I've been lucky enough to travel in Nepal on numerous occasions. My first trip was many years ago as an 18 year old backpacker, with plenty of time and no money, I survived in the hostels of Kathmandu and trekking the Annapurna Circuit staying with local villagers. Since then I’ve lived in Nepal for three seasons as a Mountain Guide, I’ve honeymooned there and been on many research trips for the Nepal Handbook, a Footprint Publishers guide of which I am the author.
I’m often contacted by readers of the guide with specific questions and am happy to help when I can. Some are detailed questions about trekking and climbing routes, others more general about sights, accommodation and restaurants. I thought it might be useful to answer some of the most frequent questions in case it helps anyone planning their own trip to this wonderful Himalayan country.
Where is your favourite place to stay?
I have several favorites, all in different places. When I’m in the Kathmandu valley I stay in Patan. The valley is home to three main cities/towns – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. When I first visited in the 1980’s they were separate places with rice fields between. Now they have all merged into one. Patan is located to the south of Kathmandu, south of the Bagwati river. The old town here is quieter than that of the capital, with traditional architecture, shrines and small temples jostling with modern signs and buildings into a chaos of colour, people and smells. In the heart of this is The Old Inn, a traditional Newari building that has been converted into a lovely hotel. The doors and some ceilings are very low (I’m 6 ft 3 so have to stoop as I enter and climb the stairs) but the rooms are airy, traditionally furnished and quiet. Its a stone throw to Patan’s Durbar Square and has a lovely courtyard restaurant to relax in.