Eat Pray Nepal Blog: 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Rent a luxury apartment flat in Kathmandu Nepal

Recently I went to look at places to rent an apartment. I saw this place available on a high rise on the way to Swahambhu. It is a really nice place and very high up.

Check out the pictures below, that is the kind of view you will get from the tallest home building in Kathmandu.
Great pool down there

Every other house looks so small

Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I found the "Hero of the Road" in Nepal

Truck with the label "Hero of the Road".. No Tension...

Many of these trucks have funny labels in the back. Here below is another one.

Read the letters below where it says "Mother is God"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Best affordable GYM in Kathmandu

Working out even if its a little bit is a must for a healthy body and mind. Since Kathmandu is covered in dust most of the times and the roads are not jogging or exercise friendly its better to join a GYM.

I tried out a local GYM in Baudha. I cant remember the name of the GYM but its next door to Bhatbhateni -Baudha and few minutes walk from the Hyatt Hotel. 

Kathmandu GYM
Membership is very affordable only RS 1000 monthly and the equipments are good enough. There is shower and locker facility included. There's even a Sauna room, you pay extra for that. 

See pictures and judge for yourself. If you would like more information, leave a comment and I will reply back to you.

Workout facilities

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tourist getting married Nepali style

Newly weds dancing
I was in Pokhara recently and I saw a lot of band playing and people dancing in the street. Upon getting closer noticed it was 2 foreign tourist (I assume) dressed in Nepali clothing and dancing with the band playing music. It was a nice sight to see.

I didnt get a chance to talk to them due to the number of people around. I wish the young couple luck.

On another topic, perhaps Nepal government could explore the Wedding industry and make Nepal a destination to get married. I wish Nepal government was this proactive.

Foreigners taking pictures of the newly wed foreigners

Dancing Nepali style in Pokhara

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tibetans Dorje Shugden controversy

Dorje Shugden is a peaceful buddhist sect with many followers around the world

Tibetan buddism has Four main sects. Of them Dorje Shugden is one of the sects. The present Dalai Lama himself was a worshiper of Dorje Shugden until 1976 when he spoke out against the sect and asked followers not stop worship of the diety.

According to the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition)

"The Dalai Lama has strongly urged his followers to consider carefully the problems of Dolgyal practice on the basis of these three reasons and to act accordingly. He has stated that, as a Buddhist leader with a special concern for the Tibetan people, it is his responsibility to speak out against the damaging consequences of this kind of spirit worship. Whether or not his advice is heeded, the Dalai Lama has made clear, is a matter for the individual. However, since he personally feels strongly about how negative this practice is, he has requested those who continue to propitiate Dolgyal not to attend his formal religious teachings, which traditionally require the establishment of a teacher-disciple relationship."

Due to the ever increasing opposition from the Tibetan Buddhist leaderships on Dorje Shugden, many Shugden buddhists are now suffering specially in India, Nepal and Tibet. Rumors are spread saying this is a "devil worship" or China is sponsoring Shugden. None of that is true. China doesn't support any buddhists period. Besides the Chinese in general don't believe in any religion. Just a while ago in India, a peaceful monk was badly beaten up in his own monastery recently. 
Monk badly beaten in his own monastery

The attackers used weapons and force

The governments of India and Nepal need to take strong action against the offenders. It is one thing to talk but another to use violence.

We need to raise awareness of the violence and propaganda being spun from the Tibetan leadership. I urge all true Buddhists to stop following and believing like sheep following the herd and use your brains sometimes. We are such a small population and yet we are being forced to divide.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Baudhanath Stupa Kathmandu reviewed

Om Mani Pema Hu

Baudha Stupa is one of the most holy places of worship for Buddhists in Nepal. Every year hundreds and thousands of people from all over the world visit this holy place. For tourists this is a must stop place.

As per Buddhist traditions, you walk Clock Wise around the Stupa and say your prayers. In addition you can spin the Prayer Wheels as you walk.

Baudha Stupa
View of the Stupa from one of the restaurants nearby

After your walk feel free to stop by the many popular eateries along the Stupa. Some of the good ones are Cafe Aria for coffee and snacks, Road House Cafe for pizza, Galleria for everything else. There are some other ones around too but I dont remember their names. For disclaimer purposes, I have no connection to any of these restaurants places named.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nepal Driving license exam questions

Here are some of the questions I saw on my test

-How do you start a car in the winter ?  (multiple choice question)

-What is a Zebra Crossing ?  (multiple choice question)

-What is a motor vehicle and name four types ?  (write short answer in few sentences)

-What is the law for getting into accident without being in possession of a valid drivers license ?     (multiple choice question)

Additionally there were some other multiple choice questions involving traffic symbols such as a Yield, Stop Sign etc. Whatever the case, before you go take your written test, you have to actually read their book.

If you know other questions, please leave a comment.

If you have not applied for your Nepal Drivers License, read my article on how to. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting Drivers License in Kathmandu, Nepal

In any country getting a driving license is not easy but in Nepal it is a pure nightmare unless you are bored and have plenty of free time.

Here are the steps:

1. Goto Department of Transportation in Patan. In case you are not familiar its near Jawalakhel. Previously it used to be in the police department near Singha Durbar. Now you have to go much further just for driving license.

The Driving License buildings you need to find
2. Get the application form and photos, and go from window to window 
    Find a middle-man or middle-woman (Dalal) who will do the application for you and submit it for a modest fee (usually Rs 3000 to 6000).

Do you really want to wait in long lines ?
3. Take the medical blood test and once all paper work is submitted your will get your test date, normally the next morning.

4. Study Study Study because its not like the past anymore. You actually have to study to pass. There is a book available for Rs 100 I think which has over 100 questions. Good Luck.

5. Appear for the written test. The test is in Nepali and has I think 18 Multiple Choice questions and 3 short answer questions. Supposedly there is an English version of the test but when I asked for one, they said No English test and I was forced to take the one in Nepali. Luckily I can read and write Nepali so I was okay. But if you dont know Nepali there is no way you can pass this test in Nepali. I will post questions from my exam in the next article.

6. If you pass, your name will appear outside and you can go take the driving test at the location near the Convention Center.

People practicing motor bike

7. Finally if you pass the driving test, you can proceed and rest of the steps are easy to get the actual license. 

Good luck and hope you get yours in the first try. Leave your thoughts on the Driving License process.

* Read my other article on Nepal drivers License Exam questions *

Thursday, April 24, 2014

NTC Nepal WIMAX internet review -Update


Just an update to my previous post on WIMAX internet review. The internet speed depends on the time of the day and during the afternoons the performance seems to suffer a bit. The upload speeds specially suffer and see below screen shot for the poor upload speed. 

Internet speed for upload is bit slow

Voice Communication

Skype: I ran a few Skype call tests by calling overseas and the results were good when the internet was running fine, however when calling from skype during peak internet traffic times such as afternoons results in the other person not hearing you. This is a frustrating as NTC's ADSL internet doesnt seem to suffer from such performance issues in skype.

Viber: In addition to skype, I also tested calls using Viber and the results were much improved. Viber being less resource intensive compared to skype it makes sense to use it in Nepal specially when calling overseas.

Friday, March 28, 2014

NTC WIMAX Review - Internet in Nepal

WIMAX is one of latest broadband wireless technologies that is now available for individual customers in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is provided by Nepal Telecommunications Corporation (NTC). It used to be available only for corporate customers but now is available for Individual subscribers.

WIMAX is based on IEEE 802.16 specification and it is expected to deliver high quality broadband services.

You can use an indoor or outdoor antenna. I got the Outdoor antenna for my testing as it is much more powerful compared to that weak and small indoor usb antenna.
WIMAX outdoor antenna unit installed on Roof of house

[See bottom for Speed Test Results and Summary]
Configuration/Management Portal

The RSSI number should ideally be below 70 otherwise it is Not good. Modulation should ideally be in QAM for both Uplink and Downlink.

Speed Test results of 512 Kbps bandwidth package:

Customer Management Tool via NTC website

Available Rate/Tarriff Plans:
Interestingly NTC is not offering an Unlimited package for WIMAX anymore.

256 Kbps             5GB     Rs 650 per Month
512 Kbps                   8GB       Rs 850 per month
1 Mbps or higher   12GB      Rs 1340 per month

WIMAX is surprisingly decent. During peak times (weekday afternoons and evenings) the connection does suffer with high ping rates and slower speeds. Due to the high cost and Volume based usage, for those who live in an area with excellent ADSL connections it may be better to keep unlimited ADSL internet from NTC. WIMAX does offer a strong alternative to competition from NTC ADSL and NCELL 3G.

9 Stars out of 10.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Paypal in Nepal

Paypal is a faster, safer way to pay and get paid online or via a mobile device.

Paypal is currently not available in Nepal. However I can provide you with a USA credit card which will enable you to deposit money into Paypal account.

Fees and instructions to purchase your US Dollar Paypal account are below:

Paypal Amount     Nepali Rupees Cost
$20                for   Rs 4000
$30                for   Rs 6000
$40                for   Rs 7000
$50                for   Rs 8000

To purchase this service, please leave a comment and I will reach to you.

Monday, February 17, 2014

This woman left NYC to volunteer in Nepal

Michelle, an american was living in a comfortable life in an apartment in New York City. She had a boyfriend, her own small business. One day she decided to leave everything to volunteer in Nepal. Originally a 3 week volunteer assignment turned into a 4 month stay. Here are some of what she learnt from her experience. You can read the full text at her blog.

1. When you love what you do, the hours don’t matter.

2. Wealth has nothing to do with money.
I saw smiles that could light up universes on workers’ faces. These people would travel days by bus to earn what most Americans spend on one latte. They’d work HARD, for very little, all while maintaining that tremendous smile.

3. Health has nothing to do with going to the gym.

5. Every family has issues
Living under one roof with a Nepali host family taught me no family is perfect. But everyone tries and does their best. I watched families pack themselves into tiny rooms and sleep side-by-side on concrete floors. But their laugh — you could hear laughing throughout the night, from miles away.

6. Wherever you are, be there.
One of the monks asked me, “If there is no night, how can there be day?” If you’re feeling like hell, show up. If you’re scared and anxious and nervous, embrace it. It’s part of your story.

7. Love — real love — has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.with people I cared about. Food was prepared by hand or steamed in pressure cookers.

Monday, February 10, 2014

African Footballers in Nepal

Football aka soccer for my American friends, is one of the most popular sports in the world. In Nepal, football is probably as popular as cricket however its still not as popular as you would expect.

Competing for the ball
Nepal football is governed under ANFA (All Nepal Football Association) and ANFA has ruled that 3 foreign players are allowed on the field during a competitive game. Personally I think this number should be lowered to 2 as we should be supporting local player development.

Reasons for importing players from Africa:

According to a local football fan, “It’s cheaper for the clubs to get African players because you have to issue a full year contract to Nepali players, which costs a lot of money. Most of the clubs sign African players for the league season only, which costs much less.”

Nepali footballer players cost more

Nepali players have to be paid a minimum of Rs 10,000 per month ( US$ 120) and surely they will get paid more based on prizes and bonuses.

So the clubs try to save money by importing as many foreign players as possible and Nepali footballers lose out on an opportunity. With unemployment rate of 47 percent, can Nepal afford continuing hiring foreigner football players ?

Angry fan rushes to the field

Monday, February 3, 2014

Qatar good cheap flight USA to Nepal review

Nowadays there are multiple ways to get to Kathmandu, Nepal from USA. One of the most popular and that is budget friendly is now Qatar Airlines.

While many years ago, most travellers flew to Nepal via Cathay Pacific Air, China Air or Thai Air flying in thru Bangkok, Hong Kong, Japan or Taiwan.

Nowadays, the most popular routes are Qatar Air, Etihad Air, Jet Air and you fly thru the Middle East.
(Reason: Lots of migrant workers flying between Nepal and Middle East countries. Read my review on Nepal Migrant workers)

Qatar Air:
Route: Chicago or Washington DC  to  Doha, Qatar  to  Kathmandu, Nepal
Distance wise, this is one of the shortest with only 1 layover. In addition, this is normally the cheapest airfare and one can expect to pay anywhere from $1300 to $1900. Qatar air is quite good and comfortable with reasonably large choices of in-flight entertainment. The only downside is for flights heading to Kathmandu, there is a approximate 8 hour layover. You can ask the Airlines for a free hotel voucher, they are supposed to give one for long layovers however they never gave it to me citing my 'Promotional airfare'. However you should be able to get a voucher for free meal at the airport. Just dont set your expectations too high for the meal choices.

Oryx Lounge: You can also pay US $40 and relax at the Oryx Lounge. The lounge is on the second floor where gates 7-22 are, across from the Costa Coffee stand. It's free for business/first class. Economy passengers pay $40 each for 6 hours. They do have a snack bar, drinks (although no alcohol anymore), coffee, and sandwiches. There is even a shower but on my recent visit I noticed they didn't have towels available. All in all Oryx Lounge is a nice, much quieter place to relax while waiting for your next flight. Totally worth it if you dont mind the $40. A word of advice, the airport can get busy during certain times and the lounge is also busy and they limit entrance depending on the capacity and you may not be able to get in if you happen to stop by when its busy.

Etihad Air: Major US cities to Abu Dhabi. Price is bit higher than Qatar Air.

Turkish Air: Fly to Nepal via Turkey, very cheap but not recommended because some Nepalese have experienced delays and subsequently had to wait in the airport for extended periods of time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Nepal foreign money dependence and remittance

Nepali men queuing for a foreign job application

The Nepalese economy is almost totally dependent on foreign labor sending money to their families in Nepal. Everyday there are hundreds of low skilled workers going abroad mostly to the Arab countries and Malaysia but also recently to South Korea. 

One day, I happened to see a huge long line of people and police gathered. I inquired an officer who told me that they are waiting in line to get application forms for Korean employment. Basically South Korea hires about 5,000 Nepalese every year of which they get about 20,000 to 30,000 Nepalese applicants. The applicants are then tested for Korean language exam and those who pass the exam are eligible for employment opportunities in South Korea.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Volunteer work in Nepal for a fee or free

While searching on google, for volunteer opportunities in Nepal, I found only a few such opportunities and all of them required some kind of fee (From $200 to 400 weekly). I think its bit ridiculous that you are going to volunteer your work and you have to pay for the pleasure of serving them.
A foreign volunteer group goes hiking on the weekend

High Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate in Nepal is 47 percent according to Wikipedia. Additionally the economic and political situation in Nepal is shaky. Now since the year 2010, labor unions have come into the picture. Although labor unions are good for workers in the sense that they are for worker rights and decent pay, they are not good in a sense that it makes business owners and management refrain from wanting to hire workers.

Labor Unions

As a result of union workers in companies in Kathmandu and various cities in Nepal, companies are not allowed to fire or layoff employees as you would expect in a free market country. Worker unions and political affiliations prevent a company from letting go of an employee without paying a huge fee to the worker. Normally this amount is around two years salary.

Volunteer work prospects

Therefore volunteering should be a good option. This should be good in a country like Nepal where the volunteer can get his or her work experience and the company can get the work done for a relatively low cost. Ideally I am certain companies would much rather hire a full time employee but because of the above mentioned reasons in the recent couple years 2012 - 2014 companies are reluctant to hire a stranger. Also nowadays there are hardly any job opportunities advertised.

I am in the process of finding some good volunteer opportunities in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas. I have come across many volunteers mainly from the Peace Corps but also some that they found themselves. Some possibilities where you may be able to find volunteer opportunities within Kathmandu are at a Buddhist monastery, private hospitals, schools and at local Hotels.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Admiring Miss Nepal girls 2013

Its winter time and what a perfect way to warm up by watching the beautiful women of Miss Nepal 2013. Yes I know its been a few months past the competition but surely they still look great.

The Finalists of Miss Nepal 2013 all Happy

The Miss World 2013 competition was held in Bali, Indonesia.

Ishani Shrestha finished in the top 10th. (Highest position for a Nepali in this competition)

Ishani Shrestha representing Nepal at Miss World 2013