Kathmandu Journals

Kathmandu

A September 2001 trip to Kathmandu by Leesa

Bodhnath Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal More Photos
Quote: Flying in, the semi-rural suburb I spotted turned out to be Kathmandu. The sea of low-rise red brick towers was reminiscent of the maze-like mud brick towns I’ve seen in North Africa. For all the hassle I found it a fascinating city of old & new jostling for space.

Kathmandu

Overview

Quote:
Sitting high on a medieval high rise temple in Durbar Square (Kathmandu), watching the stream of tourists, guides, and people going about their daily business. Walking south of Durbar Square (Kathmandu) through the thoroughly ‘lived in’ maze of crumbling streets. Plodding up the steep steps to reveal the hive of activity that is Swayambhunath, and rewarding views back over Kathmandu. Boudha, for a more tranquil Buddhist temple. Pashupatinath, eerie almost voyeuristic scenes of cremations and bathing. Patan’s Durbar Square with its intricately carved buildings and truly Golden Temple...Read More

Hotel Vajra

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Hotel

Hotel Vajra Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
Providing it’s within your budget, I highly recommend this hotel for acclimatising for the first couple of nights or refuge when it all gets too much. With no mod cons in the old wing, what you pay for is this architectural oasis, halfway between Monkey Temple and Thamel, with its lush compound and Newari woodwork. With two rooftop bars and a good restaurant, reasonably priced for a hotel, you could shut out Kathmandu if you wanted to. Nor is the hotel too far out. We were warned not to walk back from Thamel at night by our airport taxi driver, warning us of groups of young men and drunks, but found it all but deserted on the one occasion we walked back at 9pm. $44 for a ‘Super Room’ in the Old Wi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Hotel Vajra

Kathmandu, Nepal

Quote:
Just off the main drag down a quiet alleyway, with a pleasant grassy courtyard, and plain but large rooms with satellite TV we found this a relatively peaceful base in Thamel.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Acme Guest House
Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal
4700236

Kathmandu Guest House-KGH Group

Hotel | "Kathmandu Guest House"

Quote:
We were torn between staying at KGH as a travellers institution, and not staying there as the hub of pretension. In the end, the latter opinion won through, as we were offered a very drab & ordinary room for the same amount as we were paying (after discount) at Hotel Vajra, and the Desk Manager calmly telling us that they don’t need to discount prices because they are so well known.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Kathmandu Guest House-KGH Group
Po Box 21218, Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal
977-1-4700 800

Hotel Mandap

Hotel

Quote:
A slightly tired and fairly nondescript business style hotel, it is one of the few value-for-money mid-range hotels. We were offered a huge triple room with satellite TV & en-suite for $15 at the start of high season (mid-September) when things were a little slow, rising to $20 a couple of weeks later.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Hotel Mandap
Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal

Quote:
Down the alleyway opposite Himalatte Café south of Thamel Chowk – described as a comfortable mid-range option, we found this guest house quite unappealing. The room walls were grubby, and every window was worryingly barred. I’ve certainly seen more welcoming budget rooms.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Thorong Peak Guest House
Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal

Tibet Café

Restaurant

Quote:
On the left of the little road leading off to Thorong Peak Guest House & Hotel Tashi Delek – our favourite lunch spot run by a charming young Tibetan couple. Tasty dhal, momos, lassis, et al. There is only one gas ring, so if you are there with someone else, order what they have or be prepared to wait!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Tibet Café
Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepalese Kitchen

Restaurant

Quote:
This restaurant does a great set meal, introducing you to Nepali cuisine. They are large helpings, so come prepared/hungry. If vegetarian, you should eat here early in your stay in Nepal before you tire of dhal bhat, and beware the pulse rich diet before a long flight!

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Nepalese Kitchen
Chetrapati/Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal

Yin Yang Restaurant

Restaurant

Quote:
An excellent Thai restaurant for a taste of something different. You are asked how spicy you like the dishes, so you can have it "good ‘n spicy" if you want it that way.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 23, 2001

Yin Yang Restaurant
Thamel
Kathmandu, Nepal
977-01-4260289

Bodhnath

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Attraction | "Boudha"

Bodhnath Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
From Pashpatinath we took a track across barren land and through Kathmandu’s low key suburbs. Convinced for almost 30 minutes that we had taken the wrong path, the sight of Nepal’s largest stupa as we rounded a turn in the road put us right. The religious centre for Nepal’s Tibetans, Boudha was remarkably quiet in the heat of the day. We all but had it to ourselves, watching the prayer flags flutter and pigeons constantly gather and disperse. Without all the hubbub and gaggle of other temples I found it a far more majestic site, together with the background accompaniment of chanting ‘music’, albeit from souvenir shops around the base. I was surprised to learn you’re allowed to wa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 7, 2001

Bodhnath
Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu, Nepal

Pashupatinath Temple

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Attraction | "Pashpatinath"

Pashupatinath Temple Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
At first I was a little unsure about visiting a cremation ghat. Not only did it seem voyeuristic, but also I really wasn’t sure I could stomach the odour of burning human flesh. However, devoid of cultural sights after a week in Pokhara I decided we would visit on our return to Kathmandu.. Arriving by taxi, amazingly intact after the driver’s increasingly frantically crossing himself (we know he can’t have been crossing himself but this is what it looked like!) as we drew close that the vehicle was swerving violently, we were immediately surrounded by would-be-guides keen to exploit the Nepalese novelty of cremation. They seemed quite taken aback when we pointed out that Europeans cremate ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 7, 2001

Pashupatinath Temple
Banks of the Bagmati River
Kathmandu, Nepal

Golden Temple

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Attraction

Golden Temple Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
A chance glance at our guidebook after wandering around Patan’s Durbar Square led us to the Golden Temple. With the narrow doorway giving no indication of what lay beyond we decided to gamble on the 20rs entry fee. Leather shoes removed, we emerged from the warren-like entranceway into a brilliantly gilded courtyard that took our breath away. Everything was gilded; the walls, the roof, the statues. We acquired a very unassuming guide within a few minutes who guided us, unintelligibly in the main, around the doll’s house like structure pointing out the thankas, and the chanting monks. We left still not knowing what we had seen, but quite simply dazzled.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 7, 2001

Golden Temple
Patan
Kathmandu, Nepal

Swayambunath

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Attraction | "Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple)"

Swayambunath Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
I don’t know why, but Swayambhunath as described in the guidebook just didn’t do anything for me. After repeated temples in Asia maybe it was temple overload, or the knowledge of how unfathomable it would all be. Even as you approach Swayambhunath it is cunningly hidden from sight so you still have no idea what to expect. Walking up from Thamel it is buried in a mass of trees with just the tippy top of spires peeking out. At the base of the hill that the temple stands on, you are met by a steep set of stairs, gaudy statues, and mild mannered stallholders. Only as we’d slogged our way to the final few steps, after I called several rest stops in the name of admiring the view, was the condensed t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 20, 2001

Swayambunath

Kathmandu, Nepal

Durbar Square

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Attraction | "Kathmandu's Durbar Square"

Durbar Square Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
Unprepared for an entrance fee, the 200rs charge took us aback when we first tried to walk through the square, and we turned on our heels to make a rather petty point that tourists don’t just give money away without a thought. As a tourist attraction I have no objection to paying entrance fee, but I am still somewhat unconvinced that this money will find its way back to the square’s maintenance. Point made, at least in our own minds, we returned to Durbar Square a few days later. Our first true tourist attraction in Nepal, we were amazed at the constant stream of young men persistently insisting that we needed a guide. Sadly we began to get a little cynical of anyone striking up conversation, a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 20, 2001

Durbar Square

Kathmandu, Nepal

Walking on Freak Street

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Attraction | "South from Durbar Square"

Walking on Freak Street Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
From Durbar Square we wandered south, down through Freak Street and beyond. Planning from the comfort of home we had read that this area is one of Kathmandu’s poorer areas, and had decided not to stay in Patan because we prefer to walk around town. Walking through these southern streets a month or so later in the early afternoon was a perfect foil to the historic sights. Here people went about their daily lives without a thought to tourism. Yes, the children did shout ‘hello’ and beam at us, but vegetable sellers spread out their wares in the squares, the butchers carved up their meat with an eager swarm of flies, and daily noises spilled out of flimsy buildings. In our hours’ walk we saw one ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 20, 2001

Walking on Freak Street
South from Durbar Square
Kathmandu, Nepal

Durbar Square

Attraction | "Patan’s Durbar Square"

Durbar Square Photo, Kathmandu, Nepal
Quote:
The final in our list of Durbar Squares, we found this the most interesting. The buildings are more closely packed (I read that many of Durbar Squares in Kathmandu were leveled by earthquakes) so everywhere you look you see layers of different buildings and Newari architecture. We arrived in the late afternoon when this patchwork was further enhanced by candles twinkling from the temple buildings. The wooden carvings, too, to my mind were more accessible. We spent 20-30 minutes in the first courtyard we came to (Mul Chowk) admiring each intricately carved roof strut, depicting Hindu characters such as a two-foot eight-armed Ganesh, in turn. Plagued by a few would-be-guides, and with no ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 21, 2001

Durbar Square

Kathmandu, Nepal