Shazia had just landed in Katmandu.
This place was less chaotic and populated than Kolkata, where she had board the flight. The air there was polluted but now the mountains had fresh unadulterated air. She took in as much as she could to fill her lungs and breathed all the exhaustion of travel out of her system.
She took out her diary and pen. As she was waiting for her Uber, she noted down the flight experience. She did this regularly, nearly everyday. After thirty minutes or so her Uber arrived and she got into the car and started her journey into the mysterious kingdom of the Himalayas.
Ten days later, as she was waiting to check in and leave Nepal for Bangkok. She open her diary again and this time she wrote down how she journeyed through Nepal.
1. Katmandu Has A Lot To Offer, Stay More Than A Day
Like the capital of most developing countries Kathmandu is also suffering from chaotic traffic and pollution. But it had a lot to offer than just a day worth of stay before I left for more exotic destinations in Nepal. there’s enough culture (Boudhanath, the world’s largest Buddhist stupa), character (the marigold sellers at the Durbar Square morning market, the monkeys at Swayambhunath) and cuisine (Nepali Thali sets are life!) kept me occupied for at least three days, to say nothing of the Himalaya views I enjoyed on clear days.
2. Everest Base Camp Myth
There was a way better way to experience the Himalayan glory of Mouth Everest than booking an overpriced and pre arranged trip to the base camp. I simply booked a Tara Air flight to Lukla (yes, the world’s “most dangerous airport”) and hired one of the waiting sherpas to accompany me on my trek (which, for much of the way, is actually more of a walk).
3. Pokhara is a bit overrated
Yes, it does give an amazing view of the Annapurna Range but then again the Phew Tal lake there is really polluted. Most of the tourist l found there were foreigners who were either young party boys waiting to buy cheaper booze and easily available drugs or girls who are deeply engrossed into their Yoga.
4. There is always one place where not many people go
I trekked in search of tigers in Chitwan National Park (this is where I was surprised to see more rhinos and elephants than tigers) . I admired the impressive Hindu architecture of Janakpur and took day trips to some of the hill towns outside Kathmandu, I owed myself at least a glimpse at one of Nepal’s rougher diamonds. Coming so far and only visiting the common tourist spots made me feel incomplete. Ask the locals which are their favorite tourist destination. It will be more exotic than the mainstream tourist destination visited by travelers.
5. I will comeback
It was only a ten days visit. There was so much more to do and so much more to see. I am sure I will come back to visit India again. After visiting South India , I shall make another trip to Nepal.
There is a lot more to do than trekking here, I haven’t gambled here, nor did I visit any remote villages. I might take up teaching and help some children improve their lives.
Nepal, the hidden gem in the Himalayas has a lot offer and the world doesn’t tell you about it in travel magazines and blogs. There are many people who like the usual when they travel to Nepal. They cannot be blamed. They are travelling there for the first time. There is a lot of unsurety as well as insecurity when one is travelling to a new place for the first time but when you are ready to take the path less known. Go ahead and try out the destinations and ideas I have shared above.
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Author: The Brown Nomad
Also published on Medium.