On the topic of “Lost Horizon” (which you can guess by now I have a thing for), I have to say that one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever had was to Kathmandu about 5 years ago.
On the foothills of the Himalayas, arriving in Kathmandu was like I had landed straight into a Tintin book. It was exotic, chaotic, old and smelt of incense everywhere – I loved it.
My husband (then boyfriend) and I stayed at the Hotel Utse in Thamel, the tourist district. It was by no means luxurious in any way, but it had the perfect local flavour we wanted. Oh, and it was also very clean, comfortable, friendly and cheap with pretty good food.
Our room, which was simply furnished had its own bathroom and was spacious enough to include a little sitting area overlooking a courtyard where you could see the temple and roof tops beyond.
I still remember our first morning there – I had the Tibetan breakfast at the hotel restauant and the yak butter and tea was something else! My husband wisely stuck to the American breakfast as always, a good thing as I had to nick some of his eggs and coffee in the end.
Utse opened about 28 years ago, where its restaurant was one of the first in Thamel. Its lobby is like a traditional Tibetan living room, and a good place to have tea (we got addicted to the masala tea- yum!) and meet people. And location-wise, it couldn’t be better.
The hotel is a bargain at about $25 a night and the crowd consisted of quite a few backpackers – but thankfully not the partying kind. There was also a roof terrace which looked utterly charming – for some reason I never quite made it up there despite spending about a week at the hotel, at the beginning and end of our wonderful trip to Nepal.
Oh well, its something to look forward to when we return one day.