Sunday, January 26, 2020

Getting the Most Out of Your Time in Nepal-Panauti Ancient City



Bhirab Temple near the Panauti Museum


We went to Panauti for a few days recently and explored the area. I have to say it was a much better experience than I had anticipated. There is something about this ancient city that draws me. If I go to nearby Dhulikel I try to make time to visit Panauti. But it's rustic and I'm not always able to deal with 'rustic.'

Your admission to the temple site area includes the museum. Although it's small, it's got a nice selection of many artifacts from Nepal's past. 


We are doing a three-part series on this ancient city with the first being a good place to stay there, Panauti Hotel. There just aren't many guesthouses or hotels that are anywhere near international standards, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you enjoy a local experience there are several homestays in Panauti. Here is our video about this moderately priced hotel.



We also visited a little orphanage, making me a real hypocrite. I always said I wouldn't support an orphanage, but then I met up with an old friend. He told me about one in Panauti that was struggling and yet doing a lot of good for actual orphans, which is not always the case in Asia. 

Typically, orphanages exploit children, but as my friend explained, the government of Nepal has cleaned up the industry and the orphanage complies with the new laws. I was impressed with the enthusiasm and love each of the staff expressed. I could also see the children loved them and are being taken care of.



I hope you follow along with me as I interview the staff. I was really impressed with the enthusiasm of each of them. The children seemed happy, too. I'll post that here when it's uploaded.


So, if you are wondering if a day or two in Panauti would be of value during your time in Nepal, here are some reasons it might be for you. 


It's just a lovely place that any tourist will enjoy, but it has these advantages:
        It's flat, which makes it easier for the elderly and tourists with health challenges. You will still need to be able to walk up at least one flight of stairs; there doesn't seem to be any elevators in Panauti.
        It's outside of the Kathmandu Valley and often has crispy clean air.
       There are few tourists who go to Panauti, compared to nearby Bhaktapur, so you can experience authentic culture.
       It's on the Valley Rim Trekking Route.
       It has a smaller admission price than nearby Bhaktapur. Panauti is only $3 for westerners while Bhaktapur is $15, much less for SAARC nations.
     
*Travel Tip:
If you go to Bhaktapur be sure to pay 1,500 Nepali Rupee instead of western money. The sign says to pay either one, but $15 is more than 1,500 Nrs.
 
We happened upon this interesting handicraft store.


Items inside the little store

Bhirab and other artifacts in the museum

This museum is small but quite interesting

Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy New Year Visit Nepal 2020



We had such a lovely time in Dhulikhel, just outside the Kathmandu Valley, for our New Year celebration. The views were so lovely when the sun came up over the Himalayas; it was breathtaking.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas in Nepal – Thamel Everyone Loves a Festival! 2019-2020



Most people planning to visit Nepal don't think too much about celebrating Christmas while they are here. In fact, 99 percent of the people leave to celebrate the holidays back home. But, what would celebrating Christmas in Nepal be like? Well, we went to Thamel and enjoyed the night.


       
If you are someone who gets depressed around the holidays you might want to break that cycle by doing a 'Christmas Escape.' 2020 promises to be an amazing time to go to Nepal. The roads are surprisingly good now compared to a few years ago, but it's still as crazy and exciting as you want it to be.

Christmas may have been great when we were children, but now that our grandparents have passed and everyone seems to have scattered many people become depressed and cynical during the holidays. Here's one way to make the most of it.

Nepal's government has been working hard to make tourists feel welcome and safe for their big tourism year, 2020. By December it is too cold to do a lot of trekking, but in the Kathmandu Valley, we have mild winter weather. Below, in the flat region at the Indian border, it's nice and warm in December.

 When you get to Kathmandu you'll want to do some Christmas shopping for your family and friends. Due to weight, as you can explain to your family, you were limited in what you could get them. Here are some very frugal suggestions:

For $20 gifters you can buy handcrafted calendars that are even hand-painted. They will cost you about $1-2 each.

For $50 gifters you can get lovely pashmina scarves and shawls for about $10 if you buy a few of them, excellent quality if you shop well.

For gifters of $100 or more, you could get a original, thanka painting and have it mounted in a traditional silk frame. Thankas can be found for $10 that would make an impressive gift when framed in a $35 silk frame.They are also lovely matted and framed behind glass.

Bonus tip: You can go to the Tourism Board in the huge open park area in the center of Kathmandu, Ratna Park area, and get some free posters of Nepal. They are quite nice and are easily valued at $20. They can be rolled up along with the thankas or simply slid into a shipping sleeve.

You can get great values on incense, fabric, hand carved semi-precious stones, jewelry and so much more. You may even save money even when you factor in the airfare.
A recent video we did:
How to mail a package in Nepal 2019 - Postal tips & Tricks Nepal


So, after you buy the gifts you can have one of the young men who work at your guesthouse mail everything to you in one box. We have some insights into the Nepal Postal Service in this video, above. With his pay and freight charges, shipping can be less than $50 and you can hand-deliver the gifts when you get home. Not a bad plan, uh?

Stay tuned to our Youtube channel, What About Nepal, to learn more about the shopping values you can find in Nepal. You can do a 10-day meditation, get a yoga certification, volunteer or just see all the sites in the Kathmandu Valley, so don't think you'll be bored or lonely. There is plenty to see and do to keep you busy.

Back to  the 'Christmas' subject, how many times have you been excited about the holidays and been disappointed? Perhaps it's time to do it a bit differently, 'Nepali Style.'

So, What About Nepal?


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nepal Festivals Indra Jatra 2019




Indra Jatra is the last Tourist-Friendly festival in Nepal for 2019. They will tell you the biggest and best festival is yet to come, Dashain, but that really isn't very tourist-friendly.

This year the Royal Kumari comes out on Sept. 13, Friday and it promises to be an amazing day.

Why do we celebrate this festival? To thank Lord Indra for the rich monsoon rains. However, there are other stories about the origin. Whatever started it, it's just one of those things that will enrich your time in Nepal.

Nepal Festivals Indra Jatra 2019







Indra Jatra is the last Tourist-Friendly festival in Nepal for 2019. They will tell you the biggest and best festival is yet to come, Dashain, but that really isn't very tourist-friendly.

This year the Royal Kumari comes out on Sept. 13, Friday and it promises to be an amazing day.

Why do we celebrate this festival? To thank Lord Indra for the rich monsoon rains. However, there are other stories about the origin. Whatever started it, it's just one of those things that will enrich your time in Nepal.

Sunday, August 4, 2019




 Fun With Fire!

Co-Written by blogger, Pramesh Lakhaju


We all can agree on one thing, that the Newari caste, their culture and festivals are very unique. This culture is rich and ancient so the stories and legends of the festivals carry a lot of meaning and stories behind them. There are actually more than 100 different festivals and celebrations each year just for our caste. Today was one of our more lively celebrations. This festival is called gathamaga not ghantakarna. It's misunderstood with an Indian festival It is indeed gathamaga originally. As for the meaning and story behind this festival told by my ancestors or elder Newars, here is a bit of background. 

 

Back in a day, farming was the most important thing in peoples’ lives in the Newari culture. People had to store food for whole year, especially rice at this monsoon season. And as the story goes, back in a day they didn't have machines and tools like in modern days. It was very important to farm and store food for the year for families and even the whole kingdom. And it was a very hard job and lots of physical work was needed to do the entire planting and farming process. So they say back in day they used to call spirits/demons to do all the physical tasks to finish farming which was hard or impossible without this spirit-power.

Every worker is due his pay and these demons were no different. It was impossible to keep feeding these demons because they were bigger and stronger and they ate a lot. The people had to send them away. This festival celebrates this day, the day they stopped the relationship with demons. 
 

During this festival they make statues from bamboo and straw and after carrying it down to the river, or another special place, everyone chants vulgar words and carry this demon statue made with bamboo and straw to the intersections in the villages, as we believe demon resides in these intersections. So we send them away on this day by burning the statues on this intersections, as to farewell goodbye to this demons who had helped us in farming. This being a special spiritual night. People who practice black magic it's a special day for their practice, too, they are supposed to do pujas and sacrifices in the cemetery to go onto next level or receive more knowledge on black magic. So tonight is a powerful night for both good and bad spirits. And I am super glad we still celebrate it regardless as to people commenting about speaking or shouting vulgar words in public. 


Follow along with us for even more tips and tricks for having a great time in Nepal on our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9yzaVo7LMhH7f1qFKh6gvA?view_as=subscriber

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Coming to Nepal in January-February? Come for Losar, Tibetan New Year



One of the most enjoyable things you’ll find in Nepal are the random festivals you’ll stumble into. They say there are more festivals in Nepal than days of the year, but few are celebrated throughout Nepal.

I often find myself mesmerized by the sudden crowd coming down the street wearing amazing traditional dress, playing unique musical instruments and carrying chariots with one or more gods. It’s usually quite lively with dancing and often a rather long parade of devotees following behind.

But how, when and where to get the most out of such an experience? Our recent guests wondered how they should proceed from the Star View Guest House for some short-term valley trekking. I suggested the Valley Rim trek whereby they continued from Changunarayan to Nagarkot and then up through Dhulikhil to Namo Buddha.


 Namo Buddha has a lovely Buddhist monastery, as well as some amazing views. Even on an ordinary day it’s quite nice, especially for those here for just a short time. But they happened to find themselves there on Tibetan New Year, that easily became the high point of their time in Nepal.

The mild spring-like weather made the trek quite enjoyable and then at the end they found this lovely celebration. There was a huge amount of food, which was free to everyone.


Another treat was seeing so many children in the red robes. In the Buddhist tradition, the second child is often giving to the local Buddhists to raise. This provides some economic assistance for the family and provides a better life for the child. The families live in abject poverty, so having one child taken care of can be real help. And yes, the children are happy, really, really happy.





Many people celebrate Losar in Boudhanath, but if you are someone who likes to do things a bit different you might want to celebrate it in Namo Buddha or another Buddhist center. If you plan to go trekking you could easily incorporate such a festival by researching some of the monasteries in the Himalaya. However, it’s still a bit cold in the higher elevations. This is the best time to see Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, but since it’s at the opposite side of Nepal, I don’t know how big this celebration would be there.




Festivals are only one of the many reasons to come to Nepal. There are actually 6 different New Years’ Celebrations in Nepal, so be sure to check with your travel agent to see which festivals will be celebrated during your time here.


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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Life in the Slow Lane-Making the Most of your Time in Nepal


Want to get out of the over polluted metropolitan area of Kathmandu? Then, Changu Narayan could be the right place for you. Being situated on a small hill at about 20 km away from the city centre you‘ll enjoy a nice view over the valley, just outside of the smog zone. But what to do in this tiny village? While the temple looks great and the town folk are charming and friendly, it is easy to get bored in this village unless you came for relaxation. If so, you’ll find the quietness of this village will set the mood quite well. 

Guests often enjoy evenings with a local family celebrating Lord Krisha with local mucical instruments, singing and dancing. With WIFI as a recent upgrade for the village it's easy to keep in touch with family or work remotely. There are trekking trails, lovely sunsets and views and excellent village values for suveniors. Others come to learn traditional thanka painting or mask carving.


The Star View Guest House is sponsoring some activities to help tourists get to know the area better. Soon the village will sponsor a treasure hunt where you can find local landmarks. But for now, you’ll find the new hiking map with 5 trails into the neighboring areas to be excellent warm-up treks and quite enjoyable.

One important reason to spend a few days with such activities is to make sure your health and gear are ready for the remote areas of Nepal. Imagine having to be airlifted back to Kathmandu due to blisters on your feet! Shoes, health issues and such are important to get sorted out before you get up to the high country. As you trek safely while you are near stores and doctors, you may decide you need to pack some yak cheese and nuts, or perhaps you’ll want to buy a walking stick before you leave the Valley. There are few shoe stores or pharmacies outside the Valley, either.

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This blog is also supplemental to our eBook, Nepal: A Tourist's Manual. $19.95 Use Promo Code to get 50% off: WhatAboutNepal

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The ATM Ate My Bank Card!

I wrote about bank card safety issues in my eBook, Nepal; A Tourist's Manual because it can be a real time waster for visitors to Nepal. Power cuts, being unfamiliar with the machine and hitting the wrong button or taking too long can cause the machine to keep the card. This can cause a tourist to waste at least one full day in Nepal.

Well, after 6 years of being in Nepal it happened; the ATM machine kept my card. The problem was that the machine must have had some kind of program upgrade. The simplest way was the predefined amounts of 5,000, 10,000 etc. That no longer worked and after three attempts the card got swallowed.

I had Kamal, my Nepali son, find out where to retrieve the card and then he called for a car to take us the next day to Kathmandu. Our first stop was at the main branch of Nabil Bank; we arrived before the courier and discovered we could have picked it up at the bank in Bhaktapur the day before.

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel to get travel tips and tricks for travel through Nepal and other parts of Asia. 

If you like our tips and are looking for travelers’ insurance I think you will enjoy our affiliate link:     Shop from 10 travel insurance sites at one time here.

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Vibrating to a Higher Drummer for that Special Relationship-Content Blogging Series for Extended Travel

We hope you follow along with our Frugal Travels practical method for being able to continue traveling. This portion of our blog is to provide an example of ways to continuing your traveling by doing simple chores online. Presently, we are working witha few brands and include this here in our series. We hope you can see how easy it is and perhaps you’ll be inspired to write a bit for yourself.

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A positive relationship can be truly life changing. The ‘sweep you of your feet and transport you to a happier place’ kind of relationship that can happen at any stage of life is what it’s all about, isn’t it? A guest stayed with us a few years ago who told of something that could only happen in Kathmandu. He was walking down the street and almost stumbled into his old high school lover. That wouldn’t be so interesting, but my friend was in his late 50’s and hadn’t heard from his old girlfriend in over 40 years!

Things like this can only happen when the two people are on the same positive wave-length, or as they say in metaphysical thought, they need to vibrate at the same frequency. Fortunately, for my friend, he had a positive attitude even before he met up with Sally. But that day marked the best day of their lives, at least during that initial stage of romance.

The funniest thing about it was they were from Great Britain. They could have easily met via one of the local sites like dating sites in suffolk These free dating are becoming more and more popular all around the world. What used to be really scary behavior, meeting someone on the internet, has come into vogue in recent years. Not only has it become mainstream, but it has allowed people to come together based upon more deeply held beliefs rather than superficial things like physical appearance.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that a person will attract exactly to the vibrational level that he/she vibrates. So, if you’ve given up on life, become calloused about life, well, you are likely to attract a person who will help you to become even more calloused about life and you’ll really want to give up on life when he/she gets through with you.

If you are at that stage how can you attract someone better, who will pull you out of the funk? You already know the only person who can do that for you. That’s the person who was there when you were born and will be there the day you die; that person is you.

Start now to raise your vibration by forgiving and releasing the past. Let go of that weight and free yourself of that baggage. Don’t do it for the other person, but do it for yourself. Forgive and release and feel a bit lighter. Forgive and release some more and you’ll be even lighter and freer than ever.

Who to forgive first? Yes, it’s that same person, your best friend, you. So get in the habit of looking in the mirror and thinking a good thought about yourself. When you feel yourself mentally brow-beating yourself stop and listen. ‘Oh, I’m the worst person who ever walked the planet?’ Remind yourself how far you’ve come. That little baby with the ear infection that no one discovered, give that little child a mental hug and love that baby.

When you become your own best friend you won’t let anyone speak about you like that. Your habit can become to answer that voice back with a strong retort. You do not have to believe negative, hurtful things about yourself, even when it comes from your own inner dialog.

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel to get travel tips and tricks for travel through Nepal and other parts of Asia. 

If you like our tips and are looking for travelers’ insurance I think you will enjoy our affiliate link:     Shop from 10 travel insurance sites at one time here.

This blog post is supplemental to our video channel. If you enjoyed this post, you'll enjoy our videos. We explore one topic at a time with the intent to help you to have the best time in Nepal.
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This blog is also supplemental to our eBook, Nepal: A Tourist's Manual. $19.95 Use Promo Code to get 50% off: WhatAboutNepal

We also have a small guesthouse in Changunarayan Village, in the Kathmandu Valley. If you have an interest in staying with us for short or long-term stays, see our website at https://StarViewNepal.com
Follow along with us
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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Dating Sites in Nepal?

Many young men in Nepal resist getting married and seem content to hang with their buddies rather than settling down with a family. Even when the young man has a wife and children he often still continues to hang with his friends rather than go home. Sometimes the young man admits that he has to get married, not because he got a young woman pregnant, but that his mother needs help with the housework and need care.

Times are changing fast for young people in Nepal. Young women are becoming a lot freer now, with the good and the bad side of the love issue for marriage. Many young Nepali women are stepping up and asking for more. I find it quite nice.

With sites like E-harmony in the US and dating sites in jersey jersey dating site and free dating sites for the British being mainsteam, it seems only fitting that Nepal's dating site business would become mainstream, too, sooner or later.

Nepal's young people are also more likely to marry a non-Nepali if they have the opportunity and many tourists come to Nepal for 'Tourism Sex' more so for female tourists than men. It's easy to see the appeal. These young men have a lovely inocense about them, lots of energy and enthusiasm to go abroad.

I do worry that there will be no going back and the young people will forever be changed. Although it may be a good thing for the young women, the young men who succumb to the European or American tourist may get more than he bargained for. He may come away with a sexually transmitted disease, since there is still a much higher insident in such things from the west that in Nepal at this time. This is a worse problem exasserbated by the fact that the men generally have no education in health or hygeine from any formal school here in Nepal. Those things are not spoken of and those certain things-of all else-should not be ignored.

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Medical Care Available in Nepal


Before I left the US in 2010 I started to take the advice of my doctor before snapping back into my own world. I got a tooth taken care of and one in the series of Hep. B vaccine. Then when I broke a tooth on a buff mo; mo I learned a valuable lesson; I could have used the dental money for my flight to Nepal and still had money left over.

 I wonder if I would have accepted an offer to fly to Nepal to get such things taken care of if such an offer would have been available. On the one hand, American doctors are held accountable if they have an 'oops' moment, Nepali doctors probably aren't. OK, good point. It's not worth anything if you end up getting the wrong tooth pulled or something worse. Things can go wrong anywhere, but when you travel disasters can cost a lot more than money.

To illustrate the point of how bad things can get, one tourist friend told me about his experiences. First, a dentist damaged his jaw bone and he had to have dental surgery to have three bone pieces removed when he got back to Finland.

The second experience was equally discouraging for him. He got kidney stones and went to a world renown doctor with a kidney clinic in Kathmandu. This operation would cost a Nepali only $200, but the doctor wanted to charge a tourist price of $2,000. My friend went back to Finland where he got it done for free. This procedure is the one where they only cut a two-inch incision, state-of-the-art: $200.

The irony is that if my friend would have been from the US he would have realized what a bargain it was. Another friend had both eyes operated on by another world renown doctor for under $300. They used state-of-the-art lazar equipment and the results were excellent.

My thought is that everyone needs to weigh the risks and understand how to select the right doctor or hospital. Also, please understand that if you go to a developing nation and randomly walk into a hospital because you heard it's all really cheap, well, you just might not walk out. It's important to take responsibility and do your homework. Additionally, Nepal is definitely not for elective surgery that is high risk.

What is Nepal's healthcare good for?

Dental care: If you have teeth that need to be straightened somewhat, but not majorly, you can get Invisalign tooth adjustment treatment/apparatus from Nepal. The cost will be about $500 but might require you to come back for the adjustments. So, if a person has a small problem it might be worth $500 and another trip to Nepal. I'd suggest exploring this as soon as you arrive so you can make sure you have a good fit. Then, on your last day in Nepal, you should see the dentist again.

If your teeth have been neglected and now it's time to take care of them, Nepal can be a good place to get things done. I had a root canal in the US done before I left the country and finally got it done properly in Nepal. It cost less than $250 plus transportation. Now I go to a better place and have had even better results, written about in other blog posts.

Medical testing is discreet in Nepal; they do not even ask for your passport for ID. Sometimes it can be difficult to upgrade your insurance policy when symptoms crop up. I've even seen the MRI splice offered here. Before symptoms begin there may be something a person can do if they know about such a weakness. For example, is your liver fattier than most people at your age? Are both kidneys of equal size and health? Do aneurysms run in your family? Wouldn't it be good to know about such a potential health hazard before symptoms show up?

On-going health issues such as chronic pain or inflammation conditions such as lupus can be treated here for much less than your insurance deductible. By coming to Nepal in August, you could stay until the end of March and then come back in November. We could easily send medication via UPS or DHL. Then you could have a check-up with your Nepali doctor.

You may have heard about counterfeit medications. Although it can be a concern, use the guidelines in this post to know how to tell the bad from the good.

There are several excellent articles on the internet about counterfeit drugs and how to tell if they are genuine.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel to get travel tips and tricks for travel through Nepal and other parts of Asia. 

If you like our tips and are looking for travelers’ insurance I think you will enjoy our affiliate link:     Shop from 10 travel insurance sites at one time here.

This blog post is supplemental to our video channel. If you enjoyed this post, you'll enjoy our videos. We explore one topic at a time with the intent to help you to have the best time in Nepal.
https://www.youtube.com/channel

This blog is also supplemental to our eBook, Nepal: A Tourist's Manual. $19.95 Use Promo Code to get 50% off: WhatAboutNepal

We also have a small guesthouse in Changunarayan Village, in the Kathmandu Valley. If you have an interest in staying with us for short or long-term stays, see our website at https://StarViewNepal.com
Follow along with us
Twitter:
@FrugalTravelsNe
@KayGarnay4Nepal
@StarViewChangu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frugal.travels
Like our pages:
https://www.facebook.com/starviewretreat/
https://www.facebook.com/KayGarnay4Nepal/
https://www.facebook.com/Changu.Bhaktapur/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaygarnay/
HelpX.Net: http://www.helpx.net/host.asp?hostid=17074
Websites:
http://WhatAboutNepal.org
http://StarViewNepal.com
http://TraditionalArtofNepal.com
http://KayGarnay.org















Tuesday, October 16, 2018

10 Things Every Solo Female Traveller Needs To Know About Nepal Part I



Follow along with us as we share important travel tips, particularly as they relate to Nepal, but each tip may be of importance in your upcoming itinerary.



If you've been to Nepal please give us your thoughts in the comments.
Subscribe to our Youtube Channel to get travel tips and tricks for travel through Nepal and other parts of Asia. 

If you like our tips and are looking for travelers’ insurance I think you will enjoy our affiliate link:     Shop from 10 travel insurance sites at one time here.

This blog post is supplemental to our video channel. If you enjoyed this post, you'll enjoy our videos. We explore one topic at a time with the intent to help you to have the best time in Nepal.
https://www.youtube.com/channel

This blog is also supplemental to our eBook, Nepal: A Tourist's Manual. $19.95 Use Promo Code to get 50% off: WhatAboutNepal

We also have a small guesthouse in Changunarayan Village, in the Kathmandu Valley. If you have an interest in staying with us for short or long-term stays, see our website at https://StarViewNepal.com

Follow along with us
Twitter:
@FrugalTravelsNe
@KayGarnay4Nepal
@StarViewChangu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frugal.travels
https://www.facebook.com/starviewretreat/
https://www.facebook.com/KayGarnay4Nepal/
https://www.facebook.com/Changu.Bhaktapur/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaygarnay/
HelpX.Net: http://www.helpx.net/host.asp?hostid=17074
HelpStay: https://helpstay.com/stays/Grant-Proposal-Writer-Nepal#overview
Websites:
http://WhatAboutNepal.org
http://StarViewNepal.com
http://TraditionalArtofNepal.com
http://KayGarnay.org