To Bhaktapur & Back: An Unexpected Adventure

Jamie-Leigh discovers, sometimes, it’s the people you meet unexpectedly that can transform your journey and view of life.


Photo © Jamie-Leigh Hecht

It started like any other back-packing day in Nepal: We woke up, got a delicious meal from New Orleans Cafe in Thamel, Kathmandu, and strolled through the market streets.

But today is the day we decided to check Bhaktapur off our Nepal Bucket List.

All we knew of this ancient city was what the Lonely Planet summary provided to us – it was a city destroyed by a devastating earthquake in the 1930’s.

So, we agreed on a one-way taxi ride to Bhaktapur city, plugged our earphones in and settled into the winding, bumpy roads of Nepal.

Not long into the ride, our driver, Ramesh, turned around and asked us where we were from.

This began a conversation that would last over an hour.

Ramesh asked questions about our Australian culture, what we eat, what our parents do and if we were married. He then compared our cultures, and began to tell us about his life, family, and beliefs.

He taught us of his Buddhist faith, and Buddha’s teachings of happiness in his own words:

  1. Do not be a snake; it is venomous and vindictive
  2. Do not be a pig; they are greedy – remember life is a gift.
  3. Do not be a hawk; Never look down on others, you are not better than another person – just different.

Rameesh radiated this philosophy in his very being. Instead of winding up his windows on beggars, he made conversation with them. Instead of dropping us off at the gates of Bhaktapur, he stopped the car and got out with us.

From here, he continued to resonate his passion for his country and culture, and took us under his wing. We were given a tour like no other.

He walked us through the temples and retold the ancient myths behind each of the statues, the Deitys, and their meanings. There was a passion in him that can’t be described.

Photo credit: Jamie-Leigh Hecht

He acted as a translator between us and the locals, and organised for us to partake in everyday activities like making clay ashtrays and rice-drying.

Photo credit: Jamie-Leigh Hecht

After five hours of walking through the back-streets of Bhaktapur, Ramesh took us to a small, hole-in-the-wall vendor.

He bought us lunch, including local delicacies and sweets.

Photo credit: Jamie-Leigh Hecht

After a huge day of exploring with a new friend, we headed back to our guest house.

We felt high on life, adventure, and experience – all because of Ramesh.

So while you might think local taxi drivers are out to take your money, don’t deny yourself a local experience unlike any other. Get to know your taxi driver: he might just make your trip to Nepal so much better.

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