Top 10 Best Things to do in Kathmandu

  • Apr 12, 2024
  • Jyoti Karki

Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is a treasure trove of culture, adventure, and spirituality, nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas. As the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas, Kathmandu is not just a stopover but a destination rich with historical significance, vibrant marketplaces, and tranquil spaces of worship. Whether you're drawn to the intricate artistry of ancient historic sites in Kathmandu, the serene practices of spiritual tours, or the adrenaline rush of adventure activities, this city offers an array of experiences. Food enthusiasts can dive into the best restaurants in Kathmandu for traditional food, while shoppers can navigate through the bustling streets with a Kathmandu shopping guide. For nature lovers, the city reveals nature spots within and around its urban sprawl, offering a peaceful respite from the lively Kathmandu nightlife and entertainment scene. With Kathmandu's UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the stoic Boudhanath Stupa and the historic Swayambhunath Temple, the city offers a deep dive into its rich cultural tapestry. This guide aims to be your comprehensive resource for planning a visit that encapsulates the essence of Kathmandu, ensuring a memorable journey through one of the world's most fascinating cities.

Relax Getaways is renowned for offering unparalleled experiences in Kathmandu, meticulously curating tours that encompass the city's top attractions. From ancient historical sites and vibrant cultural experiences to thrilling adventures and serene spiritual journeys, we ensure a diverse and memorable exploration of Nepal's capital. Our commitment to quality and personalization sets us apart, with local experts providing insightful narratives that enrich every tour. Choosing us means experiencing Kathmandu's essence through tailor-made adventures that cater to every interest.

Table of Contents

Discover Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a historic and cultural epicenter in Kathmandu, Nepal, showcasing the grandeur of Newar architecture. The construction of the square began in the 3rd century, with significant additions made during the reign of the Malla kings in the 16th century. This area is a spectacular showcase of palaces, courtyards, and temples that served as the heart of ancient Kathmandu's religious and social life, as well as the seat of royalty.

  • Historical Significance: Kathmandu Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that serves as a testament to the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Nepal. Originating between the 4th to 8th centuries, it has been a pivotal center for royal ceremonies, including coronations, and a hub for festivals and community gatherings​.

  • Architectural Marvels: The square is renowned for its exquisite Newar architecture, which is evident in the detailed carvings and artistic embellishments on the temples and palaces. These structures were primarily built during the Malla dynasty in the 16th century, showcasing the artistic prowess of the Newar craftsmen of that era​.

  • Spiritual and Religious Hub: It hosts several temples dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses, making it a significant spiritual site. The Taleju Bhawani Temple, for example, is dedicated to the goddess Taleju Bhawani, revered by the Malla kings. The Kaal Bhairav and Akash Bhairav temples are other notable religious sites within the square​.

  • Living Goddess - Kumari: The Kumari Bahal, a palace within the square, is the residence of the Kumari, a young girl revered as a living goddess. This unique tradition blends spirituality with daily life and is a significant aspect of the local culture.

  • Cultural Festivals: Kathmandu Durbar Square is the focal point for many important festivals, including Indra Jatra. This festival honors Indra, the god of rain, and features the chariot procession of the Kumari. It's a vibrant manifestation of the local traditions and religious practices​.

  • Impact of Natural Disasters: The square has endured significant damage from earthquakes, most notably in 1934 and 2015. Despite this, efforts have been made to restore and preserve its historical structures, reflecting the resilience and commitment of the Nepalese people to their heritage​.

  • Accessibility and Visitor Information: Located just a few kilometers from the center of Kathmandu, the square is easily reachable by public or private transport. Entry fees vary by nationality, with different rates for foreign nationals, SAARC nationals, and Chinese visitors, supporting the maintenance and preservation of this historic site​.

Kathmandu Durbar Square stands as a living museum of Nepalese history, culture, and architecture. Its rich tapestry of temples, palaces, and courtyards not only attracts visitors from around the world but also serves as a continuous reminder of Nepal’s dynastic past and vibrant cultural traditions.

Visit Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)

Visiting Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, immerses you in a blend of Buddhism and Hinduism, history, and spirituality. Perched atop a hill in Kathmandu, this ancient stupa is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also a significant spiritual site for both Newari Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhists, being the most sacred Buddhist site in Nepal for the former and the second most important for the latter after Boudhanath Stupa​.

  • Sacred to Both Buddhists and Hindus: Swayambhunath Stupa, often known as the Monkey Temple, is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus, showcasing the religious harmony in Nepal. This unique blend is reflected in the stupa's name itself, which combines a Hindu term "Nath" with "Stupa", a Buddhist place of worship​.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, Swayambhunath is recognized for its outstanding universal value, representing a significant cultural heritage of Nepal​.

  • Symbolism in Architecture: The stupa’s architecture is rich in symbolism. The dome represents the earth, the eyes painted on the four sides symbolize the all-seeing eyes of Buddha, and the thirteen tiers atop the stupa signify the stages to enlightenment. This architectural design reflects the Buddhist path to enlightenment​.

  • Festivals: Swayambhunath is the center for major Buddhist festivals, including Gunla, Buddha Jayanti, and Lhosar, each marked by unique celebrations and rituals that draw both pilgrims and tourists, highlighting the cultural importance of the site throughout the year​.

  • Best Time to Visit: Early mornings are the best time to visit Swayambhunath for a quieter and more spiritual experience. The site becomes livelier on Saturdays and during special festivals like Buddha Jayanthi and Losar, offering a rich cultural experience​.

  • Accessibility: Swayambhunath is easily accessible from anywhere in Kathmandu, with options to reach it by public bus, taxi, or a climb up the iconic 365 steps leading to the stupa. The journey itself, whether by stairway or road, is part of the experience, offering pilgrims and visitors alike a moment of reflection​.

  • Entry Fee: A nominal entry fee is charged for SAARC National Citizens and foreigners to help with the maintenance of this historic site, while Nepali nationals and children below ten years old can enter for free, ensuring that the temple remains a welcoming place for all visitors​.

  • Historical Background: The stupa's origins trace back to the 5th century A.D., with legends surrounding its creation linked to a miraculous lotus flower. Over the centuries, Swayambhunath has evolved into a major pilgrimage site, reflecting the spiritual and historical depth of the Kathmandu valley.

  • Climbing the Stairs: The climb up the 365 steps to the stupa is not just a physical journey but a symbolic ascent towards enlightenment, offering breathtaking views of Kathmandu Valley and a chance to encounter the site’s numerous monkeys​.

  • Panoramic Views: The hilltop location of Swayambhunath provides panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley, making it not only a site of spiritual significance but also a place of natural beauty, best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset​.

Swayambhunath Stupa stands as a beacon of faith, history, and culture, inviting both devotees and curious visitors to explore its ancient steps and serene ambiance.

Explore Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa, standing as one of the largest stupas in the world, is deeply embedded in both historical and spiritual significance. Its origins are surrounded by intriguing myths and legends. According to Newar Buddhist mythology, the stupa's location was chosen by a prince whose father, King Vikramjit of the Licchavi kingdom, had sacrificed himself to bring water to a drought-stricken area. The site, originally named Khāsti, reflects this story of sacrifice and survival​.

  • Mythological Origins: Boudhanath Stupa's origins are rich in mythology, with Newar and Tibetan Buddhist traditions providing fascinating stories about its construction. According to Newar Buddhism, a sacrificial act by King Vikramjit of the Licchavi kingdom led to the stupa's location being chosen. Tibetan Buddhism recounts the story of an old woman, a poultry keeper, whose dedication and clever negotiation with a king led to the construction of the stupa to house the relics of Kāśyapa Buddha.

  • Historical Construction Dates Vary: The exact time of Boudhanath's construction is debated, with some sources dating it back to the 8th century during Emperor Trisong Detsen's reign, while others suggest it was built earlier, in the 4th or 5th century during the reigns of Kings Manadeva and Vrisadeva. Despite these differing accounts, Boudhanath remains a pivotal Buddhist pilgrimage site​.

  • Activities for Visitors: Boudhanath offers a multitude of activities for visitors, ranging from exploring local cuisine at rooftop restaurants to learning Thangka painting. It's also an ideal place for meditation and obtaining blessings from Buddhist monks in the surrounding monasteries. The site is particularly beautiful at night, lit by thousands of butter lamps, making it perfect for photography​.

  • Architectural Symbolism: The stupa's design is laden with symbolism that represents the Buddha's path to enlightenment. Its mandala shape symbolizes the interconnectedness of the universe, and the spire and base embody the elements and the stages to enlightenment. The eyes of Buddha painted on the stupa signify omniscience, looking out in the four cardinal directions​.

  • Significance and Recognition: Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Boudhanath is not only a significant religious pilgrimage site for Buddhists worldwide but also a symbol of Nepal's rich cultural and religious history. It hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the Losar festival (Tibetan New Year) and Buddha Jayanti, which celebrates the life of Lord Buddha​.

Boudhanath Stupa serves as a magnificent example of religious harmony, architectural grandeur, and spiritual significance, making it a must-visit destination for those interested in Buddhism, Nepali culture, or simply seeking a serene and enlightening experience.

Stroll Through Thamel

Thamel, nestled in the heart of Kathmandu, is a vibrant commercial neighborhood renowned for its bustling atmosphere and narrow alleys filled with shops, restaurants, pubs, and clubs. It has been the center of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades, evolving from the hippie haven of the past to the lively hub it is today​.

  • Traffic-Free Zones: Despite attempts to make Thamel a vehicle-free area, only a few streets, like Chaksibari Marg and Mandala Street, have managed to restrict vehicular traffic effectively. While the concept of a traffic-free Thamel has not been fully realized, these streets offer a more pedestrian-friendly experience​.

  • Historical Significance: Thamel is one of Kathmandu's oldest areas, with buildings designed in the traditional Newari style. Key historical sites within Thamel include the Bikramsila Mahadev and Maitripur Mahabihar Bahal monasteries, both of which reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Newari people and can be visited today​.

  • Shopping and Nightlife: Thamel Bazaar is a shopper's paradise, offering a wide array of items from handicrafts and trekking gear to books and clothes. Bargaining is common, and hiring a Nepalese shopper's assistant could help avoid overspending. Thamel's nightlife is equally vibrant, with numerous bars, clubs, and casinos, making it Kathmandu's entertainment district​.

  • Dining Experience: The area boasts a diverse culinary scene, from street food joints to cozy restaurants serving traditional and continental cuisines. For authentic experiences, local dishes like Laphing and Thukpa are must-tries, available in the many eateries spread throughout Thamel​.

  • Cultural Attractions: Beyond its commercial and entertainment offerings, Thamel houses several cultural monuments, including the Vikramshila Mahavihara Monastery, the Sunken Ganesh Shrine, and the newly renovated Ashoka Stupa, each with its unique history and significance​.

  • Accessibility: Thamel is easily accessible from Tribhuvan International Airport and other parts of Kathmandu. Local buses and taxis provide convenient transport options to and from the district, making it a central point for visitors staying in the city​.

Thamel's blend of historical depth, cultural richness, and modern vibrancy makes it an essential visit for anyone traveling to Kathmandu, offering an immersive experience into Nepal's dynamic capital.

Experience Pashupatinath Temple

Experiencing Pashupatinath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, offers a profound insight into Nepal's spiritual heritage. Located along the sacred Bagmati River, this temple is devoted to Lord Shiva in his form as Pashupati, the protector of animals, and stands as the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu, with its presence recorded as early as 400 CE. The temple complex, a testament to centuries of devotion, is a sprawling collection of over 492 temples, ashrams, and inscriptions raised over the centuries.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Pashupatinath Temple has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, underscoring its global cultural and historical importance​.

  • Historical Resilience: Despite the devastating earthquake in 2015, the main temple structure of Pashupatinath remained largely unscathed, highlighting its architectural resilience and the enduring significance of the site.

  • Pilgrimage Site During Maha Shivaratri: Maha Shivaratri, a major Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, attracts nearly 1 million devotees from around the world to Pashupatinath annually, making it one of the largest religious gatherings in Nepal​.

  • Restricted Entry: Only Hindus are permitted to enter the inner sanctum of the Pashupatinath Temple, a rule that underscores the temple's sacredness in Hinduism. Foreigners and non-Hindus can view the temple from designated areas across the Bagmati river​.

  • Sacred Rituals and Sadhus: The temple complex is a living cultural museum where visitors can witness open-air cremations along the Bagmati River and interact with Sadhus, Hindu holy men dedicated to achieving moksha through meditation and austerity​.

  • Architectural Diversity: The Pashupatinath Temple complex houses 492 temples, showcasing a range of architectural styles from pagoda to dome and shikhara, each reflecting different periods and influences in Nepali temple architecture​.

  • Cultural and Spiritual Hub: Beyond its religious significance, Pashupatinath serves as a cultural and spiritual hub, with its ancient rituals, festivals, and the daily life of devotees and pilgrims offering a profound insight into Hindu practices and beliefs.

  • Festival of Teej: Another significant festival celebrated at Pashupatinath is Teej, dedicated to the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Thousands of women, dressed in red sarees, gather at the temple to pray for marital bliss and the well-being of their families​.

  • Wildlife Within the Sacred Grounds: The temple grounds are home to many animals, including cows and monkeys, the latter known for their mischievous behavior. Visitors are advised to be cautious of their belongings when around these animals​.

  • Access and Viewing Points: While direct access to the main temple is restricted for non-Hindus, there are several vantage points around the temple complex and across the Bagmati river that offer panoramic views of the sacred site, allowing all visitors to appreciate its spiritual and architectural majesty​.

These points underscore the deep religious significance, architectural beauty, and cultural vitality of Pashupatinath Temple, making it a must-visit destination for those interested in exploring Nepal's spiritual heritage.

Admire the Garden of Dreams

The Garden of Dreams, also known as Swapna Bagaicha, is a stunning neo-classical garden in the heart of Kathmandu, offering a tranquil escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Designed by Kishore Narshingh in the 1920s for Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana, the garden showcases an Edwardian style of architecture and was considered one of the most sophisticated gardens in Nepal at that time​.

  • Historical Background: Initially named the Garden of Six Senses, the Garden of Dreams was built in the early 1920s by Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana. It showcased Edwardian style architecture and was a significant garden of its time, designed by Kishore Narshingh​.

  • Neo-Classical Design: Spanning across 6,895 square meters, the garden features three pavilions, an amphitheater, ponds, pergolas, and beautifully paved perimeter paths, all embodying the neo-classical design​.

  • Cultural and Recreational Venue: Since its restoration, the Garden of Dreams has become a venue for classical concerts, corporate functions, private receptions, and cultural programs. It also houses a small museum, a library, and the Kaiser Café, adding to its appeal as a recreational and cultural hub​.

  • Renovation and Restoration: After decades of neglect following Kaiser Sumsher Rana's death in the 1960s, the Austrian government aided in the garden's restoration, reopening it to the public as the Garden of Dreams. This restoration was a significant effort to preserve and revitalize the garden's original splendor​.

  • Visitor Experience: The garden offers a tranquil retreat from Kathmandu's bustling city life, with its serene environment, lush greenery, and architectural beauty. Visitors can relax in the green spaces, explore the pagodas and museum, and enjoy refreshments at the Kaiser Café​.

  • Accessibility: Located just a short walk from Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu, the Garden of Dreams is easily accessible to visitors. It operates daily from 9 am to 10 pm, with an entrance fee that helps maintain and preserve the garden​.

  • Membership Benefits: The Garden of Dreams offers special benefits to registered members, including free entry upon presenting a membership card, minimal parking rates, and discounts at the Kaiser Café. This initiative encourages frequent visits and engagement with the garden's offerings​.

Located just a short walk from the bustling tourist district of Thamel, the Garden of Dreams is accessible and provides a peaceful oasis amidst the urban landscape of Kathmandu. It's open daily from 9 am to 10 pm, with a small entrance fee that contributes to the garden's maintenance.

Visit Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, is a testament to the ancient art, culture, and architecture of Nepal. Located in the heart of Lalitpur city, it is one of three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, each a former palace complex of the Malla Kings. The Square's architecture predominantly dates back to the 1600s, under the reign of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla and his descendants, showcasing the sophisticated craftsmanship of that era.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Patan Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its rich cultural heritage and historical significance. It is located in Lalitpur, Nepal, and is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley​.

  • Historical Significance: The exact history of Durbar Square is unclear, but it is known to have been an important site since ancient times. The Malla Kings of Lalitpur are credited with establishing the royal square, significantly contributing to its current architecture primarily in the 1600s​.

  • Architecture and Temples: The Square is renowned for its blend of Hindu and Buddhist culture, housing 136 courtyards and 55 major temples. Notable structures include the Krishna Mandir, built in 1667, which is one of the most important temples in the Square, showcasing the local Shikhara style​.

  • Cultural Center: Patan Durbar Square is a hub for both Hinduism and Buddhism, making it one of the oldest Buddhist cities in the world. It serves as a significant religious site, hosting numerous temples and spiritual ceremonies​.

  • Impact of the 2015 Earthquake: The Square was heavily damaged by the 2015 earthquake, but restoration efforts have since revived many of its structures, including the Hari Shankar Temple. These efforts demonstrate the dedication to preserving Nepal's cultural heritage​.

  • Patan Museum: Located within the Square, the Patan Museum displays artefacts that acknowledge the long history and cultural evolution of the Newari ethnicity. It also includes Keshav Narayan Chowk and a temple of the same name​.

  • Tour Options: Visitors can explore the Square on their own or opt for a guided tour to gain deeper insights into its history, architecture, and religious symbology. Hiring a guide on-site is possible, with several options available for pre-booked tours as well​.

  • Visitor Information: Entry to Patan Durbar Square is subject to a fee, with differing rates for Nepali nationals, SAARC individuals, and foreign nationals. These tickets are valid for 24 hours, allowing ample time to explore all attractions​.

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Patan Durbar Square is from October to December for the best outdoor experience. It's recommended to visit during weekdays as it can get overcrowded during weekends.

For anyone visiting Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square offers a profound glimpse into the historical and cultural fabric of Nepal, making it a must-visit destination for those interested in history, architecture, and Nepalese culture.

Take a Spiritual Journey at Kopan Monastery

Kopan Monastery, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, is a serene and sacred space dedicated to the study, meditation, retreat, and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Founded in the late 1960s by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, it has grown to become a home for monks and nuns from the Himalayan area as well as a center for foreigners seeking teachings on Buddhism. The mission of Kopan Monastery is to preserve and transmit the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as the path to ultimate happiness and freedom from suffering.

  • Founding and Purpose: Kopan Monastery was established in the late 1960s by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. It serves as a center for the study, meditation, retreat, and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery's primary mission is to preserve and transmit the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as a path to happiness and freedom from suffering​.

  • Spiritual Activities and Retreats: The monastery offers a wide range of spiritual activities and retreats that encourage self-discovery, mindfulness, and personal growth. Daily meditation sessions and teachings from respected Buddhist teachers are available, catering to individuals at all levels of Buddhist practice​.

  • Architecture and Environment: Kopan Monastery features a blend of traditional Tibetan and Nepalese architectural elements, creating a peaceful atmosphere for reflection and connection with nature. Its prayer halls are decorated with vibrant murals, and its courtyards are filled with prayer wheels and lush gardens​.

  • Humanitarian Efforts: Beyond its spiritual teachings, Kopan Monastery actively engages in humanitarian projects focused on education, healthcare, and support for disadvantaged communities. These efforts are in line with Buddha's teachings on kindness, empathy, and societal awareness​.

  • Visitor Experience: Kopan Monastery welcomes visitors from diverse backgrounds to explore Tibetan Buddhism's rich traditions. It provides opportunities for engaging with resident monks, participating in prayer rituals, and enjoying communal dining, offering an authentic experience of Buddhist customs, ceremonies, and practices​.

  • Cultural and Spiritual Haven: Situated amidst the breathtaking landscape of Nepal, Kopan Monastery is recognized for its tranquil environment and spiritual practices. It stands as an ideal retreat for those seeking inner peace, enlightenment, and a deeper understanding of Tibetan Buddhism​.

For anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Buddhism or a peaceful retreat from the stresses of life, Kopan Monastery provides a nurturing and inspiring environment to explore personal and spiritual growth​.

Enjoy Local Cuisine

Enjoying local cuisine in Kathmandu offers an immersive experience into the rich tapestry of flavors and dishes that are unique to Nepal. Here are some must-try dishes and where you might enjoy them:

  • Dal Bhat: Often considered Nepal’s national food, Dal Bhat is a staple, consisting of lentil soup, rice, and curried vegetables. It's filling, nutritious, and served "all you can eat" style, sometimes with chicken or meat. It's especially common if you're going trekking in Nepal​.

  • Momos: Similar to dumplings, momos are a beloved Nepalese food, available in steamed, fried, or curry broth varieties. Fillings typically include buffalo meat, vegetables, or chicken, and the shape can vary by region​.

  • Newari Cuisine: With over 200 dishes, Newari cuisine is famous in Kathmandu. Bara and Aloo, a dense flatbread made from lentils served with a spiced potato salad, are among the highlights of this cuisine​.

  • Sel Roti: A deep-fried treat made from sweetened rice flour, Sel Roti is like a doughnut and often eaten as a quick breakfast bite or during Hindu festivals like Tihar and Dashain​.

  • Juju Dhau: Known as the "King of Curds", Juju Dhau is a creamy, thick, and sweet custard-like curd. It's a traditional Newari friendly, often made and served in earthen clay pots​.

  • Lakhamari: A crunchy bread glazed with sugar syrup, ideal for those with a sweet tooth. Originally prepared for Newari weddings and ceremonies, it's now popular across Nepal​.

  • Yomari: A sweet bun made out of rice flour and filled with a paste made of sesame seeds, coconut, and molasses. This dish was initially made for the festival of Yomari Punhi but is now available year-round.

  • Lassi: A thick, sweet drink made from yogurt, mixed with water and sugar, and served chilled. It comes in various flavors like mango or rose, with toppings like shaved coconut to dry fruits​.

  • Butter Tea (Suja): A typical Himalayan delight, this tea is brewed with tea leaves, yak butter, and salt, found in areas with Tibetan or Sherpa inhabitants​.

For those interested in exploring these flavors and more, Kathmandu offers a diverse culinary landscape that caters to all taste buds. From street food stalls to fine dining experiences, the city's food scene is as vibrant and colorful as its culture. Whether you're sampling a traditional dish at a local eatery or participating in a cooking class to learn the art of Nepali cuisine, there's no shortage of culinary adventures to be had in Kathmandu. 

Engage in Adventure Activities

Kathmandu is an adventurer's playground, offering a multitude of activities that cater to thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Here’s a guide to some of the best adventure activities to engage in:

  • Nepal Heritage Tour: A full-day tour immerses you in Kathmandu's bustling, historic heart, with visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites, palaces, and both Buddhist and Hindu temples. It's a rich blend of culture, history, and spirituality​.

  • Kirtipur and Tuadaha Lake Hike: For those seeking lesser-known trails, the hike around Kirtipur offers incredible views of the valley and insights into the rich history and culture of this medieval town​.

  • Countryside Bike Tour: Biking through Kathmandu's countryside to visit charming Nepalese villages and historic towns like Chobar and Kirtipur provides a closer look at Nepal's natural beauty and cultural heritage​.

  • Hiking the Kathmandu Valley: With trails leading through monasteries, temples, and palaces set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, this hike offers relaxation and breathtaking scenery. It's an intimate way to explore the valley's natural and historical sites​.

These activities not only provide an adrenaline rush but also offer deep cultural immersion, allowing you to experience the unique heritage and natural wonders of Nepal. Whether you're trekking through the high mountains, exploring ancient sites, or cycling through picturesque landscapes, Kathmandu has something special for every adventurer.

Tips for Top 10 Best Things to do in Kathmandu

For those looking to explore the best of Kathmandu, here are some practical tips to enhance your experience across the top 10 activities:

  • Early Visits to Historic Sites: Plan to visit places like Kathmandu Durbar Square and Swayambhunath Stupa early in the morning to avoid the crowds and experience these sites in a more serene setting.

  • Guided Tours: Consider hiring a local guide for historical sites to gain deeper insights and cultural context. This can enrich your understanding of the sites’ significance and history.

  • Proper Attire: When visiting religious sites such as Pashupatinath Temple or the monasteries, dress conservatively to respect local customs. This often means covering shoulders and knees.

  • Street Food Safely: When sampling local cuisine in places like Thamel, choose busy stalls with high turnover to ensure the food is fresh. Watching the food being cooked can also be a good indicator of its safety.

  • Bargaining in Markets: In markets, bargaining is expected. Start by offering about half the asking price and negotiate from there, but do it respectfully.

  • Stay Hydrated: Kathmandu can be dusty and dehydrating, especially after a day of trekking or exploring. Always carry water with you and stay hydrated.

  • Respectful Photography: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially during religious ceremonies or in culturally sensitive areas.

  • Manage Your Expectations: Kathmandu can be chaotic and overwhelming with its traffic and pollution. Keep an open mind and be patient as you navigate through its vibrant streets.

  • Carry Local Currency: While many shops and restaurants in tourist areas accept credit cards, small vendors and rickshaw drivers do not. It's always handy to have some Nepalese rupees.

  • Health Precautions: Travel insurance is highly recommended. Also, pack a basic travel health kit with essentials like pain relievers, band-aids, and antiseptic wipes.

These tips will help you make the most out of your visit to Kathmandu, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience exploring its rich cultural tapestry and vibrant life.

Best Time for Top 10 Best Things to do in Kathmandu

The best time to engage in the top 10 best things to do in Kathmandu, taking into account weather conditions, tourist seasons, and special events, is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. Here's why these periods are optimal for experiencing Kathmandu's highlights:

  • Spring: This is a time of renewal and rebirth, where temperatures start to warm up, and the landscape transforms with blooming flowers and lush greenery. It's ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and visiting gardens or parks. The pleasant weather makes it comfortable for exploring cities and cultural sites without the extremes of summer heat or winter cold.

  • Summer: Characterized by warmer temperatures and longer days, summer is perfect for beach visits, water sports, and mountain adventures in cooler high-altitude areas. However, in many places, this season can also bring about hot weather and occasional rainstorms, making early morning or late evening the best times for outdoor activities to avoid the midday heat.

  • Autumn: Known for its mild weather and beautiful fall foliage, autumn is a favorite for many. It's an excellent time for outdoor activities amidst the colorful landscapes, such as hiking, cycling, and photography. This season also often hosts harvest festivals and cultural events, offering rich experiences in local traditions and cuisines.

  • Winter: A season of stark beauty and, in many places, snow-covered landscapes, winter is the season for snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. It's also a magical time for holiday markets and festivities. In regions without snow, winter can offer a reprieve from hot temperatures, presenting an ideal time for desert adventures and exploring temperate climates.

General Tips Across Seasons:

  • Adapt to the Season: Choose activities that align with the season's offerings. Embrace snow sports in winter, beach and water activities in summer, and nature hikes during spring and autumn.

  • Dress Appropriately: Always check the weather forecast and dress in layers to adjust to changing conditions throughout the day.

  • Stay Hydrated: Regardless of the season, staying hydrated is crucial, especially during outdoor activities.

  • Protect Yourself: Use sunscreen in the summer and protective gear for winter sports. In transitional seasons like spring and autumn, prepare for variable weather with waterproof clothing and comfortable footwear.

Each season offers its unique charm and opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. By embracing what each season has to offer and preparing accordingly, you can have a fulfilling and enjoyable experience throughout the year.

Kathmandu offers a captivating mix of ancient culture and modern vibrancy. From the spiritual tranquility of its temples to the bustling life of Thamel, each experience enriches visitors. Embrace adventure, local cuisine, and the city's serene spots, respecting traditions along the way. Kathmandu isn't just a place to visit; it's an enriching journey that leaves lasting memories, with each season offering its unique beauty.

FAQs for Top 10 Best Things to do in Kathmandu

Q: What is the best time to visit Kathmandu?

A: The ideal times are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November), with mild weather perfect for outdoor activities.

Q: Do I need a guide to explore Kathmandu's historical sites?

A: Not mandatory, but a guide can offer valuable insights into the history and culture, enriching your experience.

Q: Is it safe to walk around Thamel at night?

A: Yes, Thamel is generally safe at night, but it's wise to stay alert and cautious, as you would in any busy area.

Q: Can I try local cuisine if I have dietary restrictions?

A: Absolutely, many places offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Clearly communicate your dietary needs.

Q: How difficult are the treks near Kathmandu?

A: Trek difficulty varies, from easy valley walks to challenging Himalayan treks. Choose one that matches your fitness level.

Q: Are credit cards widely accepted in Kathmandu?

A: Credit cards are accepted in many establishments, but carrying some cash is advisable for smaller vendors.

Q: How can I respect local customs while visiting religious sites?

A: Dress modestly, remove shoes before entering temples, and avoid unauthorized photos. Follow local customs and show respect.

Q: What should I bring for a day hike near Kathmandu?

A: Pack water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, sturdy shoes, and a rain jacket. A small first-aid kit can also be useful.

Q: How do I get around Kathmandu?

A: Taxis, rickshaws, and local buses are available. Taxis are convenient, but agree on the fare beforehand.

Q: Is there an entrance fee for the Garden of Dreams?

A: Yes, a small fee is required, contributing to the garden's upkeep and offering a serene escape from the city hustle.

For the Nepal tour, please click here.

If you are looking for different kinds of Nepal Tours or Trekking Packages, feel free to contact us.

Jyoti Karki

Jyoti Karki

Jyoti Karki is an expert travel blogger. She has been writing blogs for a long time. Along with writing about diverse locations. She personally travels to many different places, went hiking and trekking in Nepal, and has also visited several areas of India and enjoys writing on her blogs about them.