Nepal - Where are the best temples?

Difficult to put Nepal in a specific box. Are people more like Indians or more like Chinese? It's nested between India and China, but I was told it differs from both of them. Also, the weather and the clothes to bring are difficult to estimate because of the mountains. So how is it in a country that is not India-hot but also not Mount Everest Cold?

I thought I can see the Himalayan mountains from the plane but the visibility in this area is normally too foggy to see more than a few dozen kilometers. So no Mount Everest view from the plane. 

Qatar Airways brought me via Doha to Kathmandu. The total flight time was whopping 6 hours to Doha and then 5 more hours to Kathmandu. The arrival process was smooth, and it was advantageous to be among the first to disembark from the plane.

The quickest way through Nepal Immigration

Once in the airport, it's necessary to show the entry form with personal details. It's possible to do this at a kiosk machine right inside the airport, but for a whole plane, they only have about 3 such kiosk machines. So filling out the entry form online at home saved me a lot of time and joy of standing in line at these machines. 

After completing the first entry procedures, I headed to the immigration counter, where they placed a small visa sticker in my passport. The visa fee was 30 USD for 15 days, payable only in cash at the bank counter. 

Everything went quickly, at least for those at the front of the line who brought the printed online form from home.

From the airport, I took a 15-minute, 6 USD ride to Thamel.

The hotel was conveniently located with a great view all over Kathmandu.

In the afternoon, I explored Thamel and walked to the first Durbar. Thamel was quite something, I must say. I strolled around, trying my best not to get lost in this "fascinating" place.

Crowded place but the architecture, temples, hotels, restaurants, street markets, and all other stuffs in this place are interesting.

Haven't seen temples like these in other countries yet. Truly spectacular when seeing it for the first time. Looks like from a video game.

Those temples have names like Bhuvaneshwor Mahadev Temple, Shri Shri Shri Mahayogi Gorakhnath or Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple.

Day 2 - Unbelievable huge amount of Temples 

Early in the morning, I took a taxi to the second Durbar, which was about a 10-minute drive away further south.

The Krishna Temple is located in Patan Darbar Square. This is one of the greatest temples with Nepalese architecture of Nepalese of the 18th century.

Around Krishna are many other old structures and buildings. It's hot but has many shades between the buildings.

Seemed to be a very popular golden Buddhist temple. A small and dirty temple and, not sure why, one of the main attractions in Patan.

A quick look was enough.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square temple area

From there, I continued to Bhaktapur. It's about 45 minutes taxi drive out of town. 

It was good to stroll around the enclosed area, which was filled with numerous temples. Seriously exciting how many temples they have – a "huge" number of them. 

The entrance fee was something like 10 USD but the area is huge to walk around. Several entrances to this place where people live inside the enclosure walls.

The main square with a high temple. They've got some of the most talented people building these temples, and they're doing a terrific job.

The craftsmanship, the architecture, it's all first-rate. They appreciate visitors, and they know how to treat them right.

Among the many small temples or shops - and there are lots of swords shops with ancient Nepalese knives.

Nyatapola Temple in the old town of Bhaktapur 

The most impressive temple was located at the center of the area, it's almost impossible to miss it. I visited many temples now but this place, let me just say, Nyatapola Temple, it's a winner! 

This is Bhaktapur’s and Nepal’s tallest and most magnificent temple, the highlight of Darbur Square. 

The Budha Stupa "Crowded Place"

I continued with a 30-minute Uber ride for like USD 1.50.

Next on my list was the Budha Stupa – a massive white gigantic hall temple where thousands of people were walking around, drumming and stuff.

"Huge" attraction, let me tell you. People were just swarming around it like bees to honey. Quite a sight to behold.

There are many interesting sceneries.

Day 3 - Canceled flight to Pokhara

Well, I had big plans to visit Pokhara today. Driving is at least an 8-hour journey due to bad road conditions. So I booked my flights and everything. But you know what they say about plans – they go out the window when it comes to air travel in Nepal. Hoped I will be lucky and won't affect me during my stay.

However, at 7 o'clock in the morning at the airport, I was informed that the YETI Air flight had a one-hour delay - for a flight that is only 25 minutes. And then, after waiting for another hour, they said, 

Oh, it's gonna be another hour.

Seriously, how hard is it to stick to a schedule?

Considering my return flight was scheduled today for 4:00 PM, it didn't make sense to proceed with the trip if I would only reach Pokhara at 11:00 AM and had to be at the airport by 3:00 PM. 

Back to Kathmandu for another city trip and see the crowds

Therefore, I decided to cancel the Pokhara trip and so, I decided to stick around Kathmandu and explore more of its wonders. Thankfully there's no shortage of incredible sights in this city.

All kinds of people walk around here in Downtown Kathmandu, everyone on the streets looking at the same structures. 

Further down the roads of Kathmandu. Lots of people everywhere.

Day 4 -  Things get "really interesting" in Nagarkot!

Around midday, I hopped in a taxi to Nagarkot.

At this point when I saw the specific building, I realized that it's important to know a little bit about Hindi culture and that the specific sign is called Swastika and it's an ancient religious and cultural symbol.

Now, one might think, "But, isn't the Swastika associated with something else in recent history?" And that's right – it's unfortunate that the symbol was misappropriated by a notorious regime in the 20th century.

However, it's crucial to distinguish between the original sacred symbol and its twisted misinterpretation.

The journey took 1.5 hours, passing through villages and ascending over 2000 meters to the top of the hill.

Near the first lookout was a Buddha temple.

It's called Shanti Park and the views were fantastic, the best views I've ever seen, I promise (not really). However, it was clean and serene, a place to have a break for the taxi driver who was already exhausted from driving.

No Mount Everest, only fog

Over 2000 meters up the hill, and what did I get? Bad weather and foggy views – a "tremendous" view, I must say. Apparently, Nagarkot is famous for seeing the Himalayan mountains from far – unless, of course, there's fog. And guess what? There was plenty of fog that day. How lucky for me.

I must mention that this viewpoint was on a cliff where you're supposed to see the magnificent Mount Everest! But with the fog, I could barely see my own hand in front of me, let alone the highest peak in the world.

Second lookout from the tower

The other viewpoint was from a tower, where it was necessary to climb up a ladder, but the same fog was persistent around here. You know what was "better" than foggy views? Even more foggy views! 

But hey, at least around the tower were some shops where I could get a snack. I mean, that's what everyone wants when they can't see anything – a good snack.

Now, the weather wasn't exactly cooperating. 

But when life gives you fog, you explore the villages and admire the hardworking Sherpas. It was quite fascinating to see them tending to their fields with such dedication.

Afterward, I took the lower route back to Kathmandu, and the return journey also lasted around 1.5 hours.

Day 5 - Departure to Bhutan delayed too

Before I knew it, it was day five, and it was time to head to Bhutan. The flight to the capital Paro was scheduled for noon with Druk Air.

It was frustrating that this flight was rescheduled as it was initially planned for yesterday and so I lost a whole day in Bhutan. Due to the change, I now only have two days to explore Bhutan.

The positive side was that I only had to pay the Sustainable Development Policy fee once, which is 200 USD per night (not including the visa fee). The visa itself was relatively affordable, about 40 USD.

Convenient Kathmandu Airport

The drive to the airport in Kathmandu took only 20 minutes, despite the midday traffic congestion. So, that's it - a fantastic journey to Nepal with old temples, breathtaking foggy views, and seeing some of the most hardworking people. It was an unforgettable experience.

The departure from Kathmandu was not entirely punctual, again, because of the weather.

But I hope my driver in Bhutan will wait for me, despite the delay. With such a small time in Bhutan, I don't have time to search for another driver that shuttles me around the country.

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