Friday, August 15, 2014

Our Lovely Guest House & Retreat Center


Changunarayan Temple at sunset, from a distance
Most of my readers are aware of our retreat center project, but the details haven't been properly clarified. I hope this blog post serves as a bit of a 'walk-through.' Few are daring enough to come without seeing what they are getting themselves into.

First, the village. It's just so peaceful. The people live and dress like they have for generations and few over the age of 30 speak much English. However, most of the young people do speak English and at least a couple more languages, German and Japanese being among the most popular.



The village is made up of the main part with the steps leading up to the temple. There are several thangka, craft stores, restaurants and guest houses as you walk up. Once in awhile I will see a beggar at the temple, but it's rare. The merchants are not so aggressive as in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur.

The temple consists of a nice courtyard and many temples and idols. Beyond the temple grounds are steps leading down the hill with 108 steps. There is a nice lookout area at the temple, but if you walk down the steps you can follow the road to the end of the hill for views of many of the tourist sites in Kathmandu and sometimes you can see the big mountains. Our guest house is just at the end of the hill.



About the guest house: 
Modern, brand new building with screens on the windows and many other things Westerners have come to expect. Although you may find it humorous that I’m bragging about screens on the windows, you’ll understand when you get here.

Back-up electric system and emergency lamps in case the electrical blackouts last longer than the schedule suggests; it happens occasionally.

WIFI 24/7, fairly fast; think 1999.

Solar water system and back-up LP gas.

Clean, fully stocked kitchen with organic coffee and Nepali teas.

Organic vegetables when they are available.

Lovely views of the Kathmandu Valley along with a quiet location in an ancient village will provide a setting for a peaceful stay.

What’s included?
-Room with attached bath
-All rooms are decorated and fully furnished with a robe (for women), a lock box for valuables, bed with new foam mattress, toilet shoes, back-up lamp (for extended electrical problems), mosquito net and paddle, soap, extra blanket, towels and toilet paper.
-All the food you want to eat: Any vegetarian meal you want to eat while you are at the guest house will be individually prepared for you. Although we do not cook meat very often we do use cheese and have found sources for delicious cheese in Nepal.
-Shared ride in a private car to your daily activities in the Kathmandu Valley.
-Help and guidance on whatever you want to do or need help with. This is a family type atmosphere. I have an extensive knowledge of Nepal and have many contacts that will help you to have an enjoyable stay here.
What’s not included in long term stay:
-Medical insurance or medical expenses.
-Transportation to and from Nepal.
-Visa fees. A tourist visa costs about $2 per day.
-Any expenses arising out of unforeseen circumstances like flight delay/cancellation/hike in fare, strike or any other natural calamities.
-Personal nature expenses i.e. International Telephone Calls, Soft/Hard Drinks, meals while outside the guest house, tipping etc.
-Camera Fee & Entrance Fees to UNESCO sites/entertainment expenses.
- Anything not specified is probably not included.
- Meat. Our kitchen is primarily vegetarian due to refrigeration and sanitation issues in Nepal.



We just finished tiling the bottom floor for the restaurant, which we hope to be an Italian, vegetarian restaurant. Although we will have a menu for our guests off the street, our residents who live at the retreat center will be able to order anything they like, at no additional charge. We'll have tables downstairs in the restaurant, outside on the patio area and on the roof.

Although it looks like our location is just not so good for drop by guests, we have a cook who will prepare your meal for you and he is quite skilled. Keep in mind that he is Nepali, so you may need to coach him for something culturally unique to him. Our kitchen is cast iron or stainless steel, with the exception of one skillet and our old pressure cooker. As you can see, we have a lot of stuff, food processors, juicers, French press coffee makers and even a bread making machine and pasta maker.

Next, we have a living room with a TV on each floor for our guests. We have all the channels available to Nepal,  DVD player and a large DVD library. The cable channels don't work when our electric is cut because we are in the same load shed district as the cable company. I find that hilarious.


Here is one of the living rooms. I believe in having a lot of room to call your own and interact with others.


We have tables and umbrellas for the rooftop and patio area on the bottom floor.

I feel that some pictures of the rooms will be helpful. I haven't put all the curtains up on the windows yet. I didn't know quite what to do about them. I didn't want to cover up the beautiful views of the Himalayas and the Valley, but now I have a plan and will have them up shortly.

Each room is decorated with original artwork.

Room descriptions/list prices:

Penthouse: $650 per month. This room features a king size bed that can be separated into 2 twin beds, a lovely view and it’s on the top floor so you can just step out to the rooftop where we have tables and umbrellas. We can put curtains on the windows to keep the light out, but there is no need of curtains for privacy; I just hate to cover the view. Room number C1



Small Rooftop room: Occupied. Room number C2




Second floor deluxe room: Same approximate size as the Penthouse, but with a queen size bed. $600 per month. Room Number B1.



Second floor small room: $500 per month. This room has a single size bed and faces the back. Although there is a shower, the bathroom is quite small and the resident of this room is welcome to use the common toilet for taking showers, just outside of the room. Room number B2.








First floor deluxe room: This room faces the lovely view side and features a king size bed that can also be two twin beds. $600 per month. Here it is shown with both bed layouts. Room number A1.

First floor small room: $500 per month. This room has a set of bunk beds, custom made a bit longer than the standard twin bed. This room also faces the back, which looks out at a little road few cars drive on. The bathroom is quite small, so the resident of this room will be welcome to use the common toilet for taking showers; it’s right outside the room.  This bathroom can be remodeled for you and this room is ideal for someone who is either traveling with someone or who is on a smaller budget. We can give this room for a reduced rate if you have a hardship. 



For more information on the project please see our website, http://UnconventionalTourist.com

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3022270