15 years since I last visited Nepal, I returned to the beautiful country to catch up with an old friend that I met then in Banepa where I spent heartwarming times with his Nepalese family. The Nepalese are remarkably humble people who values the simplicity of life and always have a smile on their face. No matter where I was in Nepal, whether Kathmandu, Banepa, Dhulikhel or Bhaktapur, the visit left a warm feeling in my heart and another long-lasting memory to bring home.
Do you believe what you see on the Internet or television a hundred per cent? Don’t be afraid to visit Nepal as a result of what the media shows you on the aftermath of the earthquake. Don’t be scared by what you see on Internet and TV. Kathmandu city is surprisingly bustling with all the shops open and people are getting on with their daily life as per usual. If you are in the city area, you can’t even remotely feel the destruction of the earthquake unless you visit some affected sites such as Dharahara Tower or the Durbar Square.
The Gorkha-centric earthquake on 25 April has caused more than 8700 death, 22,000 injured and thousands of families homeless. It was a devastating sight to see historical temples and palaces damaged and popular tourist cities such as Bhaktapur and Nagarkot affected. Millions of tourists would have had their hearts broken to see the cities they love and visited destructed. Some places such as Sankhu, Changu Narayan, Patan and Swayambhu Stupa are completely destroyed. However some of these areas are remote and inaccessible to the public anyways.
To visit Nepal, you have to know what is Nepal. To me, Nepal is one of the safest places to visit where you can walk down the streets with no fear. Nepalese people also keep strong family ties and respect their culture and customs. The local people are so genuine, down-to-earth, resilient and courageous.
Even in a destructed city like Bhaktapur, I do not see sad faces, but on contrary, I was greeted by smiling faces. Although the city is dusty at times and the monsoon season made the roads muddy, these factors did not dampen the spirit of the locals in Bhaktapur. I see people helping one another to build temporary homes for their neighbours and shops are open with red and gold saree out on display. Art and craft shops such as pottery making and paper factories are all open for business. As a music lover, I even bought 5 Nepalese music CD at a record store which was steadily open with their CD shelves fully-stocked.
Nepal has many magnificent places to visit with breathtaking sceneries that is beyond beautiful such as Dhulikhel, also as the Clean City, Namo Buddha Stupa or Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Temple. On my way to Banepa, I was able to see the highest and tallest Shiva statue and even the water theme park in the middle of the Valley which was packed with locals on weekends. Near Banepa, there is an organic farm resort worth checking out called NamoBuddha Resort (http://www.namobuddharesort.com/)
Nepal is worth the visit if you are a traveller seeking adventure.
I’ll assure you that you will fall in love with Nepal and the Nepalese people instantaneously.
Because I did everytime I visit.
– Text & Images by: Paul Khor
*My recommendation of a place to stay in Bhaktapur:
– Nyatapola Guest House (http://www.nyatapolaguesthouse.com) where I stayed. The people are welcoming and treats you like family.
– Peacock Guest House (http://www.peacockguesthousenepal.com), operated by a young couple. The owner, Indra grew up and was educated in Singapore until she married her Nepalese husband. Both of them are engineers by profession and I had a wonderful time chatting with them at their very new and modern cafe.
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