Part ruin, part museum, part working neighborhood, the streets of Bhaktapur, a suburb of Kathmandu, immerse you in a different side of Nepali life. This is not trekker oriented Thamel. Here Nepalis work, worship and live amid ancient brick buildings that look as if they will crumble if you make too much noise.
The damage from the 2015 earthquake is clearly visible. Many have already fallen exposing the interior walls. Beautiful carved wooden windows and door frames, aided by external supports, hold together bulging brick walls. Piles of building materials litter the narrow streets. Locals seem undeterred as they continue their normal life, but what choice do they really have?
The main tourist focus of the area is their Durbar Square, but the Lonely Planet walking tour also navigates you through the web of backstreets to many of the local shrines, the backbone of the neighborhood. Although having a lively slice of life feel, the area is surprisingly quiet compared to other Kathmandu neighborhoods. This was one of our favorite experiences in Nepal.
The Peacock Window, considered the most exquisite carved window in Nepal, is located on a side street near Dattatreya Temple. The shop owner across the street offers a free excellent view from his second story window.
Sleeping and Dining in Bhaktapur
While there are not a lot of good options for either accommodations or restaurants in Bhaktapur, staying overnight for a late evening or early morning walking tour is highly recommended. At these hours you will encounter more locals and fewer tourists and have much better light.
This small hotel located just outside the main Durbar Square gate offers spacious rooms and friendly service.
The shower was the size of a normal sized bathroom. Amenities are somewhat limited, however; no safe, hair dryer on request, no tea kettle but hot water is available on request, no TV. The bed was not comfortable although I’m not sure why exactly. We slept worse than in any of the tea houses on the 3 Passes Trek.
They do a nice job of breakfast, starting with fruit salad and followed by corn flakes with yogurt, a bread basket and cooked eggs with potatoes and meat for the non-veg option. Coffee is strong served with hot milk if you desire.
Located two doors down from the Thaga Chhen this small Korean eatery produces an excellent bibimbap – an assortment of meats and vegetables beautifully presented and eaten with rice. Washed down with a beer on their back terrace made it made a fabulous lunch.
On the negative side, Don’s chicken curry was rather ordinary and their menu options are limited.
October 25, 2018
For links to all the posts in this series see the Nepal page.