Fun Fact: Nepal does not have an independent day because Nepal was never colonized. Nepal is also the oldest country in South Asia.
We decided to make a full day trip today to other cities in the Kathmandu Valley, we are going too Bhaktapur and Nagarkot, these places are about one hour driving from Kathamndu so we got a driver for the day.
Historically, the valley and adjoining areas made up a confederation known as the Nepal Mandala. Until the 15th century, Bhaktapur was its capital, when two other capitals,Kathmandu and Lalitpur (Patan), were established. After the annexation of the valley by the Gorkha Kingdom, and subsequent conversion of the valley as the capital of their empire, the designation of “Nepal” was extended to every land they conquered.
The Kathmandu Valley is the most developed and populated place in Nepal. The majority of offices and headquarters are located in the valley, making it the economic hub of Nepal.
The first stop was the city of Bhaktapur and its world famous Durbar Square (yes, another one), this one was by far the prettiest one of them all and it shows by the steep fee of $15 per person. Bhaktapur literally translates to Place of devotees. It is an ancient Newar city in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, about 8 miles (13 km) from Kathmandu.
We climbed Nyatapola Temple, a 5-story pagoda. The temple was erected by Nepali King Bhupatindra Malla during a 5-month period from late 1701 into 1702. It is the temple of Siddha Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity.
The world famous Golden gate of Bhaktapur. Lu Dhowka (The Golden Gate) is said to be the most beautiful and richly molded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the Hindu goddess Kali and Garuda and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is embellished with monsters and other Hindu mythical creatures of marvelous intricacy.
The main difference with this one is that it is surrounded by a beautiful city full of old buildings and awesome local shops!
You can see locals removing the grains manually. Other locals focus their day in making clay pots.
There are many mandala paining shops where you can see the artist working on these amazingly intricate paintings.
The taxi waited for us outside the city to drive us around 30 min up the mountain until we reached a half point between Bhaktapur and Nagarkot. We then hiked for around 2 hours on the edge of a beautiful mountain passing through local villages and friendly locals telling us the right direction of where to go! The view of the whole Kathmandu valley was incredible and the pollution above Kathamndu city was clearly visible.
We were able to see the way local villagers work on a daily basis. From farming to carrying goods to the next village where no cars can get into.
The hike was very relaxing and it took around 1:30 hrs. Our taxi was waiting for us o the other side to drive us up the hill all the way to the city of Nagarkot, this is a very small town where there is absolutely nothing to do besides relaxing and enjoying the views of the Himalayas.
There is a 360 degree viewpoint on top of the mountain with views of the whole Himalaya range but unfortunately the weather was not great and a thunderstorm was approaching fast. Still, we were lucky and some of the clouds cleared out for a few minutes so we could have our first glimpse of this amazing nature wonder.
The original plan was to stay until sunset, but were starving and the rain was imminent so we decided to head back to Kathmandu. The rain was pouring on us on the way down the mountain and the defrost was not working, so Eitan had to constantly help the driver by clearing the windshield with a piece of paper. It was definitely a very dangerous drive as you can imagine the roads in Nepal are not very good, but we made it to the hotel safe and sound.
When we got to the hotel, Eitan realized our flight back from Tibet was cancelled. They actually had cancelled it 2 weeks ago and Air China actually sent an email with the change in schedule. The time change was 10 minutes of difference so Eitan did not give it any importance, but what he missed is that the date of the flight also have been changed. We discovered this because one of the other Tibet tour members got her flight of another day cancelled as well, so we checked. We were very grateful she informed us of this so that we had time to get it all resolved.
We panicked… a lot. The Chinese visa was already in process, the Tibet permit was issued, the tour confirmed and the trekking tour right when we come back from Tibet had been payed. We started emailing everyone but did not get a response until the day after. Basically, we had to stay one more day in Lhasa and we needed to book an expensive day tour (independent travel is not allowed in Tibet). We needed to call Air China to confirm we wanted to keep the itinerary, we lost one day in Kathmandu and our transport to Pokhara to start the trek, so we needed to book an overpriced private transport. The whole Air China joke with rebooking and changing everything cost us around $400, so I hope they rot in hell.
We had dinner in one of the best reviewed places, the food was superb and the conversation really nice and helped us distract from the whole cancelled flight problem. The buffalo steak was delicious as much as all the other dishes we ordered.
Bonus Pic Of The Day: The Nepali Rupee, about 106 of these for $1 USD. Beautifully showing Mt. Everest on the front, it is normally abbreviated with the sign रू. The Nepalese rupee is pegged to the Indian rupee.