The first bit of advice we would like to give you before going to Nepal is to go out of your way when you have a bit of time so that you can visit the Nepalese Embassy to obtain your visa. It may be a trip to London but totally worth it as upon arrival in Nepal we didn’t have to fill out loads of forms and wait in the long queue like everybody else, and lets face it.. nobody likes queues.
Also, make sure you have some US Dollars with you as this is accepted everywhere, it is impossible to buy Nepalese Rupee and it is illegal to import and export the currency!
We found no hassle at all when we was in Nepal, the only thing we would say is to make sure you’re covered up with your clothing if you’re a woman just out of respect. You tend to stick on a long-sleeved t-shirt and trousers on anyways as it can get quite chilly!
When we arrived in Nepal we already had our hotel booked as we were off to a place Leila’s parents visited 30 years ago which was her favourite hotel there. Our destination was Nagarkot and our hotel had prearranged for a taxi to pick us up from the airport. I think we can all agree on the fact that it was probably the best taxi driver any of us have ever had. He had to wait about 2 hours for us due to delays but he was still as happy and smiley as ever! The first leg of the drive was through Kathmandu.
For us Kathmandu was very hectic, people were overtaking, undertaking, not stopping at red lights and weaving in and out of people crossing the road! It was full of poverty, cows, goats, dogs and chickens. As it was Harry’s first experience of an Asian city he was glad to get out of there and away from all the drama. We then had a bumpy journey along the road to Nagarkot. It took us about an hour and a half to reach our hotel which was pretty much up hill for an hour of it but when we eventually reached the top and the views were amazing! Samba (the taxi driver) showed us his little coffee place which was literally a 2 minute walk from our hotel so we agreed to visit him for a coffee.
The four of us had such an amazing time at Sambar’s he got his guitar out and started entertaining us with a few English songs. He even got the next door neighbours son to come and hit a drum. Sambar was so helpful over our few days in Nagarkot he recommended where to go, what to do and he picked us up then dropped us off to wherever and whenever we wanted! He even got up at 5am to take us to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas (although it was cloudy, it was so beautiful).
Our first stay at Hotel at the End of the Universe was great. It was reasonably priced and had spectacular views of the mountains. The beds were comfy and the food was great. It was central to town and easy to walk everywhere.
Our second stay in Nagakot was Mystic Mountain. A bit of luxury as Leila’s brother was only with us for a total of 10 days so he deserved a bit of a holiday too! We arrived to find that Leila had actually booked it for the previous day! We had prepaid the amount through hotels.com and was worried that we would be stuck! Luckily the hotel staff couldn’t of been more friendly and helpful and done everything they could do to get us a room! The just moved the money over from the day before and we even got upgraded! The hotel had an infinity pool which overlooked the valley and clouds which formed quiet frequent so most of the time you found yourself swimming in the clouds! The food was amazing here and the beds were so comfy!
From Mystic Mountain we took a short walk 4km up the hill to a temple and then through some woods where we scattered some of Leila’s Dads ashes. This is the reason for how this trip started. Leila’s dad loved travel and as we said earlier, her parents were in Nagarkot 30 years ago and fell in love with its beauty, as did we. As a family we chose two places to lay him to rest, Nagarkot was one as he loved mountains and it can’t get much better than the Himalayas! Varanasi was the other, which we will touch on in our next blog post.
In hindsight we wish we had longer in Nepal as we fell in love with its beauty and kind people. We hope one day we will make it back to explore other places, go back to Nagarkot and possibly reunite with Sambar!
Tip: When flying back from Nepal to wherever your next destination, try to get a seat on the RIGHT hand side of the plane so that you can get the most amazing views of the Himalayas. We literally had everyone from the left hand side of the plane crowding around us and asking if we could take pictures for them with their phones. You’re welcome.