September 10, 2005
Golden Gate Guesthouse 100 NRs (amazingly cheap despite of the strategic location next to Durbar Square, and cheap hotels in Bhaktapur are quite difficult to find)
At last, I left Kathmandu, for the first time in last two weeks. I started very early from my hotel, around 4:30 a.m., then took a bus from Ratna Park (12 Rs) to get to Bhaktapur. Why so early? The entrance ticket for Bhaktapur is 10 US$ for foreigners, quite expensive for my pocket. And going early in the morning means that even the ticket booths are not operating yet, and there is an opportunity to get by without paying. A ticket is valid for a week, and actually I posses a ticket already (borrowed from a friend in the guesthouse ). But anyway, nobody checked me when I arrived.
Bhaktapur is UNESCO world heritage site, the whole city is. Compared to other towns I have ever visited, which are in UNESCO list, like Luang Phrabang in Laos and Khiva in Uzbekistan, Bhaktapur has a very different atmosphere. If in Luang Phrabang tourism has brought very radical change to the whole city life, and in Khiva the atmosphere is to sterile that it seems that life has been removed from the city, life in Bhaktapur is still very genuine, it walks as how it used to be.
The best time in Bhaktapur is early morning and late evening. In early morning people were busy of preparing offerings to the Gods and to prepare their business (that’s another reason to depart from Kathmandu at 4:30 am in the morning), and in the late evening, the lighting is so fantastic, lighting all corners of the city, and the huge Nyatapola temple was glittering by the sunlight. The whole town is in golden colour, combined with the deep blue sky after the rain. And one of the best places to see this is a restaurant on the roof top of Badgaon Guesthouse.
Today is Saturday, and it’s school holiday in Nepal. During the day, I was offered by hundreds of schoolboys of a Tibetan Painting School to visit their school. And they are indeed very persistent, starting from saying to practise English, then standing beside me the whole of my photo session (very annoying), then insisting me to visit the painting school. This is not a scam as they didnt force me to buy. But yes, little bit annoying, and at last I have to fulfill their wish to get rid of them.