We have crossed over the Himalayas from Tibet, with a comfy ride in the LandCruiser, a few hours faffing at the border and a rather bumpy seven hour bus ride to Kathmandu. This is the third time I have visited Kathmandu during my 2009 world trip and as such, I don't really need to say that I like it here. Its a great place to chillout and relax. Its also got a very different feel to it to most backpacker haunts. Your not going to find a group of hip and trendy 20 something's here on a holiday, unlike the hoards you'll find in many other places.
This time round, we have spent a little time sightseeing. I have to say, that once you walk out of the main tourist zone, Kathmandu is packed with Hindu and Buddhist temples in all directions. Its go the largest Stupa in the world, the giant Boudhanath Stupa. I even got the joy to Mountain Bike past and through a number of temples my way down the Katmandu valley on a tour of the surrounding mountains. It was all a rather quite unique mountain biking experience.
Mountain Biking through a Hindu Temple
While in Kathmandu, we also managed to get our Myanmar/Burmese visa to save some time in Bangkok. It was a bit of a wild goose chase trying to find the Myanmar Embassy as it had just moved, but thankfully some kind chap phoned directory enquires and got us the new address. That's the other thing about Kathmandu and Nepal that I really like. The Nepali's are some of the friendliest people on this earth.
Its also the rainy season now, in fact its monsoon time, which I have to say is not all as bad as I was expecting it to be. We have had the occasional titanic downpour shower, but never longer than an hour or two, just enough time to enjoy a coffee and cake in one of Kathmandu's numerous cafes. And the Everest Beer is just great.
But most of all, one thing stuck me this time round. You can see Freedom in everyones faces. Optimism. Hope. Positive energy. I can't say the same about most people I met in China and TIbet, even thought their GDP per capita is some five times bigger than Nepal's. Nepal is afterall the newest Republic in the world, which was something that the people fought to change. I rather like it here and I am sure I will be back at some point in the future, alas not on this trip.
A Vishnu Baba at Pashupatinath. Some 40 years worth of dreadlocks to show off!
Tomorrow we are off to Bangkok for a short stopover, then Myanmar. This is the end of my trip in the Indian subcontinent and the start of a tour of mainland SE asia.