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Nepal Day 01 - Kathmandhu Arrival

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Kathmandhu Arrival


The Airasia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandhu that I had purchased cost only MYR579 (including the airport tax) however the return flight came up to a total of MYR780. This was because I had taken quite some time to finalise my itinerary and as such ended up booking the return flight much later on. The flight itself was fairly uneventful, an Airbus 330-300 that remained between 10000 and 11500 metres with a speed of 780 km/h for the most part. One thing I did notice however that was out of the ordinary was the fact that there was a large number of Nepalese men on the plane that were between the ages of 20-30 years old. I then realized that they were all expatriates who were working in Malaysia that were heading home for the Hindu festival of Diwali (known as 'the festival of lights') that was to occur a few days hence.

I had managed to acquire a window seat on the starboard side of the plane so that I would be able to capture some window mounted GoPro shots and timelapses of the Himalayan ranges as we flew by. Unfortunately, condensation started to form on the windows fairly soon after and the only decent shots I could get were with my DSLR. I found it interesting how almost all those who had pre-booked their meals were non-Nepalese and also found it unnerving how all the Nepalese that didn't have meals just stared intensely at those who did. 

Everest from the air

Mount Everest from the air

The immigration at the airport was a breeze as I had printed the visa form and filled it in well before so I ended up going straight up to the counter to pay the visa fees of USD40 (MYR120) for a month-long visa (there was also an option of a two week-long visa that would only have cost USD25). The only problem with being the first to get through immigration is that you end up being swarmed by touts outside the airport. To avoid this I went to the taxi counter instead (despite knowing that it was slightly more expensive) and secured myself a taxi for NPR650 (MYR22) to Thamel. One thing that quickly struck me was how dusty Kathmandhu was, perfect conditions to exacerbate ailments of the throat! 

The taxi took me straight to Annapurna Guest House as I had booked a basic room online with a common bath (with king sized bed) for two days for MYR44 a few days prior. The hotel was pleasant and clean enough for the price I was paying and the room was nice and cozy. I unpacked my backpack and laid everything out : 

The Gear

Electronics


    1x Kindle Paperwhite
    1x Galaxy Nexus
    1x HP Laptop & Charger
    1x GoPro HD Hero2
    1x GoPro Suction Cup Mount
    1x GoPro Batteriy and SD Cards
    1x GoPro Headmount
    1x Mini Tripod
    1x Headlamp
    15x Spare AA Batteries

Clothing

    1x Down Jacket
    1x Windbreaker
    2x Long-sleeved Tshirts
    2x Quick dry Tshirts
    1x Trekking pants
    1x Cargo Pants
    2x Cotton Tshirts
    4x Underwear
    1x Gloves 
    1x Snow Cap
    1x Pillow Case
    1x Thai Fisherman Pants

Footwear

 

Bags

Wellbeing

Miscellaneous

    1x Keyset
    1x Padlock
    2x Pens
    1x Pencil
    1x Notepad
    1x Multitool
    1x Doorstopper
    1x Ear Plugs
    1x Earphones
    1x Sunglasses (with dust protection)
    1x Spectacles
    1x Quick-dry Towel
    1x Passport
    1x Wallet
    3x Garbage Bags 

Toiletries

    1x Soap
    1x Chapstick
    1x Toothbrush
    1x Toothpaste
    1x Anti-perspirant
    6x packs of wet wipes

To purchase

 

If you are interested, here is a list of <100 items that I currently own.

Next (Day 1) : Kathmandhu Arrival (Part 2)

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Thamel


Thamel is what I would call a 'backpackers paradise' as the small stores that sold all sorts of trekking gear and paraphernalia along the narrow lanes were ubiquitous. I was extremely wary at first as there were touts everywhere that would greet you with a "Namaste!" but then go on to lower their voice and offer "young Nepalese girls" or marijuana. At the same time there were numerous cars and motorbikes whizzing by and honking, forcing you to jump out of their way.

The Streets of Kathmandhu

Kathmandhu Streets in Monochrome

Despite this, I quickly grew accustomed to the vibrant sights and smells of Kathmandhu. Everyone was friendly (probably because they were desperate to sell their wares) and welcoming; and English, albeit broken, was fairly commonplace. I was fortunate enough to find and purchase a second-hand Steripen Adventurer for the modest sum of NPR3800 (MYR130). I knew then that there was a bulb life for each steripen but the price was very reasonable, the Steripen looked very decent and the shopowner went so far as to get batteries to verify that it indeed worked. I managed to convince him to include the batteries aswell as CR123 batteries tend to be a little pricy. I also purchased some trekking pants that had zip off legs so that it could also function as shorts for a mere USD12 (MYR36).

As the day was winding down, I came upon a so-called restaurant that was a little more than a shack by the side of the road that was full of people, both locals and foreigners. Figuring that that was an indication of quality, I decided to give it a try and ended up not regretting it! The place was called 'Newa Mo:mo Restaurant' and was known for its Nepali and Newari food. They even offered cooking courses there! I found out later on that the place was moving to a better, more spacious site that was just off the main road near the junction of Bhagawati Bahal and Thamel Chowk. The chicken fry [sic] rice NPR210 (MYR7) that I purchased was good and came in a generous quantity.

I finished off the day just reading my Kindle and people watching. There was an interesting conversation between what I thought was an Eastern European man that was wearing some sort of headgear reminiscent of a turban that was conversing with another man that actually wore a turban! There were no free tables at the restaurant so the former just offered a seat to the latter and they struck up a conversation. It turned out that he was Russian and was financing his travels with the money that was coming in from the rental of his apartment in Moscow. Apparently he also used to weigh 173kg but his weight dropped down to 120kg by just ceasing his consumption of beer! The conversation got a little more interesting when he spoke of the days of communism and how life was a lot easier for him then. With that kind of conversation around, I doubt many would be able to concentrate on their reading!

Expenditure

End of Day 1 Expenditure (RM)

Transportation : 1381

Entrance Fees/Visa : 120

Gear : 166

Food : 7

Accommodation : 44

TOTAL (RM)

Total

: 1381

: 120

: 166

: 7

: 44

: 1718 

Next (Day 2) : Kathmandhu's Durbar Square

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