Relaxation and World Heritage City

Trip Start Jan 28, 2007
Trip End Mar 31, 2007

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Next morning we checked out of the hotel again and took a mini tourist bus to Nagarkot, about one and half hours from Kathmandu.
It lies at an altitude of 2175 meters and is located 30 km north-east of capital city,kathmandu.It is the second highest point on the valley rim,that offers you the great views of Himalayas,breathtaking mountain scenery and magnificent sunrise and sunset.
Among all the places for mountain viewing in the kathmandu valley, Nagarkot is usually considered to be the best.Nagarkot has a 200-mile panorama of the Himalayas that extends from Dhaulagiri in the west to Kanchenjunga in the east.On a clear morning ,one can see the tip of Mount Everest. You can also see great views of the major himalayan peaks of Manaslu(8,463m),Ganesh Himal (7,111m), Langtang (7,246m),Sisa Pangma (8,013m),Choyu(8,153 m), Gauri Shanskar (7145 m),Dorje Lakpa.etc.It also offers an excellent view of the kathmandu valley to the west and Indrawati river valley to the east. (got all this info from a brochure of course although we could see all these mountains..hee hee)

Most of the people go up to Nagarkot in the afternoon,stay in a hotel in Nagarkot and then,get up at dawn to watch the early morning sunrise over the peaks .Once the sun begins to rise from behind the Himalayas,it looks spectacular as snow-covered mountain changes its colour in shades of orange,brown,gold,etc.And it is a sight not to be missed,though you can never be sure taht the mountains will be visible even in the usually clear winter months.Fog and low clouds can often obscure the views.

This is a popular hillside spot famous for it's Himalayan mountain views especially at sunrise, with Everest visible on a clear day. We found a lovely hotel and bargained down to US$20 including breakfast for their best room (usually US$50) as we were the only people staying there. We woke at about 6am for pretty good views and sunrise but we've been spoilt on the trek so it didn't wow us. Most people come here who are in Nepal for a short time and just do the normal tourist route of Kathmandu, Pokhara (Chitwan if they have time) and a night here in Nagarkot, but do not trek.

Next morning on leaving the hotel we walked down to the local bus stop. We were tempted to pay 600rps (about $10) for a taxi to Bhaktapur but cos we were a "captured audience" with no taxis excepted those dropping people off from Kathmandu, the locals wanted 850rps to drive us - no way. So the local bus it was for 20rps each - sounds good but the concern was that it was an hour of straight down, hairpin, devil elbow bends.. fingers crossed for good breaks, good tyres and sane driver. (20 rps isn't good value if we're dead..ha ha) - Anyway we lucked in on all 3 counts and had an easy ride into Bhakatpur which is World Heritage Listed city that is supposed to be fabulous. (and it should be as there is a tourist charge of $10US each to enter the city!) - huge money in Nepal.

It was pretty impressive with street after street of wonderful old buildings. Sadly most of which are falling apart or at precarious angles but still standing after an earthquake some years ago. Thankfully Germany is spending a small fortune renovating the beautiful temples and also many of the beautiful residential buildings throughout the town as well which is great. The thing that also makes this town special is that they have banned most vehicles entry inside the old city so its car free (this was done to help preserve the buildings with lowering the pollution levels)

The town has 3 squares all with fantastic buildings and I arrived with my trusty list of "best guest houses" to check out. We found a beautiful one right in one of the historic squares. Our bedroom windows overlooked the square and the roof top restaurant put us parallel and almost a hand touch away of one of the most amazing temples. Bargain the room rate down to $20US with breakfast again and thought we were really clever. Even more so when at 4pm the entire square below our windows suddenly filled up with a market. Plastic tarps went down on the ground as people claimed their space and within an hour the square was packed with hundreds of locals, young and old. Probably the best people watching time we've had in Nepal. Many different castes were there with their different best clothes on, the old men and ladies, and all so much more colourful then what wed become used to in Nepal. We went out and sat on the ground amongst them so that we could just watch and stayed their until it became dark.

So, as I said.. thought Id been really clever with this guesthouse position.... .until we realized that people rang the bells and prayed at the temple that was sitting on our bedroom...ALL NIGHT LONG....and then at 4.30am they start setting up the market again!!! - right outside our window!! -oh well.... All part of the adventure as mum would say.
Bhaktapur is Nepals most visited day trip and is just about compulsory for anyone coming to Nepal. Most tourists come by tourist but from Kathmandu arriving at about 10.30am and leaving at 4pm for the return trip. That is why the market (which is a local one not a tourist one) must only be able to operate from dawn until 10am when it disappears for the day and then appears again at 4.30pmish until dark.

So after two nights in this wonderful city but with only about 6 hours sleep for the 2 days we checked out and head for the local bus stop for our return to Kathmandu for our final 2 days in Nepal.
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