Bhaktapur is billed as the town that time forgot and to some extent it lives up to that notion despite being Nepal’s third biggest city. The section that all tourists go to see is the ancient protected area that makes up the centre. It does have a rather hefty entrance fee of 1100 Nepalese rupees each (£7), but for that fee you get a centre devoid of most cars, with just a few pesky mopeds on the streets – a very welcome change.
The centre has the highest concentration of temples within Nepal and wandering around the squares and quiet roads was lovely. One of the Pagodas served as a delightful place to sit up in the sun relaxing with a book. Our guesthouse was one of the nicest we have stayed in whilst travelling with it being brand new and with very welcoming staff.
We explored some of the culinary delights of Nepal in local eateries with Buffalo brain being tried along with an unusual dried oats dish. The views from a rooftop cafe revealed the distant mountains that surround Bhaktapur, with the smog hanging over Kathmandu blocking out the views 12km to the West.
Yesterday was a day of self pity for myself (Toby) with a hangover that matched how I felt post lacrosse Christmas dinner last year. This was the result of a fun evening drinking with a couple of Australians we had met in the day, and I was very thankful for our lovely hotel room to hide under the covers from the world!
Today we jumped up early to take in the temples under the morning sun whilst they were still fairly quiet and see the activity of the local market in the square. I’m still feeling a bit fragile, not helped by the beginning of our Doxycyline anti-malarial tablets that can leave you feeling a bit light headed.
Nepal is currently in the run up to its elections, which has led to protests around the country. This was very noticeable a couple of days ago when everywhere was shut. Luckily the state bus was running today so we have got back to Kathmandu for 18p. We’re now back chilling in our favourite Funky Buddha cafe whilst we wait for our afternoon bus to the Nepal border.
We had to make some slight alterations to our route on account of the heavily booked-up Indian trains, so today we are headed to Darjeeling: an old colonial hill station and the home of Darjeeling tea in the far North East corner of India. It will take us around 20 hours to get there, with an overnight bus today (which apparently is on very bumpy roads), followed by a 6am border crossing, then finding our way by jeep or state bus up to the hill station. The fun awaits!