Eat Pray Nepal Blog: 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

NCELL Connect Nepal: In-Depth Review

This is a review of NCELL Connect which is a usb device used to access internet with 3G speeds on your computer. This review was done in December 2013. My previous review related to internet speeds was Fastest internet in Nepal for home users was almost a year ago.

Device and How To

For starting out, it is necessary to buy a USB Device (Dongle) that cost about Rs. 3500. Hook it up to your computer and if the software loads up on your screen from where you can launch your internet.

Then I bought a 1 GB data package for about Rs. 800. According to the Staff at NCELL, the max speed is 3.6 Mbps. During my tests depending on the time of day, I got speeds between 0.77 Mbps to 2.90 Mbps Download speeds, which is still the fastest among the ones I tried in Nepal. NCELL connect seems to have faster speeds in the mornings, afternoons and slower speeds in evenings.

Where you can Purchase
Not all NCELL shops have the USB device, the one I got was across the new US Embassy. Also there is a NCELL office in Durbar Margh (Kings way) where I'm sure its available as well. You will need some form of ID and a Photo for application form. The purchase procedure is quick and you can start using the device immediately.

-Fast download speeds during good connection. The max download speed I got during my tests was 2.90 Mbps.
-The device and software is easy to install.
-Load Shedding (power outage) does not affect internet connection (while using laptop).
-The device is portable and has good reception.
-Monthly subscription is not required so it is convenient for short term use.

-Data seems to run out fast.
-Slowdown in speed with other Kathmandu internet providers during peak hours- evenings.
-Without data package it is expensive so make sure to subscribe to a package.

Can you use VPN connections ?
Connecting to a Remote Desktop thru VPN is okay when the connection is good. The Latency is also okay, but again the problem is that it is not consistent and at times the latency does get high making remote access slow. If you need to use internet frequently it is better to get 10 GB data packages. The data does run out quickly.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dharara the Eifel Tower of Nepal

 Dharara probably one of Nepal's oldest and tallest buildings. It can be found in Sundhara Road of Kathmandu. It used to be taller but an earthquake many years ago caused it to lose some of its height.

For many years it was closed to the public and only as around 2005 it was opened for public. One can pay the entrance fee and climb the narrow stairs all the way to the top. It is popular for both locals and tourists but honestly not too much to see here.

For your viewing pleasure, I have taken some pictures from the top and attached it with this blog post. (See below and click on individual pictures to enlarge)

Updated April 28, 2015 

Sadly the tower has collapsed. Read my new post on the recent earthquake in Nepal

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Police car spotted in Kathmandu Nepal

To be honest, I have never seen a Police car in Nepal until this moment. I had to get a picture of this car proudly parked outside the King's Palace.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Himalayan Java Cafe in Kathmandu - Review

Himalayan Java is a large, western style coffee cafe, with lots of different comfy furniture, free wireless internet, great coffee, good western breakfasts with eggs and bacon and pancakes, lots of magazines, good cabinet food to choose from, and expensive branded coffee and memorabilia. It is located near Thamel on the Second floor so you may have to stretch your neck a bit to notice, if its your first time.

In addition to inside seating, it also has a balcony that looks out over the road, at the entrance to Thamel, and can be a nice place to go to relax, people watch, including the crazy Kathmandu taxi drivers.

If the day is nice and you want equally good coffee and a bit of fresh air, head for the Kaiser Cafe in the tranquil Garden of Dreams right next door (behind the big wall as you head back toward the Tridevi Sadak / Kantipath intersection.

What I also loved about this place that it has a female waitress, and in Nepal a mostly male dominated work culture, its nice to see. The service is fast and friendly and a place to relax and feel a bit at home in the hectic Kathmandu streets.

Even though this place isn't even remotely Nepalese, everyone can appreciate a nice cup of coffee in a relaxing atmosphere.

Rating: 9/10 stars

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A visit to Nanglo Cafe - Kathmandu

Nanglo Cafe is one of the oldest and most popular restaurant in Nepal. 

They have multiple locations but the most popular one is in Durbar Margh aka Kings Palace Road. Infact they have two branches in Durbar Margh, both next to each other. One serves mostly Chinese dishes while the other is Continental and mixed dishes.

The food is great, and the place is always busy with both local and foreign customers. Prices are typically $5 to $10 per dish. For those who don’t know what to order here, I would suggest Chicken Sizzler(see in picture below). If you prefer something more local I recommend a Nepali Thali or chicken momo's. 

Service is average for a Nepali restaurant. However if you are a foreigner or appear to be a foreigner you can relax because you will get great service as Nepali waiters love foreign clients due to their generosity with tips. 

There are more than 14 branches of the cafĂ© within and outside of Kathmandu, making it one of the largest and most popular restaurant chains in Nepal. 

Rating: 9 (stars out of 10)

Monday, October 7, 2013

My 5 Day Nepal Trek to Poon Hill

The Ghorepani and Poon Hill Trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal. It is considered to be an easy climb and be done within 4 days.

I will let the below pictures speak for themself.

                                         Met these nice local kids on the hike

                                                    Locals transport goods on horses

                                          On the top of Poon Hill

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Get a Visa to Nepal

Visa to Nepal

Like most countries Nepal has multiple types of visa but we are going to focus on the most common types used - Tourist and Non Tourist Visa. A visa can be obtained on Arrival at Nepal's International Airport -Tribhuvan International Airport or thru Nepalese Embassies abroad.

Tourist visa
US $25   -  15 days multiple entry visa.
US $40   -  30 days multiple entry visa.
US $100 -  90 days multiple entry visa.

Non tourist visas
US $5   - Nepalese origin with foreign Citizenship.
US $10 - Licensed Journalists
US $10 - Foreigners married to Nepalese citizen

SAARC Countries
(Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Afghanistan)
- No visa for 30 days stay

For more information on Nepal Visa please check with the official website of Ministry of Immigration

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

View from the top of Poon Hill

There is an observation tower. This video is of the view from the top of it.
Location: Poon Hill, Nepal. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Marc Faber visit to Nepal

-  NEPAL   - by Marc Faber

I have just spent a week in Nepal, following my own suggestion, which I made last year at Christmas, to visit
a new place at least once a year. Nepal is one of the world's most scenic countries - it is also one of the
world's poorest.

Entirely landlocked, Nepal is squeezed between India to the south, and Tibet (now China) to the north. Its GDP per capita is just US$240 - the third-lowest in Asia. The life expectancy of its population, 60 years, is among the lowest in the world (Botswana has the lowest at 36 years; Japan the highest at 81.5 years), and its literacy rate of just 42% is also one of the lowest in the world.

Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu offers many unusual and impressive cultural sites, which suggest some wealth in earlier times. Kathmandu also has some charm and a pleasant atmosphere. Rapid population growth over the last 100 years became a burden, as a growing number of people had to be supported by the same quantity of land, which, in the absence of industry and commerce, simply impoverished the country. In addition, while certainly poor, Nepal's population of 22 million distinguishes itself by having supplied the world with some of its toughest and most courageous warriors, who form the renowned Gurkha batallions of the British and Indian armies and guards, who are nowadays widely employed in the Middle East. (It is worthy of note that Nepal has never been colonized or conquered by any of its formidable neighbors.)

After spending a few days in Kathmandu, we flew to Pokhara, which is situated beneath the Annapurna and
Dhaulagiri mountain chains and, in clement weather, offers sensational views of the mountains. Unfortunately, we were only able to admire them from postcards and photos, because it rained solidly for the four days we stayed in the town. The continuous rain provided me, however, with the opportunity to read about Nepal and its history and also to think about the global economy and the financial markets.

While in Nepal, I had some very mixed feelings, altering between being depressed by the poverty of some of its farmers, who live in small and remote villages high in the mountains, without electricity or water supply in their homes (agriculture - predominantly rice and corn - makes up 40% of GDP, compared to 1.4% in the United States) and moments of high mood because of the friendly nature of the Nepalese, who seem to be quite content and happy even while being poor and conscious of the privileged lives most of us enjoy in the Western industrialized countries.

I also had some time to ponder on the future of Nepal and on a question I was recently asked by a reader, who wanted to know if the Asian stock markets would suffer should the U.S. stock market experience a serious correction or a crash in the next few months. This question prompted me to look at some very simple economic, financial, and social statistics in Asia, and to compare them to the rest of the world. My conclusion? The long-term favorable potential of the Asian region may remain intact even if the Western
economies were to weaken once again. In fact, a decoupling of the Asian stock markets from the performance of the U.S. is a distinct possibility.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fastest Best Internet in Nepal

If you live in Nepal, and want to get high speed internet, what are your options and the speeds you can get. Luckily since the past few years the internet speeds have improved tremedously. Common internet speeds nowadays are around 512 Kbps. Yes I know it is still slow compared to most other western countries.

From my testing NCELL has the fastest speeds topping around 2MBps in the day, while at night the speeds are unbearably slow and useless.

NTC was slower around 512kbps but the speed was consistent thru out the day.

Overall winner in Nepal NTC ADSL internet in terms of cost, speed, quality of internet.
(see test result below)

Update May 2014- Now with NTC releasing WIMAX for public use, the speeds are much faster. See my review on WIMAX in Nepal.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Its true theres a Walmart in Nepal

Small businesses in Nepal are shaking with fear. Walmart has made a grand entrance in Nepal with the smallest store you can possibly imagine.

  Location of Store from the picture: Pokhara, Nepal)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Does India interfere and manipulate Nepal ?

According to the Wiki leaks document, there is a pattern of interference by India in Nepal. Up until the leaks, there has been lot of rumours but no proof.

Also India knowing that Nepal is a land locked country has tried to make Nepal buy Indian products.

See below for more details of the leaks from the New Indian Express news.

The Kissinger Cables, released by WikiLeaks, contain revelations about the Indo-Nepalese relationship during the Emergency, with a cable noting that Indian intelligence agencies have “a capacity for mischief-making in Nepal, and occasionally use it.”

 The October 15, 1976 cable, sent from New Delhi to the Department of State in the US, accuses Indian intelligence agencies of meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs.

Another cable,dated November 8, 1976, revealed the resentment in the region against the Indian government playing a “Big Brother”. According to the cable, in a meeting with US ambassador Marquita Maytag, Nepal’s ambassador Krishna Bom Malla criticised India’s “high-handedness” in the region.

“Ambassador Malla told ambassador Maytag that India sees itself as the successor to the Great Britain in the region and seeks to dominate its neighbours. This, he asserted, explained the strong negative reaction of the government of India to the Nepalese zone of peace proposal,” said the cable.

The cable reveals Nepal’s concerns regarding  India’s extremely rigid position in the trade and transit treaty negotiations. By refusing to facilitate the transit of Nepalese imports through India, India sought to make it so costly for Nepal to import from other countries that it would have to purchase mainly from India.

“Nepalese counsellor Jai Rana observed that this was a result of the increasing concentration of power in Mrs Gandhi’s hands. Once a position was taken, her subordinates had no latitude to negotiate and generally were unwilling to take the initiative to seek new instructions,” read the cable.

Nepal’s permanent representative to the UN Shailendra Kumar Upadhyay had said that his country required good access to the sea, but India did not help them.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nepal Trekking - Poon Hill & Ghorepani trek

Ghorepani trek offers a wonderful opportunity to witness the beauty of the Annapurna region with a shorter trek. This place is rich of hidden treasure of Nepalese culture and tradition.
During the trek the trail passes through world's famous 'the Gorkha warrior' clan the Gurung and Magar's charming village, dense rhododendron (Nepalese national flower), Oak forest full of birds, and green hills.
Just about every angle is a tantalizing glimpse of Mt. Fishtail (6,993m,) Annapurna (8,091m) and Dhaulagiri (8,167) range on the initial part of the tour is breathtaking.
Once you reach the top of the trek, the place called Poon Hill one can observe the entire mountain ranges; specially beautiful in morning.

Best Time to Trek
March/April/May (The weather is perfect and not too cold nor too hot)

Read about my Trip to Poon Hill and Ghorepani(with pictures)

Visa to Nepal and current visa fee

Like most countries Nepal has multiple types of visa but we are going to focus on the most common types used - Tourist and Non Tourist Visa

Visa can be obtained on Arrival at Nepal's International Airport -Tribhuvan International Airport or thru Nepalese Embassies abroad.

Tourist visa

US $25   -  15 days multiple entry visa.
US $40   -  30 days multiple entry visa.
US $100 -  90 days multiple entry visa.

Non tourist visas
US $5   - Nepalese origin with foreign Citizenship.
US $10 - Licensed Journalists
US $10 - Foreigners married to Nepalese citizen

SAARC Countries

(Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Afghanistan)

- No visa for 30 days stay

For more information on Nepal Visa please check with the official website of Ministry of Immigration

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A review of Nepal's only Zoo- Central Zoo of Kathmandu

Central Zoo of Kathmandu is Nepal's one and only Zoo. I have visited it many times over the few years and was curious to see how its doing.

So earlier this year 2013, I paid the RS 100 fee(for nepalis only) and entered. I will let the pictures below describe the condition and the zoo. Overall the good news is things haven't worsened. The bad news is things haven't improved much either. 

Definitely the Zoo administration needs to do more to give space to the animals. Looks to be a bit too congested for certain animals that need space. For Nepal this is relatively clean, organized, good.

Overall Rating 7 / 10

   Boat Rentals available

   Children's playground near the animal area. Im sure animals dont appreciate the noise.

   The tiger taking a nap.

   A leopard in what looks like a Jail cell.

   Bears - notice the electric fences inside.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A night at Hotel Garuda Nepal

Hotel Garuda is a nice hotel located in the heart of Thamel. It was founded in the year 1989 and, since then, have served casual travelers to famous mountaineers. The hotel location makes most attractions within walking distance including numerous restaurants and bars. I would recommend it for most younger people, adventurists and people who like the Thamel atmosphere. 

Room Rates at time of writing:

Room Type
Standard (With Phone No TV)US $ 15.-US $ 20.-US$ 24.-
Hi-Standard (Phone, TV & Heater)US $ 25.-US $ 30.-US$ 34.-
Air Conditioned (Heat/Cold)US $ 35.-US $ 40.-US$ 44.-

Some of the reviews from Expedia Guests
"Sights are within walking distance and there are plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops along the road"

"The hotel is quite well maintained, and it is subject to mention, it has electricity for 24 hours... I know, it sounds ridiculous, but if you are researching about Nepal, you'd better consider that fact."

"Hotel Garuda is an old and well known institution in Kathmandu. The location in the middle of Thamel with all the restaurants and shops are just around the corner. Rooms are basic and not overpriced your breakfast you take at "Crazy Burger" downstairs, not crazy at all."

Rating: 8  (out of 10)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Boating on Lake Fewa - Pokhara

Lake Fewa in Pokhara is one of the few major lakes in Nepal. Every year thousands of backpacker influx here, during the day with the incredible light and mutable weather , a good place to lose one selves.

Overall Rating: 9  (out of 10)

Monday, March 18, 2013

G Cafe of Baudha - a review

Have you been to the G ? 

G cafe is an excellent fast food eatery in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was featured in Nepali Times (9 -15 March) issue and was rated 7/10. Below are some of the opinions from customers and its contact information.

Ujjwal B
A unit of Gemini Supermarket. A best place to hangout with friends in western environment. The European and Western hieginic food list, Wifi, Self ordering Interface is the best part of it. Enjoy !!

Palpasa T
Nice spacious and a well organized place... not to forget clean!! Food- continental, Nepali, etc coffee and bakery.Also, a separate counter for pizza!!

Contact info

Boudha, Kathmandu