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Third Stop - Nepal

25 Jun ~ 06 Jul, 2019


Why I suddenly decided to go to Nepal is simply because I wanted to celebrated my birthday. That is it, I thought that trekking in Mt. Himalaya to see the most spectacular view might be the best gift for myself. Therefore, I booked a 4-day trekking tour called Poon Hill Trekking. Meanwhile, my friend went back. Yup, I become a solely traveller again.

On the way to Nepal, I was lucky to sit at window side so that I could have gorgeous, hilly and snow-capped mountain view of Mt. Himalaya.




At the very first moment I landed Nepal I felt that I come to the paradise. Unlike longer hustling and bustling noises you hear in India, peacefulness and tranquilness relax me. The religious and cultural atmosphere and the mountains surrounding the city made me fall in love with Nepal immediately.

Pokhara & Poon Hill Trekking

After 1 night in Kathmandu, I headed to Pokhara for my trekking tour. Although it took me 7 hrs by bus to arrive there, the breath-taking views along the way to Pokhara never bored me. Phewa Lake is one of the famous attractions in Pokhara and thus turns Pokhara into a well-known place for vacation. It was still early and raining when I arrived. So I decided to stay in my hostel for a short break until rain stopped.


After rain stops, I took a walk along the lakeside. Probably because of the rain, the visibility seems to be clearer. I sat on the bench with breeze flowing through my face while enjoying the sunset with sounds of people talking and bird chirping as background musics. I suddenly realized that I had never taken a full rest for a long time.



Next day morning, my guide came to my accommodation to pick me up. Surprisingly, my guide was a young man. However, he was a responsible, considerate and easy-going person that I spent great time the tour with him. I sincerely appreciated him for taking good care of me entire trekking tour. It was around 2 hrs drive from Pokhara to the entry of Poon Hill called Nayapul.


The whole trip was really amazing and unforgettable. What I mean unforgettable is because the only thing you are doing for the first two days was keep climbing up. When I looked at those endless stairs, I started to question myself why I do this to myself especially with my 15 kg backpack .


On the first day, we would go up to Ulleri (2073m) from Nayapul which took us 7 hrs to the top. During the last several hours, I had to pause for few minutes every few steps up to adjust my breath so that I could continue climbing. Even though the temperature in this altitude was not high, I sweated so much that I could easily wring the water out from my clothes. When I arrived at the lodge, I never felt that happy in my life.


On the second day, we will depart from Ulleri to Ghode Pani (2880m). Although it was a 4hrs climbing, I was completely exhausted as first day because the route to the top is steeper than that on first day. Nevertheless, I felt strong sense of achievement when I saw the sign “Welcome Poon Hill” on the gate.



Since we arrived Ghoda Pani earlier than our plan, my guide took me to a small bar nearby our lodge to play pool. Surprisingly, the bar was bit busy.




On the third day, I was supposed to go up to the top of the Poon Hill to celebrate my birthday by seeing sun rises from the back of Mt. Himalaya. However, it was pretty foggy outside so that we had no choice but to give up our original plan. On this day, we started to climb down from Godha Pani to Ghandruk (2600m). Although it was a 7 hrs walk, I didn't feel tired because of the spectacular views.


Our last day was relatively easy. After being a 3-day porter, 4 hrs walk from Ghandruk to Nayapul was nothing for me. I got a chance to see the cloud river on the way.


Because we arrived Pokhara before 3 pm, I decided to take a walk along lakeside to kill some time after a nap in my hotel. At night, my guide and I went to the bar to chill out. When my guide knew I was here to celebrate my birthday, he told me he will hold a Nepal-style birthday party for me when we backed to Kathmandu.

Kathmandu

On my birthday, I rented a bicycle to cycle around the Kathmandu. My first stop was the Boudha Stupa. The Boudha Stupa is the largest spherical stupa in the world. On the top of the stupa is a pair of eyes which represents the Buddha's eyes. Basically, you can see this pair of eyes everywhere in Nepal. Beneath the eyes is a “?” mark at nose position. The question mark is derived from Nepal number “1” which denotes equality. It reminds people that “every creature is equal under the eyes of the Buddha”.


After a short stay in Boudha Stupa, I biked to the Shree Pashupatinath Temple which is the oldest Hindu Temple in Nepal. This temple houses lord of Shiva. “Pashupatinath” means “ the lord of all animals” which is originally an epithet from Rudra in Vedic period but now is an epithet of Shiva. “Shree” in Nepal represents “greatness” and often used before a name of temple or goddess. Beside Shree Pashupatinath Temple is Arya Ghat which is the most famous and the largest cremation site in Nepal. For Hindu, they believe that people will go to heaven if their bone ashes can be released into river after being cremated.



Because the weather was too hot, I stopped by a coffee shop where is near my hostel to take a rest. I was the only guest in the shop at the moment. I started to chat with owner. When she knew that I came to Nepal to celebrate birthday, she gave me a small cake for free as a birthday cake and sang birthday song to me. I was deeply touched by their kindness and generousness.


In the evening, my guide rode his motorbike to pick me up. It was my first time to visit Nepal house. My first impression of Nepal house is those colorful totemic curtains and carpets.




My guide invited all his friends to celebrate my birthday together. In Nepal, people will put a yellow scarf on you to bless you. Other people will put Tika on in the middle of the brows representing peace and good luck and give you small amount of money (around 50 Nepal Rupee) which I guess to wish you good fortune. In here I had the most delicious Dal Bhat in Nepal (Instead of using cutlery, people eat meal with their hand.)


After my birthday party, we went to local bar to drink and dance. This bar was very interesting for me. Unlike Taiwan where usually there is a DJ on the stage playing their mix music, here you will see a live band playing Nepal songs with many pretty female dancers dancing on the stage. We all were tipsy but had a great time together.


Next day, which is also my last day in Kathmandu, I had no plan but just wandered around the city and went to bus station to buy a bus ticket to Lumbini tomorrow. The reason I go to Lumbini is because Lumbini at the Nepal-India border so I can continue my trip in India. In addition, Lumbini is also the birthplace of Guatama Buddha. If you are interested in Buddhism, you must not miss this place.


Swayambhunath Stupa is another stupa located at the top of the hill in the city. This stupa is also called Monkey Temple because monkey is everywhere here. Most of buildings are damaged due to 2015 Nepal earthquake. It’s been 4 years since the earthquake and the repairing works are still continuing.




Durbar Square was a royal square, as know as one of three biggest royal squares in Nepal (the other two are Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square). Due to 2015 Nepal earthquake, lots of traditional buildings are in danger of collapse. The external wall of those buildings are supported by log wood to prevent them from collapsing.

Lumbini

Next day 7am in the morning, I hopped on the bus heading to Lumbini. It was the longest and most tiring bus ride I’ve ever had in my life. Due to rainy season, the road condition was worse than usual. The shock absorbers were not working so the whole trip was bumpy. It eventually took me totally 13 hrs (normally it takes around 8-9 hrs) to my destination. When I got to hotel, it was almost 9 pm.


Lumbini is actually a small town, so I decided to stay here only one night. The most famous attraction here is Lumbini Garden. In this garden you must visit Maya Devi Temple which is the earliest buddhism temple in the world according to Conignham. Maya Devi is Guatama Buddha’s mother. Another area of this garden you can visit is The Thousand Buddhism Temple where you could see various styles of buddhism temples from different countries. The garden is huge, so you could spend 2-3 hrs walking around the garden.


After a short stay in Lumbini, I took a local bus to the Nepal-India border to restart my adventure in incredible India.

I would say Nepal is one of my favorite country so far. Although Nepal is a developing country, its spectacular landscape and diverse cultures gave me many amazing experience and unforgettable memories. I had no chance to stay in Nepal for a long time, but I felt very fulfilled. Without a doubt, I will come back to Nepal to discover more places. See you again, Nepal.

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