What I Miss About Nepal
Ever since Emmett and I visited this past April, Nepal has quickly shot up to the top of my list of favorite countries. There are so many reasons to love this unique, land-locked nation. I’ve narrowed down just ten of those reasons I’m missing Nepal below:
1. Incredible Mountain Views
The Himalaya are the main drive behind most people choosing to visit Nepal. (Honestly, who wouldn’t want an opportunity to see the tallest mountains in the world?) I genuinely could not believe how much they dominated the skyline. They were almost mythical in height - peaks that were miles and miles away were visible on the horizon. I’d never seen anything like that before. I cannot wait for the chance to go back to Nepal and get even closer to the Himalaya.
2. Buddha’s Eyes
Sometimes it seemed like everywhere we turned, we encountered the compassionate eyes of Buddha baring into our souls. If I had to pick one image to represent all of Nepal, it would be the Buddha’s Eyes with the Himalaya behind them. (Funnily enough, Emmett actually got this exact image put onto the back of his flannel shirt in Kathmandu by a local embroiderer).
3. Nepali Cuisine
In Nepal, the food is delicious and varied - especially in tourist hotspots like Thamel, Kathmandu or Lakeside, Pokhara. Outside of the tourist hotspots, it is less varied but incredibly affordable and even more delicious.
For more on Nepali cuisine, check out my Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating in Nepal.
4. Street Cows
I had heard that Hindu nations such as Nepal and India often meant that cattle - which are highly revered - wander the streets among traffic. That didn’t keep me from being actually surprised to see it happen in real life. I was especially amazed to witness a couple of cows actually sleeping in the middle of busy roadways! Despite the noise and proximity to very fast moving vehicles, they peacefully slumbered right on the pavement. Amazing.
5. Masala Chai
Rich, robust, zesty, sweet, caffeinated… Nepali masala chai is everything I ever wanted in one cup of tea. Lucky for me, it was ubiquitous to any cafe or restaurant.
6. Prayer Flags
Buddhist prayer flags lined the streets in Kathmandu & Pokhara, fluttered over rivers, decorated stupas, and flew in abundance near Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini. Though Nepal is a majority Hindu country, Buddhist prayer flags are nearly as symbolic of the country as the Buddha’s eyes. I miss seeing these colorful flags in unexpected places.
For info on where to find your own prayer flags on your trip to Nepal, check out my Guide to Souvenir Shopping in Nepal.
7. Indifferent Water Buffalo
Water buffalo are a very common domesticated animal in Nepal. Since cows are considered sacred, water buffalo seem to be the replacement red meat in Nepali diet. The water buffalo genuinely seem not to care about people walking near them. They are incredibly indifferent to human existence. If anything, we might be annoying to them. This makes me laugh for some reason. Probably because I watched a sassy-seeming female buffalo hip-check Emmett off of a trail that the two of us were trekking.
8. Colorfully Decorated Trucks
Colorfully decorated trucks can be seen driving along almost any road in Nepal. The truck fronts were always covered in colorful tape and stickers, the sides often featured large paintings, and the backs usually had a short statement. Most trucks featured the proclamation “ROAD KING” on the front (or back) and said “SEE YOU” on the rear bumper. We also saw quite a few that were proudly stating that the “Buddha was born in Nepal.” Considering how dusty and grim the actual roads were in Nepal, it was a relief to see beautifully decorated trucks to make the time pass much faster.
9. Sweet Doggos
I am a dog person through and through. In Nepal, I fell in love with so many village pups and dusty street dogs. Dogs aren't treated like family members in Nepal in the same way they are here in the United States. Therefore any attention that I gave to pups caused them to fall in love with me instantly. It was heart-breakingly sweet. I wish it would have been feasible for us to adopt one or two of these cute canines…
10. Fast Friends
Okay, let me lead with this caveat: I know it is hella cliche to say that “the people were so friendly!” in any country you visit. But I honestly found that Nepali people are some of the friendliest locals I have ever met in all of my travels. When we were trekking it was especially easy to connect with people through a mere joyful “Namaste” greeting. From there, everyone wanted to know where we were from and what we loved about Nepal. I felt incredibly welcomed.