Nepal is not your typical tourist destination. To be perfectly honest the main reason we decided to head to Kathmandu was the cheap airfare we obtained. I learned early on in my travels not to go to a place with preconceived notions, and that often times the places you expect the least out of can sometimes be the best experiences. With this in mind I set off on my Nepal adventure with a travel buddy.
Nepal is cheap! If you are coming from well off country you will find that your dollar, euro, pound, etc... stretches far. We were able to eat meals for about 3 euro routinely. We stayed at a Hostel called the Elbrus Home which I would highly recommend. The owner is very service oriented, and will hook you up with most things you need. Free breakfast, wifi, some rooms have a private bathroom. If you want to go on a tour or expedition, just talk to the owner Khem and he will get a driver to take you anywhere you need. Expect to get some stares from the locals especially if you are caucasian, but in all I found most people friendly, when they aren't asking you for money. (which you should expect at most of the tourist sites) Most temples and tourist areas tend to ask a certain price for locals (which I didn't see any locals actually pay for) and a more expensive price for those coming anywhere not in South Central Asia. Not usually anything extravagant, admission into these sites ranges from 2.50 to 15 euro/dollar depending on the size of the area. A lot of the temples have been affected by the earthquake and you can still see the after effects, but most of the locations are still worth the price of admission
By day we usually explored the temples, vistas, and generally saw the life that the people of Nepal lead. By night we would retreat to a set of alleys almost exclusively ventured by tourists. These alleys included plenty of shops selling hiking equipment, tea, clothing. There was also restaurants of most cultures. (mexican, italian, chinese, ect...) There was also plenty of shady people who would come up to you and asked in hushed tones if you wanted some weed....but hey its not much of an excursion if you don't have those moments. It was a nice blend of give and take, between our day travels and our nightly retreats.
Nepal was an amazing experience. Not a typical vacation, but one that I won't forget. One moment that will forever remain ingrained in my memories was when me and my travel partner reached swayambhunath (monkey temple) atop a high sloping hill. We had been there a few minutes when a torrential downpour started. We ran for cover and hid under a stone covering. We sat there and watched the beauty of the temple from this covering, and about 20 minutes later when the rain was still pouring we knew we had a decision to make. We knew that coming to Nepal was not something we could count on doing again. So out into the pouring rain we went. Me, her and our driver being the only crazy people to risk getting soaked for an opportunity of a lifetime. We made it to a summit overlooking the whole city, and cold and soaked as we were, we couldn't help but smile knowing that this was an experience all in it self, an experience we would never forget.