Maddeningly chaotic but never dull, Kathmandu is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and religions. Not merely a jumping-off point for a Himalaya trek, it's also a worthwhile destination in its own right, with a legacy of myths and legends seen in the historic pagodas lining its dusty streets. Even if you're here for one day you can profit from the highlights of this uniquely beautiful metropolis.
Best of Kathmandu
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Whether you're short on time or have a couple days before or after your trek, here are a few great ways to explore the best of the Kathmandu Valley in two days. Each one of these itineraries can be customized based on your interests, whether that be culture, nature, or great day activities.
In just 4 days, you'll explore the famous cultural sites of the Kathmandu Valley and top it off with an early morning flight with views of Mount Everest. This trip provides the perfect balance for getting the best of Kathmandu's nature and culture for those with limited time.
Welcome to Kathmandu, the beating heart of Nepal. Whatever your taste or budget, this busy metropolis has an accommodation option to suit you. With so many choices—especially in the tourist hub of Thamel—it can be difficult to decide where to stay. Make the most of your visit to the Nepali capital by checking out these recommendations for the best and most unique hotels, resorts, and homestays in the city.
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.
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.
Almost anything you need for your trek, you can find in Kathmandu. There are hundreds of small shops packed with equipment lining the streets of Thamel, the main trekkers' hub. You can buy or rent anything you're missing or don't want to pack—from down sleeping bags and jackets to trekking poles, water bottles, and sunglasses.
In a city as big and diverse as Kathmandu, it'd be a shame to only visit one or two popular areas. Different neighborhoods here offer diverse experiences: Tibetan culture, Hindu temples, unique accommodation, and so on. Here's a quick guide to some of the key neighborhoods of Kathmandu.
The Himalaya is a great destination for travelers seeking high-altitude adventure and cultural immersion. Much of your experience will depend on the region you visit: Nepal, Bhutan, or the Himalayan regions of northern India. Camping treks and guided cultural tours in Bhutan, remote trekking and varied landscapes in India, or the classic routes (and many trekking alternatives) of Nepal—which should you choose? Read on to find out.
Kathmandu is more than just a launch pad for trekking. Its cultural highlights, alone, warrant a visit to this Himalayan country. A melting pot of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, you’ll find incredible woodcarving, painting, sculptures, a unique architectural heritage, and living traditions that surround you with color and prayer.
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.
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.
Out of the many lodging options in Kathmandu we have handpicked half a dozen authentic hotels we love. These hotels range from affordable to luxurious, and they all have a unique character.
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.
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!
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 Kathmandu Valley is the cultural melting pot of Nepal, with countless hidden gems and ancient sites to explore. It holds seven UNESCO world heritage sites along with some great vantage points from which to see the Himalaya from a distance. If you have a day or a few days to spend in Kathmandu, here are a few popular and unique things to do.