We visit the incredible Monkey Temple

Previous page - Boudhanath Stupa


Monkeys playing at the temple Monkeys frolicking

Monkey Temple

Birendra organized a taxi and then took us to Monkey Temple.   Monkey Temple, otherwise known as Swayambhunath is a temple complex situated on the top of a hill. It dates back to the fifth century. It is called Monkey Temple because of the monkeys who live in the trees on the hill. The complex comprises a stupa and a variety of shrines and temples. A Tibetan museum, monastery and library are more recent additions.

The taxi dropped us off at the entrance and waited down the hill for us to return. Whilst near the entry we watched a bus doing a 3-point turn on the hill. The whole back end of the bus was overhanging a ravine. We were holding our breaths as the bus driver manoeuvred the bus back and forth. It cost 200 Rp. (about $2.50 AUD) to enter the place. We saw monkeys as soon as we got in there. They are not afraid of humans and roam around freely performing antics and being photographed by everyone. Then we climbed steps, lots of steps, up to a higher level.


Tourist items for sale at Monkey Temple

Up there we found all sorts of little shops selling typical tourist items. We thought we might see if we could find a bangle for our daughter, Hayley. We really liked the one Jeremy had bought Tanya and were sorry we didn’t get one then for Hayley. Sure enough we found one that was similar. This time it only cost us 200 Rp. ($2.50). Whenever we bought anything we had to make sure it had nothing Buddhist written or inscribed on it. Birendra told us the Chinese would take anything like that off us at the border when they checked our luggage when entering Tibet.


We each had a massage with a metal bowl Metal bowl massage


We each have a "massage"

We all had a “metal bowl massage” and were assured our health would improve by the masseuse. Nothing miraculous happened to any of us afterwards but what the heck…. I bought a music CD which I was told the Chinese would confiscate.

It has the music “Om Mani Padme Hom” on it. This piece of music is a Buddhist mantra which I have admired for a long time. It was decided we would post the CD back to Australia along with anything else we might buy that was forbidden by the Chinese authorities. Jeremy got way-laid by a person selling lovely paintings. He said it was extremely difficult to escape their clutches.


Statues abound Colourful statues
Kathmandu is a big city View over Kathmandu









Steps leading up to Monkey Temple Steps and steps and steps



Incredible views of Kathmandu

A few more steps upwards and we had the most fabulous vista before our eyes. If the air had been clearer it would have been even better. I hadn’t realized quite how high up we were. I should have known seeing as we walked up so many steps. We could see all over Kathmandu. It was then we realized just how big a city this was.  Lots of photos later, we decided we had better walk back down the hill to our waiting taxi. We had to follow lots of trucks and buses back into the city centre. As mentioned earlier this is one very polluted city. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant drive back to Birendra’s office but we wouldn’t have missed seeing Monkey Temple for quids.

Getting Jeremy’s mobile to work

We had one more night at Birendra’s place and then we were heading off to Pokhara and elsewhere before returning to Kathmandu a few days later. Birendra was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to contact us whilst we were gone unless we could get Jeremy’s mobile phone working. So, when we got back into Birendra’s office it was decided that Jeremy and Birendra would head back down Durbar Square direction to sort out the phone issue. Ian and I didn’t need to be present so we stayed back in Birendra’s office. The pair of them seemed to be gone forever. I think they visited so many shops but none could help. Because he is a mountain trekker, Birendra is very fit and he walks quite fast. Jeremy said he had to run several times to keep up with him. He is such a busy man too. We felt a bit guilty using up so much of his time. The phone problem never got resolved so Birendra very kindly lent Jeremy his own mobile phone. Birendra then borrowed his wife’s phone so he could keep in contact with us. He is so thoughtful.


Dinner at OR2K

It was getting late when they got back so it was decided to have dinner in town. Birendra took us to a fabulous vegetarian place called OR2K. Turns out it was right next door to where we had our lunch and chocolate waffles the day before.

It was quite a large place and we had to remove our shoes and then sit down on mats on the floor at very low tables. It was somewhat uncomfortable sitting on the floor plus there was only candle light in there. Also there were dreaded smokers in there too. Nonetheless we were glad we ate there. We could see why it was so popular – the food was delicious. Jeremy had bruschetta, Birendra had mushroom soup and Ian and I both had mushroom and vegetable patties in a burger bun with chips and coleslaw. The meals were huge and only cost 1200 Rp. which equates to $15 AUD for the whole lot. Here is a link to their web site OR2K. They are right in the heart of Thamel which is the tourist district. Food is so cheap here in Nepal. After the meal we made our way back to Birendra’s house by taxi.


Next page - We set out for Pokhara




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