Health and Eye Care in Kathmandu, 5/14

Friendly (non-ethnocentric) health care is something I feel pretty strongly about. Let’s be honest: sometimes locals would rather not have us around their medical facilities unless we’re millionaires…Or maybe a place that was wonderful 15 years ago has changed a lot. 
In May 2014 a friend turned me onto Chhetrapati Free Clinic in Central Kathmandu. It’s been around for years, has been re-vamped and now I think it would be worth your while to go there. It’s very clean, the doctors are quite good and sometimes they’re seeing patients (including ‘foreigers’) as a charity. If the normal fee for non-Nepalese gets charged, it’s hefty ($10), but still, the doctors are reliable and you don’t have to run all over KTM looking for a cheaper doctor. I’m strict with my money, and even I saw them.  I think the article below is pretty succinct. The times you’d see individual doctors are varied, so best drop by and get the schedule for the kind of doc you need, or perhaps a walk-in is possible when you arrive. 
After two serious opthamological nightmares (in Thailand and in Nepal) I went to Noor Opticals in Chhetrapati. It’s described below, and I sit typing with the bifocals they provided.
Dentists in Kathmandu?  Well, try and take care of your teeth while you’re there (brushing, flossing, inter-dental brushing or whatever it takes) because it’s rather hard there now. Anything complicated, have it done before you travel. (E.g., a root canal.) I have my teeth cleaned 2x/yr. in Thailand at McCormick Hospital in Chiang Mai. Also, bring any medicines you normally take.
Walking to ‘the Monkey Temple’ continues to be one of the best free things to do in Kathmandu.Important aspects of local life are there to see,on the walk, and you can’t help participating along the way. There are truly local markets, and crucial for travelers: affordable and good health care.

Chhetrapati Free Clinic is at the Chhetrapati Chowk. It’s not always free to ‘foreigners,’ but the doctors are excellent (Dr. Joshi, the ENT specialist, for example).There’s a pharmacy attached, where I trust the medicines are authentic. The local eateries are also safe and good.

In nearby Dhalko, Noor Opticals fitted me with bifocals with high-quality slightly tinted plastic lenses for $45. The testing equipment is new; results were quick and reliable. (I’m 65 so this matters…) Monu, 9803844363.

Further on this recent walk, I stumbled on a funeral procession–something that was common to see in KTM 10 years ago. The pall bearers (indigenous Buddhists) headed toward a Tibetan gonpa (monastery) and invited me to sit with them to see the cremation ceremony. Since i’m a philosophical type, that was a great thing. It rained buckets and the ceremony lasted 6 hours. I was very happy. The walk from KTM to Swayambhu is a route that many Nepali processions use. I encourage you to at least see them. Don’t be invasive or take photos. Happy trails!

May 2014
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