No more Books – only, Google, Blogs and Travel sites.
When we started our life as travellers Lonely Planet was our bible because it had information about going-to-and-from, places-to-stay, border crossings and similar important advice for independent travelers. Today these information are only a click away – if they are not already there once you open your phone thanks to algorithms.
Lonely Planet was not for inspiration. Here we read colorful books like Insight & Tashen Books, Newspaper’s & Magazine’s travel sections and similar media created by a Human Being who has created and selected stories and images, editing them etc. based on his and hers love, passion, knowledge, intellect and visions.
It may sound strange – but unless you do an effort its difficult for experienced travellers to get inspiration online. Thanks to the same algorithms the search engines only direct stories, images, videos and other content they predict you most like already know.
But don’t panic. There a still a lot of human beings who creates inspirational content about countries, culture and travelling life. And it’s not difficult to get. Thanks to Hash Tags (#) on Twitter, Google alerts, WordPress Tags etc we get hundreds of updates everyday. And several very exiting and interesting ones like Roads & Kingdoms who just started blogging about Kathmandu.
The pot at the end of the rainbow for 18th century hill kings, flower children, and Maoist rebels alike, the Kathmandu Valley retains a fascination for travelers dreaming of the East as well as Nepalis seeking the West.
The city is a still-untidy mashup of three city-states from the golden age of Newar civilization. But for every chaotic intersection or slick shopping mall, there are a dozen moss-lined courtyards and shrines to explore.
Modern Kathmandu turns out bibimbap and baba ganoush with as much panache as it does momo and curries, but the allure of the valley of temples is unchanged. Let us guide you there.
What makes Roads & Kingdoms Kathmandu guide so special?
R&K varies from other travel media in two important ways. The writers are not only knows how to write (they are very good) – they know what they are writing about. They are locals, they know (in details) what they write about in a way only locals do based on personal experiences and knowledge passed on through generations.
Like Deepak Adhikari who starts his 16 things to know before you go to Kathmandu with his good, relevant but odd welcome First-make-it-out-of-the-airport-guide then following up with lowering their expectations with his Don’t-expect-to-see-the-Himalayas (the reason why most travellers visits Kathmandu LOL) or the 3rd advice: A-mask-is-a-must: Kathmandu is ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the world, which is why it’s sometimes called Maskmandu as i he tries to convince people to stay away… relevant and unwillingly funny.
Our two R&K Highlights
1: A Soundtrack to Kathmandu city.
In Kathmandu, the chaos of unregulated traffic and dusty roads sit comfortably with the dreams of the many people who call it their home. It looms large in the Nepali imagination, not just because it’s the capital, but also because the city has been central to Nepali identity.
It’s a city of many cultures, shaped by the indigenous Newars as much as by the hippies, with the sounds of electric-guitar riffs as common as madal beats.
No city’s complexities can be captured in one playlist, but this is an attempt to encapsulate what Kathmandu means for those who live here.
Music is my passion. So it warmed my heart (and ears) to see Amish Mulmi’s amazing musical guide to our beloved city.
All the old classics are there – and several of our own favorite like AD74, Ranzen (who has played at Tings) and our neighbour Jazz Upstairs’ house band Cadenza Collective – all compiled with stories an anecdotes from the past to present.
We could add several track to Amish’ list. Yama Buddha’s – Saathi (RIP), GnireshT’s – Cheap Noise, Tashi Cultivation’s – Mother Nature and of course Nima Rhumba’s – Block Hill Shoes.
Nima Rhumba’s Iconic ‘Block Hill Shoes’. Check New Road anno 2012 and do the walk yourself when you visit Kathmandu.
2: The history of Kathmandu in 11 Dishes
How rich Kathmandu must have appeared to a newly arrived settler looking in from one of the mountain passes! Fish and fowl would have been abundant in the natural ponds in the landscape that was once a giant lake.
Any seed thrown to the ground would have taken root, flowered, and borne fruit. The climate would have been pleasant, never severe, no signs of dust and pollution, and the sights of the snow-capped Himalayas to the north would stop any new settler in their tracks.
Although the cultural prehistory of the valley is lost to us, it is possible to imagine the story through its food.
Living with our local staff for almost 10 years has taught us a lot about the local food traditions. We don’t serve it in our lounge – but we make it for ourselves for Dashain and Tihar. In 2014 Dorje taught me to make Tibetan blood sausages
In case you don’t know: We can thank Manjushree for cutting through Kathmandu’s surrounding hills and letting in the water and thus making the valley so rich with so much food and water that it feeds the millions of Nepalese. To start a chapter about Nepal’s cuisine with this fable we only got to know a few years ago was very promising! So I was really exited to read Prawin Adhikari’s 11 dishes.
Pravin didn’t disappoint me. Not only does he give you an introduction to the various traditions and their history (hence the title 🙂 . His food journey is also a shortcut to a lot of the classic Nepalese dishes you never find in restaurants unless you know what to ask for. We got this knowledge from our fantastic friends who have opened their homes (and kitchens) and treated us with their culinary wonders.
So unless you have local friends Prawin’s historical introduction is must for foodlovers. The Nepalese kitchen its much more tha Momos, fried rice and Chow Mein!!!
If this chapter doesn’t convince you to go Nepal ASAP then I’m sure that Parwin’s Love Letter to Raksi will.
I’m a fan!
One important thing – R&K is a commercial site
Like the rest of us – the people behind Roads & Kingdoms have to make a living. So the Blog is commercial – and nothing wrong with that!
Just remember that they the make money is by promoting restaurants and businesses. which means that some of their recommendations and suggested tours are a bit strange. We would never start a Thamel Tour with a visit to Bajeko Sekuva. It’s an OK place – there are just several other more authentic, cheaper and excellent places to eat than this local equivalent to McDonald.
And what happened to the most colorful parts of this tour: Asan Tole & Indra Chowk. After Durbar Square these to colorful commercial parts of town are what excite our guests the most – we recommends these places instead of the souvenir shops and malls.
The last thing on down side is R & K’s Quick Hits. Their recommendations are OK if you are an expat with an international salary. If you are desperate to get non-local food Kathmandu has cheaper and better alternatives.
The recommended restaurants are completely different from Prawin Adhikari’s fantastic food cruise above 🙂
Roads & Kingdoms Kathmandu Guide is Highly recommended