Some time ago I received a submission via Two Bright Lights that left me slightly puzzled – a photographer submitted pictures of her trip to Nepal… I instinctively went to decline it, thinking that it had nothing to do with the nature of this blog, but the more I looked at those pictures the more I felt intrigued by this gorgeous country… So I reached out to the photographer, Simone Allaston, and I asked her if she’d be interested in giving me some useful information about Nepal to make a feature for our readers. And she said yes.
So, here it is. If you are planning for an adventurous honeymoon or the trip of your lifetime, I hope you’ll find this post inspiring.
Over to you Simone…
For me Nepal was always an exotic destination, a place of mystery. I imagined a mystical country set high upon the Himalayas, a doorway to Shangri-La. As a child I loved reading “Choose your own adventure” stories, my favorite was a mystery set in Nepal. I read that book over and over again, exploring every ending possible and I just couldn’t get enough.
So Kathmandu was always top of my ‘places-to-see-list’ and it didn’t disappoint. A blend of Indian and Asian influences offering the best of both.
On arrival we sat high above the city on our hotel rooftop. The green lush hillsides are a wonderful contrast to the ancient city. The breeze gently blowing colourful pray flags, draped from roof top to roof top, blowing prays to the heavens. Kathmandu still has that lovely “busy-ness” you’d expect, but with just over a million inhabitants it is a relaxing contrast to hustle of India.
Lane ways meander along, lined with ornate timber narrow shops and dwellings. A contrast of vivid colours bright blues, reds, yellows. Holy cows wander the city streets and receive the utmost of respect from passersby. Holy men robed in bright orange and wearing giant beaming smiles offering tourists blessings (in exchange for a dollar of course!!).
Nepali hospitality and local food is amazing. I highly recommend you enjoy a ‘Nepali Set’ which comprises an appetizer, entree, rice curry lentils, dhal, chutneys and dessert. Local traditional dishes of Wild Boar were also a huge favorite of mine.
The best way to see all Nepal has to offer is in a guided tour. Our amazing tour guide, Ashok, simply made our adventure memorable and kept us moving at a good pace. A short bus ride to the outer hillsides affords a distant view of Everest on a clear day. Enjoying breakfast at the local hill-top cafe overlooking the Himalayas is an awesome way to start the day. Followed by a 5 hour downhill hike through tiny villages and breathtaking rice patties and iridescent green fields back to Kathmandu city.
Most of Nepal can be enjoyed by people of average fitness with tours organised by level of adventure, so you’ll find something to suit everyone. Improvement to roads and tourism have meant access to Everest is getting far easier. Do some reading on altitude sickness before you leave. I personally didn’t find it too difficult. A guided tour will take you up at a safe pace and have emergency supplies on hand. But for those looking for some serious adventure the only road to Everest is on foot.
The walk to Everest is one I took with tears in my eyes. Truly a monumental life changing experience. That first glimpse of the great mountain renders you speechless, and we were so blessed to spend a few hours staring skywards to the summit in utter silence. It isn’t a trip for the faint hearted. The roads can be treacherous, with mud slides and deaths each year. This is why I highly recommend a guided tour. Some of the outer provinces on the way to Everest are like something out of a wild west movie and accommodation is extremely basic. But that moment you stare towards to summit of Everest will make the less than pleasant accommodation and tired legs simply melt away.
1. Do visit during dry season October-March
2. Hiking gear can be purchased super cheap at the Kathmandu outlet in Kathmandu city
3. Eat at least 1 Nepali set
4. Wander the ancient streets and enjoy the vibrant fabrics and incense
5. Be prepared for an unforgettable adventure
Thank you so much, Simone, for sharing these gorgeous images and account with us!
Ever since I’ve received this submission I’ve been going back to my Lonely Planet magazines (I subscribed from the very first issue and only just discontinued it because it made me want to travel more than I could actually afford *sad sad face*) craving for a trip on that side of the world… I’ve never really been a person for adventurous holidays as such. I generally prefer super organised city breaks or beach holidays, but I’ve recently started to think more and more about places like Nepal, Burma, Bali or Vietnam…
So, my lovely readers, if you have been to any of these places, I’d like to hear your top recommendations, particularly if you have had an adventurous holiday. What was your favourite destination? And is there something in particular we should know / look out for / beware of?
About Simone: Simone Allaston is an Artist and Photographer completing her BA in Fine Arts at UWS. “I have always been a lover of bold art. I love strong colours and the play of light in a work. I have always been curious about our dreams and subconscious and have explored these themes thru my work”. Simone has travelled extensively thru Bali, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal & Tibet. The story of these countries and their people have influenced her artistic work greatly. Simone’s current projects focus on portrait photography and journaling family stories.
Linen and Silk Weddings, imagery copyright Simone Allaston