After two full days of travel through three airports and time zones I finally arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was a shock to say the least. Flying in you realize that the city covers about 20 miles square and for a population of 1.4 million it is an expansive area. Although it is dubbed the largest city in Nepal it was still a shock to me. The city is rebuilding much of the infrastructure so the streets are torn to shreds and there is dust that permeates the city. Much like Thailand the laws of the road are just a suggestion but here there are no road lines or lanes. Mopeds rule the road and if you want to see anything besides the area you are staying in it’s a good idea to rent a bike and learn to drive like the locals do. Local buses are cheap and cover all of the city but there is the issue of a lot of transfers and the potential of getting on the wrong connection.
If you want a calm relaxing day I suggest the Garden of Dreams which has high walls that keep the dust out. Tranquility is in abundance here, flowing fountains and ponds of lotus flowers will remove the chaotic mind you acquire outside the walls. Take a book and a snack and relax on the small terraced amphitheater with cushions for added comfort. Climbing the steps of Swayambhunath Stupa also known to travelers as the Monkey Temple for the obvious reasons, as hundreds of Assamese monkeys climb around he steps and Stupa. It is a tough hike up the steep steps but well worth it over the back entrance that the taxi drivers will take you to which has far less stairs. There is also Boudhanath also known as the Great Boudha Stupa which felt more like a tourist marketplace to this traveler, which you have to pay to get into. Although the Stupa does have cultural significance to the Buddhist and Hindi people because it houses the remains of one of the 29 named Boudhas in Theravada Buddhism. It was also a pilgrimage site for the people of Tibet when they fled from the invasion of China, many decided to live around the Stupa.
Even with infrastructure changes and chaos of the city it is a place you can find good people to spend time with at a cafe sitting around drinking tea and chatting about travel experiences. It is the hub of Nepal and definitely represents that well as you move around the city. Everyone should visit this city once in their life but maybe just for a couple days.