Saturday, September 20, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Jawlakhel, Patan. This is the area where I live. Although quite residential, it is home to a lot of international workers for UNICEF, UN, the Embassies, etc... In my house alone, we have an Austrian engineer, a Japanese UN Peacekeeper, two British doctors, a Norwegian students, and three Indian visitors. Accordingly, there is a great mix of food around, covering Nepali, Indian, Mexican, Indo-Chinese, Japanese, Cajun, and Italian. Reviews forthcoming...
Typical traffic. Tuk Tuk/Tempo in green.
Durbar Square, Kathmandu. This square is accessible from Patan; what I did was take a microbus to Ratna Park (20 min), and then do a 15-20 minute walk through the narrow streets of Kathmandu. Getting back, one can easily go to Thamel. Thamel itself is a maze of shops and stalls; you'll need a good map to navigate it, and even then it is difficult. Thamel is also easily accessible from Ratna Park via a 10 minute walk; walk past the large pond on the right, past the large abandoned white building (very obvious) to the left, and turn left at the US embassy.
Walk towards Durbar Square
A building of the Square
Bodhnath Stupa, outer Kathmandu. We were able to get a taxi (150Rp) from Ratna Park (30min), to this center of Tibetian Buddhism. While the monastery cannot quite compare to the monasteries in Tibet, it is a hotbed of the Tibetan population and a great place to see daily Tibetan culture.
The Bodhnath Stupa... creepy eyes...
Tibetan schoolchildren and the random white guy playing soccer
Not fond of the Chinese...
Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu. Supposedly one of the most important Shiva temples, it is the center of Hinduism. The crowd here is noticeably different from the one encountered at Bodhnath, yet it is only a fifteen minute walk away through pristine farmland! (Just follow the road that is straight ahead of the Bodhnath exit). The architecture is beautiful, and the people plenty; they have a check-in for shoes for the temple, but you can only get in if you're Hindi - at least, I almost got through until the guard realized "one of these is not the same as the others." If you're of brown complexion, don't bring your yellow or pale skinned friends; my British-Indian friends were not allowed in as a result of me, so be careful! Definitely a place to visit however. Cool wild monkeys (technically macaques) also scattered around the temple grounds!
The walk to Pashupatinath
Temple entrance, Hindus only
Monkeys! She was not happy at the picture...
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Went through Bangkok as part of the stopover from Beijing. From Beijing, as of September 2008 there are three main ways to get to Kathmandu:
Friday, September 5, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
*Ali/Ngari prefecture, Tibet
Karakoram Highway/Silk Road
*3 week trip: Beijing -> Chengdu/Zhongdian/Lanzhou -> Urumqi -> Turpan/Aletai -> Kashgar ->either Almaty (Kazakhstan) by train or Gilgit (Pakistan) by bus via Tashkurgan
*5 day trip: Beijing -> Dandong/Shinuiju -> Pyongyang -> Beijing
This trip can be done with surprisingly minimal effort. One would need a multi-entry Chinese visa, and arrange for a tour guide in Shinuiju to join a Chinese tour, for up to 4000 RMB. It is a purely organized tour in the DPRK.