Monkeys, Temples, Teaching and the Himalayas – Adventures in Nepal
Hi! The reason I chose the programme in Nepal is that you can do a lot of activities, but you can also do things on your own or with the people you meet. I also think it’s a good balance to be a tourist in the country you visit and do some community engagement after. It was my first trip alone and I liked the idea of staying in a house with other people, but still have your own program. I stayed for 4 weeks in Kathmandu and I would like to give you some information about my time there!
After arriving at the airport on Sunday, I went to my new home for the next 4 weeks. My first impression of Kathmandu was actually not really good. There is so much traffic, chaos and there is a lot of dust. But when I arrived at the house, House In-charge Mr Bhumi welcomed me with a few house rules and so much enthusiasm.
“My name is Elke and I’m 21 years old. I’m living in the Netherlands and I will be travelling for one year and my first country to visit is Nepal! I just finished my Bachelor’s in Psychology and I wanted to travel before I will start my Masters.”
Week 1: Culture Week in Nepal
With excitement, on Monday we started the culture week. I definitely recommend you to do the culture week. You’ll learn your way around Kathmandu, you meet new people and after this week, I could say for the first time that I really liked Kathmandu!
We had some introductory lessons, culture lessons and language classes. On Monday, we ate Dal Bath with our hands, because that’s normal in the Nepalese culture. We visited the Monkey Temple on Tuesday that was my favourite! There were monkeys everywhere and you have to walk 365 stairs to get to the temple. Every stair is for a sin a day, so when you’re upstairs you’re purified and I think that’s a beautiful idea.
On Wednesday, we made our own lunch and that was so much fun!! After all, it tasted so good too. Before dinner, we had a culture night! Everyone had to make a presentation about their country. It was so much fun! We danced the polonaise (a dance people in the Netherlands dance when they are going out) and everyone tried our Dutch candy. The coordinators danced a Nepalese dance and for example, the girls from China drew a map with explanations about their food and culture.
We saw some other historical temples on Thursday, for example, the sex temple. The government made a temple to break the taboo around sex. In the afternoon, we ate MoMo’s at a restaurant, and also tried a typical Nepalese dish. On Friday, we did a hike in the morning and the view from the top was so nice!! In the afternoon, we took a nap and after dinner, we went to Thamel. We booked a hotel and went clubbing! Tip: LOD (Lord of the Drinks) is one of the biggest clubs with a lot of Western music.
On Saturday and Sunday, there’s no lunch, so we went outside for lunch. Nearby the centre you can have a nice lunch at DIYALO (15 min walk) or you could go to Thamel (500 rupees cab).
Week 2: Adventure Week
On Tuesday, we started early on the Adventure week. We drove to Dhading for two days of rafting! That was so much fun! We had our coordinator Mr Prakash with us and he took care of everything. After a day of rafting, we slept near to the river and made a campfire.
The next morning we had to get up very early because the river was approaching. It rained a lot in the night, so our camping adventure was over. After breakfast, we went back for more rafting and after that, we went to Chitwan National Park. Fun fact: it is the only safari park in Asia where you are allowed to walk!!
We stayed in such a nice hotel, with air conditioning (be aware of Malaria) and nice beds and food. We did boat (searching for crocodiles) and jeep safaris, jungle walks (we saw rhinos, monkeys, wild pig, peacock and dears) and we went to the elephant breeding centre!