The Ultimate Guide of Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu
Nepal’s fascinating capital city of Kathmandu has a history that spans some 2,000 years, a rich culture, and a strong sense of spirituality. A major gateway to the country, most visitors to Nepal pass through the city at some point on their travels. It’s well worth taking the time to fully explore Kathmandu before dashing off into the mountains and to other historic and cultural destinations.
Although well known for its myriad temples and historical sites, many visitors struggle when thinking of other ways to enjoy the bustling Nepalese capital.
Add diversity to your stay with this handy list of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. In addition to the sightseeing hotspots, our dedicated team of travel writers has included natural adventures that can easily be enjoyed from the capital, hidden gems, and quirky places.
Warning: some of these best places to visit in Kathmandu are sure to amaze you!
Best places to stay in Kathmandu
BNB Royal Tourist House
Within easy walking distance of Kathmandu’s main street, BNB Royal Tourist House is a clean and quiet hostel where a good night’s sleep is all but guaranteed. The mixed and female-only dorms for four each have their own bathroom, and you can also stay in a private en suite room for two, three, and four.
Make use of the shared kitchen to keep your travel costs down further, grab a good read from the book exchange, and conveniently book trips and tours onsite. Other reasons to stay here include the friendly ambience, free Wi-Fi, luggage storage, and airport transfers.
CLICK HERE FOR AVAILABILITY – BNB Royal Tourist House
Mitra Garden Inn
A welcoming home from home in the heart of Kathmandu, Mitra Garden Inn has various double, twin, and triple guest rooms, each with a private bathroom and a seating area. Some rooms also have a balcony or terrace. The onsite restaurant serves tasty Asian fare and you can start your mornings with a filling breakfast (surcharge applies).
The garden in a pleasant place to unwind at the end of a busy day. Handy features include 24-hour reception, ticketing and tour booking facilities, laundry services, currency exchange, free Wi-Fi, and luggage storage.
CLICK HERE FOR AVAILABILITY – MITRA GARDEN INN
Apsara Boutique Hotel
Apsara Boutique Hotel is a beautiful hotel in Kathmandu and perfect if you want to splash out and treat yourself to a luxury stay. There are spacious and comfortable rooms for two and three. Each handsomely designed room has a private bathroom (complete with free toiletries, robes, and slippers), free Wi-Fi, a television, a telephone, a kettle, and an iron. Some rooms also have a balcony or a terrace.
There’s a communal terrace where you can unwind and soak up the glorious mountain vistas, and you can enjoy delicious food and drinks in the restaurant and bar. Rent cars and bicycles to facilitate your explorations or book various trips onsite. The free onsite parking may come in useful and the free airport transfer is a huge plus point.
The hotel has a business centre and offers a wide range of useful services and amenities, such as currency exchange, laundry services, vending machines, luggage storage, and room service.
CLICK HERE FOR AVAILABILITY – APSARA BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Staying safe in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is generally a safe city for visitors, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely let down your guard and see the city as totally risk-free. Protests sometimes take place in the capital city and the atmosphere can become heated—avoid large gatherings of people and find another place to explore if demonstrations occur. As with anywhere, avoid deserted place at night time when alone, be aware of your alcohol consumption, and don’t leave drinks unattended.
Only use licensed guides and try to arrange mountain guides in advance before leaving the city—there are several good agencies to use. You may encounter weed sellers on the streets. It’s best to avoid drugs as penalties can be severe. The roads can be chaotic and dangerous; take care when crossing the streets and riding bikes, and watch out for errant motorbikes on pavements and cars driving on the wrong side of the street. The road conditions aren’t very good either, so keep your eyes open for open holes, potholes, loose paving, and so on when walking.
Poor air quality can be a problem for travellers. You might want to consider using a mask. Glasses can help with dry and dusty conditions too. Don’t drink the tap water and try to use bottled water when brushing your teeth too. Carry a small torch in case of unexpected power outages at night. Common scams to be aware of include at massage parlours and in taxis, and annoyances can include over-zealous touts and hawkers, beggars, and persistent holy men who want donations and tips.
So now, onto the best bits … here are the best places to visit in Kathmandu:
Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu
One of Kathmandu’s coolest historical sites!
- Heart of the ancient city
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Previously home to royalty
- Mixture of Hindu and Buddhist temples
Why go there? Durbar Square is the centre of ancient Kathmandu. Once filled with numerous splendid buildings, several were sadly heavily damaged in a devastating earthquake in 2015. It is still worth a visit today, however, as several interesting buildings still remain and the sense of history is very strong.
The square was home to ancient royal palaces, temples, and courtyards. Royal abodes were present at the same spot as far back as the third century, though the oldest buildings that remain today date back to the 1500s, with others that were built in later years. It is still an important place for royal events and the royal family still lived here until the 19th century. Today the palace houses a museum and the complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Do this! Stand in the middle of the sweeping square and survey the once-grand buildings that surround you. See where Nepalese royalty once lived at the Hanuman Dhoka Palace and look inside the former state rooms. Admire the lavish decorative touches, such as intricately carved windows and elaborate panelling, and learn more about the royal family in the two onsite museums (the Mahendra Museum and the King Tribhuwan Memorial Museum).
Visit the various Hindu and Buddhist temples within the complex (though do be aware that some are only open to followers of the faith; others can see them only from the outside). Don’t miss the curious Kumari Chok at one end of the square. It’s a golden cage that contains the Raj Kumari, a girl who was chosen to become the host for the human incarnation of Durga, the Mother Goddess.
Possibly one of the most important places to visit in Kathmandu
- Important pilgrimage destination
- Sublime architecture
- One of Nepal’s oldest religious sites
- Home to monkeys that are said to be holy
Why go there? The hilltop and tree surrounded Swayambhunath stupa is one of the most important places in Buddhism. It attracts many pilgrims and is the second most holy site for Tibetan Buddhists. The sacred place also attracts large numbers of Hindus. It is among the oldest religious places throughout Nepal, dating back to around the fifth century BC.
There have been renovations of the site since it was built hundreds of years ago, with the most recent works carried out in 2010. The stunning complex features not only the large and impressive golden stupa but also a number of shrines and temples, a museum, and a monastery. There is plenty of rich religious symbolism. Interesting local legends surround the monkeys that inhabit the site. It is said that a holy man left his hair to grow long and contracted head lice. Tales say that the lice turned into monkeys!
Do this! Climb the 360-plus steep steps up the hill to reach a gigantic sceptre of a thunderbolt and the famous stupa. The large dome at the bottom of the stupa is representative of the world, and the thirteen pinnacles reflect the different steps that a person must go through in order to be able to attain enlightenment.
The Buddha’s eyes are painted in the stupa, looking out wisely in all directions, watching over the complex and valley. You’ll notice a third eye above the main eyes—people believe that when the Lord Buddha preaches the third eye sends cosmic messages to the heavens to alert souls to come down to earth to listen to the sermons if they so desire.
There are holy artefacts within the mighty stupa. You’ll also see that various statues of the Lord Buddha surround the sacred stupa. Explore the various shrines and temples around the complex, soak up the vistas, and watch cheeky monkeys at play. It’s likely that you’ll see devotees chanting and praying.
One of the most religious places to see in Kathmandu
- Sacred Hindu temple
- UNESCO-listed site
- Large complex with various buildings and structures
- Long history and interesting legends
Why go there? Sitting on the edges of the Bagmati River, Pashupatinath Temple is one of Kathmandu’s most revered Hindu temples. It’s dedicated to Lord Shiva. The vast complex contains temples, shrines, ashrams, and many statues. It spreads across 652 acres (264 hectares). A temple was founded here in the fifth century, standing on the spot of an older wooden place of worship, and numerous buildings were added over subsequent years.
The oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu, numerous legends surround the site. The temple draws many devotees and daily religious rituals are held here. The temple is especially busy at holy festivals, with more than one million people coming to pray and take part in celebrations for the Maha Shivrati Festival. Interestingly, the site was featured in a popular video game!
Do this! Allow plenty of time to explore the enormous complex and fully appreciate the many religious buildings within the site. See the hundreds of shrines and temples throughout the complex, including Kirtimukha Bhairava shrine, Vasuki Nath Temple, Guhyeshwari Temple, Unmatta Bhairava Temple, Ram Mandir, and Budhanilakantha shrine.
Although non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main temple building, which houses the sacred idol, you can still admire the gorgeous building from the outside. Stand in awe in the large open courtyards as you take in the magnitude and significance of the spectacular site. You’ll likely see plenty of holy men, known as sadhus, walking around the complex—give them a donation for a blessing and a photograph. Watch as faithful devotees perform various religious rituals and try to visit in the evening time when you can witness the incredible fire worship ceremonies, known as aarti.
One of the most amazing places in Kathmandu!
- Biggest Buddhist stupa in Nepal
- Of great religious importance
- Surrounded by gorgeous monasteries
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
Why go there? The huge and amazing Boudhanath is the biggest Buddhist stupa in the country, thought to have been founded at some time in the first century. One of the most sacred places for followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it draws large numbers of pilgrims and tourists.
Several myths and legends surround the stupa, including stories of a king that offered himself as a human sacrifice in order to bring much-needed water to the area. Although badly damaged during the catastrophic 2015 earthquake the stupa has been reconstructed, albeit with some deviations from the original form. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site today.
Do this! Feast your eyes on the gigantic pale dome-bottomed stupa, with its golden cuboid topped with a stepped pagoda and conical spire. See the Buddha eyes that watch out from the structure and the colourful prayer flags that flutter in the breeze, strung from the top of the stupa to the ground.
Visit the nearby monasteries too, many of which have beautiful paintings. If you visit the stupa in the evening you’ll see Tibetan monks and devotees walking around the impressive stupa chanting sacred mantras.
Royal Botanical Gardens
A beautiful and scenic place to check out in Kathmandu
- Learn more about local flora
- Quiet and peaceful
- Surrounded by lush nature
- Sacred spring close by
Why go there? Kathmandu’s Royal Botanical Gardens sits in the scenic foothills of the soaring Mount Phulchowki in a lush forest setting. It’s the only botanical gardens in Nepal and it has been open since the 1960s. Today the gardens are home to more than 500 types of plants in outdoor gardens and indoor greenhouses.
There are pretty water features as well as a holy natural spring close to hand. There are outdoor activities in the locale and it’s a top place to learn more about the native flora of Nepal’s diverse terrains.
Do this! Stroll through the picturesque botanical gardens, allotting plenty of times to explore the gardens in their entirety—the complex covers some 200+ acres (80+ hectares). See a wide assortment of plants, including lilies, ferns, orchids, and cacti, as well as different colours and types of rhododendron, which is the country’s national flower.
Admire the Coronation Pond, have a look inside the different glass houses, call into the visitor centre, and soak up the peaceful air. (Try to visit on a weekday if possible for the quietest ambience.) Hike to the peak of Mount Phulchowki for scenic vistas and visit the nearby Godavari Spring, which is a holy place for both Hindus and Buddhists.
Awesome place to visit in Kathmandu with kids!
- Cool down in the heat
- Ideal for people of all ages
- Delightful boat ride
- Spooky ghost house
Why go there? The fun and family-friendly Whoopee Land is a combined water park and amusement park making it one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu for families. Tamer slides and attractions are suitable for little kids while there are bigger and faster attractions for teens and adults.
There are two swimming pools as well and places to relax in the sun. There are different types of swings, big and small, a dinosaur area, and a spooky ghost house for chills and scares. There are various food and beverage outlets too.
Do this! Pack your bathing suit and towel for a day of fun at Whoopee Land. Sunbathe and take a dip in the pools to beat the heat and giggle as you soar down the slippery water slides. You can also fly high on the exciting swings.
Take little ones to see the large and life-like dinosaur statues in Jurassic Park and enjoy a short and relaxing boat ride through the prehistoric-themed land. Brave the Ghost House for spine-tingling thrills and bust out your best dance moves under sprinkling water and in the dark in Rain Dance. The DJ keeps the tunes coming and there are colourful lights to add to the disco vibe.
A great place in Kathmandu if you love to shop!
- Converging point of several markets
- Wide selection of goods
- Located on an old trading route
- Energetic atmosphere
Why go there? The neighbourhood of Asan is a vibrant part of the capital city, with a long history and lots of interesting architecture. There are temples and stupas throughout the historic streets, and the area is situated on the route of the old India-Tibet trading course.
This is one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu for Shopaholics, as the square is the meeting point of a number of markets. The narrow lanes are crammed with stalls and there’s a wide assortment of goods to browse and buy. Asan Market is popular with locals and tourists alike.
Do this! Explore the bustling market lanes, pausing at the different stalls to look at things like clothing, crafts, aromatic spices, fresh produce, wedding items, souvenirs, homewares, and more. Remember to negotiate the prices to get the best deals. Absorb the energy of one of the city’s busiest squares and see the unusual fish stone at the heart of the square.
Local legends say that a fish fell from the skies at this very spot and that’s how the area was established. Other places of interest in the neighbourhood include a shrine dedicated to the Lord Ganesh, Annapurna Ajima Temple, and Yita Chapa.
An unknown (but awesome!) place to see in Kathmandu!
- Lesser-visited museum
- Formerly used as a hostel
- Lots of interesting art
- Centre for cultural learning
Why go there? The Taragaon Museum is housed in an interesting building from the 1970s. Originally built as a hostel, the architect drew inspiration from barrel-shaped abodes along the ghats. The red-brick buildings are, therefore, rather unusual in their design and they are among the most unique buildings in Nepal.
The museum opened in 2014, with the aim of showing half a century’s research and cultural conservation in the Kathmandu Valley during the latter years of the 20th century. Housing a great selection of art related to the nation’s history and culture, the large museum has both permanent and temporary collections.
Do this! Discover more about the heritage, history, traditions, and culture of the Kathmandu Valley as you view the interesting artworks in the Taragaon Museum. The visual representations really help to bring the past to life.
The collections include painting, photographs, engravings, and sketches from times gone by, as well as historic documents, maps, plans, and other items that show the area’s heritage and development. You can see how the local culture has changed somewhat with the passing of time.
A must visit place to visit in Kathmandu on the weekend!
- Tallest mountain in the world!
- One of the most famous places on the globe
- Amazing vision in the Himalayan landscapes
- Choice of trip options
Why go there? Obviously making this list of best places to visit in Kathmandu, Mount Everest (known locally as Sagarmatha) is the tallest mountain on Earth. Sitting on the border between Nepal and China, it is a long way from the capital city of Kathmandu.
Nonetheless, if your travel plans don’t include visiting the might Mount Everest at some other point in your trip, seeing the behemoth on a day trip from the capital is an absolute must! Standing at 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) tall, it really is an incredible sight.
Do this! Book a day trip to Mount Everest from Kathmandu and be amazed the sheer size and splendour of the tallest mountain across the globe. Fly over the gigantic natural feature and take plenty of pictures to make your friends back at hone jealous.
You can choose from pleasure flights in small aeroplanes or helicopters for your incredible experience. Flying over Everest is also incredibly romantic in the right company, so it could be the perfect way to impress that special someone!
A nice quiet place to see in Kathmandu
- Traditional Tibetan Buddhist monastery
- Home to many religious devotees
- Famous for its meditation courses
- Tranquil and serene ambience
Why go there? The hilltop Kopan Monastery was established in the late 1960s. The building was once owned by Nepal’s royal astrologer. There are two sections to the complex, one for monks and the other for Buddhist nuns. Nuns receive similar teachings to monks.
The monastery made a name for itself by teaching foreigners all about Buddhism, sharing the precepts, philosophies, rituals, and ways of life. There are now yearly meditation courses that last for a month and combine various teachings.
Do this! Visit Kopan Monastery on a Saturday (it isn’t open to the public on other days of the week) and meet the resident monks and nuns. Wee where the inhabitants live, pray, and teach, and have the opportunity to learn more about Buddhism. You can ask questions on your visit to help you understand in more depth.
If you have more time to spare and have a strong interest in Buddhism (or are a follower already) you could also book a spot on the annual meditation course. It runs between November and December.
Shivapuri National Park
A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Kathmandu
- Home to diverse creatures
- Rich variety of plants
- Hiking opportunities
Why go there? Shivapuri National Park covers 159 square kilometres (61 square miles) and can be found at the edges of the Kathmandu valley. There are several historical and religious sites within the park as well as a large array of flora and fauna.
It’s one of the last remaining patches of primary woodland in the valley, and there are pretty waterfalls inside the park. Visitors will find great opportunities for outdoor activities and adventures in nature. The national park has been a vital source of water for the capital for a long period.
Do this! Explore the various tracks and trails through Shivapuri National Park, seeing a wide variety of flora and fauna. Plants and trees include Persian silk trees, wild Himalayan cherry, oak trees, pines, and rhododendron. There are many bird species, including flycatchers, cuckoo-doves, and eagle-owls, making it a favourite spot for keen bird-spotters.
Other creatures that call the national park home include jungle cats, leopards, deer, langurs, hares, porcupines, mongoose, snakes, and lizards. Hike along trails of varying difficulty levels, including multi-day treks if you’re feeling especially active. Admire the picturesque waterfalls and scenic views and visit the various historic sites, such as Nagigumba Monastery and the old hill station.
National Museum of Nepal
A fascinating educational place to visit in Kathmandu
- Housed in a beautiful building
- Biggest museum in Nepal
- Contains a wide assortment of artefacts
- Great place to learn more about Nepalese history and traditions
Why go there? The National Museum of Nepal is the country’s biggest museum. It is located within a building that dates back to the early 19th century and that was built by a former prime minister as his home. There are a further two buildings that contain artworks and Buddhist art.
The museum seeks to show people more about Nepalese history, culture, and traditions through its varied collection of items. Visitors are sure to uncover lots of new and interesting facts and insights.
Do this! Spend time looking at the museum’s artefacts and gaining greater understanding of Nepal’s past and present. Uncover age-old traditions and get a glimpse into the local psyche. Visit the museum’s three buildings, each dedicated to different themes.
The Buddhist Art Gallery houses numerous religious statues and memorabilia while the art gallery contains a wide assortment of paintings, carved wood, and statues. Inside the main building you can see displays related to natural history and culture, with items including stamps, weaponry, coins, feathers, and animal skins.
A very cool place in Kathmandu to go for a day
- Ancient city
- Stunning architecture
- Featured in films and TV shows
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
Why go there? Located a short distance away from Kathmandu city and within the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is an ancient city with the best-preserved old city in all of Nepal. A former capital city, the UNESCO-listed city boasts glorious ancient palaces, temples, and courtyards. It was located on the ancient trade route between India and Tibet.
The culture is slightly different here to in other parts of the country; residents speak a distinct form of the national language, there are unique food products, and locals wear a distinctive type of dress. The city is also known for its many vibrant festivals.
Do this! Visit Bhaktapur’s major landmarks, feasting your eyes on the beautiful architecture and soaking up the strong sense of history. Stand in the glorious Durbar Square (not to be confused with the square of the same name in Kathmandu) and marvel at the stunning royal palace, temples, and pagodas that surround the square.
Wooden carvings can be found everywhere and there are plenty of interesting statues. Be impressed by the five-storey Nyatapola Temple and the three-storey Bhairab Nath Temple, visit Dattatreya Temple with its many windows and beautiful artistic details, and appreciate the views from the myth-surrounded pond of Siddha Pokhari.
Don’t miss seeing Kailashnath Mahadev, the world’s biggest statue of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. Sample the local yoghurt, known as dahi, which is only produced in this part of the country. Notice the unique clothes of locals that have since ancient times easily identified people as being from this area of Nepal.
Old Freak Street
A perfect place to visit in Kathmandu if you are on a budget!
- Once on the hippie trail
- Olde-worlde charms
- Street art
- Interesting past
Why go there? Old Freak Street is perhaps more interesting for its past than its present. Officially called Jhochhen Tole, the small street was once at the heart of the local hippie scene. Hippies would flock here from across the world, attracted by the legal cannabis and free love and seeking spiritual enlightenment. Weed shops were run by the government and the air was one of freedom.
Eventually, Nepal made cannabis illegal and hippie tourism was discouraged. Although today greatly changed, there are still whispers from the past if you listen hard enough, and you can imagine how the street would have been in its heyday in the 1960s.
Do this! Stroll along Old Freak Street, looking out for signs of the area’s hippie past. Take a look in the street’s unusual stores, including a shop that sells coloured pipes, a second-hand bookshop, an old-fashioned carpet shop, and a store that sells carved wooden masks. There are plenty of small shops selling local specialities and snacks too.
Pop into one of the trendy cafes for a drink and a spot of people-watching’ the historic Snowman Café with its nostalgic air is popular. See the Eden Hotel, now modernised and renovated—it was one of the city’s first and last legal hash houses. Admire the large mural at the end of Freak Street, see the Bhairab Shrine, and cast your mind back to an age long past.
One of the more unique places to visit in Kathmandu!
- Dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali
- No admission charge
- Historic rituals
- Darker side of worship
Why go there? Dakshinkali Temple sits at the point where two stream meet in a forest. Dedicated to the fearsome goddess Kali, a Hindu goddess that is often associated with violence, the temple is the scene of ritual worship practices.
Many pilgrims and devotees visit the temple to pray to Kali and take part in ceremonies to appease the goddess, which involve animal sacrifices. Although many visitors and animal advocates don’t condone the sacrificial elements of worship, the meat is later cooked and eaten by participants.
Do this! Gain insights into different religious practices and learn more about Kali, one of the more violent incarnations of the Hindu deity of Parvati. Although non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple itself you can still observe the rituals from nearby terraces.
The celebrations are at their most fervent and bloody during the Dashain Festival, although Saturdays and Tuesdays also usually see sacrifices being made. If you want to see the temple without the bloodshed, visit on other days of the week.
A nice non-touristy place to visit in Kathmandu
- Hidden historical gem
- Close to the bustling heart of the city
- Replica of the Monkey Temple
- Surrounded by interesting statues
Why go there? Tucked away in a secluded courtyard close to the city centre and many famous tourist sites, Kathesimbhu Stupa is a replica of the well-known Swayambhunath (also known as the Monkey Temple). Peaceful and colourful, the stupa often invokes a sense of harmony and calmness within those who visit the hidden treasure.
Dating back to the 16th century, some people believe that the stupa was made using materials left over from construction of Swayambhunath. Pilgrims come here to pray if they are unable to make the journey to the more famous site.
Do this! Walk through the maze-like streets in the city centre and pass down a tucked-away lane to reach the beautiful stupa. Colourful prayer flags hang from the monument adding to the beauty. Admire the stupa with its pale domed base and golden spire, noticing the 13 steps on the spire that symbolise the 13 stages that people must go through in order to reach Nirvana.
The eyes of the Lord Buddha face outwards, watching over the valley, with the third eye representing Buddha’s all-seeing insights. It’s a striking landmark and a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy some time in quiet contemplation.
Cool place to see in Kathmandu with friends!
- Long cave system
- Beautiful views
- Nice park
- Adventurous activity
Why go there? Located in the Chobhar Gorge, Manjushree Cave sits in a lovely park that is popular with locals. Legends say that there was once a hill-surrounded lake here and that a saint saw a gigantic lotus so created a deep chasm to drain all the water away to see the lotus plant better.
The cave is named after the saint. The long cave system stretches for some 1,250 metres (4,101 feet) and visitors can explore sections of the dark cave with a guide. There are various routes through the underground chambers. The caves have two ponds inside: Naya Pond and Mahadev Pond.
Do this! Don’t forget your sense of adventure when you set off to visit the Manjushree Cave! You’ll need to squeeze through small spaces, crawl in some parts, and climb in other sections. It’s a great place for fans of adventure activities.
Strap on your head torch and be amazed by the underground terrain as you discover caverns and tunnels. Cross the old suspension bridge nearby for incredible views across the gorge and river and relax in the surrounding park.
Garden of Dreams
Great place to visit in Kathmandu for couples!
- Historic garden
- One of the most scenic places in the city
- Sense of serenity
- Numerous features to enjoy
Why go there? Built in the year 1920, the large Garden of Dreams (also known as the Garden of Six Senses) was once one of Kathmandu’s most impressive private gardens. It later fell into disrepair and neglect and the forgotten park was restored to its former splendour at the turn of the 21st century.
Within the garden there are ponds, statues, pavilions, bird houses, an amphitheatre, fountains, and many flowers and trees. The garden combines traditional and European features. A great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets and enjoy some peaceful moments, the lovely garden is an especially great place for couples looking for some romance.
Do this! Stroll hand in hand with your love through the scenic garden, with its delightful sunken flower beds and interesting features. Stop to rest and enjoy the tranquil vibe on one of the benches scattered through the attractive garden and visit the eye-catching pavilions that are dedicated to the different seasons. There’s a small onsite gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs.
One of the most underrated places to see in Kathmandu
- Traditional Newari village
- See an ancient way of life
- Preserved customs
- Rich culture
Why go there? Khokana Village is a charming and traditional village in the Kathmandu Valley. Inhabitants of the small village still follow a traditional way of life and it’s easy to observe age-old traditions and cultural practices. Legends tell of a priest who fainted and was believed to be dead. He, along with his wife, was placed in a funeral pyre. Rain came as the pyre was being lit and onlookers fled to shelter.
The cold rain extinguished the fire and revived the priest. Locals feared the priest afterwards, and they fled to another place where they were blessed and created a new settlement in Kudesh, and later Khokana. There are several interesting landmarks and ponds in the village.
Do this! Experience an old way of life as you wander through the charming village and meet locals. The village is known for its rice mustard oil—sample some while visiting. See the large three-tiered Rudrayani Temple, which dates back to the 1500s, and the isolated Sikhi Temple. Walk around the large ponds, including De Pukhu, Ga Pukhu, Samal Pukhu, Kha Pukhu, and Kutu Pukhu, and stop by the reconstructed public rest house of Jitapur Mandap.
A great place to visit in Kathmandu at night
- Designated tourist area
- First Wi-Fi zone in Nepal
- Plenty of bars and eateries
- Energetic ambience
Why go there? Thamel is Kathmandu’s primary tourist area, with myriad accommodations and restaurants, shops and tour agencies, and pubs and clubs. Numerous establishments line the narrow streets, with people and traffic vying for space. Taxis, bicycles, and rickshaws squeeze along some roads, while others have been pedestrianised to help with crown control.
The area was the country’s first Wi-Fi zone, having had internet services available since 2011. It’s a major starting point for many visitors to Nepal and it is always awash with visitors and locals. It’s also one of the best places for a night out in Kathmandu.
Do this! Explore the narrow streets of Thamel, looking inside the many small shops that sell a huge assortment of goods. You’ll find fresh produce, snacks, walking equipment, clothing, handicrafts, souvenirs, mobile phones, and more.
Take a break in one of the many restaurants, savouring local dishes from the extensive menus or indulging in some Western comfort foods. Mix with the crowds and get swept along the bustling streets. In the evening, head to one of the many bars for drinks and fun. You’re sure to meet many other travellers and the conversation is often stimulating and eclectic. If you want to dance the night away, here’s the place to do it.
Easily one of the most fun places to check out in Kathmandu
- Adventurous water sports
- Named after Lord Shiva’s trident
- Spectacular scenery
- Steeped in legends
Why go there? Local legends say that the Trishuli River was created when Lord Shiva plunged his trident into the earth high up in the Himalayas. The action gave birth to three springs that feed the river, and it is named after the trident.
The river flows through Nepal to meet the Narayani River, which itself eventually meets the mighty Ganges in India. The gushing waterway is a popular place for exhilarating white water rafting. The views are scenic and it’s a great spot to truly appreciate Nepal’s natural glory.
Do this! Explore the gorgeous area around the river, complete with picturesque vistas that encompass small gorges, hills, and the cable car that carries visitors to the hilltop Hindu temple of Manakamana. For most, the main reason to visit the Trishuli River is to take to the waters with some exciting kayaking and rafting.
For most of the year the rapids are fairly tame, letting you enjoy a leisurely experience in a peaceful and beautiful setting. Visit in the monsoon season, however, and you can have plenty of thrills on the surging waters.
Even more great places to visit in Kathmandu
Stroll along Maru Tole to see interesting street art and gain insights into Nepal’s regal past at the Narayanhiti Palace Museum. Unwind in the scenic Bhotechaur Tea Garden and Ratna Park and enjoy the atmosphere and beauty of White Gumba. Take a trip to the old city of Patan where you’ll find an abundance of splendid architecture from times gone by. There are many best places to visit in Kathmandu to indulge in delicious local foods; from tourist-focused restaurants to street food vendors, there’s no reason to ever feel hungry!
Kathmandu offers an exciting glimpse into times gone by, with its many historic palaces, monasteries, and temples. You’ll also find charming parks and gardens where you can enjoy nature and there are great side trips to add to the diversity. Night life is fun, with many backpackers and adventurous travellers mingling in the popular Thamel.
Whether you’re seeking a spiritual experience, a journey back in time, awesome photography opportunities, natural beauty, some quality romantic time with that special someone, delicious foodie experiences, adventurous activities, cultural immersion, or something else, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Kathmandu.
Add these best places to visit in Kathmandu to your bucket list and start planning a memorable trip to the Nepalese capital.