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The Kathmandu valley region of Nepal
has a large selection of fine temples, known as stupas. The
famed artistic skills of the valley's Newar people reached their zenith under
the Mallas. One-upmanship between the city-states of Kathmandu, Patan and
Bhatapur fuelled a competive building boom as each tried to outdo the other with
even more magnificent palaces and temples. The Newari architect
Arniko can be said to be father of the Asian pagoda.
Temples are either Buddhist, Hinu, or both.
- Swayambhunath - The most popular and
recognisable symbols of Nepal. This great buddist temple sites on top of a
hill west of Kathmandu. Also know as the Monkey Temple.
- Bodnath Stupa - Similar to
Swayambhunath, but much bigger. One of the worlds largest stupas, found
In Bodnath, outside of Kathmandu.
- Durbur Square, Kathmandu - A fine
collection of palaces and temples. Where the city's kings were once
crowed and legitimised, and from where they ruled (durbar means palace).
The traditional heart of Kathmandu.
- Durbur Square, Patan - This
concentrated mass of temples is the most visually stunning display of Newari
achitecture to be seen in Nepal.
Just about ever traveller leaves home with at least one book in their luggage. Apart from the obligatory guide book, having something interesting to read not only makes the flight easier but gives us a great reason to sit in the sun or shade and watch the world go by.
Here are some recommended travel books
- Bill Bryson
- Seven years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer - An astronishing look at Tibet through the eyes of an exhiled Austrian during and after World War II. Not only does Harrer become excepted by the Tibetans, but he becomes a close friend to the Dali Lama.
- Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Che Guevara - Gueraras personal diary of his journey north through South America with his friend Alberto on their borrowed motorcycle La Podorosa II. Witty, funny and well written stories that show Guevaras compassion for his fellow South Americans and his want to inprove their quality of life. Intereting glimpses of his interest of Communisim.
- Into Thin Air by John Krakauer - A shaken Krakauer relives his 1996 climb to the submit of Mount Everest which ended in disaster for many climbers.
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac - Publsihed in 1957 Jack's stories of crossing the US by any means possible show an interedting side to the 1940s and 1950s USA.
|Country||Safety rating||Currency||Money||Minimum cost per day||Budget hotel||Midrange hotel||Litre of petrol||Litre of bottled water||Bottle of beer||Cigarettes (Marlboro)||Population (millions)||Human Development Index||Visas||Time||Internet access||Internet Cafes||WiFi||Electricity|
|Nepal||Resonably safe for tourists, currently a civil wall.||Nepali rupees. You may not import Nepali rupees, and only Nepal and Indian national may import Indian currency.||ATMs are avalable in Kathmandu and Pokhara, accepting most major cards. Banks will give cash advances. Travelers cheques can be exchanged. Credit cards are accepted at larger stores, resturants and hotels. Cash is definatley best.||US$7||US$5||US$20||NRs67||NRs15||NRs190s||NRs80||26.3||136||60 days upon arrival for US$30. Easy to extend within the country.||5:45 ahead of GMT - this is 15 minutes more than India.||Lots of places with cheap prices & moderate speed in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Most have USB access, CD burning and printing. Little elsewhere. WiFi, and wired laptop stations in a few places in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Some better hotels offer WiFi.||
Lots in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Prices are cheap. Speed is moderate. Some have wired laptop stations.
Bigger hotels will offer the same, more expensive service.
|Kathmandu||220v/50 cycles. Sockets take round three pin plugs, sometimes small (like India), sometimes large, and many sockets take 2 pin continental plugs. Get adapters locally cheaply. Power outages are common.|
|India||Safe||Indian Rupees. Only Nepali and Indian citizens can take Indian rupees in or our of India.||ATMs are widespread in any towns with tourists. Credit cards accepted in bigger stores.||US$10.||US$6||US$20||INR50||INR13||INR60 - INR100||INR60||1 billion||Must ge gained in advance. More difficult now than before. Leave plenty of time to apply, and get before you leave home.||5:30 ahead of GMT||
Lots in tourist areas. Speeds vary, but are generally OK. Lots of slow, old computers around. Morning is the best time.
Bigger hotels offer reasonable service for a little extra cost.
|Rare.||220v/50 cycles. Sockets take round three pin plugs, sometimes small, sometimes large, and many sockets take 2 pin continental plugs. Get adapters locally cheaply. Power outages are common.|
|Malaysia||US$2||In some larger chain cafes.|
|Thailand||Safe, some insurengce in the south.||Baht||US$12||US$6||30Baht||130Baht||30Baht||60Baht||62 Million||Free visa for 30 days on arrival. Extendable by crossing border out, and then back into Thailand.||+7 GMT||Lots of internet centres in touristy and metropolitan areas. From 20 Baht per hour. On islands expect to pay 2Baht per minute. Computers are generally new.||In some larger chain cafes.|
If like me you like to spend long periods of time
visiting a country, rather than just a few weeks, you'll probably be conscioius
of the cost. Here are my favorite cheapest countries for
backpacking and traveling. Each is safe, suitable for long stays and
- Nepal - Outrageous scenary of the Himalayas, the temples of Kathmandu and in Pokhara the lakes, trekking, biking, rafting, drinking, smoking
and great locals. Get by on US$7 per day.
Good: English spoken widely. 60
day visa to most nationals upon arrival for US$30, easy to extend.
Bad: Maoist milita group causing political upheaval,
but it dosn't directly effect toursits. Terrible roads, so you can stay put
longer! Expensive beer.
- India - A backpackers favorite, and
rightfully so. A huge country offering so much; various religoins
and temples, Taj Mahal, Varanasi, beaches of Goa and Kerala's
backwaters. Get by on $10 per day, inflation is high though.
Food, friendly people, English spoken everywhere, amazing colours, so much to
Bad: Hassles, touts, visas take time to get now (get from home),
hygiene is bad in places.
There are a lot of travel resources. Here are my recommended online, and offline travel and world related resources.