Limited-time of Vacation? Long weekend? No worries! We got you covered…….
For us, OFW’s ( Overseas Filipino Workers ) vacation is a rare thing. We receive our vacation once in 24 Months or lucky enough once every 12 Months. Once these leaves are filed and approved we prefer going back to The Philippines and spend time with our family rather than visiting another country.
I’m currently based in Dubai and one of the best things in Dubai is that they have multiple long holiday weekends in a year you could use to visit any country nearby this highly urbanized region.
This year I spent my long weekend/ Eid -Al Adha Holiday from August 9 – 12, 2019 in Kathmandu Nepal. Here is my complete day to day guide in Kathmandu for 4 Days.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
We spent half a day visiting these three UNESCO Heritage sites. My morning was all used up travelling from Dubai to KTM ( Kathmandu). It could be a bit overwhelming but you should just relax and enjoy.
A UNESCO world heritage site located in Lalitpur Nepal. You may not be a history enthusiast but this Durbar Square in KTM is definitely a not to miss as it displays the history of Hinduism and Buddhism in the Country.
Construction is ongoing during our visit but the facade still displays the great affection of Nepali people to their culture and tradition. It is the centre of both Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal. An hour or two is enough to explore the square.
One of the oldest, sacred, holiest Hindu Complex located on the banks of Bagmati River in Kathmandu Valley. Sacred because this is where the end of life ceremonies for Hindu people take place along the river. As per our driver/guide, the rituals usually take 4-5 hours or more.
A funeral rite is taking place during our visit but we had left the area right before the cremation of the remains as it was awkward witnessing someone mourn. We were there for almost 2 hours but the ceremony was not yet finished so we decided to leave.
The largest unique structured Buddhist stupas in the world located in Nepal. It is also one of the prominent most visited, photo-worthy structures in Nepal and a beacon of Buddhist beliefs and culture. The surrounding of the temple was full of souvenir, hotels and coffee shops that make the area crowded, busy and noisy.
The solemnity of the place was gone due to it become more of a market than of a temple for praise. The entrance was unorganized as there is no way to check if you have paid or not. We stayed here for about 15 – 20 minutes only.
Sunrise, Trekking, and Temples
A highly recommended activity if you have a limited time in Nepal as it will give you a chance to see the peaks of Himalayas.
Our second day was already pre-planned as I booked it with Himalayan Planet Adventures Day Tour. We started our day at 04:00H then travelled to Nagarkot to witness the sunrise. The road to Nagarkot was narrow, uphill and a bumpy ride. We reach our destination at 06:00
Climbed a bit of uphill and waited for the sunrise, however, we are out of luck this day as it rained in Nagarkot the previous night and the sun and the Himalayas was hiding from us. Picturesque view of clouds and the cold breeze of air touching your cheeks on top of the mountain is still awesome. Kinda reminds me of home.
After breakfast at a hotel in the mountains, we walk downhill by the villages for an hour and a half. The trail itself is the path used by the villagers, mostly dirt road, muddy and slippery. A pretty good walk for a morning exercise. Right before we reach our limit we hop in our car service waiting. We then took another 30 minutes car ride ( 2 hours walk if we choose this option) to Changu Narayan Temple.
We were back in our hotel a few minutes after 12. Took some lunch, sleep and visited Swayambunath Temple or Monkey Temple in the afternoon. Located upland in Kathmandu Valley. Saturday was the busiest day of the week in Nepal and the site was congested due to heavy traffic and crowd. This is the busiest and most crowded temple that I have visited.
You can opt to enter using the backside entrance as it is easier to climb. The best time to visit the temple is on a weekday early morning to witness the sunrise of late afternoon for the sunset. This temple offers a breathtaking 360 degrees view of Kathmandu Valley.
Ended up the day walking around Thamel District, we tried to visit Kathmandu Durbar Square however, the square was under construction and the entrance fee is not worth it. You could add Kathmandu Durbar Square on your list once the construction is complete.
Save the best for last… Yes! A must try in Nepal is water rafting. They are known for it. We booked the package with the same agency and choose the package in Trisuli River Rafting inclusive of pick up, drop off, rafting gears, lunch, and guide. They picked us up from our hotel at exactly 07:00H then
It was a rainy season when were in Nepal and it pours the night before our rafting. As expected the water current was fast and was muddy. We waited for some travellers to join our group for an hour, then orientation for the dos and don’ts in rafting.
After the orientation, we had a short simulation then the adventure begins. Sorry, no videos of the actual rafting. A bit disappointed but a good memory that will cherish forever. I will upload one on our next visit. Insha Allah! The rafting lasts for 3 hours including the 30 minutes lunch break. It was fun, dangerous and exhausting but definitely worth the visit. Highly recommended.
Early flight back to Dubai.
Free Day – If you have an afternoon flight.
Shopping in Thamel – Tourist district in Kathmandu. One of the busiest, narrow and crowded streets in Nepal. Street stalls are everywhere selling everything. From food to clothes, gears and souvenirs. You can check Guide to Venturing Kathmandu Nepal for more details.
If you are in Dubai you may check here for the long weekends and holiday for 2020. Eid holidays will depend on moon sighting and the announcement from the UAE government.