Waking up in the moonlight, we were on the tourist bus back to Kathmandu by 6am. Unlike the local buses, tourist buses are a bit more comfortable, don’t allow any standing passengers in the aisle and costs only slightly (~10%-20%)more. Trust us, it’s more than worth the money.
So between 6am and 4pm when we arrived in Kathmandu, we pretty much drifted in and out of consciousness for the whole time, reading a bit while we can. We stopped for lunch at 10am at a seemingly tourist trap, but the food (everyone had the same thing, the national dish of Nepal, Dal Bhaat) was pretty decent for the price. Arriving in Kathmandu, we quickly packed our bags and headed for the city across the Bagmati river, Patan.
Historically, Patan is actually an independent state from Kathmandu, and along with Bhaktapur, the three states were constantly at war. It didn’t help that they were also within 5km of each other…. Similar to Kathmandu, Patan is a lively city but with only about 10% of the tourists, giving a bit more insight into the lives of the local people. One problem though, is that it means there are VERY little hotels to choose from.
We wandered around Patan searching for some cheap rooms, but most were full already. By luck, we stumbled across Newa Chen, a historical Newari-style building which was renovated with the help of UNESCO and now turned into an exquisite boutique hotel with extremely low ceilings. With a quaint little courtyard in the middle where breakfast is served, and a welcoming fruit basket and tea service, we were extremely happy with the change in living conditions despite the high price of $40USD. It sounds cheap by western standards, but the rooms in general go for $7-12, and we’ve even paid $0.60 on the trek once! Gotta spoil yourselves a bit some times =P
At night, we walked out into pitch darkness as Patan was under a rolling blackout. Dinner was atop the roof of a small restaurant overlooking the shadows of Patan’s Durbar Square, the centre of the historic empire and where their royal families lived.
We spent the evening enjoying the atmosphere of our room, sipping on a cup of tea and catching up on some first world issues like blogging and paying credit card bills!