Instagram Updates: The Best of April
Though I’m writing well after, I took all and posted most of these photos before the string of earthquakes that hit Nepal starting on April 25th. I encourage you to view these photos with an eye to the beauty of the country, but don’t forget that it will be a long road of reconstruction in a country whose infrastructure was already underdeveloped even before disaster struck. If you haven’t already, consider supporting the country either through formal aid structures or informally through a Nepalese friend of mine (one who, for what it’s worth, I trust implicitly to use donations at her best discretion for whatever the greatest needs in her community are).
Whether #Patan or #Kathmandu or #Bhaktapur, the #Durbar (#Palace) Squares of #Nepal are always something to see. So many #temples, so many #people, and such a feeling of exotic immersion among amazing #architecture that a visit to one or the other or all three is always in order. #Travel #Instatravel #Travelgram #Latergram #DSLR #SouthAsia #Asia #EverydayAsia #Instagood #Night #LowLight #cityscape #tourist #traveltheworld #nofilter
I was beyond excited to find out I would get to go to Nepal again this year. My first trip, in 2011, was one stuffed to the top with hiking and nature and wildlife and temples and religion and culture. I spent WEEKS in Kathmandu, more than a month on a single hike, and a fair bit of time poking around places like Janakpur and Chitwan in wonder about how amazing (and how photogenic) the country is. So many good people, cool places, and delicious food. It will take time to rebuild what can be rebuilt post-earthquake, but while I have other commitments at the moment I’m already thinking about when I might be able to make it back to the region – with any luck it will be before the end of the year even.
Some of the places in these photos no longer exist, this first shot in particular from Patan’s Durbar Square which was hit very hard by the disaster, but even if the structures themselves can’t be repaired the people and culture that make Nepal so amazing to visit will still be there.
Even during #BisketJatra, a man’s gotta eat! I’m all about the #momos, but these were a surprise: Palak Paneer steamed dumplings. Not your typical #Nepali #food, and about as untraditional as momos get. The verdict, though? Absolutely #delicious. #Nepal #Food #Foodporn #Travel #Instatravel #Travelgram #Asia #SouthAsia #Spicy #Tourist #WorldTravel #TravelTheWorld #DSLR
As the saying goes: You go to #Nepal for the mountains. You go BACK to Nepal for the people. From the repatriated daughter of a UN family and her monk/tographer sidekick, to the chef that thought it was hilarious I wanted more of those momos, to the flirtatious teahouse owner, to Bishnu and Prem and our common overwhelming need for a cold beer after a long hike, and so many more interactions both serious and small. Nepal’s people are awesome, and as sad as the fallen temples and lost heritage are it’s the faces in my memory that I keep drifting back to. Keep the place in your thoughts. A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
For those of you that actually know me, I’m ok, I left #Nepal a few days ago but am obviously a bit slow at editing and posting. Light a candle, #prayforNepal, say a chant, do whatever it is that you do. It’s not a great place for a disaster to strike. (For those of that haven’t seen the news, big #earthquake with a quickly growing death toll. Go read about it.) A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
Though the mountains of Nepal are still one of the biggest draws of visiting in the first place, I actually only managed a few days out in the Himalaya during this trip – there were just too many things in the Kathmandu Valley that demanded time and attention. What that meant in the end was that I only got out for a few days into the foothills near the capital – especially the Shivapuri National Park area… but even that offered vistas that most of the countries I’ve traveled to would find it hard to match!
As much fun as #Kathmandu is, sometimes I’ve just gotta head out into the #mountains. The #Himalaya is amazing – and that holds true whether you’re standing at the base of Everest looking up at the Khumbu Icefall or sitting on a balcony in a village in the #foothills just outside the #KTM Valley. The majesty, the grandeur, the snow, and that compelling drive to just go. I’m reminded of one of the opening pages of #Thoreau’s #Walking: “If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man; then you are ready for a walk.” This time, I wasn’t ready. Next trip – who can say? #Travel #Travelgram #Latergram #NationalGeorgraphic #Instatravel #WorldTravel #Nepal #Asia #SouthAsia #DSLR #nofilter #sunrise #bluelight #travelstoke #exploringtheglobe #naturelovers #beautifuldestinations #traveltheworld
A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
I feel sort of strange posting touristy photos of #Nepal during a time that the focus there is on recovery and reconstruction, so this will be the last thought: Nepal is amazing, in terms of culture and landscapes and photographic potential and #trekking and so many other things. Support from afar for now, but as soon as theyre ready for incoming tourists go see it in person and use your tourism dollars to help as well. #Travelgram #TraveltheWorld #TravelNepal #DSLR #Nofilter A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
The main reason I didn’t spend more time in the mountains, actually, was a gigantic festival going on in the old city of Bhaktapur a small distance east of Kathmandu. Bisket Jatra, which I’ve written more about here, is part New Year and part religious festival and part historic fable and all crowds and color and chaos. My kind of place! I’m doubly glad I made the decision to stay in town for the festival, because not only was it full of energy and amazing people but also this was one of the places hardest hit by the earthquake – so I’m thankful to have visited at such a positive time and to have been able to see it in all it’s splendor before the damage of the quake (much of which may well be irreparable).
#Bhaktapur is a beautiful city, but man, it gets a little crowded during the #BisketJatra #festival. Editing photos now from the first day of the #NewYear in #Nepal. More soon! #Travel #Travelgram #Instatravel #DSLR #Asia #SouthAsia #EverydayAsia #Travelers #WorldTravel #Party #Celebration #Hinduism #Religion #Crowds #Temples #SouthAsia #instagood A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
I’ve mentioned the #crowds at the #BisketJatra #festival, but I want to make sure you understand. There are people on the ground, people in the sky, people on shoulders and walls and even perched perilously on fences and ladders. Any space a human body can cram into, there you will find a person. Though this feels more intense in the small side streets, shoulder to shoulder with the masses of humanity, the big plazas are where it really comes into the light. As these #chariots, shrines to the #Hindu #gods Bhairab and Bhadrakali, are pulled out of the main square in the south of #Bhaktapur, a sea of humanity ripples in time to their movement. If you’re ever looking for a crazy celebration as a #Traveler, make #Nepal one of your first stops. #Travel #Travelgram #Instatravel #TraveltheWorld #Instagood #Latergram #DSLR #SouthAsia #EverydayAsia #Party #TravelMassive #NatGeo #TravelHashtags #Religion A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
One of the things that always stands out to me in #Nepal is how pervasive #religion is in the fabric of the country. Whether stupas and gompas and #prayer flags in the mountains or tiny #shrines all over the #streets of even the smallest city, the visual reminders of #Hinduism and Buddhism are are all over. Here, an #offering burns at a #Hindu shrine just outside the royal #palace of #Bhaktapur #Durbar during the third evening of the #BisketJatra festival. #Travel #Travelgram #Latergram #DSLR #instagood #TraveltheWorld #WorldTravel #SouthAsia #Night #SouthAsia #Asia #traveling A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
Towards the middle of April (and shortly before the devastating earthquake that hit the country, which you can support here through one of my friends in Nepal who’s operating relief efforts independently of the massive bureaucracy of international organizations) I headed out to Kuala Lumpur for a week of catching up on work and eating as much amazing food as I could. I may have only taken – maybe – 20 pictures during that whole time; but this one was a particular favorite both personally and among my Instagram followers.
After leaving Nepal I passed through #KL for a week, and while it wasnt focused on photography or really even #travel I did manage to take one shot that i liked quite a lot. (Also, its #Malaysia, so I stuffed myself full of good food.) Mostly though, I just locked myself in my room at the @hiltonhotels @DoubletreeKL and caught up some on two months of computer work. This shot of THE icon of #KualaLumpur, the #Petronastowers, was shot from their top floor during a rare break from the computer. The #travelers in my heart poked out for one evening of the week, anyways! #igersmalaysia #skyscrapers #Travelgram #DSLR #Latergram #Nofilter #architecture #malaysiabest #ig_malaysiabest #petronastwintowers #instatraveling #instatravel #EverydayAsia A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
Finally, just before the end of the month, I headed on to Bali to spend two weeks touring the tourist favorites of the island. More on that in next month’s Instagram Update or, if you just can’t wait, on my Instagram feed.
You know what’s ridiculous about #Bali? Even the freaking #airport is beautiful! When you fly in, the traditional-style roof and endless palm trees are like a welcome to #paradise. Flying out, you walk into this open-air atrium and up an escalator to a whole floor of reflective surfaces and inviting coolness. It’s absurd to me that such a busy airport should feel so inviting, or maybe just absurd that so many other places get it wrong. #Travel #Travelgram #Latergram #Indonesia #Kuta #street #instatravel #traveltheworld #travelersofinstagram #DSLR #nofilter #reflections A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on
Just can’t wait till the beginning of next month to see more? Follow me on Instagram to stay with me as I travel!