Kathmandu —> Kuala Lumpur —> Phuket

I am so happy to arrive in Thailand! The flights were a pain in the arse as usual but generally grand. I can’t conceal my pure joy at going to Thailand again. It really is one of my happy places. I land in Phuket with a content familiarity at being here before. I can’t take the smile off my face. I know my way around, I know where to take the local bus & I have a handwritten map with nice hostels marked out. This is quite organised for me & I’m very pleased with myself!

I sit on the bus & take my book out. It’s mainly a prop as I spend the majority of my time taking in the views, talking to people & thinking how lucky I am. By the time I reach Phuket town I have 2 other people in my entourage also looking for somewhere to stay. We call into a hostel & think it’s a bit expensive for what it’s offering. The next place is much nicer & cheaper so we quickly agree to stay. It feels so nice to set my backpack down & have a big spacious area in a room. Even having a non bunk bed feels like a luxury! These beds have their own shelf, light, power socket & a segregating wall around the top part of your bed. They almost feel private!

I am so hot & sweaty after the day of travel & wandering around Phuket so I immediately shower, then get changed, leave a pile of washing at reception & go out for a wander. I’m not hungry yet, my body is confused with crossing timezones & travelling for so long.

I’m going to a fitness retreat here in Thailand, although I don’t have any clothes & my trainers disintegrated a country ago. After months of neglect it’s now necessary to go shopping so I go to take the bus to the shopping centre. A tuk tuk driver calls me over offering me an extortionate rate. I politely decline telling him I’m taking the local bus then he negotiates to take me for the same price as the bus but we’ll stop at a shop for me to have a look in & I don’t have to buy anything (as he gets commission for footfall through the store). This feels like a reasonable deal & the guy seems sound so I happily pop into the tuk tuk. The shop he takes me to is an overpriced western style shop aimed at rich tourists. I do my bit pretending to browse then I actually see a piece of jewellery I like. FML. It costs £7. This is a lot of money to me in Thailand. I think of the cost of jewellery I buy at home & £7 seems like a very good deal. Either way I’m torn. I buy it. I laugh at how I was totally willingly duped – but I love my new necklace so I don’t care! The tuk tuk driver is delighted & has even agreed to collect me from the shopping centre & bring me home in a couple of hours!

The shopping centre is full of western shops & it is exactly what I’m after – h&m to get some basics,  boots for the amazing Urban Happiness aromatherapy products stocked in their Thai branches (you have to try these, they are incredible & I can’t find them anywhere else!), & a sports shop to buy trainers. I spend way too much money on my much needed 2 bags of shopping & go to take my free tuk tuk back. At the hostel my washing is ready & waiting for me at the front desk. It smells heavenly & this makes me a bit emotional after months of damp smelling, washed in dirty water, clothes. I throw out my holey, worn out, clothes & lie down for a couple of hours excited at my evening plans to visit the night market with my new french friends. I reflect again how lucky I am before the hot humid air leads me to sleep.

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Farewell Nepal!

Farewell & thank you Nepal. You were lovely!

My last days in Nepal were a delight. I wandered around Kathmandu calling in to the shops of people I had become friendly with for a wee chat. I ate well, planned my trip & relaxed. I made friends at the hostel, visited the Garden of Dreams, wandered the streets & really enjoyed my last few days.

 

 

Garden of Dreams

A blissful Garden hidden behind a busy main road. The beautifully named garden is neo-classical style & was built in 1920s. It’s a peaceful hideaway from the hustle & bustle of town. The destruction from the 2015 Earthquake is evident as rebuilding is ongoing….

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I didn’t know I would visit you until a few days before & I am genuinely glad I have! I hope to make it back someday to tackle Everest Base Camp. I have a newfound confidence that I am capable & if I build some stamina I can do it. What an achievement it would be! A little Irish wanderer like myself getting to Everest Base Camp – amazing! Next time I see you Nepal, I’m coming for Everest!

Next up is Thailand & something I’ve never done before – a weight loss camp!

Eating in Kathmandu, Nepal

Successfully eating my way around the world…..

Here’s some of what Kathmandu has to offer:

I can’t tell you how much I want Pad Thai right now!

Rosemary Cafe

This place does lovely breakfasts. I adored the french toast, bacon & maple syrup. It has a sweet outdoor seating area, good service & great food. I often came here alone to sort out my life with the decent wifi. Occasionally I would bring a friend & they were always impressed with this side street find.

 

OR2K

This is a really popular restaurant with numerous floors. It has a cool, chilled vibe, sociable on floor seating, a vast menu & quirky decor. This was a firm favourite with all my friends, but personally I thought it was a bit pricey & I didn’t really love the food. I would happily curl up here with a book & ginger, lemon & honey. They have a sister restaurant in Pokhara which is exactly the same decor & vibe. Worth checking out.

 

Chick N Falafel

There was a wrap bar under OR2K & I noticed before the queues outside. Taking this as a positive sign I joined the queue & had my first wrap! It was a spiced chicken, salad & sauce wrapped in a steaming mann – tasty, cheap & super filling. I loved it & wish I tried it sooner. After discovering it I had it every other day!

 

Pumpernickel Bakery

I came here for breakfast a few times & it was lovely. It has a laid back atmosphere & great food with freshly baked goods . The fruit, muesli, curd was my staple here & the great wifi meant that I would often sit here for a few hours planning my trip.

 

Utse Restaurant

The hostel recommended this restaurant to us as a hidden nepalese gem. This is a traditional menu with great options. We got thalis & were overwhelmed with the amount of food that arrived! Great value for the amount of food you get.

 

Thamel Momo Hut

Being the momo addict I am of course I couldn’t pass the momo hut without calling in. Lovely momos! Not the best I’ve had, but I won’t knock a momo!

 

New Orleans Cafe

This is a cute restaurant, a bit more expensive than others. It has a good menu & a selection from the west as well. The cocktail list was tempting!

 

Sum Cafe

This was part of our hostel, Thamel 327, offering a nice menu, average/expensive price. I had breakfast a few times here but would normally get a ginger, lemon, honey here then venture out for a walk & find somewhere else to eat. Friendly staff & great hostel!

 

 

 

Back to Kathmandu, Nepal

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Back in Kathmandu it is busier & louder than I remembered. The streets are smaller, dustier & more crowded. The beggars are closer & the sellers are louder. The narrow streets & tall buildings are not the breath of fresh air I experienced when I arrived from India. I’m relieved I only have a few days here & I hope they’ll be spent relaxing & planning my onwards trip as much as possible.

Debilitated by impatience I go ahead of my friend to the hostel, check in & lie in my bed exhausted. Exhausted from another day spent wishing my time away sitting on my arse on shitty cheap transport. I melt into the bed & my problems evaporate. My friend joins me & I pretend to be asleep, drowning her out with my wishes that she wasn’t here driving me crazy. I miss my independence & anonymity.

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Leaving Pokhara, Nepal

Flights booked, plan formed & renewed energy flowing through me – I am happy to be moving on! It’s nothing personal Nepal, honestly. I have really enjoyed aspects of you but for me, right now, you haven’t been taken into my heart. I’m leaving Pokhara to go back to Kathmandu for a few days before jetting off to Thailand – one of the countries firmly secured in my heart. I am happy to be leaving Pokhara. It wasn’t the holistic haven people boasted about. It was a cloudy, rainy, dull town – with some charm. It’s my own fault for not seeing or doing more. I am fair weather, I hate monkeys & I’m on a budget. You can still do most if you fall into these categories. I just didn’t seem to have enough motivation.

When the weather clears & you can actually see the peaks of the mountains it is beautiful & impressive. Even the moody clouds & the howling wind were striking. One day the weather just turned from pleasant to shiver inducing eery. The sky went dark, the clouds felt so close like they could touch the ground & the air became haunting. The pictures below don’t do justice to how encapsulating & sinister the clouds felt.

 

 

 

 

 

I felt a little stuck in Pokhara. The mountains were more freeing although not in my heart like the mountains in Verbier, Switzerland. I don’t feel like I’m being unfair to Pokhara or Nepal. Everyone has personal preferences, nostalgia that draws them to form an opinion, gut feelings on certain places. That’s what I love about travelling. It’s such an individual experience in the end. The Pokhara I see will not be the one unfolding in front of your eyes when you go.

I’m in a grumpy mood waiting for my eternally late friend to go to the bus station. I’m not looking forward to our long, bumpy journey squashed on the bus. I can’t wait for space from her. I can’t wait to be back in the Thamel 327, horizontal – My happy place.

Thanks Skyscanner!

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I am much better at sky scanning than soul searching. After a few nights mulling over my options on Skyscanner I have come up with an epic itinerary. I’m super excited!

I have accepted a temporary nanny position in Europe & will be beginning in 2 months. In the meantime I am taking a tour of epic proportions! Thailand, Australia (to pick up my luggage & see my friends again), Shanghai (to visit 2 friends), Japan (I can’t wait! My face lights up when I realise I’m going!), South Korea (to visit a friend) then Switzerland for work.

I am really craving western culture & lifestyle after a couple of months in India & Nepal. I want better hygiene standards & ease of life with an ache that moves me. I am begging to walk down a street that’s not covered in litter. I think this is the first time I’ve craved western life. I’m almost ashamed to admit it. I feel like I’m betraying the carefree spirit backpacker I am but my heart wants what it wants! I’m optimistic about going back to Europe again. New Zealand has made me appreciate how fortunate I am to live in Europe – as a curious traveller. The access to numerous countries, cultural differences & stunning beauty is incredible.

It has taken a couple of nights to book everything with a few price increases & hidden charges. Now I have everything booked I want to tell the world – I HAVE A PLAN! I know where I’ll be for the next 4 months! I have direction, multi-directional direction.

My exit plan from Nepal

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I’m at another crossroads of my life. It’s more of a spaghetti junction. I could go anywhere in this world – within reason…. Myanmar looks hauntingly beautiful & backpackers speak fondly of it. Bhutan would be incredible to visit. Mongolia is high on my list. Japan has been sitting on the forefront of my mind. My cousins can’t recommend Vietnam enough to me. Thailand is a country I adore. Then I have to think of my finances…. I could go back to New Zealand to work. I could nanny again. Working on super yachts is another option. Back to Ireland & spend time with my family in the homeland after all these years? Another country? Another career change? Am I getting too old for this shit??

I’m open to all suggestions. One option is to nanny in Switzerland & Spain for a few weeks for a family I worked with before. It would get me to Europe for the summer, I would be closer to my family, I could replenish my funds.

Sat in my hostel in Nepal with travel options, destinations, prices & dates scribbled on to a notepad I close my eyes & melt into my bed. My mind is a busy chattering of what I could do next. So much research into expenses, visas & possible itinerarys. I just want to choose something & throw myself into planning. I’m worried that I’m running out of money & as time ticks by, my options diminish.

Eating in Pokhara, Nepal


Pokhara has that backpacker eatery  thing going on. They know what they’re doing. It isn’t exactly cheap & many places add 20% on top of the bill. When you’re a backpacker on a budget you only fall for this a few times before it becomes the first thing you check in a restaurant. Here are a selection of some of the lovely places I visited:

 

AM/PM Organic food

The fruit, museli & curd here is lovely! It is served in a mason jar & feels very London good living chic – not litter strewn Pokhara. It tastes lovely. The wifi is good here, the service is good & I enjoyed the ambiance. It’s quite western & a bit more expensive than other cafes. I was most impressed at a cheeseboard on the menu – I couldn’t afford to try it!

 

Peace Eye Cafe

I came her for a shake & it tasted so terrible I couldn’t drink anymore – which, for a massive foodie like me, was extremely disappointing! I didn’t come back here after which was annoying because the decor & ambience was really chill.

 

Guesthouse next to Peace Eye Cafe

I visited this cafe/hotel daily while I was doing my course as it was nearby. The fruit, muesli & curd was so tasty & really reasonable. Their juices were nice as well. The atmosphere was laid back & homely. I visited so often that the staff & even some of the other guests just presumed I was staying here.

 

OR2K

This is pure backpacker haven. The comfy seating on floor is so chilled out. This restaurant is really big & spacious with stunning views of the lake & mountains. The wifi is good – when the electric is working & there are plenty of plug sockets for everyone. Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy the food here & on several occasions I passed my barely touched plate on to fellow backpackers. The staff are friendly & it is nicely decorated. This is a branch of the same named restaurant in Kathmandu, they are very popular.

 

The Hungry Eye

I came here a few times, mainly for decent wifi access. It’s a nice comfy place to lounge in. The food is ok. The hot chocolates hit the spot & staff are friendly. They have good wifi – when the electricity is working.

 

Godfather’s Pizzeria

I heard good things about this restaurant & I had to try it! I wasn’t disappointed. The electric went out mid meal & we all sat in darkness nibbling our pizza’s until the generators fired on. If you’re a pizza fan check it out.

 

Olive Branch

We came here the night before my friends went for their Annapurna Circuit hike. They had impressive looking curry. The food was nice & they have a happy hour beer & wine deal.

 

I have no doubt you can find something for all tastes in Pokhara – & remember, TripAdvisor is your friend!

Happy New Year Nepal!

2073! Happy New Year!

The town has been really busy with people & festivities! There are celebrations & music along the streets & after parties advertised for the bars later in the evening. There’s even a display of these creepy fellows carved from fruit & vegetables!

A fairground & big stage have been set up to host the festivities. There’s a busy line up of singers & dancers throughout the night & all the locals cheer & sing along to the hits! There’s an abundance of stalls selling clothes, snacks, drinks & toys. The area is incredibly busy with people in a great mood!

We could smell the delicious food stalls before we seen them

Spot the children sleeping behind the stalls

The locals are going crazy for the games to win a bottle of pop or even a can of tuna!

I can’t keep away from the food stalls & had to try this spicy dish – the vendor took a small scoop from each of the preprepared different lentils, corn, nuts etc. In the end it was way too hot for me to finish!


I’ve come with my Brazilian friends & we are getting into the party spirit & dancing along having a great time. The locals are so happy & in the mood to celebrate. My friends are getting a bit drunk but I’m not interested – My party spirit has abandoned me & I’m looking forward to bed!

The kids are all dancing like crazy to the singers on stage & the atmosphere is electric! There is a countdown to midnight & everyone screams in amazement at the fireworks. Everyone is in a joyous mood.

The rain dots my face as I make my way home through the crowds. I feel like an outsider & an intruder observing from a distance.

Reiki course complete – what a relief….

After a week of Reiki, Shiatsu, yoga & dynamic meditation I feel…… Not any different to be honest. I was hoping to be much more centred, balanced & have a clearer head. I feel just as confused, distracted & overwhelmed as I did prior to starting the course. I don’t feel like I have gained any clarity or enhanced in any way. Was it a wasted week?? Why do I bother with this self improvement & continued professional development??

I feel like I’m striving for outward gains when what I need to do is look internally & focus on what’s inside & self discovery.

On completion of the course I am unsure how I feel about Reiki, my capabilities to facilitate it & my belief in it. I feel like I haven’t been led by optimal reiki masters. I have a belief & trust in Reiki but I think I’ve been let down. I’m disappointed by this experience & annoyed that my time & money hasn’t been channeled optimally. I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it now, but going forward I can be more selective about my teachers & be assertive enough to be able to stop a course when I feel like I’m not getting anything out of it. It’s a shame.

On my last day the people at the centre held a celebration party in my honour. I can be very shy & I was absolutely apprehensive at what this would entail. The party was a made up of my reiki instructor & a couple of people who ran the centre as well as 4 local children. I was presented with my certificates & wholly embarrassed with the fuss & being the centre of attention! After a few cringe worthy photographs we had a dance party where we threw our best moves to meditation music. I have never felt more awkward!!!! Sober dancing can be bad enough when you’re not in the mood, never mind to music you can’t dance to & an audience of people keen to see your western moves.

When I think of it I’m transported straight back to that room & what could well be a life peak of discomfort & embarrassed artificial enjoyment.

I managed 30 minutes of stiff swaying & more fake laughter & ‘smiling through it’ that I thought I could muster. The 30 minute mark came – but we didn’t stop. Welcome to my absolute hell! I was so uncomfortable. I was working down a list through my head of sudden illnesses I could feign to get out of this. If I was back in Ireland I could just should that I left the immersion on then flee.

After 10 more long, unrelenting minutes the ceremony was finally over. We gave each other awkward hugs. I was losing the will to live. I was so happy to leave. I have never endured such prolonged embarrassing discomfort of being uncomfortable in my own skin & exposed to unwanted attention.