Goddess Bhagwati’s Aura at Bindhyabasini Temple

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After my eyes enjoyed Himalayas view. Two hours in Sarangkot and witnessing natural drama which began when first rays of dawn shone and then noon came.

You may completely read my adventures in Sarangkot in a story which I wrote earlier.

Here:

Passing a Morning and Getting a Sunrise in Sarangkot, Nepal

I said goodbye to Mrs. Celesse, a Belgian woman who still had a beautiful face. Maybe she was a photo model when she was young. Mrs. Calesse, who had shoulder-blonde hair, using a red jacket and a white scarf, still chose to pretty sitting in Sarangkot fot watching Phewa Lake expanse which shining blue when hit by the sun.

Parking area at the bottom of hill.

Meanwhile, at the botton of hill, precisely in a car park, I had been waiting by three other backpackers who had been heading to this place since early morning with me.

—- **** —-

Me: “So, we returned to the hotel for breakfast and taking a bath“, I said on taxi front seat to Mr. Tirtha-our taxi driver-.

Mr. Tirtha: “Sure, but before it, can I take you to two places which are located along with our way back? “, His smile held mystery and surprise.

Me: “Oh, yeah …. Is it one of International Mountain Museum, Tashi Ling, Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave or Shanti Stupa?“, I think we were still time there after breakfast.

Mr. Tirtha: “Oh No, Hahaha….These were different places…. Two places were close together, Sir“, he deliberately made me curious.

Me: “Oh yeah….Nice to hear that. How about you, bothers?“, I asked to other backpacker’s in the backseat asking for their approval. Finally we agreed to go to those place.

—-****—-

Main temple Building.

Heading east, the taxi slowly crept down Sarangkot Street. Riding it for 20 minutes, I arrived at a T-junction. I found several school buses which looked like have yellow colour all over the world, then the journey continued with passing the crowd of cyclists and motorbikes. The taxi was slowly uncovering their way until finally it was parked on the edge of pavement.

The trident given by Lord Shiva to Goddess Bhagwati.

Visitors were free of charge when they took turns entering temple area through stairs on a side of courtyard. Having finished climbing the stairs, the large temple courtyard was in front. Some congregants began queuing to perform rituals at a white stupa on the left, while others made offerings at a cow statue which overlooking a temple building. And right in the center of courtyard stood a main building with three levels of roof which were no less crowded with congregation. It was in this building which the statue of Goddess Bhagwati was located.

A monument in courtyard.

Goddess Bhagwati herself was believed to be the Protector of Pokhara who was purified in the temple. Congregations regularly made offerings to Goddess by slaughtering various livestock. And Pokhara people should be grateful that their king Siddhi Narayan Shah contributed to building this temple in the 17th century.

Temperature was starting to warm up to spoil anyone to linger sitting on the edge of courtyard with 900 meters high above sea level. Then while breathing the fresh air, I enjoyed residential areas view with the blue background of Himalayas.

Cool….

See the situation at Bindhyabasini Temple here:

Bindhyabasini Temple, Pokhara – YouTube

Let’s go to the next place …. Follow me, OK!

7 Tourist Attractions in Pokhara

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Visiting Nepal is synonymous with visiting the Himalayas. And all travelers know that the Himalayan gate is in Pokhara. It has been a long time since this city, nicknamed as “Gem of Himalaya”, has opened itself to show its beauty around the world.

This had put Pokhara on the top list in my visitation to South Asia region. Not Kathmandu, but Nepal’s second largest city which is located in northwest valley of Pokhara, this was what made me hurry for a moment to leave the capital city of Nepal even though it had only been arrive a day before.

Here were seven tourist attractions which I visited in Pokhara:

1 Sarangkot.

Being the closest vantage point to enjoy the Himalayas had placed Sarangkot as a special place to visit for travelers who didn’t have much time to hike that famous mountains.

Early arriving in the morning and sat at the viewpoint ahead of dawn. Enjoying colors gradation which hit ice layer at Machhapuchhare peak. Undoubtedly the golden color would fascinate you.

2. Bindhyabasini Temple

Descending from Sarangkot with its background of iconic Phewa Lake, I immediately headed to a Hindu temple where the Goddess Bhagwati worshiped, which was 7 km east of Sarangkot. Exactly at 08:14 hours. the temple was already so busy with visitors and also congregants who had come to pray.

Temple location which was on a hill made me freely gaze in observing dense residential housing with Himalayas background which turn blue with white ice at its peak.

3. Old Bazaar/Purano Bazaar

Now I was moving about 2 km southward down the road to a commercial place which dated back to the 18th century. The market was dominated by Newar architecture with red brick motifs with a lane which was only enough for two vehicles passing each other.

9:15 am….It was too early for Pokhara people to trade. As far as the eye could see, my memory was spoiled with market streets view which were flanked by classic buildings on either side of road, then at the end of road, there were dammed with Himalayas face whose timeless beauty.

Because the market was so quiet, no one bothered me in enjoying Jalebi in the middle of street.

4. International Mountain Museum

After returning to hotel for breakfast. Then, I continued visiting a museum which was dedicated to Himalayan climbers who never again safely descended.

By paying 450 Rupee, I was treated to a gallery which displayed a photos series of snowy peaks around the world which was followed by the peculiarities of various ethnic Nepalese inhabitants, then closed with several heroic stories of Himalayan climbers.

5. Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp.

For those who haven’t had a chance to visiting Tibet, then feel its nuance by visiting Tibetan people in Tashiling. This village was inhabited by Tibetan refugees who migrated because of political intrigue.

They made a living by trading in their new home. Many travelers shopped for souvenirs at this place. I myself took time to lunch with a bowl of noodles for 150 Rupee at one of their food stall.

6. Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

Located near from Tashiling, the cave which was located right on a side of Siddhartha Rajmarg road, its ticket fare about 100 Rupee. Circling down the stairs in red main building, I came to the mouth of this cave. Continuing along the curves of narrow humid alleys which lead to the main cave room with a view of swift waterfall which was peeking out from longitudinal slit on a side….Very beautiful.

7. World Peace Pagoda

Late in the afternoon, I arrived at my final destination. By another name, Shanti Stupa, this pure white pagoda was a painstaking climb on Anadu Hill. A Japanese heritage site of worship symbolized peace which uphold silence. Not allowing a slightest noise was a norm which must be obeyed during a visitation.

A natural decoration in the form of Himalayas with the ground of Phewa Lake in a view side became even more perfect with appearance of Pokhara City which was seen from above.

So, if you visit Pokhara, make sure to visit these cool places.

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Changing the Year in Phewa Lake Edge

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Ending a transaction and grabbing a Pokhara-Kathmandu bus ticket, I intended to hurry to hotel. Clockwork seemed to move fast and dark slowly but must have enveloped the city, until then I agreed to a taxi driver to take me to New Pokhara Lodge.

A little white taxi was agile cutting through small alleyway. Once he looked confused and forced him down and asked to young man who was drinking a cup of coffee and sucked a cigarette. Then his pointing hand made the driver understandably nod.

—- **** —-

I sat and watched banknotes from various nationalities neatly arranged in a lobby gallery. One of them is a banknote with Tuanku Imam Bonjol’s image.

New Pokhara Lodge Lobby.

After a while, a middle-aged man appeared, he already had slow movements but was trying to keep smiling. Furthermore, I knew him as Mr. Raj, a hotel’s person in charge who was very good at providing services to his guests at New Pokhara Lodge.

I was placed at second floor of this U-shaped hotel, three-story orange hotel. A room which I redeemed for 900 Rupess had now become my base camp while traveling in Pokhara.

—- **** —-

Mr. Raj briefly advised me, “Don’t worry about your security in New Year Celebration !. Don’t drink too much and back soon!…. Enjoy your night and Happy New Year ”.

Lakeside Road atmosphere.

Walking 650 meters to Phewa Lake edge, I followed a small path which only two-wheeled vehicles could pass. Only two minutes to arrived at the bustle of Lakeside Road. A stage was set up at lake edge.

Street food scent in the midst of groups of Nepalese youths was a perfect blend in the cold air of Pokhara. Temperature of 8o C slowly intimidated stomach. And it felt like I couldn’t afford to eat and sit for long time in sidewalk, cold night temperature had made my unprotected hands and face stiffen. In the end, footsteps led me into AM/PM Organic Cafe. A cup of Masala Tea with vegetarian fried rice would warm the body towards midnight which was being awaited by all people in the world.

Waiting for orders to came.

Food which was finished with had no leftover, tea cup which had dried up and waitress who kept paying attention, made me feel bad. My hunch tell me to get out of the cafe because of course the owner hoped that the table which I was currently occupying could be sold to other visitors.

Now I was trying to sneak into crowd to avoid cold wind which was blowing from the lake. The Nepali-like stature and facial features made me looked like a local all around the stage.

Local artists took turns in giving their best performances, elementary school age children didn’t want to be outdone by their dances, all of them were guided by MC with ideal features, smooth hair without mustaches and worthy looked as Bollywood actor.

Such a small stage amidst a large audience.

That night, Pokhara people seemed to be the happiest people in the world.

I wasn’t sure that it would celebrate fireworks. That belief made me slowly withdraw from crowd. Slowly walking and echoing Mr. Raj’s advice who warned me that whatever might happen because there were indeed many young men who drank too much on streets.

Having yet to turn into an alley, the crowd began to loudly countdown then fireworks shot into the air and exploded right in the center of Phewa Lake. The moment which I had been waiting for was almost interrupted by cold. I turned around and enjoyed the atmosphere. The lake, which was originally dark and appeared to be black, now reflected fireworks light spectrum which were exploding above it.

An admiration which I didn’t even get at the same moment a year ago in Osaka. A beauty which made me forget to capture the moment itself. But never mind, my brain was still recording it well until now.

Check out a situation ahead to the new year at Phewa Lake edge:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0K87N2E0imk

The perfect night.

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Tourist Bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara

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Bus queue at Kanti Path Road.

Enough with 300 Rupee for 10 minutes, riding a taxi from Thamel to Kanti Path Road. If you weren’t afraid of getting lost, you could also walk for 20-25 minutes.

My imagination told me that a bus which I was chasing would standby at a travel agent office. But the reality was far beyond presupposition. All buses from various travel agents lined up along Kanti Path Road.

48 minutes before departure, I took time to have a light breakfast because this was a long journey which I myself didn’t know how the travel time management was.

BG’s Coffee Shop which had opened on a side of Kanti Path Road.
You could also have breakfast on sidewalk, guys….Wouw, a child was pious to help his father in selling food.

I already ordered the ticket via email from Jakarta for 750 Rupee, it was just the payment was do at departure location. It was a strange transaction which I encountered for the first time abroad. Now the problem was only one, I had to be transferred to another bus because according to ticket seller, a bus which I ordered was fullseat (it seemed that this was their strategy, catching passengers via email first and regarding which bus would be placed on, that was the next business….Hahaha, smart).

Amazingly, I was only given a ticket and then asked to independently find a bus along Kanti Path Road based on a number plate on the ticket. I confidently executed his order. It was just that, just walking for 5 minutes to looking for it, I started to get overwhelmed….Yes, it was puzzling!….Nepali numeric was different from Latin numeric!.

Worse …. Now half an hour to departure began to be count down. Armed with no communication access, I returned to starting point of searching to ask ticket seller who seemed to be concurrently as bus coordinator. Dizziness was made by him because I couldn’t find him. I showed my ticket to several people around, they just shouted “wait!…. wait!”. Trying to disguise my panic with 15 minutes remaining to departure time, my eyes closely watched crowd one by one to find the person who I was looking for. Yes, I recognized green color of his winter beanie and a polyphonic phone necklace around his neck. I approached and asked him to help me in finding the bus which was referred to in the ticket….Yes, he only briefly said “Looking for light green bus….Row number three from the front”. Seeing her busy and impossible to accompany me in looking fo the bus, I immediately ran towards front row.

Finally, a light green bus departed at 7 o’clock. Armed with a liter of free mineral water, I sat in the back seat with Korean students who would then have a friendly conversation throughout 8.5 hours journey to Phokara.

Bus interior.

Along the way, the bus would stop four times.

Twice for toilet breaks for 15 minutes, i.e 1st break stop on 9:30 hours and 4th break stop on 14:30 hours.

Apart from toilet breaks, bus would also stop twice for meals, each with a duration of 20 minutes. 2nd break stop for breakfast on 10:30 hours and 3rd break stop for lunch on 13:30 hours. I paid a little attention to restaurant cashier table. It was seen that if how many of food was taken, passenger would pay for 450 Rupee.

So sweet….
You have to be fast if you didn’t want to be left by bus.
I didn’t even have time to chew it….I swallowed it in my mouth.

During the trip, I was really fascinated when I was presented with views from right side. Leaves were turning white because of thick dust from streets, giant billboards which were displayed in the middle of rice fields, suspension bridges which connecting hills, rafting along river and bustling Chandragiri Cable Car tour. Even I could be made to smile by residents behavior in sunbathing in 9° C air while playing carom or some of them surround fire which was lit in house yard.

.

Dust….Look!
Rice fields also became commercial land.
Do they have neighbors?….

Slowly bus climbed, descended and circled mountains with ravines on the right. I wasn’t too worried because bus was slowly running. A thing that then made me realized that most of cars, trucks and buses in Nepal came from Tata Motor manufacturer, India.

Look at trucks in mining area along Kathmandu-Pokhara.

I thought bus which labeled with “Tourist Bus” word wouldn’t pick up passengers on streets, it turned out that its little conductor had picked up passengers twice, but the better ting was no one stood up in bus.

The trip was stopped due to a wheel leak on 15 minutes before reaching Pokhara. The conductor was a teenager who struggling to change bus wheel, luckyly three taxi drivers came to help. In this condition, I still managed to do transactions at a street market to get a bag of oranges for 100 Rupee. But repairing took too long time and didn’t fast finish, so I was finally transferred to another bus.

Old taxis but exclusive.

In Pokhara, bus would stop at Tourist Bus Park with a view of the Himalayas behind it…..pretty amazing.

Ignoring many offering from taxi drivers, I rushed to a travel agent office, not far from where I got off. Yup….I took initiative to immediately order a return ticket to Kathmandu because later I would fly to New Delhi via Tribhuvan International Airport. This travel agent offered three types of ticket prices, ranging from 650 to 850 Rupee depending on bus quality. Not taking it long, I chose the cheapest price.

Tourist Bus Park.

Let’s Explore Pokhara!

Check out a video which was related to this article here: https://youtu.be/sSDNtAYx0tQ

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Sweet Spicy Sour Panipuri at Swayambhunath Stupa

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First destination in Nepal.

Receptionist: “Mr. Donny Suryanto from Indonesia? ”, greeted me when he got closer to his desk.

Me: “How do you know me?“.

Receptionist: “Yes Sir, we are waiting for you. Our last room which we have. And you have kept it via Booking.com

Me: “Yeaa wright….Hahaha, excellent”, Simultaneously signed a confirmation sheet with a smile.

I entered Holiday House Hotel room for 1,100 Rupee. Planning to stop overnight in Kathmandu. And next morning, I left for Pokhara to enjoy the Himalayas.

Limited time forced me to hurry up. Without taking a bath and immediately took a folding bag to fill it with important items, then heading to Swayambhunath Stupa.

Now I walked along narrow streets of Thamel with inevitable suction of dust with every step. Distinctive smell of dust was obscured by pungent smell of incense which slowly diminished by small embers in pashmina stalls.

I approached a driver who was wiping his tiny taxi from dust, then started a transaction to Swayambhunath Stupa which was 3 km away from hotels where I was staying. I deliberately canceled to walking because I was worried that it was getting late.

Rows of stupa in Swayambhunath.

400 Rupee was my agreement with him. During trip, Nepali pop songs, which I never understood, made my head nod in following its tune. Every now and then the driver who was the owner of that taxi looked at me with full of smiles and finally we nod together.

Taxi driver advised me to get off at top gate of shrine. He said it took a long time if I had to tread from bottom gate. After I agreed to his suggestion, that tiny taxi slowly drove in a circle following Swayambhu hill contour and dropped me off right at front gate.

Exploring between stupas.

Security: “Where are you come from?

Me: “Indonesia, Sir

Security: “Oh, I know…. I know…. Jokowi“.

Me: “Hahaha great….You know that

Security: “He is very famous here“, he said while tore my entrance ticket for 200 Rupee.

Swayambhunath’s main stupa.
Look at those sharp Buddha eyes!

It was true, according to its nickname, i.e “Monkey Temple”, area around stupa was often found monkeys which cheering up tourists arrival in front courtyard. Crossing “the peace pool” which full of coins which were tossed by travelers. It was said that they believe their prayers would come true if they throw coins. I continued up the stairs to worship’s main place at hill top.

Rotate it and your prayers would be answered.

Congregation took turns coming and turning prayer wheels one by one…. Of course they hoped that Buddha would grant their request.

Around the stupa, souvenir sellers offered their merchandises to tourists. Souvenirs made fro metal which dull because of were exposed by dust didn’t deter tourists to buying and owning them.

Lots of souvenir were requested by my frends….

Passing through each groove around stupa, dogs as guard animals looked limp and some of them were asleep anywhere. Meanwhile, thousands of colorful prayer flags neatly lined up on a rope which centered on stupa and stretched out in various directions.

Cute.

Meanwhile, on other side, there was a sunset which splashes the city with a reddish-yellow spectrum. Combination of religious nuances and natural beauty which really spoiled the eyes.

Kek BandLike Bandung City which was seen from Bukit Bintang, right?

Exiting at the same gate, I took time to walk down street, watching activity of street food stalls. My steps stopped when a husband and wife who selling panipuri were busy. Then I redeemed a portion for 100 Rupee and started to enjoying Nepal’ street food for the first time. Spicy taste mixed with sweet and sour, also strong aroma of curry made me a little slow to swallow every piece of panipuri which I bought. In the end, that seller spouse laughed at me when I chewed that snacks while glaring.

Must taste Nepal’ street food.

After enjoying this famous South Asian folk-style snack, I stopped a taxi which had just dropped its passengers. It was time to go to hotel, took a shower and got ready to enjoy dinner on my first night in Nepal.

Bye Swayambhunath….Got ready to go to Pokhara tomorrow.

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Old Transportation from Tribhuvan International to Thamel

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Invoice of Nepal’s Visa on Arrival.

Thai Airways TG 319 was perfectly parked in Tribhuvan International Airport’s apron at exactly 14:08 hours. There wasn’t aerobridge which greet me, one by one passengers descended the stairs on either side of plane door.

Aviation security: “Hi, Sir….Please, directly stepping to airport building!“, While stepping closer while hold a handy talky and his hand clearly pointing at my face….Assertive with a dark skin and thick mustache.

Tribhuvan-Thamel pre-paid taxi invoice.

Me: “OK, Sir….I’m sorry“, without thinking, I put a black Motorola E4 into right pocket of Emba’s brown pants whixh I was wearing.

In the end, I failed to capture my face image along with Thai Airways TG 319 in one frame because of it. Then I began to enter in passengers queuing who entered into terminal building.

Wow….music in the taxi was cool.

My hands tightly gripped my backpack’s shoulder harnesses and my face saw from side to side, paying close attention to Tribhuvan’s interior, which momentarily felt like I was passing through a temple room. Red-brown brick patterned walls with several carved decorations were scattered in every corner of room. Then I was greeted by a line of Visa on Arrival application machines on left side. Without any command, I understood and immediately took a queue at machine in the middle.

In the queue, I was intrigued by behavior of a son who was inputting visa data for his mother who not tall. He ordered his mother to step closer.

Ring road situation towards Thamel.

Snap 01….Just her forehead which was captured….Failed.

Then he told his mother to tiptoe.

Snap 02….The photo was 100% her face….Failed again.

A second later, his mother while looking at me with full of smiles, stood on top of small cardboard which she was still carrying a while ago.

Snap 03….Yeaaaa….It worked.

Similar to India’s streets, yes?

I immediately went to payment counter after successfully printed out the VoA application form. No needed to queue long, I got my visa after handing over USD 25 to female staff who wearing blue saris and on middle-aged age. “Oh, Indonesia. Welcome to Nepal and enjoy your trip. ”, She said when ending our immigration transaction.

Now I was getting closer to arrival hall exit gate. Before I actually went out, I took very slow steps to read whole information in a hallway. Instantly I quickly stopped at information board which displayed transportation rate to several areas in Kathmandu. Finally, I was relieved to find the word “Thamel” which became my next destination. It was only cost 700 Rupee (USD 6) to got in a dull red minivan which could accommodate 4 passengers and its last row seats were removed and changed as luggage.

The dust was incredible.

Ticket seller: “Where will you go, Sir?” Asked to me while holding a wad of red transaction notes.

Me: “Thamel, Sir“.

Ticket seller: “Do you want private booking or shared booking?“.

Me: “Is there someone who is ready to join with me?“.

Ticket seller: “Come!… .Come!”, he asked me to follow him and out through airport door.

Competition in tourism services in Thamel area.

After a while, I finally entered an old car which looked like a Suzuki “Carry” (Carry is a brand from Suzuki manufacturing in Indonesia) from the 80s. The car slowly drove leaving Tribhuvan and down a dusty road. Yes, only dust which I remembered in the first time when I had to tell about this “Land of a Thousand Temples”.

At an intersection, the car stopped and was entered a man who dressed in dapper Bollywood style and accented with extraordinary English. Offers all kinds of tour packages, from hiking, rafting, trekking and canoeing. It was common knowledge that Nepalis were competing to earn money from their tourism excellence which was famous for the beauty of Himalaya. I told him that I had bought all tour packages which I was going to take while stayed in his country from Jakarta via online. Even though, in fact I never had any tour packages which I prepared. I prefered to follow my heart and foot in my Kathmadu and Pokhara exploration.

Hotel Holiday House for 1,100 Rupee (USD 9.4) per night.

Passing the Ring Road route, I continued to be stunned by road view which at a glance resembled to old Indonesia. Thamel, which was only 6 km away from Tribhuvan, was finally reached in 25 minutes.

Now I entered a famous tourist area in Kathmandu. Dropped down in an alley and taxi driver showed me which way to head towards hotel which I had booked.

Welcome to Thamel !

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Thai Airways TG 319 from Bangkok (BKK) to Kathmandu (KTM): White Blanket of Himalaya

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Thai Airways TG 0319 flight route: Bangkok-Kathmandu.

After Fajr, I rushed to find flight information board to make sure my connecting flight would be on time or maybe it would be delayed. I found it in main transit hall corridor.

My flights was on schedule….Nice.
The boarding pass which I’ve held since leaving Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

As a follower of eating on time, by 06:00 hours, I was busy to looking for halal food. Now only halal which would be the my requirement….Because I couldn’t choose a menu with street food price, of course. Exploring 3rd floor of Suvarnabhumi, I finally stopped at Silom Village.

Couldn’t find a “Halal” logo….Finally, I stopped at a “Non-Pork” restaurant.
My menu: fried rice chicken served with salted egg for THB 220 (USD 7.34)

I closed breakfast that morning by sipping a cup of warm tea which was able to expel the wind in my body after a night of cold sleep in the main corridor of transit hall and continued at prayer room.

Then I headed to gate C10 to wait for Thai Airways TG 319. This time I only needed to step one more floor via escalator to reach the gate.

Corrido into gate.
Those were gates at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

While waiting for boarding time, it was better to charge my smartphone as the only documentation tool which I carried….As usual, I was the amateur backpacker. I also tried to reread an itinerary which I was ready to use for my exploration in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Interesting spot in departure hall area.

My boredom in seeing planes in Suvarnabhumi International Airport runway was broken by presence of Thai Airways, BOEING 777-200 type. Paid close attention to loading process so that I didn’t feel boarding time arrived on time.

Thai Airways TG 319 was preparing to immediately fly for 3 hours 33 minutes.

Entering aircraft cabin and in a blink my eyes became fresh. Apart from the beauty of flight attendants, also because airplane seats have colorful seat covers. Plane cabin looked like colorful candy.

TG 0319 cabin.

I sat at right side of cabin and flanked by two young girls. On the right, a Chinese girl who I didn’t know what her name was and a Japanese girl on the left whose her surnamed was Kawaguchi….Very beautiful with her ponytail.

I sat down while feeling a little sorry for being unable to quickly choose an airplane seat after online ordering ticket. This caused my opportunity loss to sit in a ideal position for photographers, i.e window seat. Because this flight would be very close to some of peaks of Himalayas which would show off their snow blankets.

When that moment happened, almost half of passengers stood up and faced to right window. It was the position where I sit. I couldn’t take pictures very well and prefered to still sit and recorded brief flight sessions right over Himalayas in my brain memory. It was still beautiful memorized, until this article was published….Amazing flight.

Started to filling out an immigration form which was given by a cabin crew.

The landing process was equally attractive. The view presented residential building of Kathmandu residents which were dominated by brownish square shape. Now I was ready to set foot in Tribhuvan International Airport which had become a gateway to Nepal for the last few decades.

Aviation security: “Hi, Sir. Please, directly stepping to airport building!”, He said, forbidding me to take a selfie image under Thai Airways.

Me: “OK, Sir….I’m sorry“, I answered with a little annoyed….Hmmh.

The arrival hall which wasn’t too luxurious and was only equipped with an old screening gate, made me smile because I felt like on Indonesia’s 80s era.

Then I submitted a Visa on Arrival application at visa issuing machine and then paid for USD 25 at a counter which was guarded by elderly female staff, I finally entered Nepal.

Let’s following my adventure in Nepal!

Are you looking for a flight ticket from Bangkok to Kathmandu? You can buy it through 12go Asia. This is the link:  https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

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Thai Airways TG 436 from Jakarta (CGK) to Bangkok (BKK)

Thai Airways TG 436 flight route.

Finally, I repeated my journey to “White Elephant” Country after my last exploration in 2013. For four years, I waited for that opportunity. If in 2013, I flew with Air Asia to Don Mueang International Airport so this time I was very lucky because I was able to catch a cheap promo which was issued by Thai Airways in April 2017.


Waiting for 8 months before actually flying was something that was very unpleasant. Not because of Bangkok, but only because of my desire to taste premium wide-body aircraft. A year before, I had boarded in same type of plane belonging to Air Asia when I returned from Incheon.


—- **** —-

After Friday, I perfected my packing for 11 days trip which would certainly make you were curious. At exactly 15:00 hours, I hurriedly carried my backpack on “angkot” (a small public trasportation in Jakarta) which went to Kampung Rambutan Terminal. That angkot which took so long to arrive, punished me by taking a DAMRI bus in next- a departure schedule.


On 16:00 hours, DAMRI launched but not long after, toll road became stuck. DAMRI didn’t moved in a long time. There have been road repairing in a tunnel combined with an incident which a truck rolled over 400 meters in front. Even though, my flight was scheduled for 19:05 hours. That means, I have to be ready at 17:55 hours before actually boarding….Too tight time.
Luckily, a Highway Patrol sirens began to sound in its way heading forward. Significantly, 15 minutes later DAMRI smoothly drove to Terminal 2-Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

Thai Airways finally became the 18th airline which I rode.
Started to boarding.

Luckily, Soekarno Hatta International Airport was very quiet and only needed 5 minutes for check-in process, and then I got a purple and white boarding pass. I passed all x-ray checkpoints very quickly as only a 45 litre backpack which needed to be screened.


I entered tAirbus A330-300 via its right-side cabin lane to find a seat numbered 52K. This time, it would be very relieved that I sat alone in three column seat. I was a plebeian….Just this time, I got on a plane with an LCD screen in front of my eyes….I pushed all button as I liked.

Jakarta-Bangkok is 3,000 km away and can be approached in 3 hours and 35 minutes with an average speed of 475 knots (880 km/hour). You can imagine how fast it is.

The moslem meal was served after giving a brown rice cracker and apple juice.

During flight, beautiful Thai-faced flight attendants were indeed captivating as far as my eye could see. Unfortunately, I was just a backpacker….If I was a top class businessman….. I would definitely propose to her….Hihihi.

Landing in the first time at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Arrival at 22:35 hours left me with no other option. It was impossible to leave the airport and heading for the city. If there was time, I might as well be reluctant. Because Bangkok wasn’t my destination….But, NEPAL.


Yess… .Nepal would be the 11th country which I visited.

Do you want to know about my next story to “The Land of a Thousand Temples”?
Just follow my story when I explored it.

Search for flights from Jakarta to Bangkok via 12go Asia. This is the link:  https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

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Inspirasi Menulis dari Tribhuvan International Airport.

Waktu begitu cepat. Sore kemarin aku masih mengeksplore area Basantapur. Tetapi kini sudah pukul empat pagi. Aku sudah saja mengguyur diri di bawah hangatnya shower Shangrila Butique Hotel. Setelah memastikan tak ada barang yang tertinggal, aku segera menuju resepsionis untuk check-out dan selangkah kemudian aku sudah turun di jalanan Thamel. Gelap, kosong dan penuh kekhawatiran.

Aku terus menyusuri jalanan dan berharap segera menemukan taksi, sementara dari arah belakang yang gelap terdengar suara derap langkah beberapa orang diiringi nyanyian Nepal yang membuat jantungku berdegup lebih kencang.  Kuberanikan diri menoleh ke belakang, lima pemuda tanggung melangkah cepat menyusulku. Sepertinya aku tak bisa lebih cepat lagi karena backpack membebaniku di punggung. Aku seakan pasrah jika terjadi sesuatu saat mereka benar-banar telah menyusulku.

Plakk”, tangan salah satu dari mereka menepuk pundak kananku kencang. “Ah, alamat”, batinku cepat merespon.

Good morning, Brother. Are you happy in Nepal?”, dia berucap sambil mengiringi langkahku yang terlanjur melambat ketakutan.

Hi….Yeaaa, nice country”, aku berkata lebih keras dari biasanya untuk menunjukkan keberanian saja.

Good….Be careful, bro”, dia melewatiku dengan cepat sementara keempat teman lainnya menatapku dengan senyum ringan dan serempak berucap “Hi”.

Oh, Tuhan terimakasih engkau masih mengirimkan orang-orang baik untuk menyapaku di gelapnya pagi.

Sampai pada sebuah perempatan, tampak deretan taksi mengantri untuk mengangkut penumpang. Taksi terdepan memancarkan lampu tembak ke arahku dan aku mengangkat tangan sebagai jawaban bahwa aku akan menggunakan jasanya.

Airport, Sir….How much?”, aku bertanya singkat.

Seven hundreds Rupee”, jawabnya sambil meraih backpackku yang menutup niatku untuk menawar.

“Ok”, tak ada jawaban lain yang bisa kulontarkan.

Taksi dengan cepat melaju kencang tanpa penghalang di Pashupati Road yang tentu masih senyap. Tak sampai 20 menit, taksi perlahan merapat ke Tribhuvan International Airport.

Pukul setengah enam pagi, airport masih tutup dan senyap.

Tak banyak yang bisa kulakukan, aku hanya menunggu di meja milik polisi bandara yang tampak kosong sambil terus menatap international gate dan berharap pintu itu segera dibuka karena udara sangat dingin diluar.

Perlahan penumpang berdatangan.

Orang Indonesia, mas?”, celetukan itu berasal dari arah belakang.  Aku menoleh ke kiri dan ke kanan, tak ada siapapun di sampingku. Suara itu jelas menanyakanku. Aku menoleh kebelakang dan terlihat seorang perempuan berusia 30 an tersenyum ke arahku.

Loh, kok ibu tahu saya dari Indonesia?”, sahutku membalas senyumnya.

Itu mas”, Si ibu menunjuk salah satu kantong backpack yang tak tertutup sempurna dan sedikit menyingkap bendera merah putih yang sempat kukenakan  empat hari lalu di Sarangkot.

Alhasil kami saling bercakap sembari menunggu gate dibuka. Ternyata beliau ini adalah lulusan kampus ternama di Indonesia dan pekerja senior pada perusahaan eksplorasi minyak di Bangladesh. Setelah berwisata ke Nepal, dia akan kembali ke tanah air melalui New Delhi.

Sepesawat denganku ke New Delhi, dia bersambung terbang bersama Singapore Airlines yang transit di Singapura. Sementara aku akan mengeksplorasi New Delhi dan Agra terlebih dahulu.

Gate sudah dibuka, aku segera menuju konter check-in. Sedikit agak lama berproses, aku menguping bisikan antar mereka dan terucap kata internet connection.  Pantas proses online check-in ku gagal semalam.

Pertama kali terbang bersama Jet Airways.

Kemudian di deret lain konter imigrasi, kulihat Si Ibu berbincang hangat dengan petugas imigrasi. Bahasa Inggrisnya sangat fasih. Dia sempat menjelaskan kepadaku di waiting room bahwa petugas imigrasi di Asia cenderung lebih luwes daripada petugas di Eropa dan Amerika. Tentu aku mengamini itu.

Waiting Room Tribhuvan International Airport.
Si ibu mentraktirku secangkir chiya hingga pesawat tiba.

Boleh dibilang, Si Ibu yang tak mau disebutkan namanya inilah yang menginspirasiku untuk menulis dan membagikan setiap pengalaman perjalanan yang kulakukan sehingga bisa mensupport setiap traveler dengan informasi. Si Ibu sendiri tak pernah kesampaian menulis karena kesibukannya yang teramat sangat, padahal dia memiliki kisah-kisah yang luar biasa. Salah satunya ketika dia bisa selamat dari badai gurun yang menghantamnya di Kuwait.

Jet Airways bernomor terbang 9W 0263 telah siap. Aku keluar dari waiting room menuju parking lot. Ada satu keunikan yang tak pernah kualami sebelumnya, yaitu ketika ada pemerikasaan cabin baggage setiap penumpang di area extension tepat di depan pintu pesawat. Pengalaman yang menggelikan dan menyenangkan.

OK, saatnya terbang.

Sampai jumpa lagi Nepal. Selamat datang India.

Selamat Tinggal Basantapur

Melangkah meninggalkan Kumari Ghar, aku masih berfikir. Apabila Sang Kumar nanti telah pensiun, bagaimana dia bermasyarakat setelah selama belasan tahun hanya sekali setiap tahun keluar dari tempat tinggalnya, bagaimana dia bekerja hingga lelaki mana yang beruntung memiliki Sang Kumari itu….Ah sudahlah.

Langkahku sampai pada sebuah plaza nan luas. Bangunan putih memanjang berarsitektur Eropa mengapit pelataran luas itu di kiri dan kanan, sementara ditengahnya para pedagang souvenir meletakkan lapak-lapaknya.

Basantapur Dabali adalah landmark bersejarah yang wajib dikunjungi.

Memainkan peran sebagai  jantungnya Kathmandu, Basantapur memang menjadi tempat bertemunya khalayak dari berbagai penjuru untuk berpolitik dan berdagang sejak zaman Nepal masih berbentuk kerajaan. Oleh karenanya Basantapur selalu ramai hingga kini.

Untuk kamu millennial, Basantapur menyediakan banyak cafe modern untuk sekedar berhang out. Teh khas Himalaya pun mudah ditemukan di area ini. Kamu bisa merasakan nikmatnya Chiya (teh bercampur susu) di dinginnya udara Kathmandu.

Berburu Himalayan Tea di salah satu kedai.

Freak Street menjadi jalur yang terlihat cukup sibuk dengan keberadaan plaza ikonik ini. Pesona Basantapur Dabali menghinoptis siapa saja untuk bertahan berlama-lama menikmatinya. Tapi surya sudah jauh tergelincir, sudah saatnya aku meninggalkan Basantapur untuk kembali menuju Thamel.

Sinha Swan Khala, lembaga keagamaan yang cukup ramai di Freak Street.

Menikmati Kathmandu tak bisa dilakukan dengan menunggang taksi, pastikan kamu terus melangkah dan menikmati keotentikan budaya dan arsitekur Newar yang ada di setiap sisi kota.

Kini aku sudah kembali di jalanan Layaku Marg. “Layaku” adalah kata lain untuk “Durbar Square”, sedangkan “Durbar Square” sendiri berarti “Alun-alun Istana”. Memang benar apa adanya, Layaku Marg ini membelah Basantapur dan menempatkan istana Kerajaan Malla di salah satu sisinya.

Layaku Marg menuju ke area Bishal Bazaar.

Bishal Bazaar atau Vishal Bazaar merupakan area berbelanja yang dahulu cukup terkenal di Kathmandu. Ditandai dengan keberadaan mall tua dan China Market . Bishal Bazaar mungkin menjadi tempat yang tepat bagi para penggemar pernak-pernik perhiasan.

Area Basantapur dan Bishal Bazaar dibatasi oleh Jalan Sukra Path yang berawal dari Juddha Statue, sebuah patung di bundaran perempatan untuk menghormati Raja Nepal Juddha Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana yang berperan besar dalam membangun negerinya dari kerusakan cukup parah akibat gempa Nepal pada tahun 1934.

Juddha Statue.
Salah satu sisi Sukra Path.

Sebelum benar-benar menyelesaikan perjalanan hingga ke Thamel, aku berusaha menikmati sibuknya aktivitas penduduk lokal dengan  memasuki sebuah resto di bilangan Sukra Path

Vegetable Chow mien seharga Rp. 15.000.

Sore itu adalah petang terakhirku menikmati kota Kathmandu karena keesokan harinya aku akan terbang menggunakan Jet Airways 9W 0263 menuju ibukota India. Mungkin malam nanti aku tak akan banyak keluyuran karena harus bersiap diri untuk berangkat ke Tribhuvan International Airport di gelapnya pagi.

Aku sampai di Thamel dan segera melakukan check-in online, malam nanti aku hanya keluar sebentar untuk menikmati santap malam saja.

Duh…cantiknya perempuan dalam iklan shampoo itu.