Both the capital city and the largest city of Nepal, many people whizz through Kathmandu on their way to explore the stunning natural attractions that the country is so famous for. There are some great things to do in Kathmandu, so, if time allows, it is well worth spending a few days at least in this chaotic and interesting city. It is a place that many people either love or hate, with little middle ground – whichever camp you fall into though, it is sure to be a city that leaves an impression!
International flights land at the city’s airport and it is also connected by bus to some destinations in Tibet and India. Rickshaws, taxis, and local buses are the best ways to get around, although walking is also possible in some parts of the busy city.
There are plenty of places to eat, drink, and sleep, with spots to suit a range of budgets and expectations.
The city has a long and colourful history, and was once believed to be the mysterious and legendary Shangri-La.
Some top things to do in Kathmandu include:
Tour the Many Temples and Religious Sites
There are lots of temples in and around the city, each one offering a fascinating glimpse into the local religion and culture.
The Monkey Temple is one of the most important Buddhist temples in the whole country, and is also a very popular place with visitors. A large stupa is perched on top of a hill – to reach the top you must climb around 350 steps! It can be a bit gruelling! The brilliant views from the stop, and also on the ascent, make the climb worthwhile though. There are also many interesting old carvings to enjoy on the way up, as well as lots of inquisitive monkeys. Around the stupa there are many Buddhist and Hindu images. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another sacred place is the enormous Boudha Stupa. This is one of the most revered spots for followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Larger than life, it is amongst the tallest stupas on the planet! It is certainly very impressive!
Wander around Kathmandu Durbar Square
You will find many more magnificent temples around the edges of the ancient and fantastically picturesque Kathmandu Durbar Square. There are several fine ancient palaces too and many shrines. You can watch people paying their respects and making offerings at the shrines and also visit the building from which the city takes its name – Kasthamandap. A top tip is to climb the steps up one, or more, of the temples and gaze down upon the beautiful buildings all around as well as the hustle and bustle of daily life on the busy streets. Many vendors ply their wares, and you will definitely be able to pick up some local souvenirs here if you so wish.
Although very little remains to show why this road was called what it was, Freak Street was previously the popular hangout spot of western hippies who wanted to relax, study the local religion, practice meditation, and try to reach spiritual enlightenment.
Meditation and Massage
If you’re looking for some high quality relaxation or are after a little soul-searching, enjoy a soothing massage or join up to one of the many meditation courses.
Narayanhiti Palace Museum
The previous Royal Palace, this is a decadent and ornate building that never fails to impress visitors with its grandeur and splendour. Take your time to enjoy the sweeping and decorative main halls within the building, and wander around the pretty grounds. Look up into the trees and you will see lots of large fruit bats just hanging around waiting for dusk.
There are many things to do in Kathmandu that will really add to any travels around this entrancing and captivating country.