Known to everyone as the nation where the roof of the world is, I personally came to Nepal with my family, Tina and Gabby, last August 6 to 10, 2013, with great hope and expectation that we would have a glimpse of the peak of Mt. Everest or at least, any of the snow-capped mountains of the great Himalayan range. Despite the dates of our visit coincided with the monsoon season in this South Asian country, I kept my hopes high and was not disappointed with what I saw by my window aboard Malaysia Airlines en route to Kathmandu from Kuala Lumpur. I was silently ecstatic to see her peaks. The vision that lasted less than few seconds only further my wish to see more.
Because of the juvenile dream to wake up to a snowy mountain scenery, I made sure to reserve a room, even for a night at one of the mountain resorts in Nagarkot, Nepal. So when Tina provided me full liberty to do our Nepal itineraries, I booked an affordable suite accomodation in Thorong Peak Guest House in Thamel, Kathmandu for 3 nights, and reserved a room for our last night in Nepal for this trip at Peaceful Cottage & Cafe du Mont, in Nagarkot.
August 09, 2013. Friday. Our fourth day in Nepal. We woke up early for breakfast prior to our 9AM pick up by our prearranged transport from Thamel in Kathmandu to Nagarkot. It was Sameer, the staff of Thorong Peak Guest House in Kathmandu who efficiently facilitated everything for us.
Woke up to 3 mornings from this king-sized-bed with Tina & Gabby at Thorong Peak Guest House.
At the simple lobby of Thorong Peak Guest House, Thamel, Kathmandu.
We headed back to our room at the third floor following breakfast. After the necessary dental hygiene and last-minute-bladder-breaks, we breezed through our final packing of luggage and backpacks. Two friendly hotel staffs came and brought down our stuffs to the lobby.
As I already prepaid everything, I thought we would just wait for our taxi cab driver at the lobby to pick us up. Surprisingly, Sameer had something else in mind. The three of us were very pleased and honored to receive katha, or Tibetan Buddhist scarves that are traditionally given to religious statues of Buddha, to lamas and people who will go on a journey.
With my half-awake-half-sleepy-state, I was extremely delighted to receive a katha and immediately asked Tina to take photos of us. Those white scarves that Sameer gave us, have auspicious prints in white silk, that according to what I read, symbolize the very best intentions of happiness and good fortune of the giver. What a very nice display of Tibetan/Nepalese tradition!
Few minutes after 9AM, Tina, Gabby and I were on the dusty roads again aboard the taxi cab. It took us more than an hour to view a complete change of scenery from a relatively urban Kathmandu, to almost-everything-green Nagarkot!
Field of greens!
One of the highlights of our trip was going through tapered and dusty roads en route to the heart of Nagarkot Hill Station. Despite the enticing views of rice paddies, rice terraces and rolling hills abundant with pine trees, I heard Tina asking me something like, “Why are we going here? Why do we need to go through zigzag roads?” I’m just thankful that she didn’t have an episode of vertigo (severe dizziness), otherwise, I’m dead! *kidding!*
Top-loading, Nepalese style!
Looking back, I remember my lovely wife kept her silence in prayers while we were traversing the crazy narrow and zigzag roads in Nagarkot. I think she brought out her rosary from her bag and held Gabby’s hand tightly, while I was carefree and on the look out to capture some scenery on my cam.
If you’ve been to, or at least familiar with Baguio and Antipolo Cities in my country, The Philippines, then you could easily imagine those sharp turns and crooked and narrow roads in Nagarkot, that in my approximation, appeared like less than 2 meters wide, with dangerous ravine on its side.
After an hour and a half of a prayerful trip to the hills of Nagarkot, we arrived safely at our chosen hotel.
PEACEFUL COTTAGE & CAFE DU MONT,
With fresh mountain air, expansive and impressive balcony, a rooftop with a commanding 360-degree-vista of the mountains and the valley, more importantly, warm hospitality and friendly service, Peaceful Cottage & Cafe du Mont is a decent and affordable mountain resort perched at 7000 feet up in the Himalayas.
We didn’t go immediately to our room but opted to take lunch first. While the dishes we ordered were being prepared, the three of us began exploring what this hotel is all about.
Behold, the priceless view that made Tina, Gabby and I uttered, oohs, aaaahhhs, wow!
C’mmon, sue me for allowing Gabby to go up that steep steel ladder alone. While I’m proud that our little-big-boy made his way to the rooftop by himself, I was admittedly worried too, seeing his face with fear and anxiety. But then again, it was a pure and simple accomplishment for him to try and do things on his own. The father in me believes that although it was certainly not Mt. Everest and only the rooftop of the hotel, Gabby did conquer something big!
Spot our boy trying to stay calm en route to the roof top.
Don’t be afraid. You can do it, Gabby!
Et voila! Success! 🙂
The uninterrupted 360-degree-view from the rooftop. Breathtaking! Stunning, isn’t it?
After our eyes feasted on Nagarkot’s visual treat, we satisfied our palates with our choices from Cafe du Mont’s menu.
Carbo-loading in Nagarkot : Pizza, Mixed Fried Rice, Chapatti and Nepalese platter of dahl and curry. Yum!
Dessert we shared : Warm & creamy Custard Pudding with Mushroom. Something new to our taste buds.
Just before going to our room, I asked Laxma, the main man managing the reception and restaurant, if they get fully booked despite the monsoon season. I was glad to know that all the 15 rooms were all occupied that day. A strong proof that we made a good choice in opting to stay there overnight. It was also the hotel recommended by Ace-Filipino-Travel-Blogger, Gay of PinayTravelJunkie.com who also went to Nepal with her family ahead of us.
That door on the upper right of the photo, just below the roof top was our room for the night.
Apparently, it’s not your usual hotel room. Octagon in shape, super spacious that could fit 30 people or perhaps more, windows all over offering 360-degree-view of the mountains and the birds that fly over it. The room was OK particularly for its price of less than RM100 for a night (less than PhP 1300) however, I told Laxma the next morning that I didn’t like the old rags and carpets and the dusty table runner under those screaming-for-cleaning wood carvings. He took my comment well and mentally noted everything. He handed a hotel evaluation form to us prior check out the next day. With its affordable rate, plus free wifi, I felt it’s too much to complain. Their very friendly and warm service amidst the thin, cold Nagarkot air covered up for everything.
It’s only in this hotel room that we did bird-watching by the windows.
Laxma suggested we could go trekking for 3 hours down to what they call the View Tower and visit nearby villages. We decided to simply stay in the hotel and restaurant the entire day to relax and unwind and absorb everything in.
Laxma confirmed what I read online and saw on photos, that it’s during the month of October and onwards, that the clouds clear up and the Himalayan ranges show her magnificence. The view from Peaceful Cottage & Cafe du Mont’s balcony could be as spectacular as what’s in their website gallery (see photos below).
Photo sourced from www.peaceful-cottage.com
The glorious Himalayan ranges made a disappearing act behind those clouds and made our visit to Nagarkot seemed incomplete. But I reckon the fact that I was there with Tina and Gabby and to experience everything with them on this brief but sweet journey, makes me believe I never failed in seeing the Himalayas but I won so many memories to cherish!
“A lot of us first aspired to far-ranging travel and exotic adventure early in our teens; these ambitions are, in fact, adolescent in nature, which I find an inspiring idea. Adolescence is the time in our lives when we are the most open to new ideas, the most idealistic. Thus, when we allow ourselves to imagine as we once did, we are not at all in our right minds. We are somewhere in a world of dream, and we know, with a sudden jarring clarity, that if we don’t go right now, we’re never going to do it. And we’ll be haunted by our unrealized dreams and know that we have sinned against ourselves gravely.”
~ Tim Cahill
To be continued.
*A life journey of mine, an epiphany of travel for you, made possible by Malaysia Airlines.
This Nepal Blog Series includes :
- Our Unforgettable Journey From Malaysia to Nepal
- Incredibly Beautiful Bhaktapur
- Patan : The City of Fine Arts in Nepal
- Beneath Buddha’s Watchful Eyes : Boudhanath Stupa & Swayambhunath Stupa
- Nagarkot : Sleeping in Nepal’s 7000 feet
- Our Last Moments in Nepal : From Nagarkot to Kuala Lumpur International Airport