Our flight out of Bhutan left at 7am so we had an early start. On the way back we managed to snag seats on the right hand side of the plane (having missed out on the left on the way into Paro). This meant that we had views of the highest point on earth, Mount Everest, from the window which was amazing although just increased my wanderlust to hike to base camp one day.
On arrival in Kathmandu airport we had a much smoother time getting through customs than we had when we got in from Istanbul and we were picked up by our guide for the day. After dropping off our bags at our hotel (Hotel Himalaya again) we set out for our first stop- Swayambhunath Temple or Monkey Temple. Our guide gave us plentiful information about the significance of the temple which was interesting however our poor attention spans meant we did get rather distracted by the furry inhabitants of the temple complex. Around the temple were the first obvious signs we saw of the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake with some rooms in buildings completely open to the elements. Whilst there we were also taken into an art workshop where they explained what it took to become an art master, then tried to sell them to us.
Once we had finished here we then went toward Durbar Square. Here was a lot of evidence of the earthquake damage with buildings either flattened or being held up by wooden beams. We went to see the “Living Goddess” which was a surreal experience. The living goddess is a young girl who lives in a dedicated building with her family and comes to her balcony to bless people or on religious occasions until she hits puberty. When this happens she is given a dowry and a new girl is selected. We also wandered through the courtyards of the palace which was home to the assassinated Royal family.
Once we had finished looking around Durbar Square we were dropped by our guide back at the hotel then we decided to walk into the Thamel area, where we had gone on our first day, to do some shopping. Here there are so many stalls selling outdoor adventure goods, yes most of them are knock offs but a lot are very well made and at the prices we were paying we were able to get supplies for our trip next year to hike the Inca Trail. Once we couldn’t stand any more shopping we took a recommendation from one of the shop assistants to go to a place called Helena’s for dinner. We were advised to try a Nepalese dish called MoMo. This is a dumpling stuffed with various fillings, we chose “Buff” (buffalo). The food was delicious and the setting on a roof garden overlooking the city was so atmospheric, definitely somewhere to check out if in Kathmandu.
Do you ever get distracted by wildlife when travelling? Any top places to see in Kathmandu?