It’s been about a month since we returned from Nepal, and if it weren’t for the photo evidence convincing me that we had indeed gone, I’d still be debating with myself whether or not that trip actually happened. Between the casual initiation of the idea (i.e. KRYSTAL: “Hey, do you wanna go to Nepal? A few of us are thinking about going.” ME: “Yea, alright.”), the whirlwind of a two week, non-stop exploration, and the unexpected calm amidst the chaos that seems to be characteristic of this small, landlocked nation, it seems as if a brief moment of our lives was halted in order to experience something far different from anything we (or at least I) had ever experienced, just to get thrown back into the familiar, leaving me with a feeling of bewilderment and wonder more intense than when we first arrived.
Speaking of arrival, that seems to be a good place to start.
After spending a night in our respective Chinese airports (all ten of us were fractured into groups of different overnight layovers in different Chinese airports because that’s what China Eastern Airlines likes to do, apparently), we arrived in Kathmandu International Airport and exited to the parking lot where our van was waiting to take us to the hostel.
Our hostel, Alobar 1000
Rather than belabor you with the minutiae of our daily agenda (although it was dope), I’ll just post some sequential pics and comment on them.
One of the first things we did in Kathmandu was go to Swayambhunath Temple in the west of the city.
It’s also referred to as Monkey Temple because of the excessive amounts of monkeys just chillin…
There was also a puppy…
And more monkeys…
We also checked out Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of the three Durbar (Royal Palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Valley (all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites), and got some good views of the city from atop the old royal palace.
Also in Kathmandu is Boudhanath Stupa which is considered one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhists.
A huge part of our trip was the five-day trek we took to Poon Hill. Yes, Poon Hill. Amidst a varying, scenic landscape, we got a sense of what the lives of true mountain people entails. When it takes two days to walk down to the nearest town, you imagine that those living amongst the mountains become truly self reliant and resistant to what we in the urbanized West may consider inconveniences and/or hardships.
And we were able to catch this Mongolian New Year’s Celebration on the fourth day of the trek…
Aside from our trek, we also spent a few days in Pokhara at a small lodge along the route up Sarangkot mountain. Our hosts were a lovely Nepalese family who went above and beyond to ensure our stay was comfortable and enjoyable.
We also woke up early one morning to catch the sunrise shining on Sarangkot’s summit…
Finally, on the last couple days before we returned home, we visited Chitwan National Park.
Before riding the elephants, we thought it would be a cool experience. After riding the elephants, we all felt a bit regretful as it was very clear the elephants didn’t seem to want people on their backs. I can sympathize.
That’s a brief exopse of some of the shenanigans we were up to while in Nepal. If you want a more detailed description and/or explanation of some of the things we did and saw, feel free to ask!