Fringed by fabulous landscapes of the Himalayan mountain ranges, Nepal has some equally exciting medieval city squares. Located in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, these centuries old Durbar Squares comprise of royal palaces and courtyards, stupas and monasteries, and historical value , decorated in the most intricate woodwork and temple art imaginable.   

Although most of these places suffered considerable damage after the 2015 earthquake, there is a sense of relief and gratitude that all was not lost. 

I drive over to Patan City in Lalitpur to see its ancient royal palace. It is dusty and hot but thankfully not too crowded. There is a big ‘do’ happening this evening and the outside courtyard is being ‘set up’ with sounds and lights. Some people have already taken their seats along the parapet walls, in the hopes of getting a better view, I guess. 

The city is surrounded by four stupas at the four corners, which are said to have been built by Emperor Ashoka. This is one of the most elegant architectural treasures of which Patan is very proud. Read More

Here I am, in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, the highest plateau on Earth. Apart from a mild headache, I am handling the altitude of 3,650m rather well, thanks to the Diamox substitute (for altitude sickness) twice a day. I am looking forward to spending the next six days in this contentious region.

On arrival, I have been given a ‘notice’ which tells me to refrain from any political activities, drinking alcohol or doing any strenuous exercise (in order to acclimatize better), and to expect very basic living ‘conditions’, etc. I am also under supervision of a Tibetan travel guide because restrictions require foreign travelers to pre-arrange a tour with a guide and transport for their time in Tibet, making independent travel impossible. This is because of China’s stronghold on Tibet and its people, which led to the deposition of the Dalai Lama in 1959 

Yak Hotel

I check in to the Yak Hotel, an understated, yet comfortable hotel located in the center of the old town. 

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Having left the Everest Base Camp in Tibet, we spend the night at the Kyirong Guest House. Kyirong is at the border of Tibet and just 25 kms from the main (new) Nepalese entry point for anyone traveling overland.

At the border, we have to pass through Chinese customs. It is a long process and despite very few travelers, the baggage inspection is thorough and tedious. Each and every item, souvenir, literature, map etc., on Tibet is confiscated. We exit with only our photographs and memories! 

Outside this customs building is (about) a 50m stretch of no-man’s land. We drag our luggage through this dusty path to the Nepali baggage check area.

Unlike the one we just left; this is chaotic! Bags, people, dust, confusion and chaos is a stark reminder that we have definitely left China! Read More

Everest Base Camp. EBC they call it. I’ve seen pictures and dreamt of visiting this highly elevated location (no pun intended). Now here I am, en route… 

I leave Lhasa to the Everest Base Camp via Shigatze. There are 11 of us in this bus and after five days together in Lhasa, we have become good friends and happy travelers!  

Tibet is located on the Tibetan Plateau, the world’s highest region. This mountainous region is speckled with life-giving rivers, spectacular lakes and the most amazing views. And the winding road network is a sight to behold! Read More

I have a dream to someday visit all of the Wonders of the World.  This time, it’s the Great Wall of China. Built between the 5th century B.C. and the 16th century, the Great Wall is a 4000-mile, stone and earth fortification built to protect the Chinese empire from invading Mongols. This makes it the world’s longest man-made structure. 

While there are many sections of the Wall that can be accessed, I am at Mutianyu, known as one of the best-preserved and least crowded. It is 65km to the north of Beijing. Once there, the ticket entrance is a short walk from the vehicle park and I’m given the choice of walking up to the top, or hitching a ride on a cable car.  

Of course, I get on the cable car! 

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