Kathmandu

13th July 2007 at 01:00
Jyotsna Gyawali is a grade two teacher at Kaasthamandap Vidyalaya Primary School in Kathmandu, Nepal

Favourite place when you have time off?

I like to have a barbecue lunch and swim at the Godavari Village Resort (www.godavariresort.com) in the hills above Kathmandu or just to walk through Patan's Durbar Square. A good day out is to hike from Nagarkot, a quiet, cool spot, from which on a clear day you can see the Himalayas, and continue gently downhill to Changunarayan, where there has been a temple since the fourth century. Royal Chitwan National Park, in the south of Nepal, is a good place to go with the children when we have a week off. It's rich in wildlife, such as the rare greater one-horned rhinoceros, and you can try elephant safaris and dugout canoeing and visit the local Tharu tribe.

When's a good time to come?

I think autumn, September to November, is best as most festivals fall at this time, the weather is excellent and there are tantalising mountain views. Winter (December to February) is good for trekking below 3,000 metres. Between March and May wild flowers decorate the hillsides above 5,000 metres. From June through to the end of August is monsoon time and you need insect repellent, but it is good for trekking into the rain shadow region behind the high mountains.

Lunchtime treats?

Fire Ice in Thamel for pizza and ice-cream, or Chez Caroline in Baber Mahal, Patan, or Mike's Breakfast in Durbar Marg.

Evening delights?

Kilroy's of Kathmandu in Thamel or Dhokaima Cafe in Patan Dhoka.

Don't miss

Shopping for pashimna products including the pashmina, made out of a combination of pashimna and silk, and traditional jewellery.

Visitors beware

Water and foods at some local restaurants. It's essential to get the right inoculations before you come, too.

Remember to bring

Not too much. The weight limit on treks and domestic flights is 15kg (33lbs). Bring your walking boots, but even these, and most equipment and books, can be bought in Kathmand *

Find out more

The Nepalese Embassy (020 7229 1594, www.nepembassy.org.uk) for travel and visa information. Read Tigers of the Snow by Jonathan Neale (Abacus, pound;8.99) for a Sherpa focus on Himalayan climbing.

How to get there ** The Mountain Company's 12-day luxury tour of Nepal beginning and ending in Kathmandu costs from pound;1,595 per person (based on two sharing), including internal transfers, guides, activities and accommodation, but not international flights, local taxes and tips.

Call 020 7498 0953 or visit www.themountain company.co.uk ** If going independently, use a reputable local company such as Nepal Sanctuary Treks (00 977 1 441 4492, www.nepal sanctuarytreks.com).

As well as all kinds of treks, it offers a simple two-night wildlife safari in Chitwan for about pound;275 for a family of two adults and two children, including private transport, jungle lodge accommodation and all jungle activities. ** Qatar Airways (0870 770 4215, www.qatarairways.com) flies from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester to Kathmandu from pound;566.50 return.

Price to the planet

Offset the climate cost of a return flight for pound;15.55 per adult. Visit www.climatecare.org.

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