Thimi is in the Kathmandu Valley, the historical centre of Nepal where art and culture are an integral part of daily life. Thimi is approximately 40 minutes east of Kathmandu by local bus or 30 minutes by taxi, approximately 10 minutes by bus from the ancient city of Bhaktapur, 45 minutes by bus from Patan, one hour from Dhulikhel or Nargakot, or 3 hours from the famous Buddhist monastery at Nomabuddha. Local buses are frequent, cheap and fun.
The architecture of the Thimi area shows unique Newari influences. A stay in Thimi will take you back in time where the lives of the mainly Newari townsfolk are different from anything you have probably seen in the western world. You won’t see many other westerners in Thimi, so you will be noticed wherever you go. That can be disconcerting at first, but just say “Namaste” a couple of times and see how welcome you are made.
English is generally the third language for Thimi people. Their first (and for some, their only) language is Newari, and Nepali is their second language. In spite of that, it is not difficult to make yourself understood in the town as everyone, it seems, wants to practice their English whenever they see a westerner!
The school is located in the old part of the town, where many families carry on pottery making in the traditional way, by hand. Others work at carpet weaving, both in factories and with home looms. There is a thriving handmade paper factory not far from the school. Most families have small farm holdings, growing their own vegetables, fruit, rice and wheat. Some of them sell their excess produce along the streets of the town early in the mornings. Others have shops which they operate at the front of their homes.
Walking through the streets of the town past these tiny stalls and shops is always fascinating, as the local children say ‘Namaste’ and practice their English with “Hello, how are you?” and giggle at your response. There isn’t a supermarket, but you can buy most of the things you’ll need during your stay if you know where to go, and the locals go out of their way to assist you any way they can.
Thimi is primarily a Hindu community and temples are plentiful, some in the centre of a road, and there are also a few Buddhist temples. An early morning stroll will reward you with sights of the townsfolk taking their offerings to a temple, buying bread, milk and vegetables, and generally starting their day’s activities. Go a few minutes further out of the town and you’ll soon find yourself passing small farms where people busy themselves all year round with their neatly planted crops.
If you run out of things to see in Thimi, visitors can easily take day trips to the ancient cities of Bhaktapur and Patan; venture a little further and you can get magnificent views of the distant mountains from Nagarkot or Dhulikhel.