We arrived to Kathmandu after our short stop in Delhi. We flew SpiceJet, an Indian low cost airline which was quite okay. On arrival we had to arrange our Visas. Tourist Visas to visit Nepal for 30 days can be obtained in arrival, all you need is a passport size picture, fill in the form and pay the 40$ fee at the airport.
We were picked up at the airport by a driver from the Khangsar Guest House, where we had booked two nights through agoda.com. So far the prices we have seen in Agoda are a little bit cheaper than in other websites.
Once in the city and after unpacking, we tried to find a place for dinner nearby (around Thammel). It was a little bit disappointing to see that the area is a tourist bubble within Kathmandu, full of very westernized shops and restaurants. As there wasn’t too much choice we ended up having a bite at a chill out bar (hopefully this won’t happen very often).
The next day, full of energy we wondered around old Kathmandu, visiting the Durbar Square and the narrow and busy streets of the city. On our way to find the Ghats (stairs that lead to river at crematory sites) we found ourselves following and being followed by a sacred cow, and Isma running for his life when the cow approached him! The area surrounding the Ghats is used as a dumping site, where many locals live and try to make a living by searching through the garbage. It was shocking to see how people try to survive in these kind of conditions. This really kept us thinking for the rest of the day.
After two nights in Thammel, we decided to escape from the touristy trap, and hopefully experience a more local atmosphere by moving to a guest house (Himalaya Guest House) on a different area (Jhochhe Street).
Settled in Jhochhe, the day after and continuing our tour around Kathmandu, we climbed a countless number of steps to get to Swayambhu, which is a set of Hindu and Buddhist temples on top of conical hill invaded by monkeys. The most interesting part was seeing Hindu prayers and offerings to their goddess. For lunch we headed to Patan Durbar Square where we tried woh (fried lentil-flour patties) at a hidden local smoky place. During a stopover for a chiya (nepali tea) we had the chance to chat with a couple of Nepali teenagers who told us how they managed to escape the life on the streets. They definitely seemed to know more about life than we do.