EBC Day 02 - Kathmandu's Durbar Square

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Bustling Kathmandu

I woke up early to the noises of bustling Kathmandu. Fortunately the Annapurna Guesthouse that I was staying in was located off the main road and as such was a lot quieter than most of the other guesthouses. Later on was I to realize that the Nepalese start their day very early (normally around 05:00-06:00) as the sun rises and sets early here at this time of year. The first thing I did after I left the guesthouse was to head to the nearest shop and buy a map of the city which ended up costing a ridiculous NPR500!

I decided to just walk around at first and just keep an eye on the map so that I would be able to figure out how to get back. At first glance all the narrow streets tend to look the same which can pose a problem for those who are new to the city. Since the guesthouse that I was staying in lay to the north of Thamel, I naturally found myself heading south and as such I decided to keep on going until I reached Kathmandu's Durbar Square (Nepali : काठमाडौ दरबार क्षेत्र) . A 'Durbar Square' is basically a plaza that lies close to the old royal palaces in Nepal with most of the bigger cities (such as Patan and Bhaktapur) also having one.

Along the way I was kept fascinated by the little shops that lined the narrow chaotic streets. These shops were modest in size although were very flamboyant with their decorations and choice of colours. All sorts of goods were being sold, ranging from hiking paraphernalia, clothes and materials such as cashmere and pashmina, and hand-crafted souvenirs, to weapon shops that sold all sorts of blades including the Nepalese Kukri.

I was also shocked to find that a lot of the shop owners could speak Malay as it is apparently quite common for Nepalese men to come over to Malaysia for a few years for work. Funnily enough the conversations always went the same way - first they would ask me where I was from and were surprised when I said that I was from Malaysia. They would then get a resolute look about them and ask me something in Malay with a smirk as if they were about to catch me out. The fact that I was able to respond to their questions in Malay would leave them baffled all over again!

Getting to Durbar square was ridiculously easy. All one has to do is align themselves in the right direction and just keep walking! The entrance fee amounted to NPR750 but by heading to the KMC Site Office, which is just to the south of the square next to the Kumari-ghar temple, with the receipt of payment and a passport photo, one can be issued a visitor pass which will allow re-entrance into the square at any point for the duration of one's visa without having to pay the entrance fee all over again.


Next (Day 2) : Kathmandu's Durbar Square (Part 2)
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