Saturday, 31 January 2015

Top 5 must do's of Chitwan in Nepal!

PROJECT: Medical Placement (Radiotherapy & Paramedicine)

1. Attend one of the many, many holiday celebrations in town.

Festivals are often celebrated with the family, where most of the members don't go to work. Quality time is spent eating, laughing or cooking traditional dishes for the occasion. Sometimes the festivals are held outdoors, where a vast assortment of shops and companies congregate to advertise their products and entice you with their treats. There are even some activities to get involved in like going for boat rides (if you can stand the long lines!) and taking pictures with historic cultural sites.

2. Go hiking to a rural village in the mountainside.

Chitwan is more commonly known for it’s National Park and wildlife, however many people aren’t aware of some of the intense but amazing trekking trails. One kind of hike that our group had just ventured through recently was a 2-day trek up some amazingly steep and beautifully green mountains and hills. The climb to the top where our very cosy cabin sat was more of a mental challenge than physical. While it was quite strenuous on the legs, many of us felt like the battle was all in our minds. My trick was to not look up at how much we had yet to climb, but rather, to look back at how much we had already climbed. After making it up through the first leg of the hike, most of us were flat out exhausted and a few were just a little on the more queasy side. But we pushed on and the final steps up to the top tasted very sweet.

3. Spend a weekend at the Royal National Park.

The iconic tourist destination of Chitwan is a big, big must. While our group has not gone on a trip through the jungle safari yet, we have plans to explore the National Park's exotic vegetation and wildlife. We are anticipating the visit to the elephant breeding centres, riding through quiet rivers on canoes to watch the small crocs sun-bake and delving into the deep forests in hopes of catching a glimpse of a rhino.

4. Dal bhat power 24 hour!

A good depiction of Nepali culture, this meal is eaten almost every day. Extremely large servings of rice are not unusual, as it seems like the amount of rice is directly proportional to ones ability to power on throughout the day. Their staple dish consists of rice and legumes such as lentils. When in any part of Nepal, one cannot go without the Dal bhat experience. That is, eating the rice, lentil soup, potato curry and sides of chutney and or pickles... using only your right hand! One feels like they are truly Nepalese once Dal bhut is eaten the way the locals do.

5. Stay with a host family.

Last but not least, something I would recommend to anyone wanting to explore the lifestyles and living in Nepal. It takes you away from the comfortable tourist seat and into the deep end of cold showers and to the front-line of frequent power cuts. However, these issues are quite negligible when given the opportunity to live side by side with such kind-hearted people. I am having an extremely pleasant time with my family; more often than not I familiarise them with my own family back in Australia. The family dynamics and the way everyone acts in their society, what is expected from each family member etc. is really tangible as you yourself are placed in a Nepali family, where you are treated as a proper member of the family.

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