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Nightlife (ok and accom) in Kathmandu??

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Hi,

Myself and my boyfriend are leaving for Nepal Oct 25. Can't wait!! Heard some good and some mixed reports about the Kathmandu Guest House. Would you recommend for atmosphere? Willing to pay for right spot. But would def rate experiencing the real Nepal above clinical hotels. Have to admit -some comforts good before heading off to trek!

Also any suggestions on night life? Restaurants that have a good vibe/do great local dishes? Parts of town worth hitting?

This is a great site. Thanks a million.
Síodhna (from Ireland)

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    Siodhana I haven't stayed there for quite a few years but we did stay at Kathmandu Guest House pre & post trekking and it worked out well for us. It is not a lux/clinical hotel by any stretch of the imagination. Do check out the room when they take you to it and make sure all is OK and if not ask them to fix or change. On our second visit they wanted to put us in a room with no bathroom (shared one down the hall) I didn't want or book this so it was just a matter letting them know and waiting a few minutes and they found us a room with bathroom. I am sure by now there are many more hotels in the area of a similar style but I don't know them. From what you write I think the Ktm Guest House is in a good area of town for you and your boyfriend. It is the backpacking/trekkers mecca! Lots of cafes etc around. Don't forget to take the time and head off down the narrow lanes. Between the Thamel area and Dubar Square for example walk and deviate off the main street. Before you know it you will be seeing little temples inside courtyards and local carpenters at work on the floor of their stores carving out furnature for locals. Take a peek into a local "conveniece" store to see what they stock for the locals.
    Have you been over to lonelyplanet.com and the Thorn Tree on that site? I think you will get a lot of info there that will be useful to you.

    Have a great trip. Nepal & its people is fantastic.

    What trek are you doing?

    J

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    I will try to post a very long email my goddaughter sent to me - she spent 4 months there this year.........might have to break it into 2 sections

    In terms of where to stay, I think Thamel would be best. Kathmandu is divided into 50-something different districts (much like the 5 arrondisments of Paris) and none of the streets have names, nor the houses numbers.
    Thamel is the main tourist district of Kathmandu. There are lots of shops to go to with souvenirs aplenty, and lots of nice bars and "discos" (as they call them) within walking district. Thamel is the main place where backpackers and trekkers spend their time.
    Highlights in Thamel include Tom and Jerry's, which is a great bar with pool tables in the back and great owners. I've met some really interesting people there from all over the world; one man was biking all across Asia for the summer. Maya's has great Mexican food, and Sam's bar is a great relaxing place with a great rooftop patio.
    In terms of restaurants in Thamel I would highly recommend Cafe New Orleans; they're about the only place you can get real beef in this country, and the waitors are fantastic.
    In terms of hotels, if you decide to stay in Thamel I'd recommend the Kathmandu Guest House, and if you decide to stay in Boudha I'd recommend Hotel Nyudrup, which is owned by Rinpoche (a highly distinguished monk) who runs the school that I volunteer at.
    I'm currently responsible for making a handbook for new volunteers coming to the school I'm volunteering at, and although a large part of it is focused around school life, there's a section in it that you might find helpful on where to go, and places to eat that I've found reliable (some places are basically guaranteed to get you sick if you're not careful)
    If you don't want to stay in Thamel I would also recommend Boudha; it's a district focused around a major buddhist monument, called a stupa. It's where I've been staying for four months, and I love it. Most of the comments in the attached handbook have to do with Boudha, and regardless of where you stay I would recommend going to Boudha on a sight-seeing trip (but don't let the police officers make you pay to come in, just tell them you live in boudha and you can get in free)

    Things to do around Boudha
    Places to see and go

    Stupa
    The Stupa located by SMD (7 minute walk) is the biggest Stupa in the world. At any point in the day or night, there are usually locals walking around Stupa; it is auspicious to walk around either three, five, or seven times, always clockwise. The main road is located just outside the Stupa's main gates, and is a good place to grab a taxi. Stupa is also a good place to buy souvenirs, although it's a bit more pricey than going to Thamel.

    Internet
    There are several internet cafes located around the school, with varying speeds. Don't pay more than 25 rupees an hour, unless you've grown particularly attached to that internet cafe. The store located just underneath the senior's flat has really fast (keep in mind 'fast' is a relative term) internet, and Ram, the owner, is a great guy to chat with.

    Gemini grocery store
    Stocked with plenty of Western food, and harboring the only ATM within walkable distance, Gemini is a great place to go. It's only a 15 minute walk away from the school, located on the main road outside Stupa. Prices are cheaper than the small stalls on the side of the road, and selection is usually pretty good.

    Monastery
    One of the great things about SMD is that they have monks and nuns going to school along with the other schoolchildren. The monastery affiliated with SMD is a great place to go, just ask one of the seniors to take you there. It's a 5 minute walk away from the school, right next to Garden Kitchen.

    The Hyatt
    Equipped with a swimming pool, steam room, and exercise room, the Hyatt is a great place to go when you need a bit of relaxation. It's only a 20 minute walk away from SMD, just turn right when you get to the main road from the stupa. The Hyatt is, however, for those with fairly deep pockets.

    Semki hair and beauty salon
    Located literally a two minute walk from school on the way to stupa, Semki is fantastic. The staff are well trained by the owner, who went to school in London and has flawless English. The only complaint is that the noise is a bit distracting; either bring earplugs or your own calming CD (or suffer through Shania Twain for the duration of your treatment). Tsunita (the tall one) is fantastic.
    Deluxe package: 1600rs, includes body massage, facial, manicure and pedicure


    Places to eat

    Three Sisters
    Great view of the stupa, especially at night. They've got great breakfast, and decent prices. Very nice pizza, and their pancakes and French toast are also delicious. Located around the stupa.

    The Regency
    A great local spot, the service is fairly slow, but their banana pancakes are fantastic, and the buff momos won't get you sick. 5 minute walk from SMD.

    Garden Kitchen
    Slightly more touristy than the Regency, Garden Kitchen is one of Boudha's hidden gems. As its name suggests, the restaurant is in a garden outside. The pizzas are great, as are the momos, and the prices are very reasonable. 5 minute walk from SMD, on the way to stupa.

    Cafe New Orleans
    With a hint of the classic Starbuck's order-one-coffee-and-stay-for-hours mentality, Cafe New Orleans is a great place to relax. They have an excellent dessert menu, and their ice won't make you sick. Cafe New Orleans is located around the Stupa, with a big white sign.

    Himalaya View
    Himalaya View has a great view of the Stupa, and is a great place to go at night during the full moon when the Stupa is lit up. Prices and menu selection are average, and the food is both trustworthy and tasty.

    Stalls right next to SMD
    The senior students frequently visit the stalls right next to SMD for momos, tea, and chow mein. The food is both cheap and delicious, but be wary; those with weak stomachs may get a bit sick at first.

    Rudra Sandwich Bar
    Rudra is kind of like the Nepali version of Subway. Owned by a French guy who seems to live upstairs, their sandwiches are made on baguettes and their vegetables are washed with Iodine water. Featuring luxury items like bacon and salami, their sandwiches are delicious, and the service is much faster than Garden Kitchen or Regency. If you plan on being a frequent customer, ask for one of their stamp cards; 10 sandwiches gives you 1 free. They're found on the second floor around the stupa.

    Sakura
    Located on top of the Money Mart around Stupa, Sakura is a great restaurant for those with a Japanese palette. Prices are reasonable, but service is slow.


    Places to see around Kathmandu

    Durbar Marg
    Durbar Marg is a good place for clothes shopping, and also has one of Kathmandu's two Baskin Robbins. If you want to arrange flights to anywhere around Nepal, like Pokhara, Himalaya Travel is also here, as well as Thai Airways' main office.

    Thamel
    Thamel is one of the main tourist spots in Kathmandu. It has great shopping, as well as good places to eat. Fire and Ice has the best (if not the most pricey) pizza in Kathmandu, and the coffee store right across the street is also excellent.

    Monkey temple
    Only a 30 minute taxi ride away, monkey temple is a great temple to go visit. Like its name suggests, there are several monkeys that live on the walk up to the top of the hill where the actual temple is situated.

    Kapan/Pulari
    Kapan is a monastary for monks, while Pulari is the nunnery. Both are beautiful, and at the summit of a small hill, about 30 minutes by foot from SMD to the North.

    Bhaktapur
    Bhaktapur is a beautiful old city, one of the three old palaces and temples made by the old malla kings. It is an hour by taxi away, and 700 rupees to get in, but definitely worth it. A great place to go to fulfill the inner historian within you.

    Patan
    A 30 minute drive away, Patan is great for those who are historically-minded. The museum there is fantastic, and its a good place to pick up souvenirs like statues and figurines.

    Pashupati
    45 minutes by bike ride away, Pashupati is the Hindu place for sacrifices and offerings. The view is great, but it can be a bit crowded on Saturdays, or days when there is a holiday. If you're interested in religious places, this is a great place to go see.


    Places to eat in Kathmandu

    Bakery Club Cafe
    Bakery club cafe is a chain of restaurants, the easiest to find is in Thamel, but there is also one just outside Boudha. Boasting good food with fair prices, Bakery club cafe also has something else interesting to offer: all of its waiters are deaf. This provides for an interesting ordering experience (no Nepali required!), and eating here also supports a great cause.

    Fire and Ice
    If western pizza and good ice cream are what you're craving, come to Fire and Ice. Located in Thamel, Fire and Ice has the best pizza in Kathmandu, although it's a bit more expensive than the average meal.

    Mike's Breakfast
    Located in Naxal, it's a great place to go if you're craving traditional American-style breakfast. Their waffles are served with syrup, the ice and raw vegetables are safe to eat, and the restaurant has a great location.

    Guide to Taxi prices (from Boudha):
    Thamel 150
    Dubar Marg 150
    Monkey Temple 250
    Bhaktapur 350-400
    Patan 250
    Dubar Square 200
    Sanepa Chok 200

    Day/Weekend Trips
    Borderlands
    If eating momos on the side of the road isn't a big enough adrenaline rush, Borderlands is a great place to go. You can bungee jump off the highest bridge above sea level in the world, and go rafting. Borderlands is a 3 hour drive away, and is great fun.

    Pokhara
    Based on the Nepali word for pond pokhri, Pokhara is a town facing a beautiful river. You can hire a boat, or watch the sunrise on top of a mountain, and if it's not monsoon season, you can go paragliding. You can reach Pokhara either by a 45 minute flight, or a 6 hour car drive.

    Namo Buddha
    Namo Buddha is a beautiful monastery situated on the top of a mountain, and has a spectacular view. Founded by Thrangu Rinpoche, it is a definite must-see. It’s also the place that Buddha sacrificed his body for a pregnant tiger. It's approximately 3 hours by car.

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