Nestled around the Himalayan mountain range, Kathamndu, the capital of Nepal is by far one of the most vibrant and interesting destinations in Asia. Whether you visit for a taste of it’s culture, religion, or the splendid outdoor adventure,
What are some of Kathmandu’s top attractions and must visit sites? Here’s a list of our favorites:
1. Durbar Square
Nestled in the heart of Kathmandu’s historic center, Durbar Square is home to royal palaces, courtyards, temples and religious icons/monuments, with a history dating back to the 11th century. A stroll around this buzzing, capital-city icon exposes the still prevalent Hindu and Buddhist practices, with holy men and women (some legitimate, others simply posing for photos) meandering around the spiritual quarters. Make your way around the hoards of pigeons, wandering cows, photo-snapping tourists and cool, trinket selling hawkers to imbibe a true feel of the city.
The tourist/backpacker quarter of the city, Thamel is like an entirely different world compared to the rest of the city. Home to endless guesthouses, trekking & souvenir shops, bookstores, Western, Chinese, Nepali & Tibetan restaurants, bakeries, bars… pretty much anything that a tourist could ever want/crave in Kathmandu can be found somewhere in Thamel. The Thamel Quarter hence is an excellent foreign-friendly place to stay.
Located in eastern Kathmandu along the banks of the Bagmati River, Pashupatinath is one of Hinduism’s most important temples dedicated to the goddess Shiva. Saturated in history, mythology and extreme religious significance, it would be a good idea to invest in a well-versed to have an eye-opening experience of Pashupatinath’s splendour. Do keep in mind that public cremations do occur along the Ghats of the temple.
Located in western Kathmandu, this hilltop Buddhist stupa complex is one of the city’s most striking icons. Also known as the Monkey Temple, visitors must climb a grueling 365 stairs to reach the base of this giant white dome, with Buddhist iconography, symbols, prayer wheels and Tibetan script decorating the exterior. Home to unbeatable 360-degree views of the Kathmandu valley and “holy monkeys”, history, culture, religion and photography enthusiasts will all be extremely pleased with this temple visit.
Because the city has been drawing in tourists for decades, Kathmandu’s entertainment options are actually quite good. From quiet cafés and cozy bakeries to rowdy pubs, live music venues and shisha bars, nightlife in Kathmandu (especially the Thamel area) is anything but dull.
While visitors can order up pizzas, burgers, pasta dishes and club sandwiches, they should definitely give the regional cuisine a go as well. Nepali cuisine is a combination of local flavors, as well as Chinese, Tibetan and Indian influences. Serving up everything from rice and curry dishes to delicious chow meins, Tibetan Thukpa soups, steamed or fried “momos” and grilled meats, Nepal’s cuisine should be on every traveler’s must try list.
Located in the Boudha district of Kathmandu, this colossal Buddhist stupa is one of the world’s most intriguing structures. Visible from all around the valley, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and main Kathmandu attraction is of great importance for the worldwide Buddhist community. Topped with the Buddha’s eyes of wisdom/compassion atop the 36-meter high, whitewashed dome, a walk around this giant stupa is an experience unlike any other in the city.
When is the best time to visit Kathmandu?
To make the most of your trip to the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, the best time to visit Kathmandu is when the weather is at its pleasant best, from February-April and September-December. With so much to see, experience and absorb both inside and outside the city’s limits, a visit to Nepal’s vibrant capital promises to be one of Asia’s ultimate experiences.