A few months ago… I had the privilege to get invited to my colleague and good friend’s wedding in Nepal. That was super exciting for so many reasons – one, because this would be my first time travelling overseas since the pandemic started; two, this would be my second wedding trip with my awesome work friends whom I always have so much fun with; and lastly, who wouldn’t love attending a traditional Nepalese wedding that entails three wedding ceremonies?! Triple hooray!
The time finally came in December after the countdown and months of preparation (yes, even the guests need to do a bit of preparation… I’ll get to that in a minute). The trip started smoothly as one would expect. I was in Sydney Airport waiting to board my plane, and feeling so organised and ready to go. Until… it suddenly hit me that during these Covid times, I might actually need to present an International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate in order to enter another country. Panic stricken with only 10 minutes remaining before the boarding call, I went to the Medicare app attempting to apply for the said certificate, but then everything fell apart – the app came up with an error multiple times, and as it was a Saturday, no one was able to help me on the phone!
Thankfully, my friends were on hand to support and assure me that I would be able to enter the country with my Australian Vaccination Certificate (big relief while queuing up to board the plane!). They were right, I was able to go through the Nepali Immigration with my local Certificate and Immunisation History. Another big relief… I was now able to head to the hotel to get some zzz after being awake for almost 24 hours. That just reminded me yet again the great distance the Aussies and the Kiwis have to travel to get to anywhere in the world… but hey, I’m not one to complain being able to travel!
Tip: Don’t be like me. Make sure you check the vaccination requirements for your destination before travel and if the country requires an International Vaccination Certificate, make sure you get this sorted out way before your travel date and save yourself panic.
Day 1: Mehendi
A few of us met up for breakfast, went shopping (one of us lost our luggage so had to shop for some new clothes) and prepared for our first wedding event in the evening – the Mehendi, a pre-wedding celebration to wish the bride good health and prosperity as she makes her journey on to marriage.
The Mehendi was so much fun! All the guests (family and close friends) celebrated with colourful and traditional outfits, danced away with cocktails in hand, and henna tattoo printed on our hands. For the ladies, we wore a Lehenga (or a Saree for some). The Lehenga is the part that us ladies needed to prepare prior to the trip. I bought mine online and loved it!
Day 2: Patan Durbar Square
We went on a tour to visit one of seven UNESCO Heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley (impressive!) – the Patan Durbar Square. Sadly, the site was heavily damaged by the 2015 earthquake, which has had a huge impact on the Nepalese tourism. Nevertheless, it was a site to behold despite the dust and pollution.
Tip: If you suffer from breathing problems due to pollution, make sure you bring a mask along with you!
Day 3: Wedding Ceremony
We attended a full day, traditional Nepalese Wedding Ceremony. It was wow! We started off the day bright and early at 6am where the ladies would get fitted with a saree. It is a tradition in Nepal where the bride would gift her family and friends a saree for the wedding. I loved it again!
After breakfast, we went on a Janti (groom’s wedding procession) and then attended the ceremony in an outdoor garden setting. It was beautiful seeing the bride and groom looking so happy and blissful.
Day 4: Nagarkot and Bhaktapur
This time, we had two days in between to do some of the touristy stuff. And we REALLY made use of those two days. Firstly, we went on a day tour to Nagarkot and Bhakatapur.
Nagarkot is located 32 km west of Kathmandu. At an elevation of 2,195 metres, it is considered one of the most scenic spots in Bhaktapur District. We stopped by a cafe/restaurant at the top of Nagarkot to take in the spectacular view of the Himalayan ranges! Then embarked on our 2+ hour hike through the rural villages and farmland.
After all that hiking, we actually went to Bhaktapur to see more. Like a whole lot more! It was a very long day. We visited 55 Window Palace located in the centre of Bhaktapur Durbar Square and even saw the Kumari (living goddess).
Tip: If you’re travelling to the mountains during winter, make sure you bring a warm jacket with you. During the day in the city, it gets quite warm (goes up to 20+ degrees celsius) but you should still bring something warm with you as it can get cold in the morning and at night.
Tip: When out and about, and if you’re lucky to find a public toilet, chances are it will not be pleasant (when I say ‘not pleasant’, I mean it will be horrendously disgusting!). And pack some toilet paper if you can remember!
Day 5: Flight to see Mt Everest
So this is the day when a few of us went on a 1-hour scenic flight to see Mt Everest! And of course to see other mountains too but… Mt Everest! Once in a lifetime experience they say. That was indeed an incredible experience.
Tip: When booking for the flight, it might be best to do so with your hotel concierge. We paid USD280 per person. If this is not available at the hotel, then try booking online via TripAdvisor.
In the afternoon, we went to Swayambhu and the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple. Then we went to see the Boudhanath Stupa – one of the largest spherical stupas in the world. That was a sight to behold.
Day 6: Wedding Reception
This was the last wedding event before flying home. There was a lot of food and a lot of dancing. Unfortunately, I missed the majority of it but I heard the bride and groom performed their wedding dance and that was a spectacle!
Day 7: Cashmere Scarf Shopping and Lunch
On our last day, we went shopping for cashmere scarves in the city. There were hundreds of shops that sell cashmere scarves – like literally every second shop you walk past sells cashmere. I felt compelled to buy a few for myself and my family, which of course I did.
After all that shopping, we went to the Hotel Yak and Yeti for lunch. That was a nice lunch I have to say. And of course I took photos of the food (and Pat trying to hide behind his drink).
And… it was time to fly home. That was seriously one epic trip.
We caught a very late flight out of Kathmandu with Singapore Airlines and had an 18-hour layover there. I will write another post about my layover in Singapore.
Until then… sweet travels!
2 responses to “Wedding in Kathmandu, Nepal”
Amazing blog. Really enjoyed reading. So many great memories 🤩
I am missing the trip too! Wonderful memories indeed 😍