Swayambhunath - Monkey Temple - Kathmandu
Oct 18 2013, Friday We landed in Kathmandu in the morning and decided to make a day of it by heading to the iconic stupa of Swayambhunath, colloquially known as the Monkey Temple. This is my first time visiting a tourist site in Kathmandu. Swayambhunath is a grand temple worth visiting that is located in the Kathmandu valley, not more than a 30-minute drive from the hotel we were staying at (Radisson). It was also rather grand that we caught the tail-end of the most celebrated festival in Nepal, where pilgrims -- both Hindus and Buddhists, I believe -- make their way up to the stupa, dressed in their best and carrying their offerings.
The climb up to the stupa is steep but totally worth it, taking about 20 minutes in my slowpoke's pace. We had the cab driver waiting for us outside the temple's gate -- wouldn't have been nice to make him wait too long. Don't stand too long because watch out, there's a monkey next to you.
I still smell the incense. And naturally, I had the license to do the touristy thing of turning the prayer wheels.
After Swayambhunath, Hubs and I told the cab driver to take us to Thamel, downtown Kathmandu. It was noon by then, which lent us some time for a coffee break before embarking on my favourite kind of shopping in Nepal.
Yes, hippie alternative clothes and yak wool; my kind of shopping. Happiness procured, we went on to have typical Nepalese lunch, followed by a rickshaw ride back to Radisson.
All in all a short but happy touristy day in Kathmandu, and we had a comfortable hotel to stay in to recuperate from jetlag. Tomorrow, we wait for a colleague to arrive and join us.