About

Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.

Living in Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal

Written by Joshua Fuglsang on .

Boudhanath World Heritage Stupa
Boudhanath World Heritage Stupa - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Introduction

For the fi­nal two weeks of my three month stint in Nepal I lived near the ab­so­lute­ly spec­tac­u­lar, world her­itage Boud­hanath Stu­pa. It is a beau­ti­ful part of the world and was a rea­son­able place to get some work done.

For the pre­vi­ous three months I had been al­most ex­clu­sive­ly trav­el­ling, so I was look­ing for­ward to some respite, es­pe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing my re­cent ill­ness. I se­lect­ed Boud­hanath as the place to stay for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons; first­ly the air qual­i­ty com­pared to the rest of Kath­man­du is re­al­ly quite good, if you stay in the right side street. Sec­ond­ly I want­ed some­where spir­i­tu­al to think about my time spent at Kopan Monastery. And fi­nal­ly it is just a lot more low-key than the fran­ti­cal­ly in­fa­mous streets of dusty, crum­bling Thamel.

While stay­ing here I spent most of my time get­ting my web­site up and run­ning, and edit­ing the ar­ti­cles that I had punched out on my phone while trekking in the Hi­malayas.

Accommodation

AirBnb near Boudhanath
AirBnb near Boud­hanath - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

For ac­com­mo­da­tion I stayed in an AirBnb with­in walk­ing dis­tance to the stu­pa. I de­cid­ed to stay here as I wished to have a place where I could cook by my­self, and most guest hous­es don’t have that op­tion. I lucked out and found a place near the Tsechen Shedup Ling Sakya Tharig Monastery, which I be­lieve is the best street to stay on for a cou­ple of rea­sons. First­ly there is very lit­tle ve­hi­cle traf­fic, it’s most­ly just foot traf­fic, which made the ex­pe­ri­ence of liv­ing in the area much more pleas­ant. Next this is the on­ly ma­jor street that I found that didn’t have a tick­et check­point for you to en­ter the stu­pa ring. There are quite a lot of al­ley-ways and ar­cades to get in to the stu­pa with­out pay­ing, but by liv­ing on this street you don’t need to go out of your way to find one, you can just walk straight on in. I don’t mind pay­ing en­trance fees as a tourist, but pay­ing to en­ter an area that I lived in made a tad less sense.

Monks lighting candles near the stupa
Monks light­ing can­dles near the stu­pa - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

An­oth­er op­tion for liv­ing near the stu­pa is to stay at one of the guest hous­es; there are many guest hous­es avail­able, a lot with­in the stu­pa ring it­self. If you plan to stay here for an ex­tend­ed pe­ri­od of time, then I would sug­gest pre-book­ing for just a cou­ple of nights, then hit the streets when you ar­rive to check out the avail­able op­tions. I was stay­ing here dur­ing De­cem­ber and could find emp­ty guest hous­es for the fol­low­ing day, but per­haps Oc­to­ber (high sea­son) would be a dif­fer­ent sto­ry. In the last few days of my time here I booked a guest house right along­side the Tsechen Shedup Monastery; it was an awe­some guest house in my favourite quite street that fea­tured sun­ny rooms over­look­ing the walk­ing street and a rooftop kitchen, while on­ly cost­ing 1500rs per night for a twin room. The on­ly prob­lem was the in­ter­net be­came quite con­gest­ed in the evening. You can get rooms for 1000rs per night in the stu­pa ring, but a lot are tiny and don’t have win­dows, such as the Boud­ha Inn Med­i­ta­tion Cen­ter.

Locals and travellers lighting candles near the stupa
Lo­cals and trav­ellers light­ing can­dles near the stu­pa - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Working Spaces

I was on­ly stay­ing in Boud­ha for two weeks, so didn’t both­er try­ing to find a co-work­ing space, though there are some around but in oth­er ar­eas of the city. With­in the stu­pa ring there are quite a lot of cafes that al­low you to use their Wifi and oc­cu­py a ta­ble for ex­tend­ed du­ra­tions, how­ev­er con­sid­er mak­ing a rea­son­ably-sized or­der for their hos­pi­tal­i­ty, typ­i­cal­ly I would or­der a cof­fee and lunch. This is a tourist area and ac­cord­ing­ly there is a fig­u­ra­tive tourist tax (and lit­er­al ser­vice fee) ap­plied to restau­rant bills. How­ev­er, in re­turn the cafes here re­ward you with an ex­cel­lent view of the stu­pa, great wifi (from my ex­pe­ri­ences), com­fort­able ta­bles, and a will­ing­ness to stay for ex­tend­ed hours. I spent quite a few days at the Hi­malayan Ja­va Cafe and most days would spend around 700rs, how­ev­er the cof­fee here was fan­tas­tic, al­most at Aus­tralian stan­dards (😎). They al­so gave in­ter­net speeds of 36.2Mbps. Yikes!

Internet

4G in Nepal is re­al­ly quite ex­cel­lent; on Ncell I was get­ting speeds above 30Mbps in Kath­man­du, and for 500rs (about $6AUD) you could buy a da­ta pack of 2500mb. Al­so, note that Ncell sim cards cost 100rs, af­ter that you can buy quo­ta for them in the form of recharge cards. The recharge cards costs 100rs, 200rs, or 500rs each, which you can then spend on da­ta packs. A word of warn­ing: I heard of some ven­dors sell­ing Nepal sims with da­ta for more than 2000rs, so be care­ful. When you go to buy a sim you will need your pass­port and a pass­port pho­to handy. Fi­nal­ly make sure to get the ven­dor to ac­ti­vate your sim for you, oth­er­wise you’ll strug­gle as all the prompts are in Nepalese. Here are some links:

Food

Boud­ha had quite a few good eat­ing op­tions from Pizze­rias cost­ing al­most as much as Aus­tralian piz­za (read Road­house Cafe, I don’t rec­om­mend it, though I re­alise some will rel­ish it), to hid­den Nepalese gems that cost just a cou­ple of dol­lars per meal. My favourite Nepalese Restau­rant in the ring, which was rec­om­mend­ed to me by a Ti­betan Monk, was called Thakali. It had re­al­ly great meals with­out the un­apolo­get­ic tourist prices of some of the west­ern-styled restau­rants near­by. You can’t find this place on Google Maps, but is right next to Ti­betan Kitchen, which is on Google Maps. Since this restau­rant isn’t list­ed on­line, it’s not filled with droves of tourists, more com­mon­ly it had a gang of Monks or Nepali’s eye­balling you as you en­tered, which I con­sid­er to be a good sign.

If you wish to cook then there are a lot of street ven­dors sell­ing veg­es and fruit on the side streets sur­round­ing the stu­pas. For 50rs (60c AUD) I could buy enough veg­es for 2 nights, then for an­oth­er 55rs I could buy 500 grams of hand­made noo­dles! Al­so, you have to try the curd in Nepal, it is ex­cel­lent, but ask for an unsweet­ened one, it is much bet­ter. Curd, for those that aren’t fa­mil­iar, is sim­i­lar to yo­ghurt. Out­side on the main roads you will al­so be able to find a va­ri­ety of su­per­mar­kets / gro­cery stores, just Nepali style.

Cooking up local ingredients
Cook­ing up lo­cal in­gre­di­ents - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang
Handmade noodles
Hand­made noo­dles - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

Culture

Man in Patan
Man in Patan - He agreed to a pho­to - Copy­right © Joshua Fuglsang

One of the best things about vis­it­ing Nepal is the peo­ple; they are, for the most part, ex­treme­ly kind, and wel­com­ing. This is es­pe­cial­ly the case when vis­it­ing the non-tourist ar­eas. So, re­mem­ber to re­turn the re­spect and to say your Na­mastes.

Some­thing to be aware of in Nepal are the beg­gars, you will be asked quite a lot for mon­ey while walk­ing around. To man­age this I would keep a dai­ly bud­get of small notes in my pock­et, as well as buy and keep food stuffs in my back­pack for them. It wasn’t much mon­ey, just a few dol­lars per day, but didn’t leave me a feel­ing hor­ri­ble when I didn’t give them any­thing. A mem­o­rable sight is each morn­ing a huge num­ber of blind beg­gars would come out and line the foot­path of the stu­pa, then monks and nuns from the near­by monas­ter­ies would hand­out food and mon­ey to each of them as they com­plet­ed their morn­ing cir­cum­am­bu­la­tions.

Fin!

Thanks for read­ing! Liv­ing in Boud­ha was a very spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence and quite con­ducive for get­ting some work done. It is a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive than greater Kath­man­du, but that is to be ex­pect­ed. You can keep you costs down a lit­tle by find­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion on foot and find­ing restau­rants out­side of the stu­pa ring. Over­all I cant rec­om­mend stay­ing in Boud­ha enough when com­pared to stay­ing in Thamel. Stay­ing in Thamel is good for a cou­ple of days at best to ex­pe­ri­ence its crazi­ness. Boud­ha on the oth­er hand is quite spec­tac­u­lar.

About

Here you will find articles on an ambitious plan to travel from Singapore to Morocco overland, i.e. without flying.

I will use buses and trains to travel through South East Asia, China, Mongolia, Russia, and Europe.

Read about The Plan So Far.