Backpack Full of SunshineA travel blog of a boy following his dream and embarking on a four year backpacking sabbatical around the world

Nepal

Throughout my trip, and for the subsequent years after, whenever the topic of traveling comes up, friends would inevitably ask me which country was my all-time favorite. It’s a hell of a question to answer; there are just too damn many beautiful places in this world. Most of the time, I would gleefully negotiate to expand the list to 5 or even 10. I never seemed to come up with the same list, since my mind would wander to this beach, that peak, or a tasty bowl of street noodles. But wherever my mind might drift off to that particular day, it would always float back to Nepal. It’s a place of grand peaks, pristine lakes, genuine smiles, and amazing food. And in many ways, Nepal was my first. It was the first foreign country I backpacked, the first cultural shock I experienced on the road, the first time I was aware of spirituality, the first time I embarked on a multi-day trek, and the first time I fell in love with a complete stranger. Nepal will always have a special place in my heart, and I hope someday, it will in yours too.

Bhaktapur

11/30/13 I caught a local bus to Bhaktapur early in the morning, and picked this local shop with a great view of the dunbar square. It was nice to enjoy a midday tea and do some people watching. Afterwards, I strolled around town for a couple of hours. Bhakapur was surprisingly charming; it had a maze full of ancient temples, beautiful altars, and sophisticated...

Nagarkot

11/28/13 I got back to Kathmandu yesterday, and with some stable internet for a change, I booked a flight to Kunming on the 30th. The idea of exploring a massive country like India in two weeks seemed aggressive, so I figured it would be better off tackling parts of southwestern China before flying back to Shanghai, just in time for dad’s birthday. This morning, I...

Begnas

11/27/13 I decided to spend an extra day in Pokhara instead of hurrying back to Kathmandu. When we had a drink with the backpackers last night, one of them suggested a small lake called Bengas nearby. So this morning I decided to give it a go. After a good 45 minutes on a beat up bus, I hopped off at an intersection by this smallish village. Right away, it had a very...

Mardi Himal

11/21/13 Day 1… I taxied my way to the Pokhara bus station. The strike was still going strong. Apparently there were no buses running to where the national park was. The taxi driver did warn me on the way there, but I thought he was just trying to scam me for some extra cash, driving me all the way to the park. I spotted a lone foreigner leaning against a sign...

Pokhara

11/19/13 The ride was bumpier than expected, and four of us squeezing in the backseat didn’t help the situation. M was visibly car sick, so after we were dropped off in town, I wanted to treat both of us to something nice for the night. We walked down the main avenue, and I picked the first posh looking hotel we saw. I think it was called Landmark. All three of the...

Bandipur

11/17/13 Instead of heading straight to Pokhara, M suggested visiting a mountainous village in route called Bandipur. We caught the morning bus out of Kathmandu, and did our best to doze off here and there. The roads were horrendous. On a few occasions, I couldn’t tell whether we were driving over the road surface or a pothole. It was sad to see such lack of...

Kathmandu

11/13/13 We arrived in Kathmandu late in the afternoon… yep, a couple of hours promised by the driver turned out to be most of our day. I bonded with the two backpackers whom I shared the backseat with, probably more over contempt for the chatty girls over anything else. Joe quit his software job in the northeast port city of Shandong, decided to explore the country...

Zhangmu, crossing from Tibet into Nepal

11/11/13 This morning, I swung by the embassy and grabbed my passport. It was freshly stamped with a 15 day tourist visa for Nepal. The 12 hour bus journey to the Nepali border wasn’t the most exciting, since I have covered most of the ground  just a few days ago, when we made our way to Everest… I guess efficient trip planning wasn’t high on my list those days...