Featured Travel

Finding Friends in Nepal

May 8, 2015

Because Emirates staff travel sometimes sucks – I went to Nepal.

For weeks I had been planning to visit my brother in Australia but overbooked flights made standby impossible. Not willing to waste my vacation, I quickly booked a ticket on airDubai straight to Nepal and landed in Kathmandu the next evening with little more than my passport and a pen.

But thank goodness I had the pen.

When we arrived in Kathmandu I took 5 minutes to fill out my customs form in the area before the agent. Needing something to write with, an American girl named Heather asked for mine, and recognizing her accent, we quickly became friends.

It was late at night so I decided to go with Heather to her hotel, stay the night and get my bearings. Luckily for me, Heather was in Nepal to do a paragliding course and was meeting a Scottish guy and a Canadian girl in Kathmandu, before flying to Pokhara to complete their course. And luckily for me, everybody was really welcoming. As well as convincing. Because after a few Everest beers, I was drunkenly booking my flight to Pokhara, too.

Backpacking in a new place and finding friends along the way is my favourite part of travelling, and these guys didn’t disappoint. We spent a few days in Kathmandu visiting temples and drinking Everest beers, pretending to be on our way to base camp but really on our way to bed. Kathmandu is a capital city rich in culture and extremely underdeveloped. If you’re ever in Kathmandu, here’s a few of my favourite things:

Changu Narayan: an interesting and ancient Hindu temple. Admission to the temple complex is a modest fee, and you really feel the unique culture and religion here. Plan for spending half a day maximum at Changu Narayan.

Thamel: this is the most popular place in town for tourists to stay, so for myself who was travelling alone and clueless, it was a good fit. Finding a hotel or guest house in this neighbourhood is much easier than booking one ahead of time and having to find it, so I suggest you just get dropped off in Thamel and find a 10$ hotel.

Pokhara: is a perfect little hippie town just a short flight away from Kathmandu, and it’s actually from the backyard of our hotel that this photo was taken. Without Heather and her friends, I never would have made it here and after spending a few days wandering the streets, enjoying the restaurants and sitting around campfires with the friendly locals and their acoustic guitars – I really had a great time in this rustic, colourful hippie town.

Accommodation is easy to find, no more than ten dollars, and will guarantee you a cold shower.

need to know Nepal

the Weather – Nepal gets really cold in the winter months, and almost none of their budget hotels or accommodation have heat. I spent one too many nights layered in toques, fleece, wool socks and still shivering myself to sleep, so if you are in Nepal in the winter time, pack a lot of warm clothes.

the Food – in Nepal is varied, with a heavy Indian influence. Regardless of what some guide books say: eat it! I never got sick and improved my palette greatly.

the Tours – in Nepal are plentiful, but there are a lot of things that you can do on your own. When I first got to Kathmandu, I considered spending way too much money on a helicopter tour near the Himalayas because hey – how often would I be in Nepal. But just by booking my flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara on Yeti Air (or Buddha Air) I was treated to a half an hour flight on a prop plane that skimmed past the Himalayas anyways. It was beautiful.

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