Nepal has been in my "country to visit" list for quite a while. I couldn't find the perfect time until my friend asked me to travel with her and explore the beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka. I agreed and introduced Nepal to be part of the itinerary. So, here we go!
When you hear the word Nepal, what goes into your mind? For me, it's Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world, which never failed to be mentioned during my classes way back in high school. Years later, I am working in Dubai and met plenty of people from around the world. They say Nepal is not just about mountains and definitely worth a visit. Let's see about that.
On 1st March, I patiently waited to check-in for my flight to Kathmandu, full of excitement and energy to experience something different. I had been consistently traveling around Europe which made me realize that the last time I was in Asia - was in Bali, Indonesia last October 2018. That was almost 2 years ago.
The flight from Dubai to Kathmandu was a non-stop 4hours and 15minutes flight with flydubai. It was a full of passengers dressed in full gear for a trek. I wish I am one of them but I am not yet equipped with fitness and state of mind. Maybe next time.
I arrived in Kathmandu Airport with visa upon arrival. Tourist Visa costed USD30 and valid for 15 days. I also bought a SIM card with 4GB data bundle valid for 7days which costed USD5. Pre-paid airport taxis were also available at Arrivals Hall which was a cheaper option compared to the offer by the hotel.
Our accommodation was located in Thamel, which is the commercial neighborhood in Kathmandu. It has been the centre of the tourist industry for over four decades, known by its narrow alleys crowded with various shops and vendors.
Commonly sold goods include food, fresh vegetables/fruits, pastries, trekking gear, walking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woolen items and clothes.
Travel agencies, small grocery stores, budget hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs also line the streets. Cars, cycle rickshaws, two-wheelers and taxis ply these narrow streets alongside hundreds of pedestrians. Recently many roads in Thamel have been declared vehicle free zones to avoid crowd and traffic.
There are many restaurants in Thamel that serve traditional and continental cuisine, although prices are significantly higher than in non-tourist areas. Thamel also acts as the pre-base camp for mountaineers. It boasts a wide range of mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, mobile phone shops, along with the numerous travel agents and guest houses.
Thamel probably is the best place to enjoy nightlife when you are in Kathmandu! I strongly recommend to stay in this neighborhood!