Day 148: Bhaktapur (Nepal) – November 12th

Wandering around the streets of Patan, we found a restaurant that is within another UNESCO restored Newari building. Thinking it’d be similar to our hotel we stayed in previously, we wandered in and was amazed at how uninteresting the whole place was, with a garden that can barely pass as comfortable, and we had the whole place to ourselves! The food wasn’t that great either, but it was nice and quiet and away from the hustle and bustle, which is not easy to find in any tourist area in Nepal.

Taking a local bus to our next destination of Bhaktapur, which was the last of the three states within the Kathmandu city area, we passed through several markets that was crowded with people despite it being a Monday morning. It’s probably the festival, as everyone seems to be shopping for some festive goods and neon-coloured powder for blessings (or cooking? We saw a lot of neon-pink donuts). The bus stop is very busy and strange to navigate, it also doesn’t help these people keep giving different amounts for the bus fare. The driver said 50Rs, while the attendant said it was 30Rs, but in the end I handed him a 50Rs note and he just took it and didn’t say anything! In the end we found out it was only 20Rs each, hahaha. You can seem to haggle for everything in Nepal or get gypped in everything from buying coke at the store to a bus fare….

Bhaktapur feels much more better than Kathmandu or even Patan. It’s probably a combination of wider streets, larger squares, much less tourists, and a lot of locals! The streets and temples are also decorated extensively with exquisitely wood carvings. These guys are really masters of this art, it’s crazy! We found a neat little guest house called the Peacock Guest House, which is off Tachupal Tole, the oldest part of the town which used to be where the King lived before the 17th century! Now it is a neat little square with fruit vendors and a few touristy shops. The name comes from the fact that there is a window with a peacock carving, known as the best carving in all of the valley!

Wandering around town for the rest of the afternoon before finally arriving in the town’s Durbar Square, it was definitely a sight to be seen even compared with Patan and Kathmandu’s Durbar Square. The buildings are strangely different, with some architectural elements not seen in the before in the valley. The square itself was rather impressive as it had a LOT more open space and a LOT less people. The square is also home to the Royal Palace along with several really cool squares. There were also a surprising number of army dudes holding semi-automatics, which made the mood a bit tense, but they are all quite friendly if you smile at them.

One other thing Bhaktapur is famous for is, ceramics, and also strangely enough, yogurt! This yogurt can be bought in small shops, and are sold in ceramic bowls that are used only once! The quality of the ceramics look decent, so we’re not quite sure why the terrible waste of not reusing them. The yogurt, depending on the store, is silky smooth with a thick layer of ‘crust’ on top. Just head into these shops, take a seat on the small benches, grab a spoon and dig in! The shop we ate in was a dingy and dark lit store selling nothing but yogurt. We already bought a small 30ml plastic cup at a store next store for 30Rs, but this shop sold a 100ml in a ceramic bowl for only 60Rs!! Again, we got gypped on something as trivial as yogurt. This one with the ceramic bowl though, tasted a lot better! The only problem though, was that there was a strong sense of foot-odour coming out of somewhere, and we suspected it was from the shop owner. The yogurt was great, but somehow eating live bacteria in a room smelling like feet didn’t jive really well. We soldiered on and finished our bowl!

Bhaktapur seems like the best town to visit so far!

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