Instagram Updates: Best of April

Instagram Updates April in Nrpal
Posted by on May 12, 2015

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).

 

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.

 

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

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).

 

 

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

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.



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16 Responses to Instagram Updates: Best of April

  1. Revati

    It’s such a pity. Nepal is our neighbour (I live in India) and I feel like I really should have gone when I could have. But we never know when natural disasters are about to strike, do we? Here’s hoping you get to return to Nepal someday and see it as beautiful as when you first captured it.

    • Stephen

      It’s not too late though, you know? Once they move past the initial recovery phase, getting tourism dollars back into the country will have to be a high priority as they look at rebuilding the country’s economic strength. You’re right though, it’s crazy to think of how this can happen anytime anywhere without us knowing when to expect it – a good reminder to live the live we want to leave now instead of putting it off!

  2. Christina

    Great pictures from Nepal. What an incredible country and what a pity what happened in Nepal recently.

    • Stephen

      Thanks Christina, it really is an amazing place and was a country ill prepared to deal with major disasters – hopefully they’ll get back on their feet in due time.

  3. Gabor Kovacs

    Lovely shots, I especially like your shot of KL, you captured the Petronas towers and the TV tower in one picture, great!

  4. Catherine

    Looks like you had a good month! Especially like the photo of Bhaktapur.

  5. Nic from Roaming Renegades

    It’s so sad what happened in Nepal. We haven’t had the privilege of visiting just yet and although it’s disappointing that many of those amazing buildings are gone I am sure the spirit of the people will shine through. I hope that when we do visit we can also be of some help as I am sure it will take the country a while due to poverty. It always seems to happen to the poorest countries and least prepared.

    • Stephen

      I think perhaps as an outsider it just resonates more in poorer countries? In Japan, disaster hits and it’s terrible for a year but after that the government has mostly patched things up. Countries with fewer resources take far longer, which means the visual spectacle of the destruction lingers on in public attention for more time. That has been some of my perception over the years, anyways.

      That being said, definitely go when you can, this year or next or whatever. The culture and landscapes are still incredible, even if there are a few fewer temples to take photos of in the cities.

  6. Tim

    You have some amazing shots there Stephen but the one I was especially taken with was the one of Bali airport; looks like folks are sitting on water.

    • Stephen

      Thanks Tim, I was really wowed by that scene as I was walking through the airport. These places are so often a means rather than an end, so it was a nice reminder to look out for the beauty of a place even when I might normally dismiss it out of hand!

  7. TravelGretl

    It looks like a city of amazing natural wonders. It’s sad so many things are destroyed now. And people not knowing what to do.
    When you were there you did take some good pictures though, have to say 🙂

  8. melody pittman

    Stephen, great job. This is so packed full of info. I have never visited Nepal though I know how amazing it is. Very sorry about the natural disasters but I am sure it will be back to wonderful very soon. The world is pulling for them.
    By the way, loved the photos. The one at the airport is most interesting and the shot with the guys on the pole during the festival, amazing!

    • Stephen

      Thanks Melody, it was a joy to photograph and I’m glad they were interesting to you as well. Visit Nepal when you get the chance, as even post-disaster the people and landscapes will still be there and still be stunning!

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