“Lose yourself among the places and temples of Nepal’s capital city or make it your first stop on a trek to Mount Everest.”
This caught me. It was the declaration that after the long wait, I am finally en route to Nepal.
For the past few years that I’ve enjoyed travelling, Kathmandu has been one of those places that I’ve been looking forward to see. Somehow, my instinct and fate has paved the way for me to go there.
It was the 30th of November, 2012. More than a month before I left Dubai, I joined a group of fellow travelers for a holiday through a meetup group called Escape Travels (which I will talk about at the end of this post).
Upon arrival at the airport, we were welcomed with a flower lei (necklace) placed around our neck. It was my first time to be welcomed like a real tourist and to be honest, it felt a bit weird yet really nice.
It was a surreal: I am already in Nepal.
We arrived at our hotel and took a quick time to rest before departing for Kathmandu’s Durbar Square.
Upon arriving, we waited around 50 meters away from the square while our guide got us our entrance tickets.
It was a bit of a shame that we got there just after the sun has set. Around past 6. It wasn’t very dark yet, but it was getting there quickly.
What could’ve looked like a beautiful line of different temples somehow vanished through the night. We were given enough time by our guide to roam around, but somehow I ended up walking in the same area, trying to have a better photo than what my eyes could see.
*This was the best I could capture with a very high ISO, no tripod, slow shutter speed, no light. With that, I apologize if I may have caused your eyes a bit of a distress.*
We eventually left on foot passing by a smaller square of temples through a crowded yet colorful streets with different shops and a lot of “banderitas”.
The night was young and when we got to our hotel, we decided to grab a pre-dinner drink and chill for a while. It’s somehow surprising to find all these imported liquor for a much cheaper price. We had a few doubts, but although the seal was already broken (everything they sold were the same!), we figured that what we got was legit because it tasted nicely and we didn’t get a stomach pain.
We went to a traditional dinner with local performances in a restaurant right after.
I personally think it’s a bit more expensive than the typical dinner, however, the local performances made up for it.
I just had the EVEREST in Nepal!
I love the dumplings (called Momo) with the curry sauce. For me, the Nepalese food is a mix Chinese and Indian food. There’s that subtle Indian flavor in the curry sauce and of course, how Chinese can we get with the dumplings?
More food were definitely served and I could only take a few photos out of hunger.
Overall, it was a nice evening because I got to sit with a variety of people who share the same passion for travelling. Another thing is that I don’t really get to interact with a very diverse group on a daily basis, and somehow, being with them has made me learn a thing or two about them and myself at the same time.
What made me happier though is even if I went to this trip alone, a very nice group of people sort of adopted me instantly and I couldn’t be any happier. It’s almost always common to be with genuinely nice people whenever I travel, and me always trying to overcome my shyness and hesitations, it’s really a big relief.
Tomorrow is a brand new day. Trekking it is, how hard can it be? Easy peasy. Until the next post. 😉
About Escape Travels
” Escape Travels, at the time known as Escape Dubai, was a social organization for people that live in the UAE and share the love of travel. “
1. It’s a meetup group which first started in UAE that caters to organized trips around the Middle East (both local and international travels). The travel package includes the itinerary (with preferred options), transportation, and accommodation. The founder, Fajer, is the main person who organizes everything. He also gives recommendations for the flights to take. It’s basically a pre-arranged group travel with limited number of participants.
It seems to me that Fajer has a very retentive memory when it comes to remembering people. 🙂
**Just to give an idea, when I went for the Nepal trip, it was US$540 for a two night stay at a hotel (with a roommate). Breakfast, transportation, and activity fee (e.g. trekking with lunch) are all included. Entrance fees are not included.
Of course, making your own getaway would be a lot cheaper. But with all the convenience, you clearly will get what you paid for.
2. It’s almost like a travel agency, only that they give you the schedule (it is usually set on a holiday or a weekend) and you get to choose among the available options on a first come first serve basis. No hassle as well in terms of paying for a double bed because you get to pay for what you’re using (single bed if you’re going solo).
3. You don’t need to be from/living in UAE to be able to join a trip. Anyone who has the same interest could join in. They could fly from wherever they’re from to the holiday they prefer. That concept is similar travbuddy as well (where you set where you’re going to be travelling and others could join you–I will talk about travbuddy on a different post).
What I like about travelling in general is it does not discriminate whether you fly solo or in a group. It is okay to go out and about regardless of where you’re from, with whom you’re with, or what you are.
Escape Travels is a great group that caters to that.
Although I’ve traveled solo for several times, there comes a time that you feel the sense of belonging. Just in time I really needed an escape to go to Kathmandu, there’s a group to the rescue. Thank God. 🙂