Patan

Patans Durbar Square

While we were trekking our guide Bolle had invited us to have dinner with his family in Patan. Of course we accepted the invitation since we were planning on visiting Patan anyway. Patan is a small city on the outskirts of Kathmandu, in fact it’s so close that we walked there from Kathmandu. It was an interesting walk, it took about 1 hour and it allowed us to see the real Kathmandu outside of the Thamel area.

While walking we noticed that many roads were closed due to protests that were happening, we weren’t sure what the protests were about but it was interesting to see. We also had to cross a bridge over the most polluted river I have ever come across. The smell was awful and there were poor cows down inside it trying to scavange some food. Once we got to the city walls of Patan we had to pay a fee to enter the city. We then got a tag that we had to wear while inside.

Patan is a beautiful city and famous for it’s rich cultural heritage. The Durbar square of Patan is probably the most beautiful square I’ve ever seen. it is full of old temples and surrounded by old buildings, no cars are allowed either which makes it even better. After walking around for a while we found our guest house, unloaded our bags and decided to explore Patan. Patan is a popular day trip destination for many travellers but few stay the night here. We are so glad that we stayed the night and got to see the Patan without the tourists. We were supposed to meet Bolle in a couple of hours so we found a rooftop and enjoyed a nice lunch while looking over the beautiful rooftops of Patan.

The beautiful rooftops of Patan.
Wonderful buildings.
Durbar Square.

Meeting Bolle again was so nice and we were both very excited to meet his family, he walked us down the small alleyways away from the square and eventually we made it to his house. Well, when I say house, I really should be saying room. I would be lying if I was to say that I wasn’t a little saddened when seeing his house. Him, his two young sons and his wife all live in one room that is smaller than any of the apartments I’ve stayed in in Korea, they had no running water and had to use a shared outdoor toilet. But they were honestly happier than any family that I know in the western world.

Bolles son posing for the camera. (he was very shy before
this shot was taken)

While his wife cooked us dinner, we took his two young boys out and they showed us some local temples and sights. At first they were so shy and didn’t want to be anywhere near us, but once I started taking photos of them and allowed them to use my camera we were the best of friends.

Bolle and his two sons showing us the local sights.
Spinning the prayer wheels.
Believe it or not this is actually a temple!

We both loved Patan, especially the area where Bolle lives. It is so vibrant and full of life. There were ducks, hens and dogs running around as well as little kids.

Some ducks in the street.

Once we got back to Bolles house his wife had dinner ready for us. It was the Nepali staple that is Daal Bhat but she had bought a chicken and cooked it for us. We felt so honoured as we know that chickens are very expensive for them and aren’t eaten very often. Dinner was absolutely amazing and the chai that came with it was equally wonderful. We had a great evening and when it was time to bid farewell we arranged to meet up again the next day as Bolle needed to go back to Kathmandu with us.

Bolle and his wonderful family.
Me playing with the two boys on Bolle and his wifes bed.

To get back to our guesthouse we had to walk past the square again. It looked even more magnificient at night with all of the beautiful temples lit up and the travellers gone home.

Patans Durbar Square at night.
It looks beautiful no matter what time of the day it is.

The next morning I woke before 6am. I didn’t want to sit around waiting for Jason at the guesthouse so I got up to go for coffee somewhere. I walked towards the square and realised that nowhere opened until 9 so I sat at the square and watched as Nepali life went on around me. It was interesting to see just how busy the square was with locals coming and going even though it was so early.

The square during the daytime.
One of the many beautiful buildings in the square.

After a while Jason joined me and we ate breakfast. Afterwards we decided to try and find presents for Bolle and his family as a thank you for dinner the night before. We really wanted to buy them a chicken but after searching everywhere we couldn’t find one so we settled on getting some toys for the children.

We found a little shop and bought a soccer ball (which was randomly a Dublin Gaelic football!), an alphabet puzzle and a magic board for drawing on. When we arrived at Bolles house he wasn’t there but his wife was with her friend and her friends child. It was a little awkward as they couldn’t speak English and we couldn’t speak Nepali but we gave the youngest son the alphabet puzzle and watched as him and the sweet little girl played with it. They were so happy. Then when it was time to leave they tried to give the toy back to us. We had to try to explain that it was for him to keep, when he realised this he had the biggest smile on his face.

Playing with their ABC puzzle.

This next moment I’ll never forget for as long as I live. We pulled the ball out and gave it to him and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain the joy in his face, I have never seen it before on any other childs face. It was pure shock, happiness, amazement all in one. It really hit us that this family had so little but seemed so happy and when the children get a gift they appreciate it more than any child in the western world would.

After that incredible moment it was time to say goodbye to Patan and go back to Kathmandu one last time and collect our Indian visas

How to get there:Β 
We walked from Kathmandu and it’s a very straight forward route, it takes about one hour. We then took a taxi back into Kathmandu from Patan.

Where to stay:
Since it’s so close to Kathmandu many people do day trips to Patan so there isn’t a huge selection of accommodation available in the area.
We found the Durbar Square Guesthouse and really enjoyed our stay there

Tripadvisor reviews of Durbar Square guesthouse:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g315764-d1520704-Reviews-Durbar_Guest_House-Patan_Lalitpur_Kathmandu_Valley_Bagmati_Zone_Central_Region.html

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2 thoughts on “Patan

  1. Hi! I stumbled upon your blog while I was searching for Nepal blogs. This is such a beautiful account. I was wondering if Bolle is a city guide / non trekking guide as well? We shall be visiting the Kathmandu Valley and we don't plan on hiking, but we would love to meet new friends or have someone guide us on our trip. Thank you.

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  2. Hi, thank you for reading. I hope it has helped a bit for your trip. Nepal is such an amazing country, you are going to love it!
    I'm not sure about Bolle being a city guide but I'm sure that he would love an e-mail from you enquiring. He knows a lot about the Kathmandu area so I'm sure he'd love to help!
    His e-mail address is bollemagar@yahoo.com.

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