Here, we have listed the top best things to do in Kathmandu, Nepal. Some you have already been to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, and probably had enjoyed the days you spent over here. But there are still millions of people who haven’t been to the city of heritages, temples, culture and friendly Nepali people. If you are planning to and looking for some good advice to make your trip more effective, then you are in the right place.
Visting in Nepal is not about only trekking or traveling to the top destinations of Nepal like Annapurna Base Camp, Thorang La Pass, Mustang Circuit, Everest Base Camp Trek, and other high mountain pass treks like Tilman Pass, Saribung Pass, Everest High Passes, Mera Peak, Island Peak with Everest Base to name a few. Besides these, you can see the beauty of Nepal without going far from the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu has numerous attractions and plenty of interesting areas to explore. Without further ado, let’s check them out.
Best things to do in Kathmandu Nepal
While visiting Nepal, Kathmandu is the first place that you end up. The Kathmandu Valley is a perfect combo of mountains, foods, UNESCO listed world heritage sites, beautiful scenery, culture, spirituality, peaceful environment, and perfect weather. Kathmandu city is also known as the city of temples because you can find here at least 130 important monuments. In the bowl shape, this city stands at an elevation of approximately 1400 meters above the sea level.
Now Kathmandu has been a hub for all the independent travelers. Among 10 World Heritage Sites enlisted by UNESCO 7 of them lie in Kathmandu valley. Here are a few unique and popular things to do, if you have a day or a few days to spend in Kathmandu.
Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu
There are seven World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu enlisted by UNESCO namely Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, and Changu Narayan. You can visit two or three of them in a full day, spending about an hour at each of them.
Situated in the heart of Kathmandu Valley, Durbar Squares are a “place of palaces”. There are a total of four Durbar Squares, out of which 3 are preserved in Kathmandu three and one unpreserved in Kirtipur. The three Durbar Squares are Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the oldest cities and has buildings that represent the heritage of all four kingdoms (Kantipur, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Kirtipur). All these Durbar Squares were the Royal Palace of the different kings and shah dynasty. Presently, there are museums in all three Durbar Squares. You can make a short visit to all of them and get an opportunity to know about ancient Nepal. During dusk, pilgrims come to pay homage and offer prayers. So, it is the best time to visit these sites since there are numerous old pagoda style temples around the square.
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples of Kathmandu, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva (Pashupati). This temple is a famous 5th-century temple as a significant part of the temple was destroyed by Mughal invaders in the 14th century and little or nothing remains of the original 5th-century temple exterior. The temple which now stands on the bank of the Bagmati River was built in the 19th century. The most important festival which takes place here is Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva, where thousands of devotees and sadhus visit from different parts of Nepal and India every year. Mainly Hindus are allowed to enter the temple premises, non-Hindu visitors can view the temple only from across the Bagmati River.
Boudhanath is a very popular tourist site and the holiest Buddhist site in Nepal. It is situated about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu. This stupa’s massive Mandala is the largest spherical Stupa in Nepal. UNESCO World Heritage Site enlisted Boudhanath in 1979. Every year Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims perform full-body prostration in the inner lower enclosure and pray by walking around the Stupa with prayer wheels. There are about 5 Tibetan Gumbas around Boudhanath.
Swayambhunath is situated in the northwestern part of Kathmandu city. It is also called the monkey temple by many foreigners due to the hordes of monkey roaming around the temple. This Stupa is one of the oldest religious sites enlisted by UNESCO, which is atop a hill. This site consists of a Stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, whereas Tibetan monasteries, museums, and libraries were added recently.
Changu Narayan is an ancient Hindu temple located on a high hilltop which is also known as Changu or Dolagiri. This temple lies in the Bhaktapur District of Nepal and surrounded by champak tree forest and a small village known as changu. This temple is also considered to be the oldest temple of Nepal, where Kashmiri king gave his daughter, Champak, in marriage to the prince of Bhaktapur.
So, these are some of the sites which are listed by UNESCO in World Heritage Sites and the best place to visit in Kathmandu.
Shop for Souvenirs and Gifts
It is better to spend a half-day or a full day to explore the shops and visit the main markets. As Kathmandu is famous for fantastic designers and producers of homewares, clothing, accessories, Tibetian carpets/furniture, art, and many more; you can buy these goods as gifts and souvenirs from Nepal for your friends. Also, do not miss exploring the Nepalese silver jewelry and brass products.
Fly by Mount Everest
Your visit to Nepal remains incomplete if you don’t fly by Mount Everest. If you have a short time and are not taking a trek this is a great way to experience the mountain. This fifty-minute flight takes you as close as possible to the world’s highest peak and other Himalayan giants. You should not worry about missing the majestic view of the mountains because all the passengers are provided with a window seat.
Visit Ancient Village
Kathmandu is full of ancient villages. If you are interested to know about ancient Nepal you can visit this village because still many people live in traditional ways in these villages. With a short ride from the center of Kathmandu, you can reach the historic Newari village of Bungmati, Khokana, and Kirtipur. In the main square, many local people live as woodcarvers who own showrooms and workshops. These villages are surrounded by beautiful hills and forests.
Hike or Bike in Shivapuri National Park
Shivapuri National Park is one of the nearest national parks from the Kathmandu valley. It is located on the northern fringe of the valley. You can either go hiking or mountain biking in this scenic national park. The national park consists of historical and religious sites and also hundreds of species of flora and fauna. There are a number of trails, depending on your fitness and time you can choose the one which best suits you to reach Shivapuri National Park.
Hike or Ride to Nagarkot
Nagarkot is one of the best places near Kathmandu city where travelers spend the night in order to views of the sunrise in the early morning. This place will bless you with the majestic views of Himalayan ranges since it is located about 2195 meters above the sea level. Among 13 Himalayan ranges, Nagarkot offers you 8 of them. You can either hike or take two-wheelers to reach Nagarkot. If you are hiking, you can drive to Lapsi Phedi and hike three hours to Nagarkot.
Some of our other articles that you may also like:
- 9 Best Places You Shouldn’t Miss While Travelling in Nepal
- 7 Best Trekking Regions of Nepal
- 10 Best Things To Do in Pokhara
What is Kathmandu famous for?
Being the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu is famous for religious monuments, temples(Pashupatinath), Durbar Squares, Stupas, beautiful landscapes, perfect climate, and nightlife.
Is Kathmandu safe to travel?
Yes, Kathmandu is safe.
What is the old name of Kathmandu?
Kathmandu is also called Kasthamandap. In the medieval age, people called it Kantipur.
Can you see the Himalayas from Kathmandu?
Yes, you can see the panoramic view of Langtang Range, Ganesh Himal, and Gaurishankar from Kathmandu. If you take a cable car ride to Chandragiri Hills of Kathmandu, you can see the Mt. Everest,, including Annapurna range, and Manaslu Range as well.
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This post was written by Pinnacle Expedition