Kathmandu, the capital and largest city of Nepal, surrounded by the Himalayan mountains, is the perfect place for all kinds of travellers. There are a lot of tourist places in Kathmandu where you can begin the day by catching a glimpse of the beautiful mountains, spend your afternoons visiting the temples and stupas, wandering in the cultural markets in the evenings, and cooling off the nights at casinos. The real Nepali cuisine can be tasted in the restaurants, cafes and street stalls of Kathmandu.
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It is better to be prepared as the winters in Kathmandu in December drops down to a harsh 4 degrees Celsius. The best time to visit Kathmandu is from late September to December. As per the rankings of TripAdvisor for the upcoming travel destinations in the world, Kathmandu stood 3rd among the world and 1st in Asia. The most prominent religious street festival of Kathmandu ‘Yenya’ is celebrated signifying the unity of local people. If Kathmandu is in your awesome travel plans this year, here are our recommendations for some of the charming locations you must visit in one of the best tourist places in Kathmandu!
1. Great Durbar Square
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the 3 Durbar Squares located in Nepal. The Durbar once served as the royal residence of the Kathmandu Kingdom and a UNESCO World Heritage site located at an altitude above 1300 meters. The legendary Square is believed to be built by Sankharadev from 1069 to 1083. Fraught with temples, palaces and towers the place is surrounded by splendid architecture which showcases the skills of Newar artists and craftsmen around the world.
The Durbar square was affected by the 2015 earthquake but still serves to be the best tourist places in Kathmandu. The places in the Durbar have gone through a lot of changes because of natural calamities and negligence. Currently, the palace is being used as a museum.
2. Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath temple, the oldest Hindu temple, is located on the banks of the mighty Bagmati River. Pagoda is the style of architecture adopted to build this gorgeous temple which is believed to date way back to the 5th Century, and the entry is allowed only for Hindus. The main deity of the temple is Mukhalinga (Lord Shiva).
The place encompasses more than 500 temples and monuments in the area of 0.64 hectares. It is common to witness Sadhus smoking Marijuana and the performance of cremation on the banks of the river in the public sphere. Pashupatinath temple is one of the Kathmandu attractions as it depends upon the eyes of viewers to describe if it is a beauty or a sad inelegance.
Did you know?
This temple’s streets and layouts were used in one stage of a video game ‘Commandos 2: Men in Courage.’
3. Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath, one of the biggest stupas in the world, is located on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The stupa was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979, and it is 36 meters high. Boudhanath stupa is a beautiful structure beginning with three large platforms descending to a white dome with a spire at the top. The eyes found in the four sides of the square tower are considered as Buddha’s eyes and the question mark instead of a nose signifies the Nepali character of Number 1 symbolizing unity and the one way to attain enlightenment is through Buddha’s teachings.
Boudhanath is also not an exemption from the 2015 earthquake when the spire of the stupa was severely damaged. The whole structure above the white dome was removed and resurrected. The surroundings of Boudhanath Stupa is the home for many Tibetan refugees who entered Nepal when China invaded and took over Tibet in the 1960s.
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Thamel is one of the busiest areas of Kathmandu which is famous since the last four decades, starting from the hippie days when artists and craftsmen stayed in Thamel for weeks on end. Located eight kilometres away from the airport, Thamel is a tourist-friendly area. The place is allured for its markets where you can find everything – and everything means everything. Food, trekking equipment, hardware, fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, clothes, tattoo, souvenirs, etc.
Thamel was the first place in Nepal to be declared a full Wi-Fi zone. The place is also known for its budget free hotels and expensive restaurants (compared to other non-tourist areas) hosting traditional cuisines. One can enjoy the real nightlife of Thamel, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Many of the crooked lanes of Thamel were declared ‘traffic-free’. But the irony is that the place is flooded with restaurants, cafes, bars, casinos, tourist agents, photo studios, foreign money exchange booths, and so on.
5. Garden Of Dreams
The Garden of Dreams, also known as the Garden of Six Senses, is one of the beautiful spots and best tourist places in Kathmandu. Built in 1920, the Garden inspires the Edwardian style of architecture designed by Kishore Narshingh. The Garden consists of 3 pavilions, pond, urns, pergolas and amphitheatre with a floor area of the Garden accounting to 6,895 square meters. The park’s importance was ignored for many decades resulting in overgrown paths, disintegrated pavilions and loss of subtropical flora. The Austrian Government extended its arm in collaboration with the Nepal Ministry of Education to restore the Garden from 2000 to 2007.
6. Kopan Monastery
Kopan Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, was established in the year 1969 by Thubten Yeshe and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. Kopan Monastery, situated in the Kopan hill, is located on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It was established in a motive to act as a home for the monks and nuns wishing to educate themselves mainly on Buddhism and meditation. The course is also open to all other foreigners wanting to experience the spiritual atmosphere.
The Monastery also serves as the home for 360 monks, teachers, lamas and workers and is open to the public only on Saturdays. Recently, the place has gained massive popularity from Nepalese and tourists across the world. It is one of the best tourist places in Kathmandu to learn about the rich cultural heritage of Buddhism. Kopan Monastery should be one of the main things to do in Kathmandu for people looking to learn about Buddhism and meditation.
Did you know?
The tourism industry is the largest source of revenue and foreign exchange for Nepal.
Nagarkot, one of the main Kathmandu attractions, is located at an altitude of 2175 meters. The place is considered as one of the iconic spots of Nepal, located 23 kilometres away from Kathmandu Airport. The place is known for its breathtaking views of Everest and other Himalayan mountains. The eight ranges of the Himalayan Mountains can be seen from Nagarkot. The place is flooded with hotels, needless to bother about a stay.
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Tourists across the world visit this place to observe the striking sunrise and pleasant sunset view of the Himalayan Mountains. Manaslu range, Jugal range, Rolwaling range, Ganesh Himal range, and Langtang are the other few ranges other than the Everest that could be seen from Nagarkot. Nagarkot is one of the famous places for Kathmandu sightseeing.
8. Langtang National Park
The Langtang National Park, located 150 kilometres away from the Kathmandu Airport, is the first Himalayan National park established in the year 1976. The place hosts 26 village communities and stretches till the Tibetan border. The best time to visit the park is between September to November and March to May.
Trekking in this park is also famous in Nepal and stands in the 3rd place among the trekking area of Nepal after the Sagarmatha and Annapurna regions. The park acts as a home for more than 45 mammals which include red panda, musk deer, Himalayan Tahr, Assamese monkey, grey wolf, Tibetan sheep, clouded leopard and snow leopard; 25 species of fish, 65 species of butterflies, and 250 species of birds. Inside the park, the sacred Gosainkunda Lake is located at an altitude above 4300 meters.
Did you know?
In 1992, an Airbus A310 flight which was about to land in the Kathmandu Airport crashed into the park. All the on-boarded 113 people were killed.
Bhaktapur district, located on the eastern side of Kathmandu, is 12 kilometres away from the Kathmandu airport. The district is home to the famous Bhaktapur Durbar Square.The Royal Durbar square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level. The place consists of at least four chambers – Durbar Square, Dattatreya Square, Pottery square and Taumadhi square and a home for few temples including Erotic Elephants temple, Ugrachandi & Ugrabhairab, Rameshwar temple, Badrinath temple, Kedarnath temple, Gopi Nath temple, Vatsala Devi temple and Hanuman temple.
Lion’s Gate is one of the main attractions of the Square. The artisan’s hands were served upon post-completion by King Bhadgoun to prevent the re-construction of such a masterpiece.
10. Short Trekking Around The City
Trekking around Kathmandu should be one of the main priorities of things to do in Kathmandu list. Kathmandu is the base for Everest trekking. Tourists land in Kathmandu and prepare there to set on an expedition. Also, the place acts as the best host for trekkers where all the required trek gears are available in the vicinity.
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Apart from the high mountain ranges, there are also options for a day hike. Some of them are Phulchowki hike, Sundarijal hike, Champadevi hike, Shivapuri hike and so on. These are the famous places in Kathmandu for perfect trekkings.
Yenya is the biggest street festival celebrated in Kathmandu Durbar Square. People take part in the procession of this 8-day festival celebrated from the 12th day of the bright fortnight to 4th day of the dark fortnight in the 11th month of the Lunar Nepal Era calendar (In 2019, it started on 10th Sept and ended on 17th Sept). The festival also signifies the unity of the Hindu Buddhists. The festival is marked by chariot procession of goddess Kumari, masked dances of deities and demons and display of sacred images and tableaus.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the nearest railway station to Kathmandu?
There are no direct trains to Kathmandu. However, there are trains to Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). From Gorakhpur, one can reach Sonauli (Indo-Nepal border, Indian side) by bus or shared cars. Cross the border to Siddharthanagar (Indo-Nepal border, Nepal side) and another bus to Kathmandu.
2. How many days do you need to visit Kathmandu?
Ideally, you will require 3 to 4 days to visit Kathmandu. As there are a variety of places with its significance, it is better to plan a trip at least for four days just to visit the city in Nepal.
3. Is Kathmandu safe for tourists?
Yes, Kathmandu is safe for tourists. The place is tourist-friendly. One million tourists arrived in Nepal in the year 2018.
4. Can Indians visit Nepal without a passport?
Yes. Indians can visit Nepal without a passport. India is the only country where citizens do not require a passport to visit Nepal.
5. What documents are required to visit Kathmandu?
Indians can use the photo identity card issued by the Government of India or by its State Government.
6. Is Aadhaar card an acceptable travel document for Nepal?
No, an Aadhaar card is not an acceptable travel document for travel to Nepal.
7. What is Kathmandu famous for?
Kathmandu is famous for the temples and stupas which still stands after the 2015 earthquake which occurred in a magnitude of 7.8 Mw. Also, Kathmandu entertains travellers of all kinds.
8. Is Kathmandu expensive?
Kathmandu is not expensive. The city is pocket-friendly for Indians and travellers from other countries. Kathmandu stands in the 238th position in the list of most expensive countries in the world.
9. What is the best time to visit Kathmandu?
The best time to visit Kathmandu is between September to December.
10. What are all the other places to visit in Nepal other than Kathmandu?
There are several fantastic places to visit in Nepal.
- Pokhara is another destination place in Nepal. It is the second-largest city in the country and considered as the tourist capital of Nepal.
- Lumbini, a Buddhist pilgrimage site, is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. It is a beautiful place to visit in Nepal.
- Chitwan National Park, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, acts as the home for rare animals and endangered species like Gyps, Hispid Hare, Bengal Florican, etc.
- Nepal is known for its mountain ranges, popular for trekking. Mount Everest is famous among them all.