--Trip to Nepal
I am not a Christian but I would like to use “Baptism” as the title of our trip. Even though both China and Nepal are in the Asian continent, their cultures are very different, and especially when looking at how we use the word “clean”. For me, I often felt that some things were very “under-developed” and especially compared to some of the bigger and more modern cities in China, but the Nepalese treat their environment in an different way and to be truthful, seem to be more genuinely happy and carefree in this environment. To me, this observation is not to say one is better or one is worse, the point is, they are different.
About 2 months after our group trip to Thailand and Laos, October 2014, I started to plan my next international trip to other countries. It’s both a little sad and frustrating to say that for Chinese it’s not easy to travel overseas. There are several reasons for this, including: Obtaining a visa; language barrier and lastly, concerns about safety. Most wealthy people will choose to take a luxury group trip that can address these concerns, however for the average person, these concerns can be a challenge to achieving your travel goals.
There are many great trip notes and other resources available on the internet that are very helpful, but sometimes they can be difficult to navigate and understand, so here I would like to share my personalized travel experience in a simplistic but hopefully, interesting way. I plan, both for this trip note (journal/observation) and future ones, to focus on the following items:
- Local culture and history
- Local people’s daily lives
- Local foods.
In our initial planning for the trip to Nepal, we used the website: www.couchsurfing.com. This quality website provides a great opportunity to meet the local people and to know the REAL local culture. Another benefit of using this site is that you can find local people who are willing to host you for free, so that in addition to the benefit of “knowing the real culture”, you can also save money. Our primary host, Padam, who we met through this site and lives in Kathmandu, was able to show us many interesting sites and also, introduced us to many of the local foods. Largely because of his guidance, we never got lost or were cheated by someone. Of course, I should emphasize, English is an international language and a report I read stated that if you pass College English Test 4 (vocabulary around 4500) you will be capable of travelling overseas. For safety, I think to be bold is very important. Besides caution 100%, my suggestions are: 1. Developed countries: small hostels are ok, 2. Always trust yourself, 3. best wishes for yourself.
Okay, I have tried to provide you with some of the background for this trip, but let’s get to the fun part and start our journey. When first considering my choices for which country to travel to, I considered the following factors:
1. Long history and special culture in Asia (Location is important to make it more convenient when not having a lot of time); 2. Easy to obtain tourist visa; 3.Transportation cost.
Our original plans had us traveling to Sri Lanka, called “jewel of Indian ocean”, ETA, $30, round trip flight $408 and I found a host who agreed on hosting 3 of us for 2 nights in Kandy. It sounded like a perfect travel plan but China Eastern Airline informed us that our flights were cancelled. Even though we got refund we started to look at other options.
I tried my best to cheer up my sister Trista, and our friend Changyi, both of whom were traveling with me. We had already made our vacation plans, and were determined to still take an international trip. Trista suggested visiting Nepal, which is not too far from China. We all agreed, and within a week, had obtained our visas, bought flight tickets, booked hotels in 2 cities, made trip plans and hosting arrangements. On 31st Dec we started our trip.
On New Year’s Eve we were in Shenzhen, the first afternoon in 2015 we were in Hong Kong and by that evening, in Kunming China. We arrived in Kathmandu on 2nd Jan. Our flights were so interesting L
Of course, everyone knows, one of the first things you need to do anywhere you go, is to have the local currency, so we exchanged Chinese RMB for the local currency at the airport, where the rate was pretty low. For Chinese RMB, it’s just 1:15.
In order to make my trip note concise and clear, I would like to show you all of the local foods we ate in Nepal.
We planned 3 nights trip in Kathmandu. The first day we scheduled a 2 hours walk, from Thamel to Durbar Square. We bought local clothes on the way and talked with the retailers. Some of them could speak Chinese with interesting accent.
The 2nd day Padam guided us to another Durbar Square, on the way, he introduced his previous landlord’s sister and her cute baby to us. I bought Trista a Nepal style sari.
The 2nd Durbar Square was more interesting than the one in Kathmandu. In the small city, we tried handmade yogurt and Nepal dumplings called MO MO.
The next day we left for Pokhara. I regretted not previously planning very well for the trekking on Himalaya. But as we came back to Kathmandu, Padam took us to another city, and we used binocular to see the great mountain.
A snapshot of Pokhara.
We went to Begnas Lake.
We rode horses around another lake.
We saw many little kids with black eyeliner. I am always curious about new things so we asked the local people, they told us that “black eyeliner” meant “lucky”. But is that healthy for kids? I don’t know.
On our way back to Kathmandu, the weather was cold but we still saw some little kids wearing shorts and slippers.
On our 2nd to last day in Nepal we had an opportunity to meet our Global English Group member, Tika. He is an IT engineer. Because of his work schedule, we were only able to meet for a short while. He’s very gentle.
Padam took us to another city. The altitude was 2000 meters when we arrived there. On the top of the mountain, there’s a bar. We saw a long tube musical instrument. The owner of the bar had a cute son and a lovely dog.
The last day in Nepal, with the leading of chef Trista (owner of Trista’s kitchen blog in the GlobalEnglishGroup.com), we cooked Chinese food at Padam’s apartment. We showed the delicious foods to Nepali.
Summary of our trip:
1.It’s always good to meet local people so that you can know more about the local culture.
2.Temperature differences between the morning and night is very large, and a sleeping bag is necessary to stay comfortable at night.
3.Preparing some masks, you will need it.