Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the Batsala Temple in the middle
Upon arriving at Bhaktapur, I immediately scanned the area for a store that sells drinks. My migraine was a buzzkill and I had to do something. I probably just needed to re-hydrate. After drinking almost a liter of water, I didn’t feel any better. I knew what the problem was. Why was I not surprised?
I joined the rest of the group and walked towards the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
I couldn’t focus on our guide’s talk. Although he wasn’t done yet, I was allowed to get a quick rest. I found myself in what seems like an old abandoned building across the palace where most high school students hung out. I laid myself on the floor, even put my legs up the wall, closed my eyes, and meditated. I would go around and visit the whole Durbar Square before we leave. We would spend a few hours there anyway.
The pain didn’t disappear. By then I knew I had to take a medicine. The only time that I forgot the meds was the only time I needed it, unfortunately. I tried to look for a pharmacy but to no avail. Later on, I joined my travel buddies for lunch and during a convo with this very nice French woman, she realized that she has an Advil.
Goodbye headache, hello world!
The National Art Museum and the Palace on the eastern side of the square
I eventually found myself haggling from the stores in the side street for a few souvenirs. How could haggling take so much time?
After the so-called shopping, I had to join everyone else. I couldn’t see them. They were probably just around although at this point, there’s a huge possibility that they probably left.
In front of me was the Batsala temple (see the first photo above), which somehow reminded me of the beautiful Shiva temple in Patan.
Nevermind being lost, I knew I will get back with the rest of them eventually. I had to make the most of the last few moments I had there.
The 55-Window Palace, made of brick and wood
I had to figure out if I should enter the golden gate of the very intricately designed 55-window palace. I realized that I will definitely be ungracefully late if I did, so a photoop would probably do. But “placing” myself at the gate was stalling me because whenever I attempted to do so, there were so many people on queue. What a luck!
The Golden Gate which is the entrance located on the left of the 55-Window Palace
My travel buddies were nowhere to be found and thank goodness I found the other group’s quirky guide who was nice enough to take me to my group. I was led to Taumadhi square, took a quick stroll around and bought the same local ice cream (called Burfi) that I kept seeing from the kids eating around. So yummy for the hot weather especially after having a migraine.
I wanted to climb the stairs of the temple of Nyatapola, but taking a photo of it was the best I could for now.
The Temple of Nyatapola, the tallest of its kind in Kathmandu
To be honest, being left by everyone else and that “almost being completely lost” was probably the best moment that I felt I was actually in the streets of Nepal, blending in with others. I know, it’s just “almost” and not exactly the same as “being.” But technically, I was supposed to be with the group all the time.
That mix of rushing almost alone (no group!), walking in the tiny streets for a shortcut, looking deep at the crowd and figuring out the next move and looking through the people around, talking with a local (who is technically a guide but not my guide)…, a local talking with more locals, that was the time that I felt I belonged (in the lost and found!–kidding :P). It’s weird yet it felt right to get lost and conquer some of the last few moments all by myself. That feeling of not having a guardian and siblings is awesome. HAH! (like in the movie, home alone: lost in NY). Moving on…
I eventually joined the rest of them and we were taken to the pottery square.
Somehow, I found myself haggling again for a tiny elephant in a corner just moments before we had to leave–again!
Once we left the pottery square, we were led back to Mandala shop. I stayed there with some of my travel buddies out of curiosity. The mandala and how it’s created is pretty amazing.
A sample of the Mandala shop and the artists working on it just across the pottery square. The shop we went through was a different one.
On our way back, while having a conversation of how genuine the locals were and of how adorable the KG students were (especially when saying “Namaste”), we passed by this very large and really old tree-temple. That was the final temple of the rest of the trip, and we were taken to the airport to catch an eventually delayed flight.
Last temple for the day, a very tall and really old tree.
It was the last stop of my holiday in Nepal and I wanted to take good memories with me as much as I can. So much has happened in so little time. Who would’ve thought that I’d get to trek, see different kinds of temples, eat so much momos, drink so much, be at the peak of my touristy self, get sick, say a lot of “Namaste”, and have a new set of friends with so much stories to tell in a span of 2 full days? I can’t help but be grateful.
Goodness, I miss travelling and I can’t wait to go across southeast asia really soon! Plans to Pen to Paper to Reality.
For those who are just stopping by Kathmandu, Bhaktapur is a good place to wander around and conquer in half a day (when in a rush!).
Quick Tips for your future Bhaktapur Trip:
1. Entrance fee is Rs 1100 or US$15 if you’re a foreigner. It is better to pay in Nepalese Rs because of the conversion rate. Unless you’re a Nepalese local or from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and China, you only get to pay Rs 100.
2. Try the Burfi ice cream. I kept seeing a lot of kids eating this, and it made me curious. It is a local ice cream in a stick made of milk and coconuts. It is yummy and very cheap, around Rs 45 (from what I remember) which is almost US$0.50. You can buy it around the Taumadhi Square. Ask around if unsure.
3. There are 3 main squares (based on where we went) in Bhaktapur:
a. Bhaktapur Durbar Square which houses much of the temples and the golden gate and the 55-Window Palace,
b. Taumadhi Square where the tallest pagoda-style temple (in Kathmandu) could be found, and
c. the Pottery square.
3. Shopping? You can haggle. When buying in the shops around, make sure you know the actual value of what you’re buying. It is best to haggle for half the price and work your way up. If you have enough time, you could stall and tell them you’d just try to figure out if you want/need it and come back later. 😉
4. From our experience, the service of the restaurant located inside Bhaktapur Durbar Square (the terrace-type restaurant was very slow. But maybe it’s seasonal? I hope.
5. Always have a pain reliever in your pocket, in case of emergencies!
**I will make a separate post on our itinerary in Nepal. For the mean time, you can check out the rest of the trip in Kathmandu, Nepal here.