Kathmandu charms visitors with a mix of ancient history, striking Hindu and Buddhist sites, cheap and cheerful dining, and fun nightlife. If you only have a single day, follow these tips to get the most out of your time in Nepal's busy capital.
Nepal Travel Insights
Nepal is best-known for the Himalayas, Mount Everest and its amazing treks. Eight of the world’s 14 eight thousand meter peaks are located in Nepal, creating world-class mountaineering and trekking opportunities. But Nepal has much more to offer than just its mountains. Its capital, Kathmandu, is a bustling city with seven Unesco World Heritage sites including Boudhanath, the world largest buddhist stupa. The Nepalese lowlands in the south are subtropical and are home to tigers, elephants and rhinos. The people of Nepal are among the warmest and most welcoming in the world.
Most people visit Nepal in spring and autumn, but in recent years winter and summer have become popular seasons as well. Trekking in the Himalaya is a life-changing experience for many travelers. Longer treks include the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Annapurna Circuit, and the newly popular Manaslu Circuit, while shorter treks such as the Ghorepani Trek to Poon Hill offer experiences travelers who want to experience the mountains at lower elevations. Rafting the rivers of Nepal is also world-class, and so is mountain biking on Nepal's countless trails and paragliding above the Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
Starting around mid-June, peaking in July and August, and winding down in early September, the monsoon brings rain, humidity and an increase in temperatures across most of Nepal. True — mountain views are often obscured by cloud, temperatures get uncomfortable, it rains daily, and yes, there are leeches. But this is still a great time to trek and here are our best tips for going about it.
Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery and culture of the Himalaya on this two-week-long trek that covers all the essential attractions between Kathmandu and Everest Base Camp. From Lukla— the gateway to the Khumbu — all the way to the summit of Kala Patthar, you will trek along challenging routes, visit Sherpa villages, and enjoy unforgettable views of the region's most iconic mountains.
Kimkim traveler Clare Immens likes to instill a sense of adventure in her three children—so taking her young daughter Elsie on a multi-day trek in Nepal was a no-brainer. From card games in tea houses to making friends with baby animals along the way, read on to learn about their experience hiking through the Annapurna foothills on the Ghandruk Trek.
Grab your hiking boots and get ready for an adventure — trekking along quiet, off-the-beaten-track trails through Nepal's Annapurna foothills. Originally designed for the Prince of Wales, this itinerary includes stunning mountain views, less-crowded routes, and sherpas.
Experience Khumbu at its finest on this trek, which brings you to the base camp of the stunning Mount Ama Dablam at 15,750 feet. End each day at one of five comfortable lodges, with en-suite rooms, comfortable lounges, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Explore quieter trails where you will meet local people and experience their culture and ancient traditions first-hand, not to mention their enviable sense of tranquility.
Tihar, or the Festival of Lights, is a five-day Hindu festival in the autumn that celebrates the intimate relationship between animals and people. It also worships Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, culminating in Laxmi Puja when rangoli patterns are made with colored powder and flowers. This trip will take you on a journey from Kathmandu to the old Malla kingdoms of Bhaktapur and Patan, and the lakeside city of Pokhara. Along the way, you will stay with local families to enjoy the full flavor of this magical festival.
Embark on special yoga spirit trek in the Annapurna foothills of Nepal's sacred Himalayan Mountains. Led by an experienced international yoga instructor, this trek focuses on energizing yoga, meditation, and breathing to revitalize your inner self. With overnight stays in luxury Ker & Downey Lodges, this trip is an ideal introduction to trekking in Nepal.
It's easy to have a blast in Pokhara — especially at night! Between the open-air cinemas, booming live music scene, sports bars, and stunning sunsets, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Just be sure to make the most of everything before midnight, when the city shuts down.
Pokhara is brimming with restaurants that cater to all tastes and travelers. From ayurvedic and vegan to Korean and Italian, deciding where to go can be the hardest part of your day in this relaxing lakeside town. Stress not: this dining guide is here to help.
Nepal's love affair with coffee is in full swing in Pokhara, where over 35 coffee shops have cropped up in the last five years — all touting locally grown, organic Himalayan Arabica.
While many yogis flock to the tropical beaches of southern India to hone their practice, it's hard to beat doing downward dog or meditating against the backdrop of the world's highest peaks. This roundup of the best yoga treks, retreats, and adventures in Nepal, from a yoga rafting trip on the Sun Kosi to a luxury yoga trek in the Annapurnas, will have you booking a flight before you can say Om-M-G.
Discover Nepal's majestic region of Dolpo. This remote area, made famous by Peter Matthiessen’s book 'The Snow Leopard,' has only been open to trekkers since 1989. Its most alluring attraction, Phoksundo Lake, is sacred to Buddhists and followers of the Bonpo religion. This relatively easy trek involves no high passes, and winds through Himalayan forests and traditional Tibetan villages.
The Newari town of Bandipur is one of central Nepal's hidden gems. It combines traditional village architecture, epic Himalayan views, lovely countryside walks, local adventure sports, and excellent accommodation. It's also an ideal place to break up the drive between Pokhara and Kathmandu while getting a relaxing taste of rural Nepal in the process.
Humla is a remote region of Western Nepal, and this trip takes you trekking through its river valleys and high peaks, with homestays in traditional Buddhist villages along the way. After your memorable trekking adventures, experience a change of pace in Bardia National Park, where you'll spend your time spotting native wildlife species, before ending your trip in bustling Kathmandu.
Few trekkers make their way to the base of spectacular Mardi Himal and the beautiful and imposing Machapuchhre, but this stunning route is quickly gaining popularity. Less challenging than the trek to nearby Annapurna Base Camp yet just as beautiful, this nine-day adventure belongs on the itinerary of anyone looking for a literal off-the-beaten-path trek in Nepal.
Nepal is known for its snow-capped Himalayan peaks, and this tour offers a taste of that imposing grandeur—but it also encompasses the grassy lowlands of the Terai in Nepal's south. Take in stunning views of the world's tallest mountains and immerse yourself in the bustle of local village life. Wake up to sounds of nature and break your fast with the elephants. Explore the best of central Nepal and Chitwan!
In this multi-day trekking tour, you'll be guaranteed spectacular views of the snowcapped Himalayan range, home to the highest mountains on earth. Challenge yourself with a few rugged, altitude-climbing hikes while enjoying the comfort and ease of Nepal's famous hospitality. Along the way, you'll be immersed in the fascinating traditions and culture of the Nepalese people.
This 11-day tour winds from city to countryside for a glimpse of the best of Nepal. Trace the footsteps of pilgrims and adventurers as you make your way through traditional villages to hilltop temples, riverside resorts, and mountain ridges. Don't forget your camera!
Mixing outdoor and jungle activities with a healthy dash of comfort and service, this trip will take you through the best of Nepal — with time for both adrenaline rushes and relaxation. The adventure starts in Kathmandu with a flight over the mountains, continues to the country's oldest temples, and leaves time for views of the Annapurna range, where thirteen peaks scrape the sky. Two days of rafting send you through the jungle to finally discover the abundant wildlife of Chitwan National Park.
When visiting Nepal, it's easy to set your sights firmly on Mt. Everest, Kathmandu, and Chitwan National Park — but don't overlook the religious site of Lumbini. As the birthplace of the Buddha, this is one of the world's great pilgrimage destinations. If you're interested in history, spirituality, or archaeology, add Lumbini to your Nepal wish list.
How much should you tip your guide and porter after a trek? That depends on a variety of factors: whether you're traveling alone or with a group, for just one week or a whole month, and most importantly, what kind of service you received. Here's a brief article to help you.
When planning a trek in Nepal, it's easy to focus on reaching base camp or a high pass while squeezing the rest into as few days of precious vacation time as possible. But you might want to rethink your itinerary: some of Nepal's most beautiful places are a few hours out of the way. Head off the main trekking trails with these worthwhile detours, and you'll have some of the country's most stunning scenery all to yourself.
Hidden deep within the Himalaya is Humla: the highest, most northern and remote district of Nepal. Humla is culturally diverse, occupied in the northern highlands by Bhotias, and in the southern valleys and riverbeds by the Khasas (Hindus). You will experience these rich and varied cultures as you trek over 16,000 ft passes, through remote villages, and explore ancient monasteries in the vivid Limi Valley.
It's hard to keep up with all of the new hotels springing up in Pokhara, Nepal's adventure capital and second largest city. To help you figure out where to stay in this beautiful lakeside town, here's a selection of some of our favorites, both classic and new, for every budget.
Nepal is a developing country, and the income earned from tourism can be a game-changer in marginalized or rural communities—especially those still recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2015. When planning a trip, your tourist dollars carry an inherent power. Spend them in the right places and you'll have a great travel experience, while enjoying the warm glow of knowing that you are directly improving people's lives.
Experience Kathmandu like a local, expat, or even royalty by staying at one of these unique Airbnbs. Here's a roundup featuring ten of the best — from a former Rana summer palace in Patan to a sound-proof apartment in Thamel — that are all within walking distance from popular tourist attractions and activities in the capital.
Kathmandu is a shopper's paradise, particularly for those who appreciate high quality artisanal goods at an incredible value. That said, the city is big and traffic is bad, so strategizing your time and whereabouts is key, depending on the goods you're most interested in. Below is a rough guide to help you.
Most people come to Pokhara for the fantastic nearby trekking, and after a week of bucket washes and wet wipes you might just be ready for a splash of well-deserved luxury. The good news is that the charming countryside around Pokhara offers some of the Himalaya's most stylish and relaxing top-end places to stay. Budget a day or two to recover from your trek in style at one of these fabulous resorts.
Kathmandu's shopkeepers have been expertly catering to foreign tastes since the first hippy stumbled into town looking for a tie-dye shirt. Fast forward a half-century and Kathmandu now offers some of the best shopping in Asia, showcasing a huge array of unique products whose quality and value make them almost impossible to pass up. From bargain-priced down jackets to buttery-soft pashminas, most visitors leave the city with considerably more baggage than when they arrived. If shopping is your thing, budget an extra day.
The Manaslu Circuit Trek, crossing Larkya La pass (16,752 ft. or 5106 m.) to the legendary Annapurna region, is one of Nepal's most spectacular and culturally diverse treks. Its dramatic Himalayan vistas, challenging terrain, mix of Gurung and Tibetan villages, Tibetan Buddhist gompas, birds, and wildlife make it one of Nepal's best camping treks.
From physical preparation and training to packing and visas: there are a few things you must do before heading to the Himalaya to ensure a smooth, safe, and comfortable trip. While you don't need to be Superman or Wonder Woman to enjoy trekking in the Himalaya, the better prepared you are, the more you'll get out of the experience.
Although small in land area, Nepal is an extremely diverse country in terms of culture and landscape. In seven days you can scratch the surface, see many beautiful sights and have a lot of fun. Ancient culture in Kathmandu, trekking trails through the forests and hills, white-water rafting on the Trisuli River, wildlife spotting in Chitwan National Park, beautiful lake and mountain views in Pokhara — you may not be able to do it all in a week, but you can have a go!
Hiking is a shared passion for kimkim traveler Esther Yoon and her recently retired dad, so Nepal - a trekker's paradise - seemed like the perfect choice for a father-daughter adventure. Interested in the culture and beauty of Nepal without the crowds, they chose the Manaslu Circuit: a beautiful 15-day trek circling the eighth-highest peak in the Himalayas.
For adventure lovers (and adventurous married couples!) there's hardly a more appealing destination than Nepal. Add the romance of stunning mountain vistas, luxury accommodation, and atmospheric cultural sites to classic adventure activities like trekking and paragliding and you have the ideal honeymoon destination.
This is the best mini rafting expedition on offer in Nepal. Leaving from the popular Lakeside town of Pokhara, this trip lets you get a taste of Nepal’s vibrant river culture.... 60 rapids in 60 seconds, need we say more?! If you're short on time, or just looking for a extension to your trek, this is the trip for you.
Kathmandu can be a hectic place, but fortunately you don't need to go far from the center of the city to enjoy some fresh air, peace and quiet, beautiful views, and chilled-out ambience. These places — which are either on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley or just outside of it — are the perfect antidote to Nepal's capital city.
From spectacular treks in the high Himalayas to visiting the birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini, white-water rafting to Hindu pilgrimage sites, 10 days in Nepal is plenty of time to experience some of the country's highlights. Hit the ground running (or, strolling at a more leisurely pace) by selecting an itinerary that best reflects your interests.
Two weeks in Nepal is enough time for a truly satisfying adventure. Trek in remote mountain areas; paddle and camp along one of Nepal's beautiful rivers; visit ancient cultural sites; spot wildlife in the jungle national parks. These are just some of the options available with two weeks in the geographically and culturally diverse country.
While Nepal is known as a country of hills and mountains, many visitors are pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the Terai, the lowlands bordering India. The Chitwan National Park is a jewel on the Terai. It has run a very successful one-horned rhinoceros breeding program, and visitors on safari are almost guaranteed to spot one of the spectacular animals, as well as other wildlife. This tour gives you time to fully explore the highlights of Chitwan, while staying in some luxurious--as well as unique--accommodation.
Although geographically compact, Nepal's mountainous terrain and bumpy roads make it feel like a much bigger country than it is. Add diverse cultures, terrain, and ecosystems to the mix and you could easily spend several weeks exploring the picturesque Himalayan nation. However, in as little as three days you can enjoy some of Nepal's highlights. To complete one of Nepal's famous treks you typically need about 2 weeks.
Nepal is mountains, jungles, rivers, and ancient culture. This diversity means that you could spend a lifetime exploring the small Himalayan nation, but if you only have five days, you can get a taste for some of its best sites and experiences. From white-water rafting to chilling out beside a lake, here are some ideas for where to go and what to do with five days in Nepal.
This 13-day trek offers stunning views of Mount Everest and the Himalayan Range while getting you off-the-beaten-track. You'll experience authentic Sherpa culture and visit the sacred lake known as Dudh Kunda.
One of Nepal’s most rewarding treks, Mt. Kanchenjunga lies on the eastern border of Nepal and is perfect for those adventurous enough — and who have the time — to travel here. Previously camping only, there are now more affordable teahouse routes that take you past stunning Himalayan vistas, ancient forests, prime wildlife habitat, and into the heart of traditional cultures and communities.
If you're planning to trek in the Himalayas, the Alps, the Andes — or anywhere above 2500m — it's important to have a good understanding of altitude sickness, which poses a danger to everyone at these altitudes and can be fatal, in severe cases. The good news is that it's easily managed with the right planning and preparation.
On this moderate seven-day trek just North of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, get up close with the Tamang people while trekking amid green valleys and snow-capped mountains. The Tamang Heritage trail has the added benefit of providing sustainable economic benefit to the local community.
The Arun Valley and Everest Base Camp trek provides superb views of both Mt. Everest and Mt. Makalu. It is located between the Sagarmatha and Makalu-Barun National Parks. While it follows some of the traditional Everest Base Camp trekking route, there are also enough differences to keep return trekkers in Nepal interested.
Interested in joining a group departure for the Manaslu Circuit Trek? Kimkim travel specialists are running a number of set departures for the Manaslu Circuit Trek in 2018 and 2019. Dates, cost, and availability are listed below, along with a day by day itinerary.
Kathmandu is a big city. There are many dining options to suit all budgets and palates. Traditional Nepali food served street-side or with silverware; backpacker hangouts for home comforts when you tire of lentils and rice; casual modern restaurants serving affordable international cuisine... You’ll never go hungry in Kathmandu!
There’s not a single Starbucks (or other Western chain) in Kathmandu, and that’s good news for finding unique, atmospheric places to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. While Nepalis still prefer sweet, milky, heavily spiced chiya (tea) or Nestlé instant coffee when relaxing at home, there’s a growing cafe scene in the capital where you can get a good mug of whatever you prefer, with a tasty slice or cake or sandwich on the side. Here are some suggestions for places to seek out. Most will have Wifi.