Well, why not. Every place that’s different from yours is worth visiting. As Mustansar Hussain Tarar puts it, you get to see that there are other ways of living and there are other truths. And that your truth or your way is not the only one.
Pakistanis, and most other countries of the world, don’t need anything in advance to come here. You could just book tomorrow’s flight and be here. Your visa will be processed at the airport. All you need to bring is your passport and a ballpoint pen—that you will be using to fill up a tiny form (available at the airport) asking for your name, phone, passport number, and expiry date. There are a couple dozen counters at the arrivals hall at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathcmandu, where you will likely be landing. The left-most counter is for Pakistan and other SAARC countries. There generally is no queue at this counter. You will be the only one. Just present the filled up form and your passport, you will be granted a visa for free if it’s your first visit.
October and November if you want to trek and see the Himalayan views in all their glory. All around the year if you only want to experience the culture and see historical sites.
1. The Kathmandu Valley where you land is home to three ancient kingdoms and their respective capitals. Kathandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Each of them has a Darbar Square, the royal court which houses the official buildings and temples featuring the finest of architecture of the era. Kathmandu and Patan are now one metropolis, and you will not notice when Kathmandu ends and Patan starts. Bhaktapur is 20-25 minutes away from Kathamndu and, thanks to being traffic free and the preservation efforts, is a respite from all the rush and pollution of Kathmandu.
2. Pokhara, 8 hours to the west of Kathmandu, is the ultimate adventure destination of Nepal. You can experience some of the world’s best adventure sports in here. From days-long white-water rafting to thrilling bungee jumping, from helicopter safari of the Annapurna Massif to Paragliding over the city. It has got something for everyone. It is also Nepal’s most-loved leisure town. Mountaineers come here after their days- or sometimes weeks-long treks to relax. It has everything they could find at home: the western comfort foods, best bakery items, excellent spas, and what not.
3. Lumbini, located in the southern (and only plains) of Nepal shares the geographical features of northern India. It’s just about 100km north of Gorakhpur and Faizabad. It’s also an important Buddhist site by virtue of being the birthplace of Gautama Siddhartha Buddha. The exact spot in the center of Lumbini where Queen Maya Devi of Kapilavastu gave birth to Buddha is now Temple of Maya Devi. About 25km east of Lumbini is the historical site Kapilavastu where Buddha spent the first 29 years of his life before leaving the princely life for good.
4. Bandipur and Tansen are small sleepy pretty hill towns that can evoke the romantic in any of you. Bandipur is located on the Kathamandu to Pokhara route and Tansen on the Pokhara to Lumbini route. I made sure to make a stop at both. And I am flad that I did.
5. Everest to the east of Kathmandu and Annapurna to the north of Pokhara, are both far away from each other but invoke the same mountain-trekking bug in people. Both are the highlights of any Himalayan trek and the stuff of dreams when it comes to mountain views. This is the only part of a typical Nepal expedition that I am missing because the monsoon weather doesn’t permit good or any views at all.
Can’t promise but I will try to write a separate post about each of these in the coming days.