Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, is a vibrant hub of culture and adventure. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, this city boasts stunning temples, bustling bazaars, and breathtaking scenery that will leave you in awe. Whether you’re an avid adventurer or a cultural enthusiast, Kathmandu has something to offer everyone. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top reasons why you should add Kathmandu to your travel bucket list.
Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture
Kathmandu is known for its rich and diverse culture, with influences from Hinduism, Buddhism, and ancient Newari traditions. The city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the iconic Pashupatinath Temple and the historic Durbar Square. Visitors can explore these magnificent landmarks, take part in local festivals, and sample traditional Nepalese cuisine in one of the many local eateries.
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping
For thrill-seekers, Kathmandu is the perfect destination. The city is a gateway to the world-renowned Himalayas, with Mount Everest and other peaks looming in the distance. Visitors can take part in a wide range of adventure activities, including trekking, mountaineering, paragliding, bungee jumping, and white water rafting.
Experience Natural Beauty
Beyond the city’s cultural and adventure offerings, Kathmandu is also home to breathtaking natural scenery. The Kathmandu Valley is surrounded by verdant hills and scenic countryside, offering numerous opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and nature walks. Nearby national parks and conservation areas, such as Chitwan National Park, offer the chance to see exotic wildlife like tigers, rhinos, and elephants.
Connect with the Locals
One of the best things about visiting Kathmandu is the opportunity to connect with the locals. The Nepalese people are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature. Visitors can stay in local guesthouses, visit local markets, and interact with locals in their daily lives. This is a great way to learn more about the local culture and gain a deeper appreciation for this beautiful country.
In conclusion, Kathmandu is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, adventure, natural beauty, or a chance to connect with the locals, this city is sure to deliver. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey to Nepal’s cultural hub.
3 days in Kathmandu
If you’re planning a trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, but only have three days to explore this fascinating city, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to discover some of Kathmandu’s most iconic landmarks and experience its unique culture. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a 3-day trip to Kathmandu:
Day 1: Explore the Historic Landmarks
Start your first day in Kathmandu by exploring some of the city’s historic landmarks. Begin with a visit to Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to several temples and palaces. Here you can admire the intricate architecture of the Kathmandu Valley and learn about the history of the Nepalese monarchy.
Next, head to Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple, located on a hilltop overlooking the city. This sacred Buddhist site features a stupa, prayer flags, and stunning views of Kathmandu. Take some time to wander through the colourful bazaars and markets that surround the temple, and try some of the local street food.
In the afternoon, visit Pashupatinath Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in the world. Here you can witness the traditional Hindu cremation ceremonies on the banks of the Bagmati River and learn about the customs and beliefs of the local people.
Day 2: Outdoor Adventures
For your second day in Kathmandu, explore the city’s natural beauty and enjoy some outdoor adventures. Start your day early and head to Nagarkot, a scenic hill station that offers panoramic views of the Himalayas. Here you can go for a hike or take a mountain bike ride along one of the many trails that wind through the surrounding countryside.
In the afternoon, visit the nearby Changu Narayan Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest Hindu temples in Nepal. The temple is known for its intricate carvings and artwork, which date back to the 4th century.
Day 3: Cultural Immersion
On your last day in Kathmandu, immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with the friendly Nepalese people. Start your day with a visit to Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest stupas in the world and a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site. Take part in the traditional prayer rituals and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this iconic landmark.
Next, head to the Kathmandu Valley and explore the charming Newari villages that surround the city. Visit Patan Durbar Square, a historic site that is home to several temples, palaces, and museums. Here you can learn about the unique Newari culture and sample some of the local cuisine.
In the evening, head back to Kathmandu and enjoy a traditional Nepalese dinner with a local family or take part in a cultural dance performance.
Watch the sunrise over Everest from the hills around Kathmandu
Watching the sunrise over Mount Everest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on every traveller’s bucket list. While trekking to Everest Base Camp is the most popular way to witness this awe-inspiring sight, it’s also possible to see it from the hills around Kathmandu. Here’s how to do it:
Choose the Right Time of Year
The best time to see the sunrise over Mount Everest from the hills around Kathmandu is from October to December and from February to April. During these months, the skies are generally clear, and the weather is cool and dry.
Find the Perfect Spot
There are several hills around Kathmandu that offer stunning views of Mount Everest and the Himalayas. The most popular spots are Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, and Sarangkot. Nagarkot, located about 32 kilometres east of Kathmandu, is the most accessible and offers panoramic views of the Himalayas. Dhulikhel, located about 30 kilometres southeast of Kathmandu, is a charming town with traditional Newari architecture and stunning views of the Himalayas. Sarangkot, located about 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu, is a popular spot for paragliding and offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna Range.
Wake Up Early
To see the sunrise over Mount Everest, you’ll need to wake up early. Most sunrise tours depart from Kathmandu around 4:00 am and take about an hour to reach the chosen hilltop. It’s important to arrive at the viewing spot at least 30 minutes before sunrise to secure a good spot and enjoy the pre-dawn colours.
Enjoy the Spectacle
As the sun starts to rise, the Himalayas come to life with a warm glow that slowly spreads across the peaks. The sky turns from shades of pink and orange to a bright blue, and the snow-capped peaks of Mount Everest and other Himalayan giants start to emerge from the horizon. The experience is truly awe-inspiring and one that you’ll never forget.
Where to stay in Kathmandu
Kathmandu offers a wide range of accommodation options for every budget and travel style. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel, a budget-friendly guesthouse, or a cosy homestay, you’ll find plenty of options in the city. Here are some of the best areas to stay in Kathmandu:
Thamel is the most popular area for tourists in Kathmandu. It’s a lively neighbourhood with a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. Thamel offers plenty of accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury hotels. It’s a great area to stay if you want to be close to the action and explore the city on foot.
Boudhanath is a peaceful and spiritual neighbourhood located about 7 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu. It’s known for its iconic Boudhanath Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest stupas in the world. Boudhanath offers a range of accommodation options, including guesthouses, hotels, and homestays. It’s a great area to stay if you want to experience a more traditional and spiritual side of Kathmandu.
Patan, also known as Lalitpur, is a charming and historic city located about 5 kilometres south of Kathmandu. It’s known for its beautiful temples, palaces, and museums, including Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Patan offers a range of accommodation options, including boutique hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. It’s a great area to stay if you want to experience a more relaxed and authentic side of Kathmandu.
Lazimpat is a quiet and upscale neighbourhood located about 3 kilometres north of Kathmandu. It’s known for its luxurious hotels, restaurants, and embassies. Lazimpat offers a range of accommodation options, including upscale hotels and serviced apartments. It’s a great area to stay if you want to experience a more upscale and modern side of Kathmandu.
Eating out in Kathmandu
Eating out in Kathmandu can be a delicious and exciting experience, with a wide variety of traditional and international cuisines to choose from. From street food to fine dining, there are plenty of options for every taste and budget. Here’s a guide to some of the best places to eat out in Kathmandu:
Thamel is a popular area for eating out in Kathmandu, with a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors. You’ll find everything from traditional Nepalese cuisine to international dishes like pizza and sushi. Some popular restaurants in Thamel include OR2K, a vegetarian restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and delicious Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, and The Old House, a charming restaurant with traditional Newari architecture and a menu of Nepalese and international cuisine.
Boudhanath is known for its Tibetan and Himalayan cuisine, with many restaurants serving momos (dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), and other hearty dishes. Some popular restaurants in Boudhanath include Tibetan Kitchen, a cosy and authentic restaurant with a menu of Tibetan and Nepalese dishes, and Roadhouse Cafe, a popular restaurant chain with a menu of pizza, pasta, and other international dishes.
Patan is a great area to try traditional Newari cuisine, which is known for its rich and flavorful dishes. Some popular restaurants in Patan include Bhojan Griha, a traditional Newari restaurant with a beautiful courtyard and a menu of classic Newari dishes like bara (lentil pancake), choila (spicy grilled meat), and samay baji (a platter of Newari delicacies).
Lazimpat is known for its upscale restaurants and fine dining options. Some popular restaurants in Lazimpat include The Chimney, a cosy and elegant restaurant with a menu of European and Nepalese dishes, and The Mulberry Cafe, a charming cafe with a menu of international dishes and delicious desserts.
Kathmandu is also known for its delicious and affordable street food. Some popular street food items include momos, samosas, chaat (a savoury snack), and chow mein (stir-fried noodles). You’ll find street food vendors throughout the city, especially in areas like Thamel and Boudhanath.
How to get to Kathmandu
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is a popular travel destination with plenty of cultural, historical, and natural attractions. If you’re planning a trip to Kathmandu, here are some ways to get there:
By Air: Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) is the only international airport in Nepal and is located about 5 kilometres east of Kathmandu city centre. It’s served by several major airlines, including Nepal Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines. You can also fly to nearby cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangkok, and Singapore and take a connecting flight to Kathmandu.
By Land: If you’re travelling from India, you can take a bus or a train to the border town of Raxaul or Gorakhpur and then cross the border to reach Kathmandu. From the border, you can take a bus or a taxi to Kathmandu. There are also direct buses from several cities in India, including Varanasi, Delhi, and Kolkata, to Kathmandu.
By Road: If you’re travelling from Tibet, you can take the Friendship Highway to the border town of Zhangmu and then cross the border to reach Kathmandu. From the border, you can take a bus or a taxi to Kathmandu. There are also direct buses from Lhasa to Kathmandu.
By Trekking: If you’re up for an adventure, you can trek to Kathmandu through one of the many trekking routes that lead to the city. The most popular trekking routes include the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Annapurna Circuit Trek, and the Langtang Trek.
20 sights not to miss in and around Kathmandu
Kathmandu and its surrounding areas are filled with cultural, historical, and natural attractions that are a must-visit for any traveller. Here are 20 sights not to miss in and around Kathmandu:
- Swayambhunath Stupa: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal.
- Durbar Square: A complex of palaces, temples, and shrines that showcases the art and architecture of the Kathmandu Valley.
- Pashupatinath Temple: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in the world.
- Boudhanath Stupa: One of the largest stupas in the world and a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site.
- Patan Durbar Square: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a showcase of Newari architecture and art.
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a well-preserved medieval city.
- Changu Narayan Temple: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest Hindu temples in Nepal.
- Kopan Monastery: A Tibetan Buddhist monastery that offers meditation courses and retreats.
- Garden of Dreams: A peaceful oasis in the heart of Kathmandu that features landscaped gardens and fountains.
- Kathmandu Valley: A region that encompasses several historic cities, temples, and natural attractions.
- Langtang National Park: A national park that features stunning views of the Himalayas and a variety of wildlife.
- Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park: A national park that offers hiking trails, wildlife spotting, and stunning views of Kathmandu.
- Chitwan National Park: A national park that is home to endangered species like tigers, rhinos, and elephants.
- Nagarkot: A scenic hill station that offers panoramic views of the Himalayas and surrounding countryside.
- Phulchoki Hill: A popular hiking spot that offers stunning views of Kathmandu and the surrounding mountains.
- Chandragiri Hill: A scenic hill that offers panoramic views of Kathmandu and the surrounding valleys.
- Dhulikhel: A charming town that offers stunning views of the Himalayas and traditional Newari architecture.
- Manjushree Park: A park that features a giant statue of Manjushree, a Buddhist deity, and offers views of the Kathmandu Valley.
- Godavari Botanical Garden: A botanical garden that features a wide variety of plants and flowers.
- Indra Chowk: A bustling market that offers a variety of traditional Nepalese goods, including handicrafts, spices, and clothing.
Coworking spaces in Kathmandu
There are several coworking spaces in Kathmandu, Nepal that you can consider:
- Workaround Coworking: Located in the heart of Thamel, Workaround Coworking offers a modern and comfortable workspace with high-speed internet, meeting rooms, printing facilities, and more.
- Hub Nepal: Hub Nepal is a community-focused coworking space that offers a collaborative work environment for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups. It offers amenities like high-speed internet, conference rooms, and event spaces.
- Leapfrog Technology: Leapfrog Technology is a popular coworking space in Kathmandu that provides a comfortable and productive workspace for entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers. It has various amenities such as high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and a kitchen area.
- Karkhana: Karkhana is a creative coworking space in Patan, Kathmandu that offers a collaborative workspace for artists, designers, and entrepreneurs. It has facilities like high-speed internet, event spaces, and a well-equipped workshop.
- Kaffeine Hub: Kaffeine Hub is a cozy coworking space in the heart of Kathmandu that offers a comfortable workspace for freelancers and startups. It has amenities such as high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and printing facilities.