Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Christine Kaaloa
Arriving in Kathmandu airport, it’s all about filling in forms for immigration and paying a fee for an on-arrival visa. I collect my bags and my hotel has sent a four wheel drive truck to pick me up. I’m sharing my first impressions of Nepal.
First Impressions of Nepal in my first 24 Hours
1. You would not BELIEVE the size of potholes in the streets!
I’m staying at a hotel that’s a five minute drive outside of Thamel. My hotel taxi is 200Rs (around $2.50). The drive down is very jagged and bouncy, but my eyes are wide, careful to catch every site. The truck kicks up dust from unpaved roads. It must have great shock suspension. The potholes in the road are large, deep and many.
2. Dead animal carcasses sold on the streets
In the west, when you go to the butcher or grocery store, you see parts of animal carcasses, nicely packaged and.. beheaded. You never actually see the entire animal. So to see animal carcasses can be a shock to westerners; I guess we are sheltered.
3. Outdoor butchers
Driving through Kathmandu, you see local butchers showcasing the meat outside on the side of the road. Dust, flies and perishable meat are all you can think as you watch this. No refrigeration. I hope it does not get insanely hot in Nepal.
4. Women doing manual labor that men do
Women in Nepal work at jobs that you’d see men doing, like carrying bricks and wood. I’m pretty sure Nepal is not big on women’s equality but seeing the women doing backbreaking work is shocking.
5. People carry heavy things with their head
They say the head is the strongest bone in the body and that is why you’ll see Nepalese carrying really heavy and large things bound to a head strap. Ow.
6. Motorbike Madness
Motorbikes are a popular way to get around aside from cars. It is a more affordable work horse vehicle for Nepalese and you will see them toting an entire family on it.
7. Landscape in Nepal is peaceful and lush
I feel a new excitement building. The landscape here, in comparison to India, is more tranquil, lush, settling. Basically, it has more green and though there’s still a feeling of poverty, which accompanies any developing country, somehow, it feels softer.
8. Lifestyles feel gentler and laidback
People seem softer and more serene.
I want quiet activity . I want to explore a simpler and gentler life, be removed from the madness of life and society as I know. I want to meet people. I want to feel human again. I feel like I might just like it here…
9. Kathmandu is tourist central
At night, after dinner at the hotel, I take a taxi down to Thamel. It’s late and many stores are closed, but the streets are still aglow with open bars and restaurants. It’s a city for the traveler and the nightlife is for the tourist. There’s only a short time for some sightseeing and the main activity is to get to find an internet cafe to write off some emails to my family to let them know I’m okay.
Tomorrow, I’ll return to Thamel to meet Theo, the manager Le Chobhar Village Resort, where I’ve booked a stay for a few days. I can’t wait to do my own exploring without feeling the rush or compromise. I feel safe here in Nepal, maybe because the faces here are like looking at my own.