A lively city in a valley surrounded by jungle and four huge mountains, Kathmandu is a paradise for adventure lovers and thrill seekers. But this ancient and spiritual city is also a therapeutic sanctuary for those pursuing rejuvenation and peace.
Whether you’re seeing it from a rickshaw or exploring it on a trek, a visit to Kathmandu will be a truly eye-opening and rewarding experience.
Nepal’s capital and largest city is a tourist mecca for those wanting to disconnect with material life and get in touch with nature and humanity. Sightseers must go to Durbar Square, an ancient place where the city’s kings were once crowned. The most popular UNESCO World Heritage site in Nepal, it contains more than a dozen palaces and temples and hosts the city’s many cultural and religious festivals, usually held between September and November.
Another popular World Heritage site is nearby Swayambhunath and its Buddhist temple. A journey to this mythical, incense-scented place surrounded by monkeys and ancient carvings gives you a stunning view over Kathmandu below.
Adventurers will be in their element in Kathmandu with jungle exploring, rafting and treks of the Kathmandu Valley all on offer. There are numerous tours and trails available to tourists.
If you would prefer to see it all from above, there are mountain flights from the airport that offer one-hour tours of Mount Everest and the Himalayas. Kathmandu is also a haven for therapeutic activities, boasting several yoga, meditation and massage courses and retreats.
Eat and Drink
One of the most popular food items in Kathmandu’s cuisine is arguably a dumpling called a Momo. The fried or steamed dumplings are traditionally stuffed with buffalo but they can also be filled with chicken or vegetables.
The Thamel district has a number of both traditional Nepalese and foreign restaurants – traditional cuisine is a better choice for the cultural experience and for your wallet. Though Nepal is a coffee-producing country, the locals prefer to drink tea. There are many cafes offering both.
If you want to try something stronger, taste the local alcoholic beverages such as raksi (traditional wine) and chang (homegrown beer). There’s also a range of bars where you can enjoy a cocktail and listen to live bands.
Where to Stay
Thamel is a popular tourist neighbourhood as the airport is located nearby. It is where virtually all the tourist accommodation is offered in Kathmandu. Here you can find a number of restaurants, shops and necessity stores. The most luxurious stays are usually located on Durbar Marg, near the old Royal Palace.
Kathmandu is a city of many pleasures but they are not primarily materialistic. If you’re interested in going on a designer clothing shopping spree (unless it is for trekking gear at the official North Face store) this is not the city to visit. However, if you are interested in books, cultural artefacts and souvenirs there are a few stores you can browse in Thamel.
Kathmandu Like a Local
Want to learn how to cook famous Nepali Momos? A few companies in Kathmandu specialise in teaching visitors how to cook like the locals by hosting traditional Nepali cooking courses.