My Personal Favorites of
Nepali Ann's picks to fit every budget and
all kinds of travelers. And getting away from the LP beaten path...
Places to Stay:
Hotel Tayoma - Located in the southern end of Thamel on the road
leading to Chrettripati Chowk is the Hotel Tayoma, a gem of a place. It
is a six-story, open-air hotel with a pleasant roof-top garden and
restaurant, relaxing courtyards on every floor, and great staff. Ask for
NawaRaj at the front desk and he'll take care of you. The rooms
themselves, are a great value, large double bed or two singles, cable
TV, phone, attached bath with really hot water, wardrobe, desk, table
and chairs and pleasant decor. Maybe you don't need the 'suite' but at
the price, you'll love it. Rates run around 750 rupees ($10 USD) though
they quote a bit more if you reserve over the internet. Bargain with
them or renegotiate when you arrive. Stay longer and the rates drop even
more. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org
and their website http://www.nepalonline.net/tayoma/default.htm
Note: Don't worry, the prices listed are not actual prices. Email them
and the price immediately plummets. It is like a full list price and who
Hotel Lake Palace - Wonderful hotel! Beautiful new building with
nicely appointed rooms that all have an furnished balconies to enjoy
breakfest on. Located a few minutes walk from the main Lakeside drag,
take the road at the Tea Time Restaurant intersection. Rooms are huge,
with attached bath and the staff are really attentive. Full service
restaurant downstairs if you dont want breakfest in bed. Not really busy
due to its quiet location. They sadly, don't have any contracts with big
tour groups like the Hotel Stupa right next door which is always busy at
four times the rate. So, they will probably have rooms even in the
height of the season. Rates around 800 rupees ($11 USD) and my friend
Narayan runs the cold store right across the street, Nabin Provision
Shop with ice cold water! Stop and say Hello! Nabin, his son is a
Heaven's Gate - For the budget minded, Heaven's Gate is just
for you. A small, very quiet and really nice place that doesn't do as
much business because of its location. Down the small street south of
Moonlight Restaurant, head east and it is located on the north side of
the road. Striking views of the Annapurnas, and clean, sunny rooms with
or without attached bath run as cheap as 100 rupees a night. They have
about 15 rooms and while no restuarant, they will wake ya with chai in
Places to Eat:
Kathmandu - Budget
Momotarou - Small, immaculate Japanese restaurant that serves
up awesome renditions of katsu don, udon, yakitori & other favorites
at hard to beat prices. Ex. Katsu don set meal comes with a big bowl of
rice topped with pork cutlet and egg, miso soup, very fresh cucumber
salad, tofu cube, & buckwheat tea for 130 rps ($1.7) Located on
Thahity-Thamel Road, the road heading north from Thamel Chowk.
Thakali Bhanncha - For the best dhal bhat in Kathmandu, go
where the locals go. For an all-you-care-to-eat vegi meal of rice,
potato and green bean curry (or other seasonal vegis) sauteed spinach or
cabbege, dhal / lentil gravy, spicy chutney, sour pickled vegis, fresh
radish & carrots and bowl of curd/yogurt, it costs only 70 rps ($1)
Make it non-veg for 15 rupees more and add a bowl of very tasty mutton
meat with spicy gravy. Head north on the same road as the Kathmandu
Guest House and follow the road as it curves around til the next
intersection. It is on the northwest corner.
Over the Rainbow - If you are missing homestyle American food,
head for this Wizard of Oz inspired restaurant and sink into meatloaf,
chicken pot pie, beef stew and humongeous sandwiches. Their soups are
very flavorful and enjoy the complimentary vegis and dip and full
dinner-plate size salads that come with every meal. Located just north
of the Kathmandu Guest House on the opposite side, second floor.
Upstairs - Heading away from Thamel, take Kantipath north from
the Royal Palace and look for the Bluebird Dept Store on the right.
Across from their is the unmarked Upstairs restuarant and Jazz Bar. Head
into the alley and you will see a doorway with stairs heading up. Walk
into hip, snazzy kerouac kinda place, with cushions on the floor, and
low table. Get the pork chilly, alu dum and momos starting at 40 rps
($0.6). On Fri and Sat, listen to live jazz and enjoy the ambience and
the hip nepali in-crowd.
Kathmandu - Upscale
Hyatt Regency Boudanath - Well worth a stroll through these
magnificant new digs. Situated west of Boudanath Stupa, these luxury
settings include garden and pool, and gracefully appropriate Nepali
architecture. The three story Rox bar is a cavern of comfy nooks and
corners with free nibbles and a great happy hour special (6:00-8:00pm)
of buy-one, get-one free drinks that brings the price in-line with
budget places. So enjoy the posh setting. For a splurge, head to the Rox
Bar Restaurant for the best 995 rps ($13) Aussie lamb chops you'll get
anywhere. But for total value, try the Cafe Resturant which has an
all-you-can-eat buffet spread for also 995 rps, with indian, nepali and
continental offerings, cold salads and alot of desserts.Just east of the
Boudanath Ring Road intersection.
Baithak - For a decidely different take on Nepali cuisine,
check out this favorite of late King Birendra's, Baithak, located in the
newly restored Babar Mahal Revisited complex, a palace of one the last
Rana rulers. The restaurant in designed in the same opulent royal court
lifestyle. The food is Rana cuisine, a very refined blend of Nepali and
Moghul cooking, very rich and yet subtle, and the best part, it is
served on special solid silver antique Rana thali platters with legs
built onto them to raise them up. Each week they serve a different 12
course meal, fit for a king at only 995 rps ($13) Babah Mahal is just
off Ram Shah Path south of Singha Durber. Turn right just before
Dwarika's Village Resort - A very special hotel in Nepal,
designed in the traditional style with a wonderful ambience. They have a
great Nepali restaurant, but with steep prices. My favorite is rather
their laid back Friday night Sekuwa BBQ by the pool. Coming in at 600
rps ($9) it is a festival of a Nepali speciality, Sekuwa, mutton meat
stewed and marinated and then grilled, mmm with all the trimmings.Dwarika's
is just south of the Pashupati Ring Road intersection.
Pokhara - Budget
***Pokhara Kitchen*** - Very special accolades are reserved
for this feat of Nepali cooking. This is hands-down THE BEST dhal bhat
in Nepal. I crave it!!! This is the where all the locals who work in
Lakeside eat their two bhats a day. Always served with a pile of basmati
rice (the best rice there is) 2 vegi curries that change every day
depending on what's fresh and in season, chutney that also vary, pickles
and fresh garni. Don't miss the meats, add in whatever they have that
day, sometimes, mutton, pork, fish but ALWAYS order the local chicken
(we call it free-range) when it is available. Here is where you can try
all those exotic vegis that you have never seen before or thought were
inedible. Vegi thali is about 50 rps ($0.7) a plate of meat also 50 rps.
Beer, 70 rps ($1) From the main intersection in Lakeside just north of
Grindley's Bank, head east toward town and walk about five minutes. It's
on the right with a big sign on the gate.
Marwadi Bhojanalaya - Located in Mahendra Pol, the main bazaar
area of pokhara, on the north side of the street and just east of the
big rock, this is a favorite of locals for snacking. An all-vegi
restaurant specializing in chat, fried snacks of all sorts like pakoras,
samosas, and dosas for about 15-35 rps ($0.2 -0.5) But they also have
Rajasthani thalis for 70 rps ($1) that comes with both rice and
Everest Momos - Right across the street from Marwadi, this
place is famous for its sekuwa and excellent momos. Strictly a locals
place, so there's a nepali menu on the wall. Never fear, ask for momos
22 rps ($0.3) that is served with a bone soup that is wonderfully tasty
and an order of sekuwa, bhatta, chewra 34 rps ($0.5) which is that tasty
grilled mutton, crunchy, fried soybeans and beaten flattened rice served
with chopped onion. mmm
Hotel Deepshika - Just north of Marwadi, on the second floor.
This Nepali upscale restuarant caters mainly to the Indian doctors
working at Manipal Hospital and the young and in-love of the Nepali
glitterati. They serve excellent Indian cuisine and tasty snacks but the
highlight of any evening has got to be photo in front of the
cheesy full wall mural with real waterfall integrated.
Hotel Deurali - Another fine choice for dhal bhat at 70 rps
with mutton. But even better is the lip-smacking, sugar bombs in the
pretty glass cases up front. Choose from a large array of intricate
pastries topped with edible gold and silver foil, but you MUST have the
gajur haluwa 'carrot pudding' It's heaven in a bowl. Find it also in
Mahendra Pol just east of the New Road interesection and right by the
Things to Do - Kathmandu
Catch a theatre show at the Hotel Vajra - situated just below
Swayambunath, the Hotel Vajra is a charming Nepali style complex around
a central courtyard. And it houses an intimate theatre staging avant
garde productions of both Nepali and universal epics. Check the Nepali
Times paper or call for details.
Engage in a poetry slam at the Spiny Babbler Musuem - Readings
of contemporary Nepali literature and art all over town. A really
dynamite group with top notch cultural shows. Check out their website at
People Watch at the Movenpick Ice Cream Boutique - step
into the chic new hipster spot of the urban elite and sample the
to-die-for ice cream in overstuffed leather seating and carpets on the
wall as art.
Catch the latest Nepali flick - At the largest theatre in town
at the Kamalachhi intersection of Kantipath and Jamal. Thoroughly
entertaining and entirely understandable even in a foreign language.
Anything with Madan Krishna or HariBam Shah is a riot!
Or how about international art house movies - The Russian
Cultural Center routinely showcases world class foreign fare through the
Intercultural Film Society. Email email@example.com
Take a vomit-ride at Dragon World - Located north and around
the corner from Singha Durber, Nepal's premier amusement park is just
entering the big leagues with all those vomit-inducing fairground rides
like the Zipper. Or try your hand at games of chance and you too might
take home a ... can of beer!
Take in an art exhibit at any Gallery - Two excellent
galleries, the Bamboo Gallery in Panipokhari and the Indigo Gallery in
Attend a soccer game at the National Stadium- just south of
the Tundhikhel, games are held often in the evenings or on Saturdays.
Stop buy the stadium office for times and details.
Stuff yourself on the free buffet at the Everest Casino - and
get to watch the Indian fascination with gambling and Nepalis getting
carded at the door and turned away.
Enjoy the View - grab a picnic and a friend and head out to
the Power House for the stupendous panorama of the Annapurnas. Located
south of Devi Falls.
Shop for a kurta in Mahendra Pol - Bring home the latest
fashions from Nepal, a three piece ensemble of loose pants, a long
fitted top and matching scarf. You pick out the material and they tailor
it in an hour, all for about $10 US.
Off the Beaten Path - Way off...
Have your birth scroll made and interpreted - by a Nepali
Jyotisi 'astologer' One of the most famous ones in Nepal is located in
Pang, close to Baglung. Take the bus to Baglung and ask to be let off at
Maldhunga. From there, head directly up the steep cliff face to the
north. Look for the small path right behind the garden restaurant. Once
on top, locals will direct you to the 'jyotisi' Bring a Nepali guide
cause he doesn't speak any English. Give me your vitals, and return a
few days later to pick up the most amazing piece of art. About six feet
in length and only six inches across, your entire astrological chart
will be calculated and artfully detailed with sankritic notations. And
you will also be given your Nepali name. Then he will proceed to give
you a reading doing some further calculations on the sand tablet in
front of him. Cost of a birth scroll, about 500 rps, reading 150 rps.
But so worth it when he gives his uncanny interpretation. If you can't
get to Pang, there are local jyotisis in every town in Nepal.
People Watch at the open field in Tansen-Palpa - One of my
absolute most favorites towns in Nepal, it is breathtakingly charming.
Cobblestone streets, traditional architecture and the excellent Nanglo
Restuarant all make it great, but hands down, the atmosphere at the open
field, in the afternoon after school lets out is such a joy. Everyone in
town turns out to converse, catch up on gossip, take in the view, relax,
and see who's doing what. Pack a picnic and head out to check out the
to Nepal Focus