Though tempted to spend another long while relaxing in Pokhara after returning from the Annapurna Circuit trek, we decided it was best to check out other areas in Nepal. Additionally, we only had a couple of weeks left in Nepal before our planned departure. We would be flying out of Kathmandu on April 2nd. So, on our way to Kathmandu we decided to check out the town of Bandipur, which is located just off the main road between Pokhara and Kathmandu. No major detours were necessary.
Bandipur is a quaint town with quiet, vehicle-free streets and friendly people to boot. Our guidebook describes it as “a living museum of Newari culture”. Since I’m not an expert on Newari culture I can’t really say whether that statement is true or not, but in terms of a living museum I’d have to agree. Nearly all of the buildings in the main bazaar area are beautiful, multistory brick buildings, many of which have beautifully carved window frames and doors. Their construction supposedly dates back to the 18th-century. The “street” in front of the buildings is more like a patio, since there are no vehicles and much of it is lined in large flat stones.
The vibe of the town was very relaxing, allowing Sarah and I to enjoy most of our meals on the front porch area of the local restaurants. This usually isn’t an option since most of the towns we visit have lots of vehicle traffic, usually kicking up dust and making a lot of noise. One of days we took a walk to some of the nearby villages to get a closer look at the terraced fields and farm houses. Though Bandipur sees a lot of tourists, many of the people in the area still work as farmers.
Our last day there we had an unexpected treat provided to us by the sister of the hotel owner. She has an interesting hobby of dressing tourists up in local attire. On her day off she invited Sarah to be a part of her dress-up session. Since she didn’t have any mens clothing for me, I documented the process Sarah went through to become an Nepali bride.
Our next stop after Bandipur was Daman. It was described as having possibly the best views of the Himalayas. There was no direct bus from Bandipur to Daman, so we took a bus from Bandipur to Dumre (20 minutes) and then hopped on a bus enroute to Kathmandu, but jumped off at the town of Naubise. From there we planned to catch another bus to Daman. After the usual exercise of asking a handful of different people to narrow in on the right answer, in this case where to wait for the bus to Daman, we sat and waited for about an hour.
The first bus came and they said they were full. The second bus came and as I waived them down they waived back and kept driving. The third bus came and told us they didn’t go to Daman, but then told us they did. Just as we were about to board they told us they didn’t go to Daman, but we could take their bus to its final destination and then take a separate bus to Daman tomorrow. At that point we decided against a trip to Daman and instead flagged down a bus to Kathmandu. We’d had our fair share of mountain views by this time, so we were content with skipping this one and moving on.