ShellyK - more on your trip to Nepal?

Old Mar 29th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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ShellyK - more on your trip to Nepal?

Shelly, I'm continuing to consider a return trip to Nepal for October. I know you were there recently, but I could only locate your brief comments on poverty in India and Nepal. (and your helpful comments on the Hyatt in Kathmandu)

I would be very interested in what you did in Nepal. Did you just stay in the Kathamndu Valley or did you go elsewhere?

Any additional detail you can offer will be much appreciated!
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Old Mar 30th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Hi Kathie-I just saw your question, or I would have answered sooner. We were in Khatmandu for 3 nights the end of Feb. We stayed at the Hyatt in the valley and did day trips to the surrounding towns. We visited Bhaktapur, Patan, and Pashupatinath. There is much more to see in the area, but that is all we could cover in the time we were there. The weather was perfect, low 70's and dry. The traffic was bad, but not as bad as it could have been, because there was a gas shortage and many cars were waiting on line for gasoline rather than driving around. All of the towns I mentioned are a short ride (about an hour or less on decent roads) from the Hyatt. Once in those towns there is an abundance of things to see, temples, palaces, art museums,ect. and an abundance of places to eat and shop. I am not a shopper, but even I found interesting things to buy, or rather they found me. It is hard to take a step without being approached by street vendors, but unlike what I found in India, these vendors were persistent in a charming sort of way, and I did not feel harrassed, only approached. I found Khatmandu really interesting. I thought the Hyatt was a well run hotel. The room was large and the bathroom was updated. It has a large swimming pool, although it was too cold to use. It is within walking distance of the stupa which is very interesting to visit in late afternoon, as this is when we saw hundreds of people walking around the stupa clockwise in their prayer ritual. There are many stores and restaurants in this area if you do not care to eat at the hotel. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer, as you have given me so much great advise. I'll check back here periodically. Shelley
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Old Mar 30th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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One more thing to add-If you decide to go, allow yourself plenty of time to fly out of Khatmandu, especially if you are making a connecting flight to get back to the US. Because Khatmandu is surrounded by the Himalayas, the airport does not allow take offs after dark (which was 6PM in Feb). Our departure was scheduled for 4PM, but at 4PM, our plane was still in Delhi. The plane from Delhi finally arrived at about 5:20, and after a mad rush by security, flight crew and passengers we took off from Khatmandu at 5:57. If that flight from Delhi came in a little later, we would have been stuck in Khatmandu for another day and we would have missed our international flight home the following morning. So, leave yourself plenty of time for connections.
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Old Mar 30th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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Thanks for the additional info. Last I was in Nepal, we spent two weeks in the Kathmandu Valley. We'll have 8 nights this trip. We'll be flying from Kathmandu back to Bangkok for a week or so, so I don't have to worry about connecting to an international flight.

Let me ask a bit about your shopping. Anything really special you bought? Did you buy anything from the Tibetan Refugee camp in Patan?

And, were there ATMs anywhere?

Also, any great restaurants?

Many thanks for your reply.
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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 05:26 AM
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There are some ATMs, but they are very few and far between. I did not use any because I did not see any and did not want to go too far out of my way to locate one. It's not as if you will see one on a street corner. You have to search them out and there are not a lot of them. I brought cash for pocket money and small purchases, which I exchanged at the hotel. They will exchange American or Indian bills, but no Indian bills larger than 100 rupees as the larger bills are illegal in Nepal, because of counterfeitting. I used credit cards for restaurants and purchases in shops. Almost all shops and restaurants take credit cards. The exchange rate at the hotel was the same, if not slightly better than the exchange rate on my credit card purchases. As for puchases, I bought 2 pashmina shawls (for gifts), and a siver and bead necklace for me. I saw some brass "singing bowls" and some art work that looked lovely, but I am at the stage where I really do not want to accumulate much more than I have, which is much too much as it is. We were tired at the end of the day, so ate at the hotel. The Rox restaurant is Italian, very good food and service, but with very high prices for Nepal. The other hotel restaurant had a guest chef from its Hyatt in Thesalonika, Greece who became the resident chef for 2 weeks in Feb. so we ate Greek food one night. It was very good, especially after 10 days of Indian food which is not our favorite cuisine. It was a buffet so we made sure to get there when the food was set out, which meant an early dinner (7 PM). That restaurant also had an a la carte menu with Indian and Chinese food. The Indian food was good, but the The Chinese food was horrible. It was the worst meal I had on the trip. The people we spoke to who went out side the hotel for dinner said their meals were ok, nothing special, but about 25% of the price of what we paid at the hotel. Since the food at the hotel was better than ok, but nothing special, and much more expensive than food outside the hotel, maybe you could get some recommendations from others about restaurants in Khatmandu. The hotel runs a free shuttle to cental Khatmandu several times a day . and there are taxis parked outside the hotel gate, so getting around is easy.
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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 05:46 AM
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Thanks, Shelly, for all of the information. Things have obviously changed a lot since I was last there. I'm amazed that so many places take credit cards!

We're waiting until after the elections to book anything that requires payment, but I want to be ready to finish all the booking soon after the elections.

If I think of more questions for you, I'll post again.
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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 05:59 AM
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I think it is very wise to wait until after the elections. When we were there we saw several peaceful demonstrations. We spoke to some Nepalis who were concerned about what would happen after the elections if they throw out the monarchy, but the king refuses to leave. They were concerned that things would not remain so peaceful, but they were hopeful they would.
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