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Top 10 places to visit in Kathmandu
There is so much to do in Kathmandu: it is a wonderful mix of developing modern city and incredible ancient wonders. Tourism in Kathmandu can seem daunting for newcomers who have never visited: the crowds, traffic and temperatures can be overwhelming. However, armed with the right information and a reputable tour guide, you will soon see the beauty and the wonder of this truly beautiful city.
Here are the top 10 places to see or visit in Kathmandu
No. 1: Spend Time in Durbar Square
Durbar Square is one of the most frequently visited plazas in the heart of Kathmandu and is well worth a visit. Here you’ll find medieval religious and royal buildings alongside vendors selling souvenirs and candy floss on giant sticks to tourists. Whilst tourism slightly mars the beauty of the ancient buildings, there is nowhere better to visit in Kathmandu.
No. 2: Explore Kathmandu’s old city
Kathmandu is home to many beautiful ancient temples, and you’ll find many of these in Kathmandu’s old city. It is the perfect route for a walking tour, taking you through Ason Chowk, Indra Chowk and Janal Bahal squares. To enjoy a unique perspective few tourists see, try locating Item Bahal’s heritage street during your journey.
No. 3: Spend Time in Swayambhunath
Swayambhunath (Also known as the monkey temple) is one of Kathmandu’s most impressive and easy-to-access temples. To enter the temple, you’ll have to climb 365 stone steps, but the temple and the views are well worth the climb. Visitors also love meeting the hundreds of Rhesus Macaques monkeys that live in the temple.
No. 4: Visit three Buddha Park
You’ll see hundreds of Buddha statues during your time in Nepal, but some of the finest examples in Kathmandu are in Three Buddha Park, which sits in Swayambhu just west of the stupa at the bottom of the hill. Here you’ll find three dazzling gold Buddha statues, which are often overlooked, but with each standing at 20m tall and sitting in the heart of a tranquil reflective garden, there is nowhere better to sit and enjoy your time in Kathmandu.
No. 5: Look out from the Bhisen tower (Dharahara)
The Bhimsen Tower, also known as the Dharahara, was damaged in the 2015 earthquake that shook Nepal. Now the reconstruction construction has been completed. In its glory, the Bhimsen tower was a former watchtower where you could climb the staircase of 213 steps, leading to a panoramic view of Kathmandu.
No. 6: Explore the Narayanhiti Palace Museum
The Narayanhiti Palace is a former Royal palace which was turned into a museum in 2009. If you want to learn more about Nepal’s rich history, this is the perfect place to visit: the entrance fee also includes access to the Palace’s well-kept gardens.
No. 7: Enjoy the Café Culture
Thamel is largely known for its many backpackers and bustling shops, but it is also a wonderful place to relax, rest your feet after a busy day, and enjoy the café culture. You’ll find a dozen different cafes here, making it the perfect place to enjoy a Nepali snack and a rich coffee.
No. 8: Visit the Kathesimbhu Stupa
The Kathesimbhu Stupa is a much smaller replica of the city’s famous monkey temple, and it is fascinating to visit both attractions and view this one in miniature. You’ll find the Kathesimbhu Stupa in a small courtyard on the way to Kathmandu Durbar Square, making it an easy-to-view and accessible attraction.
No. 9: Be Overwhelmed at the Pashupatinath
The Pashupatinath complex contains one of the oldest temples in Kathmandu, and as a functioning temple, you’ll find a host of burning ghats here. The sight of open cremations can be massively overwhelming. Still, if you’re interested in understanding the full spectrum of Hinduism, this is an opportunity you cannot have anywhere else.
No. 10: Take a Walk Down Freak Street
Kathmandu’s Freak Street rose to infamy during the 1960s and 1970s as home to hippies, backpackers, and other travellers in Nepal. Whilst the street no longer lives up to its wild reputation, its history means it is still a great place to walk and enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafes.