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166 Kms from Khumjung
Finally the day for the awaited trip had arrived.We boarded our flight to Kathmandu from New Delhi. Prior to that,taking...
Finally the day for the awaited trip had arrived.We boarded our flight to Kathmandu from New Delhi. Prior to that,taking advantage of the import free shops ,we dropped some exquisite scotch onto our shopping cart.We reached Kathmandu in noon.We were heartily Received by our freinds from Nepal.We grabbed a quick bite at a local hotel and coordinated our trip from there.The food was pretty much Indian.Thereafter we checked into a local hotel of Kathmandu in Thamel region.In the evening we went to the famous Pashupatinath Temple for the arti. Even an atheist would be moved seeing the faith of the people there. Afterwards we shopped local clothes from Thamel market and went to see the nightlife of Kathmandu.Of the many exquisite items some that can be bought are shawls,khukri, Nepali cap,stoles etc.There are multiple bars offering good music and djs.However to get the real feels one must hit the pubs and bars on friday evening which is like saturday night in India.It being a sunday offered as a lacklusture evening. We snacked onto the food and returned to our hotel pretty much satisfied with the first day at a foreign land.
The bustling capital lies at the center of all the amazing places to visit in Nepal. Kathmandu is so wonderfully diverse that it is a rather pleasant assault on the senses. The resilience of the city is evident in the fact that it endured one of the worst earthquakes of recent times and has continued to stand tall and strong. It therefore is one of the most significant places to visit in Nepal. The cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata have direct flights to and from Kathmandu but tickets need to be booked a lot in advance in order to save money. You could either hail taxis or cycle-rickshaws/tempos to look around or rent a 4WD for around Rs. 5000 a day.Amazing Things to Do in Nepal : Kathmandu
As I was on a bit of a budget I asked to take public transport rather than the private jeep that they offer to groups. Milan recommended against, arguing the case for comfort and the ability to stop when and where we wanted, but he understood my limitations and put plans into place. Therefore me and my guide Suma caught the 05:30 bus from Koteshwor and got underway on our 12 hour journey.Filled with anticipation, I was able to stay awake for the first stint of the journey, taking in the sights and seeing the sun rising over the corn fields, rivers and mountains. It was so picturesque that it made you forget about the unseemly hour (okay maybe a slight exaggeration).After two hours, we pulled over for a bite to eat. I was given with the choice of curried potato or sel roti (a kind of fried doughnut-bagel hybrid). Even after traveling in India, I wasn’t quite accustomed to having curry at such an early hour so I went for the sel roti. Straight out the pan. Very tasty.Back onto the bus I got, and within 5 minutes I was out. I am blessed with the ability to sleep on buses, so the rest of the journey went surprisingly quickly. I don’t think the drive will be too much of a problem for those who aren’t as fortunate however, as when I was awake I was treated to a variety of different landscapes making for a very scenic journey. We drove through little villages and forests, passed rice paddies and fields sprinkled with banana trees and palms, and all the while we could glimpse the mighty Himalayas to the north. Not your typical monotonous UK motorway, that’s for sure. They reminded me of the sorts of roads that the crew of Top Gear would go in search of in one of their yearly specials.Suma was also pointing out little places where they would usually stop in the jeep to pick fruit and get good pictures, as well as giving me little tit-bits of information about villages, their history, and some of their local dishes that he enjoys.As we approached Ilam the landscape changed again. I was quickly reenergized as the luscious green tea plantations of Kanyam came into view, and for 40km these gardens stretched before us; a patchwork of green covering the rolling hills and the steep mountain sides. Littered amongst the fields were the blue tin roofs of local homes, a feature that makes Nepal’s countryside so unique and charming. It was a breathtaking introduction to Eastern Nepal.The homestay at Shree Antu was very cute with a ski lodge kind of vibe and a pretty little flower garden out front. We were warmly welcomed by our hosts, and Suma and I were presented with a white shawl, a sign of welcome to visitors. They also brought out two what can only be described as metal towers to our table which contained a local eastern Nepali drink known as Tongba. The best description for Tongba would be a hot but slightly watered down red wine. I can’t really see it taking off in the UK, but it was okay, undeniably interesting in taste and something I hadn’t tried anywhere else. The east was certainly delivering on uniqueness.Our dinner of Daal Bhat was served at around 20:30 and it came with a lovely potato and green bean curry and pickled spinach. I was absolutely famished from the journey, and tucked in straight away. It was only until half the plate was gone that I realized I should be documenting the food. Must do better tomorrow.As we finished eating and we were letting the extremely generous portions settle, Suma told me about our plans for the next day. “Up at 4!” Shree Antu, he told me, is known in the district for having great sunrise views and they are not to be missed.So with that, we made way to our rooms for an early night, and another early rise on day two.
Langtang Valley trek is one of the lesser known treks of Nepal. It is also called the valley of glaciers treks. Infact, Langtang is the place from here you can get the majestic snow-capped mountains and the beautiful glaciers at close quarters. Langtang is only 8 hours drive towards the north of Kathmandu. This trek route was discovered by the famous British mountaineer and travel writer Bill Tilman.
Kathmandu stayOn 5th April , i reached Kathmandu . As soon we reached , people rushed into this shop at the airport to buy an NCELL SIM card . I bought an NCELL Sim Card and called my driver who was arranged by SNOWYODA . SNOWYODA EXPEDITIONS was the company who was responsible for our accomodations throughout the expedition . They took care of our rooms , trek guides , sherpas . I would definitely recommend them to anyone who wants to trek in the Nepal Region .Our ten member expedition team were accommodated in the streets of Thamel , main town of Kathmandu in a hotel called lemon tree. Its an amazing hotel with good wifi and free breakfast as a part of stay . Thamel is a busy shopping street with many shops for second hand trekking . Thamel Marg is the main place to visit . You will find exquisite restaurants and bars . The place is very economical for everyone . But do not forget to bargain .Few of places to visit in Kathmandu are Durbar square , Pashupatinath temple and Thamel Marg. Make sure to have masks in Kathmandu as dust pollution is one of its specialities .
My love for the Himalayas is unbound. To be precise, it borders on obsessiveness. Believe me, even spending months there like a hermit didn't help me a bit. I would trade living there with all the luxuries this life has to offer, and it is only a matter of time. Well that's a story for another time...Speaking of the Himalayan regions, Nepal, being our neighbour wasn't on my radar to be honest, despite being home to the world's largest mountains. But a press trip took me there, and something unexpected happened.I discovered that I was in a shopper's heaven in Kathmandu! Like a kid that drops its jaw at the sight of candies, I was blown away by all the things displayed in shops, that looked endless!I am not a shopaholic as such, but I do end up going on a shopping spree when I find something chic & cool. Happens with everyone, right?So I thought I'll share the details of things to shop in Nepal so that you could shop like a Pro!Without much ado, read ahead to find out what are things to look for in Nepal.
Once on a flight from Paro to Kathmandu, I had a chance to view Everest from the top. Since then I have always dreamt about going to the Everest Base Camp. But in those dreams, I was always walking with a load on my back, panting at every breath and finally standing in front of the World’s Highest peak.#bucketlist #dreams #TrektoEBC. *sigh…*But seemed like God had other plans for me, a relatively easier one.
193 Kms from Khumjung
Best time to visit - October- April
Often called as the "Queen of all Hill Stations", this is one of the most popular in the whole world. This place is wrap...
Today, we wake up to the alarm at 3.00 AM. Got ready in a jiffy, and by 3.30 AM was on our way to the Police Chowk taxi stand near Gandhi Road.Yes, we were to visit the Tiger Hill to have THE inexplicable view of the sunrise over the Kanchenjungha peak (or as we thought ...).We got inside a shared Tata Sumo (Rs 200/- per head) to set for Tiger Hill. We came to know that our car would halt at two other locations while returning back from Tiger Hill. These were - Batasia Loop and Dali Monastery. Though we visited both the places earlier - to me, visiting such beauties twice was a bonus for us.Our car started for Tiger Hill at 4.00 AM. The road to Tiger Hill is an adventurous one - with numerous bends and very steep slopes. Also in the pitch dark we were able to see only as far as the headlight of our car reached. But...the weather turned bad as we approached Tiger Hill. Soon it started raining. With black clouds hovering in front us, sighting of Kanchenjungha was a distant dream - let alone the sunlit Himalyan peaks.
The weather in Darjeeling remained cloudy next day too, as we had been experiencing for the last 2 days. However we were excited about our upcoming activities that day. Firstly, the Joyride in a steam engine-hauled train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) - popularly called as the toy train and secondly, mountain biking.At about 8: 15 in the morning, we started for Darjeeling railway station. It was around 20 minutes walk from our hotel. We chose to ride on a first class compartment in the steam engine hauled train which cost us around Rs 1300/- per head. The train started from Darjeeling at 9:40 a.m. At once we were greeted by loud and very shrill honking of the engine. The train really had fascinating interiors, though our focus was on the scenes outside - as we crisscrossed through busy streets of Darjeeling town.Note that, if you expect mind boggling mountain views or traveling through numerous tunnels or bridges in this DHR Joyride, you would be disheartened. This ride is very different. Here we found joy observing the daily life of the local people. Little children going to school, people queuing up for Pujas in temple high up in the hills, morning chit-chat among the shopkeepers and customers, the beautiful architecture of the houses or the wild flowers along the walls of the street.
The next day post-breakfast (had some snacks we stocked earlier) we started early around 8.00 am for our customized half day tour. We reserved a private taxi (Hyundai Santro) for Rs2500/- from the nearby Clubside Taxi Stand and began our journey. Our driver-cum-guide for the day - Mr. Som was very polite and cooperative throughout. You can reach him at 9083355721.The weather was not sunny; in fact it started drizzling shortly after. Though rain was short-lived, the weather remained gloomy throughout that day.
It took us around 4 hrs (with one halt mid-way at a humble eatery) to reach Darjeeling. We got down at the Gandhi Road Police point near the Clubside taxi stand. This is one of the two taxi stands in Darjeeling, the other being the Chauk Bazar taxi stand.From here (Clubside taxi stand), we walked about 7-8 min, crossing the famous Darjeeling Mall and reached Bhanu Bhawan. Then walking slight uphill with the view of St. Anthony's Church on the right, and Darjeeling Gymkhana Club on the left - we reached our hotel, ie Darjeeling Tourist Lodge (DTL) run by West Bengal Tourist Development corporation (WBTDC).Situated in a quaint location, near the ancient but gracious St. Andrews Church, DTL is perfect for budget travelers who want to spend their vacation away from the dins and bustles of the town centre. Our rooms in the annex building was large and tidy with basic amenities.It cost us around Rs1600/- plus tax (note, rate may vary with season) per night - and I do believe it was a fair deal. The chance to view the snow-clad peak of Kanchenjungha from DTL's rear garden was icing on the cake.
I think this one of the most talked about hill stations on every travel list. I am not going to dive into the details and the places you should visit. Moreover, I have already listed my trip to Darjeeling last December in another blog. Here it is!Darjeeling is 70kms or 2 hours away from Siliguri by car. Other transport options include the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or government and private buses from Tenzing Norgay bus stand.Kanchenjunga at sunrise as seen from Tiger Hill in Darjeeling.The Mall Road, among the most popular spots there, offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas.Breakfast at Keventers with Kanchenjunga behind us.Know more about Darjeeling here.Kalimpong:
The average height of the Singtom Tea estate is about 4500 ft. The resort and the tea factory are both located inside the garden. The tea estate produces some of the finest organic teas of Darjeeling. The quality of the tea depends on the altitude of the place. The more the altitude, the better the quality of the tea. The Singtom Tea Estate, being at a higher altitude produces fine quality of Darjeeling Tea – black, green and white representing different flavours and grades.The Resort and RoomsAs soon as you enter through the gate of the estate, you will see a beautiful, old British styled bungalow in the middle of an equally beautiful garden. The bungalow was originally built in 1862. Wherever your eyes will see, you will see endless stretches of tea gardens. While you sit at the lawn sipping a cup of fresh Darjeeling Tea, you can see the Darjeeling town just in front of you. From the backside, you will get great views of the Kanchenjunga ranges. It is such a place where you will get the natural beauty and the luxury of a planters bungalow in a single place.
Located at a height of 2185 metres above the sea level, Darjeeling, also known as the ‘Queen of Hills’ is a quaint little hill station that consists of Mt. Kanchenjunga’s summit as the backdrop. Established in the mid-19th century, this town offers palatial greenery and a champagne of tea estates. The sumptuous aroma all around and the sound of chanting of the Buddhist mantra give you the much-required peace of mind. We were often told that Darjeeling has been commercialized to such an extent that it has lost its charm. But we would definitely argue the toss, for Darjeeling possesses such opulent landscapes that are a treat for sore eyes.
215 Kms from Khumjung
Best time to visit - September to December
Gangtok is the capital city of the north Indian state of Sikkim. Built up as a Buddhist journey site in the 1840s, the c...
My Name Is Helix . Iam Just 20 years old . Me and My Friend Amal Decided To go Sikkim on this vaction . He is two year younger than me we are traveling from Kerala Thrissur . Our greatest fear to Travel north east was we don't know hindi well And iam not good in english too . So we planned to travel gangtok and from there to North sikkim And South . We didn't See Snow Before And our wish became true we stayed gangtok for Sevendays in gangtok and the expense is jst blw 10k and covered North sikkim and South Sikkim By traveling in local transport and Eating Local food And Explored Beauty of sikkim
After you arrive at Gangtok, roam around the quaint capital city of Sikkim. Gangtok is situated at a height of 5410 feet in east Sikkim and is mainly inhabited by the Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. Stroll around the M. G. Marg and you will feel that you are not in India! Sikkim is a clean state and they do take their cleanliness seriously. So littering the beautiful boulevard is a big no. As the sun sets, the M G Marg becomes more beautiful with all the light and sound.And while you are roaming around the city, don’t forget to give your ID proofs and photographs to the travel agent so that they can get your permits for the next days.
Day 2Exploring Gangtok Spend this day for Gangtok Sightseeing. There are 3 points, 5 points, 7 points and Mixed points tours available. Since you have the whole day in hand, it is better to opt for a mixed point tour. You will visit the Tashi View Point from where you would get a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga range. You will also visit the Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Bakthang Waterfall and Enchey Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. The mixed point tour also offers you to visit either the Rumtek Monastery or the Ranka Monastery. I would suggest you to visit the Rumtek Monastery.
Do Drul Chorten, Gangtok This huge Buddhist complex is located near the research institute of Tibetology. This beautiful structure is Biggest Buddhist stupa in the North East India.
GangTok:In morning at Jalpaiguri we had booked a package with a travel agent located nearby to railway station.
Gangtok is bustling town and capital of Sikkim. It is one the cleanest cities you would come across in India. This place would give you a mix of city vibes and mountain innocence. Gives a perfect view of Himalayan range. There are many places nearby which you can explore as well like, Yumthang, Lachung, Baba Mandir, Zuluk, Tsomgo / Changu Lake and Rishikola.How to reach:Same as North Bengal. From Kolkata you have overnight trains to New Jalpaiguri .From Jalpaiguri you have options of taking shared cabs or book a personal cab to any of the above mentioned places.
When you head to Gangtok everyone tries out their momos and Thukpa. And of course visit the monasteries, view points, shop and chill.So here are a list of places worth adding to your list, which I discovered during my stay in Gangtok.PLACES TO VISIT:Tsuklakhang Palace:This monastery/ Palace is located at walking distance from the main city center. It houses a school along with the monastery and during festival season, like during Pang Lhabsol it even hosts the traditional masked dance.
315 Kms from Khumjung
We set out in noon after having breakfast at a local hotel.We took a boat which at first rowed us to a temple,thereafter...
We set out in noon after having breakfast at a local hotel.We took a boat which at first rowed us to a temple,thereafter left us at the starting point from where we were supposed to trek to the world peace pagoda.We started our trek and the majestic view of the town from above kept us glued.After reaching at the top we admired the beauty from the top and from the other side we took a cab that took us to Devi falls,thereafter the cab left us at our hotel.We packed our stuff and left for Sarangkot,from where we were supposed to begin our paragliding the next day.We stayed at Bhanjyang Village resort which offers a nice view point for enjoying the sunset. We stayed up till late gossiping and admiring the view.
The little paradise known as Pokhara demands to be explored and is the star of every Nepal itinerary. While flight tickets from Kathmandu to Pokhara are rather expensive, you could take the bus connecting the two destinations courtesy of the Prithwi Highway. A deluxe tourist bus should cost you around Rs. 1000 and renting a private vehicle, although convenient is a costlier option. Ask your hotel to make all bookings/transport arrangements for you. The drive is around 6 hours long and slightly bumpy but scenic. Pokhara is the perfect destination to visit for those who love walking but for longer distances like Sarangkot, it is possible to take a taxi.Amazing Things to Do in Nepal : Pokhara
5. In Pokhara? Lakeside road is the place to be!
Day 4, PokharaHeading to Pokhara with 7 hours Journey in the afternoon from Nagarkot, it was really long journey but also worth to see the sight seeing along the road way to Pokhara, we reach there in the evening, our Hotel near the Phewa Lake.. Cant see to much in evening...but we really exciting to wake up very early morning as we are planning to discover Phokara and the lake...And... this is what we saw in the early 5.30 am from outside our the Hotel after 15 minutes walk heading to the street..
The following morning we headed back to Pokhara taking the same route. Morning showers turned the route slushy making the descent more challenging than initially thought. Moving ahead, the riders literally stopped and kissed the road as we hit leveled tarmac after 3 days. It had been quite a spell.
After a hail storm the previous night, we woke up to a rainy morning all set to ride out to Pokhara. After a quick briefing about risky terrains, we rode in moderate showers through extremely slushy roads out of Kathmandu. The condition of roads improved as the skies cleared. Munching miles through the twists and turns, we rode through the serene valley along the Trishuli River.
Day 5 was my day of facing my fear. My fear of heights. It had rained very hard the whole of last night so we received a message from the paragliding company that they might have to cancel the flight. Secretly I was very happy about it. I registered but it didn't come through because of the weather. Yes, no one could blame me now for being a wimp but then things panned out differently. We went to the paragliding office at the designated time and they said the weather condition has improved so the flight is on. Damn! My heart drowned. I put up a brave face and hopped on to the car with a few other passengers and the pilots. Once we reached atop the valley (from where we had to take off) we were informed that we will be given enough time to prepare ourselves mentally however my pilot (Patrick from France) decided that we will be the first ones to jump as the wind was strong and the weather could get worse so he didn't want to waste any time and started preparing for the jump. I froze. Patrick started harnessing me and asked me to run as fast as possible when we hit the edge of the valley. I literally froze at the edge but it was too late by then. I was pushed by my pilot and within the next five seconds I was flying with the birds in the middle of that ravishingly green valley. I felt liberated. I felt happy. I was so numb with happiness that I couldn't react. I just surrendered myself to that moment of unbelievable happiness.
Day 4 we headed to Pokhara, almost six hours bus ride from Kathmandu. This place boasts of laid-back charm but it turned out to be a haven of adventures and misadventures for us. First of all, we got lost while locating our tiny hotel. Post that we headed out for a walk, lots of shopping and of course some dinner and drinks. We were doing good so far but some live music in a corner took us to a pub nearby and we walked there, ordered a few drinks but soon realised that the pop music was not our scene. Oh by the way, I registered myself for paragliding (yes, that was the big surprise). So yes, we exited the pub and started walking back to our hotel but soon the weather threw a big shock. It started pouring, so heavily that we had to take shelter. No restaurant visibly open at that hour, we started running faster but the rain was so heavy we could barely manage to walk. We had to pause. We looked around and found a small restaurant that was still open however we didn't know how to get there so we hopped from one balcony to the other to reach their balcony. We knocked on their door and were greeted by rather surprised but very welcoming restaurant helpers who were on the verge of shutting down the restaurant. We were literally shivering from that rain water exposure and they were kind enough to offer us a drink. They even decided to escort us to our hotel under the huge umbrella (the one that we see outside a hotel balcony).
We felt relief after taking the bags off, freshen up and went for the walk around lakeside. We enjoyed lakeside music along with the tasty food including Thakali rice as dinner. As we were to move to Dhampus early tomorrow, we returned back to the hotel on time and it was already the bed time. I wished ' good night' with the silent desire of getting beautiful window view of Mount Fishtail, tomorrow morning.RAIN, RAIN AND RAINAs I woke up in the morning at around 7:00 with the sound of thunderstorm, my wish to see the mountains went in vain. All I can see was clouds and rain. We waited for few hours but there were no symptoms of minimizing it rather it was going heavy. As Bikash had some work in the Internet, we left the hotel room and went to the nearby cyber café. He took some time to finish his work, as we stayed there watching the rain. We had no chance to move as planned, we didn't even have raincoats to cover us as well as our backpacks. And another bad thing - similar weather was on the forecast at least till the afternoon. It was frustrating time till. Despite all frustrations we had lunch on time, came back to room and slept more.
323 Kms from Khumjung
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,October,November,December
One would assume that Thimphu is still settling into its role as the capital of one of the happiest countries in the wor...
Yes, we have all seen 'Eat Pray Love' and 'Queen'.Yes, simply uttering these two words ‘SOLO TRAVEL’ fill us up with euphoric, exotic thrill.It was something I always knew subconsciously, that I would someday do. And I would continue to do. I just didn’t know where and when to begin. But last month when my best friend took the plunge and came out victorious (she went to Bali for 12 days and came back in one piece), I decided it was time.For my first solo trip ever, I chose probably the safest place on this planet – Bhutan.Even though I booked my tickets on a complete whim, it didn’t take long for the excitement to get replaced by fear. I immediately realized that this was going to be a totally different experience from the one I’m living now, which was a nerve-racking thought to say the least!Plus, I didn’t personally know a single soul in the country I was traveling to and that naturally made me feel a little lost, vulnerable and child-like scared.But with solid push from friends, and some self- introspection, I decided park my fears aside and blindly take the plunge. I also kind of didn’t have an option - my tickets were already booked.And needless to say, just like my best friend, I too returned back in one piece. But that wasn’t all. I returned from my first-ever solo travel trip – which also happened to be the most memorable trip I’ve taken to date.So, through my solitude and my experience as a lone traveler, I wanted to share some of my bittersweet observations/insights on mindsets of travelers (especially Indian travelers, as Bhutan is majorly filled with Indian tourists) and their expectations from their travels. More like, let me burst some travel bubbles that Indians live in, when they set foot outside the comfort of their homes.MYTH #1: Travel/Traveling IS NOT a free flowing stream of ‘fun’Yes, by and large, it should be. Because you are on vacation, you are taking a break from your mundane routine lives and you are obviously spending your hard-earned money and time on doing something that will provide you a different kind of experience – positive experience. And it most cases, it does.But that doesn’t mean every second of your journey or travel experience will be pleasant. And that is actually a boon in disguise. That’s what converts your planned & predictable holiday into a wild and exotic adventure.So if something happens to you which was not mentioned in your itinerary, there is absolutely no reason to feel so miserable about. It’s another feather that needs to go on your traveling cap.Tell me, within the comforts of our home and daily lives, where we are so familiar with everything around us and equipped with the know-how of our surroundings, ever so often, our minds are flustered and troubled and consumed with multiple issues.Then, how do you expect, that in a completely new terrain, with unknown people, diverse cultures and unfamiliar traditions, you expect everything to go your way? Just because you spent a lot of time doing your research and making prior arrangements via virtual mediums - in real, physical space, nothing comes with 100 percent warrantee. And that is really the best part.· I got caught in immigration upon my return because I didn’t have the necessary permit. That wasn’t fun. But now that’s a permanent and significant memory, etched for life in my brains.· An old monk- looking man ( who was actually my hotel staff) walked into my hotel room with a master key in the middle of the night, while I was inside, getting ready to go to bed ( this was due to a co-ordination failure and more of an accident for which the hotel more than compensated) and that was scary. Not fun. Again, another permanent memory which also earned me free dinners in that hotel for the rest of my stay.· The hike to Taktsang Monastery in Paro was grueling, almost life-ending. No amount of warnings or sound advices can prepare you for what you’d endure because each person differs from another in terms of stamina and capabilities. And I realized my threshold to endure such things was beyond negative. The loser part of me kept telling me to turn back, because I was on a holiday and this experience was turning out to be hard work and negative and painful- why should I endure all that when all I am supposed to feel is good, relaxed and positive? But there was this other part, who wanted to push further and see the finishing line. And now, having done it, it went on to become one of the most inspiring and defining moments of my life.FACT #2: Travel can’t be LIFE TRANSFORMATIVENext time you come across someone who’s about to embark on a travel journey – ask that person what their expectations are from that travel and be prepared to get amused.99% of them will say- “I expect to be a changed person.My travel needs to help me achieve some deeper understanding of life, I need to overnight transform into a more matured, insightful, well balanced and sane individual, not to forget – also simultaneously become calmer, happier, saner”. How???Holidays make you come back feeling refreshed. I give you that. And that too happens for a logical reason. You get out of your mundane routine and distract your mind from your regular issues. You forget your day to day problems and focus on whatever experiences your holiday brings in ( good or bad). So when your travel comes to an end, and you are back to your routine, it all seems fresh simply because your mind was elsewhere the last few days. It only takes minutes, hours and at best days, for that feeling to go out of the window and the monotony of daily life to step in.So NO! Holidays don’t transform you as a human being. They give you a break from monotony and that too is short-lived. Nothing more. Nothing less.FACT #3: GROUP TRAVEL IS FUN TRAVEL – JUST FOR THE GROUPThis is something I have always wondered about. Especially because I come from a tiny nuclear family and we never really practiced the culture of traveling in big groups.Why is it that people who travel in a group- become so unempathetic towards others around?Just because you are traveling in a group, doesn’t mean the world ceases to exist beyond your circle, right?Group travelling seems all fun and jolly when you’re in a group but not so much so when you’re on the receiving end.You had planned your perfect getaway holiday; planned everything meticulously from start to end to be perfect but in the end; you end up with a group of travelers just waiting patiently for their next prey. The unsuspicious prey falls into their trap and suddenly they find themselves suffocated and escapeless. Trust me, I know from experience.Talking loudly amongst them is just the start of the problem. They become obnoxious and become oblivious of their fellow travelers and have a sense that they own the place. They not only disrupt your travel experience but the worst part is that the memory and pain you went through lingers on for the rest of your travel.· As the night fell in our quaint little riverside resort at Paro valley, and the weary guests made way to their respective rooms, the predator group stayed wide awake in the lawn, enjoying their vegetarian barbeque, for they must engage in multiple rounds of antaakshari. Their melody wasn’t melodious at all – to the tired guests, they were just harsh echoes which kept the whole valley awake. And when that died down, the babies woke up – whaling and crying till daylight.· Every time fresh parathas arrived in my breakfast buffet, cute little Chintu ran to pick up his parathas first. But alas! Chintu wasn’t just picking up parathas for himself. There was dadu, dadi ( old people- so sweet gesture), dad and mom ( always put parents first), Pammy aunty, Sunny uncle, Pinki didi, Sonu bhaiya, etc etc etc. The list simply went on. I gave up my hopes of eating fresh parathas or any parathas and instead settled for plain coffee.FACT #4: Indians love STICKING TO Indians, outside borders.Pledge of our country, India, says “We are all brothers and sisters”.Sometimes, Indians are way too patriotic. They are communal within the country but polar opposites outside. Even if they step out only for a short while.In my four days in Bhutan, I met Indian families from all across the country, everywhere I went. Right from the flight to immigration, hotel to restaurants, hikes to shopping - everywhere. And everyone felt an easy sense of sisterhood or camaraderie just because they met a fellow Indian.Friendships were formed over seconds, if not live, definitely on FB. Secrets were divulged over a single glass of wine. Shopping plans were made for the following day and numbers were exchanged to share pics on watsapp. After my 4 days solo stint in Bhutan, I have 3 new friends from Gujarat, 1 from Kerala and 3 more from Bengal. Sadly, not a single Bhutanese friend ☹ except my guide.FACT # 5: MY TRAVEL BETTER THAN YOUR’S!Doing things differently is what makes every travel experience unique. Checklists of places to visit, food to eat, things to buy etc. are made by almost everyone while travelling. But this process of comparing check lists and trying to prove how yours is better than the rest- I find it simply incorrigible.You may have the perfect holiday planned out every single step of the way, but one thing you cannot argue on is that your travel checklist is not the perfect one as everyone experiences their travel differently, even while doing the same thing.What you did in your travel might not be done by others but that doesn’t necessarily mean than their travel was any less enjoyable than yours. No checklist is better than the others- every list is unique from the rest and that’s what makes travelling a different experience for everyone. So instead of squabbling over checklist and exchanging notes, next time do yourself a favor and enjoy your stay the way you like it.FACT # 6: IT’S ALL IN THE GENESEverything comes in a full circle. In childhood days while going for excursion, holidays, etc. mainly our beloved Dad takes initiative and goes through a process of knowing the places thoroughly where we will be visiting, taking various precautions, summarizing the entire holiday span with activities, not planning a hectic tour, etc.It is the general habit of a child to inherit various qualities from their parents. Now as one grows up, he or she might be exercising those special qualities that their parents had implemented while going for a travel. Sub-consciously we start making those arrangements and take necessary steps that we have inherited from them.
THIMPHU: We went for sightseeing in Thimphu.First we vsited the huge 51m-tall steel statue of Buddha Dordenma commanding the entry to the Thimphu valley. The massive three-storey base houses a large chapel, while the body itself is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha. The Buddha looks best in morning light, or at night when it is illuminated.Next we headed to the Zoo which of much interest . There were some interesting recreation points on our way through Thimphu.Thimphu marketplace was very lively!!
3. Colours of Tshechu: Tshechu is the annual religious festival celebrated in every district of Bhutan. Colourful mask dances and other religious rituals are the main attraction of every Tshechu. The Tshechus are organized in honour of Guru Rimpoche. Every Dzong organizes Tshechu at different times of the year so one can plan the trip accordingly. We planned our trip during Thimphu Tshechu and attended the first day of Thimphu Tsechu. The courtyard of the Thimphu Dzong was packed with both locals and tourists. The locals came dressed in their colourful traditional attires and jewellery and took part in the festival with lots of funfairs. We too enjoyed every moment of this colourful extravaganza.
First thing we did was to submit a copy of our permits and fill a permit entry form for visiting Punakha & Haa Valley at the Immigration office. This is a very quick and easy process. Take photocopy of the permits (stamped at various checkposts) and submit. You’ll get your permit within an hour. You can also collect the same by evening.Places to visit in Thimphu1. National Heritage Museum: This is a good place to learn about Bhutanese heritage. You can see the display of tools used, taste Ara (Rice wine), etc. Entry Fee: Rs. 502. Art & Crafts School: Here you can witness live painting by students of this art school. An interesting place located opposite the heritage museum. Entry Fee: Rs. 100
Thimphu:We took one of those share-taxis amply available in the city to reach Thimphu the next morning. Thimphu is a city like no other. It is a capital with no traffic signals! A capital with only traffic police whistling to control traffic. We were lucky as the time we went in (September end) happened to be during their festive season. Hence we got to see the famous traditional masked dance happening in the Tashichö Dzong.
The one hour ride takes you to Thimphu, the capital city. For visiting the village of Punakha, you have to apply for another permit at the Immigration office in Thimphu, which I did on arrival. Later I hired a taxi to visit Buddha Dordenma, a huge Budha statue on the top of a hill.
DAY 5: THIMPUThere aren’t a lot of places to cover in Thimpu. You will be able to cover all the places in 1 day itself.Incase you plan to go to Punakha or any other places in Bhutan, please apply for a permit in Thimpu. It shouldn’t take more than 30 mins for you to get a permit.
You will have enough time to explore Paro (visit Tiger’s Nest perhaps!) and still reach Thimpu in time, because Paro to Thimpu is a short stretch of nearly 50km, and a smooth highway connecting two cities is moreover the best in the country, thus saving you enough time no matter when you leave.Since Paro has the only international airport in Bhutan, and Thimpu is the capital, the highway moreover stays good in shape throughout the year. It takes one and a half to two hours to travel between the two cities.
166 Kms from Khumjung
3. Looking for Nepali handicrafts? Head to Patan
I liked the Patan Durban Square cultural heritage.
311 Kms from Khumjung
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Bhutan has gradually become a popular tourist destination. And if you are visiting Bhutan, you can't possibly miss the l...
What I mean is- from my personal experience, my dad has always been a local-flavour chaser. In every of our travels, he loved living in the heart of the land – the epi center, interacted with the locals, tried every local cuisine and went to the local pubs. His guides were the local traffic cops, drivers or pedestrians and his company would be the local neighbors, shopkeepers. While we would go sightseeing and cover ‘viewpoints’ occasionally, what was undoubtedly in our to do list was visiting local markets, trying out local spices, absorbing and soaking in the place the way a person living there would- and not someone who was visiting. This is something that has really stuck with me. I can never imagine packing my schedule with 700 different things to do and places to visit. I would any day spend my entire holiday in one given place that suits all my needs.
1. Trek to the Takstang Monastery: Takstang monastery or the Tiger’s Nest is the most iconic monument of Bhutan. So a trip to Bhutan, without visiting this sacred monastery will be incomplete. Located outside the Paro town this monastery can only be reached on foot. Although the two hours (or maybe more) trek to reach the top may sound difficult for many, but it is worth the effort. Just like the exteriors even the interior sections of this monastery are also magnificent. Our guide explained the importance of all the sections and also shared some of the beliefs associated with the monastery. It is incredible, how the monks build such a massive structure on such a high cliff of a mountain.
Paro:This is where you land if you fly into the country. This beautiful little city located 2 hours away from the capital city is right next to the river, the Paro chu. As we reached by midnight the first thing we saw there was the Dzong beautifully lit in all its beauty.
Paro Tsechu Festival : Paro Dzong also houses “Paro Tsechu” the annual paro festival during the month of March/April. So, when we reached there, the area was swarming in vibrant colours and happy people. Unfortunately, we got a bit delayed after an exhilarating hike to tiger’s nest that we missed witnessing the mask dance performance. But, we did manage to see some other traditional dance performances.
DAY 4 : PAROTaktshang Monastery/Tiger’s Nest : The most photographed place in Bhutan. It clings to a cliff which is 3120 meters above the sea level. Legends says that Guru Rinpoche, father of Bhutanese Buddhism arrived here million years ago on the back of a tigress and meditated at this place
Day 3: The plan was to cover Paro, Thimpu and Punakha, in order. But rarely things go as per the plan. For eg: We had planned to reach Paro by noon, see a couple of places and do Tiger’s nest the next day. But, the immigration formalities took longer than expected, we ended up reaching Paro by evening, leaving us just 1 day to cover Paro including the tiring hike to Tiger’s nest. First because we landed on a weekend and wasting a day for the permit, second the never ending wait for the permit. Sigh!Okay! Coming to actually how day 3 went was as follows. We reached the immigration office at sharp 8.30 am, but there were already a so many people waiting before us. But, that didn’t really make a difference because as soon as they opened the shutter at 9 am, everyone just rushed in. It’s a huge mess inside, completely unorganised, people are clueless what’s the procedure and just chaos. The permit would have taken just an hour, if not for the uncivilized mad rush, it took us almost 4 hours. By the time, we got the permit it was 12.30 pm.Without wasting much time, we immediately called our driver and headed straight for Paro. The drive from Phuetsoling to Paro is beyond beautiful. As we moved further away from the border, the landscape became divine and air deeply serene. On the drive, the river flowed gently by the road overlooking rugged mountains. You will encounter small waterfalls and fresh streams of water on the way.
The journey to Paro to Phuentsholing takes nearly 4 hour if you’re driving, or 6 hours if you’re taking a public bus. The journey is rather impressive and enjoyable. From the sea level of Phuentsholing you only pretty much go uphill throughout the journey before you end up a much colder town of Paro located at 2100+ meter altitude above the sea level.The well maintained four way highway, built by Indian Border Road Organisation (BRO), moreover makes Phuentsholing to Paro & Thimpu a very sought after Himalayan Roads for motorbikers in India wanting to ride in Bhutan.Day 2: Paro To Thimpu
Paro to tiger’s nest (40 kilometers ride and 4-5 kilometers trek)The last time I had visited Takstang Monastery, also known as The Tiger’s Nest, I was mesmerized by it and I wanted Swatabdi to witness the same. We first rode to the Drugyel Dzong which is a monastery which was burnt in a fire and now lay in ruins. We then proceeded to the base of the trek to the Tiger’s nest. The difficulty level of the trek to Tiger’s nest is slightly higher because of the altitude and the steep trail. Huffing and puffing we kept walking one step at a time. Swatabdi felt like quitting the trek a couple of times but I etched her on. The sight of the monastery which kept getting bigger and bigger was also inspiring. After almost 4 hours we saw the awe-inspiring view of the monastery. I fail to fathom the effort taken to build this monastery so high in the mountain. The monastery seems as though it is almost hanging on a cliff and can fall down to the deep valley below any moment! The trek was worth the effort. The trek downhill was slightly easier and we reached the base late in the evening. The rest of the evening we spent riding around in Paro and watching the beautiful Paro Dzong and the national museum which were lit up with vibrant lights in the night. We had hired the motorcycle for 16 days which meant that this was the last day of our trip. We celebrated the last 15 days over my favorite beer, the Druk 11000; and a plate of delicious momos.
Jaigaon to Paro (180 kilometers)The embassy at Phuntsholing opens at 10 AM and we reached there at 9:45 hoping to be among the first people to get the permits. We were proven terribly wrong when we saw that there about a thousand people already waiting. The situation was similar to a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata. There was utter chaos. No one knew what to do or whom to approach for the permits. What made it worse was that there were agents who were standing in the queue with dozens of applications in their hands. For hours we stood in various queues which didn’t move an inch. There was a lot of pushing, shoving and shouting happening which pissed off Swatabdi. She went inside the embassy and somehow caught hold of an influential female officer and explained to her our situation rather sternly. In no time a new counter was opened for female applicants who were not in large groups and we managed to get our permits from that counter. By this time it was late evening and we rushed to the RTO office to get the permit for our motorcycle. There was a queue of drivers waiting for us and the office hours were coming to a close. Swatabdi again used the feminine card and we got preferential treatment and our permit was among the last to get approved that evening. Thousands had applied to visit Bhutan that day; only a lucky few were allowed to enter. While coming back from the RTO office I cut my toenail with the sharp side stand of the motorcycle and started our ride to Paro with a shoe on one leg and a bandaged toe in a flipflop on the other. We started for Paro with dying sunlight and braced ourselves for a cold ride. There was a brief spell of rain which made it worse. An hour into the ride my foot went numb. I somehow shoved my bandaged foot inside my shoe and continued riding. Thankfully the roads in Bhutan are good which made it easier to ride in the night. The cold though was still unforgiving. We reached Paro at 8:30 in the night and found most hotels to be either closed or fully occupied. Shivering and shaking we moved from one hotel to the other in search of a room. At a certain hotel Paro, the owner of the hotel took pity on our shivering souls and offered us a place to stay in the roof attic where the employees sleep. We took it! With temperatures dipping below zero and the roof attic becoming really cold, we tugged ourselves in the quilt, hugged each other tight and slept. It was a truly long day!
154 Kms from Khumjung
For Nepal, another challenge adds up to their list – the volatile tectonic plates. Nepal witnesses earthquake almost e...
For Nepal, another challenge adds up to their list – the volatile tectonic plates. Nepal witnesses earthquake almost every 15-20 days; sometimes the vibrations are barely recognizable; on some other occasions, such as the one in 2015, it all went berserk, devastating almost everything this historic city had for its visitors to witness.Yet, there is an amazing sense of inner peace here. People are still lively and ever smiling, ever helpful along the way. They have learnt to live in harmony with the nature. ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ resonates in the air. It always forwards blessings and happiness for people here.Read More Stories from Nepal
4. Pottery is an art at Bhaktapur, Surely worth checking out!Bhaktapur is a place little away from the buzzing Kathmandu, and you'll instantly see how different it is from the vibrant and crowded Thamel.Around the attractions, you can find a lot of shops for souvenirs and clothes. But the main takeaway for shoppers in Bhaktapur is the traditional pots that are meticulously designed by the local artisans.Just close to Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the Pottery Square, where you'll find rows and rows of shops with plenty of pots. Dotted with paintings depicting Buddhist symbols to nature to abstract art, the pots come in all sizes.During the day time, the place is filled with tourists taking a look at the artists creating wonderful pots. Women would be found carrying on with the pottery making process like drying them by placing them in haystacks, arranging them or decorating the shops.It felt lovely to observe how pottery is not just another thing that people sold here, but a part of their culture. Their life revolves around pottery making, and the tradition is still strong, which is what makes it special.Not just that, you can also try your hand at making a pot as well!Cost: Between 1000 to 2000 INR. But make sure you get it packed very well, if you wish to take home in one piece!
After visiting the capital for a few days, I visited Bhaktapur, an unique, small city with a special charming. There, the wood artisans have decorated their streets and buildings for years. In the city you can also find an small, antique paper factory, in which rooftop you can find generous city views
Never miss to visit this Ancient City, Bhaktapur, as a tourist oustide Nepal and India, you must buy entry ticket for $15, well no wonder with the price, as in my Country when you entering Borobudur Temple( Indonesia), the Price will be the same for the Tourist who entering the Temple Area.Since the Earthquake on 2015, there are some temples broken, even its totally damage , and when I was there, there are still some renovation and rebuilt in some area as its totally flat with the lands, a tour guide with us at that time and he telling us all the story about the History of Bhaktapur City.. its more like the Journey of Budha and also the Hindu, as it is represented in the Buildings and the Temples arounds.
Later, proceed for an excursion to Bhaktapur, home of medieval art and architecture. It is also known as the 'City of Devotees' Bhaktapur is the third largest city in the Kathmandu Valley with a majority population of local Newars and is famous for its pagodas and temples dedicated to Hindu deities.Request A Call Back
Bhaktapur is a "living Heritage" displaying the vibrant depth of Newari culture. The main square of the city, is a conglomeration of stone art, metal art, wood carving and terracotta art and architectural showpieces. The golden gates, siddhi laxmi stone temple, taumadhi square, Durbar square and peacock window are the main attractions of Bhaktapur. This amazing city is not only displaying you its century old fabulous art, architect and cultural heritages but also offer its unique eastern hospitality, delicious newari cuisines, luxurious accomodation, unforgettable handicraft souvenirs, various restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, home stays and curio shops respectively.
Bhaktapur city is located 14 Kms east from Kathmandu. Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, is an open museum for everyone to see stand-still lifestyle & culture of ancient era. Entering the Durbar Square (palace square) through the Royal Gate, the sparseness of the temples is immediately apparent, compared to the profusion in the Durbar squares of Kathmandu and Patan. Many of the highly decorated buildings and shrines were destroyed in the 1934 earthquake. However, the main square still contains a few temples and other architectural show pieces; the Lion Gate, the statue of Bhupatindra Malla, the Palace of 55 windows, the Bell of the barking dogs, the Batsala temple, the Nyatapola temple and the replica of Pashupatinath temple. Bhaktapur is one the cleanest ancient city in Nepal.
Find your way to the Yeti Scalp of KhumjungIn 1960, when Desmond Doig, a British journalist, and Edmund Hillary were passing through the Khumjung Village, they stopped over at the home of an old woman and found, what was speculated to be, a Yeti scalp. Yeti is an ape-like creature who is said to live in the high Himalayas. Scientists have long maintained that this Yeti, roughly translated in English as Abominable or Dreadful Snowman, doesn't exist but locals continue to hold its legends as authentic stories integral to their culture. In 1960, Hillary and Doig somehow managed to convince the village people to take this hide-like scalp and have it inspected abroad. Though it later proved to be a hide from a goat-like Himalayan antelope, you can still visit the monastery it is placed in.Know before you go: The village of Khunjung is just 137km from Kathmandu. The local bus network in Nepal is quite efficient and you will easily get a bus till the Sagarmatha National Park. From here the village is a short trek away. To see the images of the Yeti scalp, visit this page.