th century temple at Changu Narayan. It’s at the top of a hill and accessible by walking through the village of Changunarayan in the Kathmandu valley.
The village is also great to visit and watch locals carving and painting handicrafts to sell.
Next we went for a wander in the ancient town of Bhaktapur. Its the ideal place to just walk around and get lost. The architecture is stunning and its a living ancient city filled with restaurants and shops so doesn’t have the museum feel some old sites can have.
I really enjoyed just walking around and taking pictures of daily life, like women shopping and kids walking home from school.
We came upon a huge pagoda and square surrounded by restaurants so decided to have some lunch. We enjoyed this great view and were able to get a break from the sun.
The last stop on our tour was the Bodanath Stupa. I’d never seen anything quite like it. It’s one of the largest stupas in the world and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu.
Dinner that night was at a Japanese restaurant and Pujan and Michelle arranged for a party bus to take 14 of us to Koketsu (across the road from Japanese embassy) where they serve sushi and teppanyaki.
The next day included a visit to the Monkey Temple, more walking around Thamel, and celebrating Cinco De Mayo at a Mexican restaurant called the Lazy Gringo.