Places to Visit in Kathmandu
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People who think of visiting Kathmandu usually think of the Himalayas and soaring mountain views. And in fact, this city is one of the most popular places to access the Himalayas and all the outdoor activities they offer. It’s also a vibrant, culturally fascinating city, and a trip to Kathmandu is always memorable.

People who first arrive in Kathmandu often find themselves underwhelmed. The city is famously polluted and the mountain views you probably imagined are far in its past. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t other amazing places to visit in Kathmandu and just outside of it. And the busy, vibrant culture is well worth exploring and trying to understand as well, not to mention the great food!

So, if you’re ready to explore everything this city has to offer, here’s our expert’s guide to the best Kathmandu itinerary possible.

 

The Best Places to Stay in Kathmandu

When you travel to Kathmandu, the place you stay will influence your time in the city. So, you need to make sure that you stay in a hotel or hostel that suits your travel sides and what you need to see in the city. If you’re ready to choose where to stay in Kathmandu, then here are some of the best options in the city at every budget point.

 

Best Hostel in Kathmandu: WanderThirst Hostel

best hostel in kathmandu

The WanderThirst Hostel is one of thebest hostels in Kathmandu if you want to save money on accommodation and be close to all the action. The hotel offers a range of activities and amenities to help people get the most from their experience and to experience the Kathmandu that you came to see. The hostel offers a coffee shop, games room, restaurant and bar, tattoo studio and high-speed internet. It’s also an easy distance from the best neighborhoods in Kathmandu for tourists.

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Best Airbnb in Kathmandu: Very cute and central home

Staying at this Airbnb feels like living in a proper home. Describing it as cute hits the spot pretty good. Located super central in the liveliest area of the city, you’re in walking distance to all hotspots. However, you’ll still be able to enjoy a quiet night and a good sleep. The flat has every amenity you might need and is well serviced and equipped.

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Best Budget Hotel in Kathmandu: Hotel Dali Nepal

best budget hotel in kathmandu

When you’re trying to decide where to stay in Kathmandu on a budget, this hotel is a great choice. It offers free parking, a restaurant on site, and comfortable rooms that boast private bathrooms and seating areas. There’s also a laundry and spa and wellness center in the hotel for your convenience and they offer an airport shuttle if needed. The hotel is also close to all the most popular neighborhoods in Kathmandu for tourists, so you’ll be able to explore the city without breaking a sweat!

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Best Luxury Hotel in Kathmandu: Baber Mahal Villas

best luxury hotel in kathmandu

If you’re looking for luxury when try to choose where to stay in Kathmandu, then these villas will definitely suit your tastes. The hotel is luxuriously appointed, with an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, fitness center, bar and room that include private sitting areas and bathrooms. You’ll enjoy world-class service at this elegant option, which is part of what makes it one of the best places to stay in Kathmandu.

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Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighborhood in Kathmandu:

 
Around Chhetrapati
This is the small neighborhood immediately south of the main tourist area of Thamel, but so close you can touch it!
 
PLACES TO VISIT:
  • Go and eat your fill at the Chhetrapati Party Palace. What a name!
  • Temple tour – find as many as you can in a set period of time.
  • Check out the Chittadhar Hridaya Memorial Museum to learn a bit about your surroundings.

 

These are the BEST Places to Visit in Kathmandu!

#1 – Durbar Square

A great place to see in Kathmandu if you love architecture

Durbar Square

• This area was hit hard by the earthquakes of 2015, so expect ongoing renovations.
• It can get crowded in this area, so arrive early to avoid the rush.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and was where the kings of the city were once crowned. Today, it remains the heart of the city and of Kathmandu’s traditional heart. It also holds some of the oldest and most architecturally significant buildings in the city. No backpacking trip to Nepal is complete without a visit.

What to do there: When you explore this area, you should expect lots of construction. The area was badly hit in the 2015 earthquake and some of its most amazing buildings needed to be rebuilt or re-supported. Make sure that you check out Taleju temple, the House of the Living Goddess and Basantapur tower, all of which were damaged by the earthquake but are still standing. Also, take a picture with one of the colorful Sadu, but you will have to give them money afterwards.

 

#2 – Kophan Monastery

Kophan Monastery
source: Damien KR (flickr)

• A beautiful building on the outskirts of town where you can meditate or just explore another facet of the local culture.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This monastery is beautiful and it’s an easy trip from the center of the city. You can get a taxi there easily and once you’re at the monastery, you’ll be in the center of a famously tranquil setting. You can also take part in the morning meditation classes or do a course.

What to do there: If you’re interested in trying meditation or have been doing it a while and want to get re-inspired, then book in a class at this monastery. The serene settings are the perfect place to go inwards and learn more about this ancient practice. You can get a taxi to the monastery, but there are also tours that will take you out there. So, if you don’t feel like going through the hassle of getting a taxi and want to learn more about the monastery while you’re there, try one of the many tour options.

 

#3 – The Garden of Dreams

A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Kathmandu

The Garden of Dreams
source: Jorge Láscar (flickr)

• If you get sick of the busyness when you’re visiting Kathmandu, this is the best place to rest and revitalize.
• This garden contains flora and fauna from all over the world and is surprisingly well maintained.

 

Why it’s so awesome: Kathmandu is an incredibly hectic and busy city and sometimes you just need some time away from it. You can escape to this garden, which is right in the middle of the Thamel and provides a welcome oasis. This garden was built in the 20th century and is known as the garden of six senses. You will have to pay a small entry fee, but it’s worth it to get a break from the city.

What to do there: This is the best places to visit in Kathmandu if you need to relax, so take a book and a snack and find a quiet area. There’s also a café on site if you forget to bring your own snacks, so you can sit and have a coffee and enjoy having nature all around you.

 

#4 – Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple

• This is a working temple that performs cremations and you may see dead bodies there, so avoid this temple if you’re sensitive or have children with you.
• This is one of the most famous attractions in Kathmandu amongst locals and tourists.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This temple is located on the riverbanks and close to the airport and it’s a working temple. Every day, people are cremated at this location and you’ll also see people mourning in the public square. When you visit this location, you’ll get a unique and essential view of the local culture and its customs. So, don’t let any fears drive you away and make sure that you experience this side of Kathmandu.

What to do there: Avoid the morning and early afternoon if you’re concerned about seeing a dead body because that’s when they hold their cremations. Pashupatinath Temple is open from 4am to 9am and it will take you about an hour to experience it. If you only want to see the temple, get a guide so that you can get an insider’s view of the landmark building and its place in the city’s daily life.

 

#5 – Langtang National Park

A beautiful and scenic place to check out in Kathmandu

Langtang National Park

• This is the closest national park to Kathmandu and was established in 1976.
• If you aren’t up for a big hike but still want to see the Himalayas, you’ll be able to do it from this park.

 

Why it’s so awesome: There are several national parks in Nepal and this is the closest to Kathmandu. The Himalayas are within clear view of the park, which also has a number of popular treks so you can enjoy the outdoors and the mountains. After all, aren’t these features exactly what people travel to Kathmandu to see?

What to do there: People usually visit Kathmandu for the access to the Himalayas so you must visit this park while you’re in the city. Get a good view of the Himalayas without the pollution of the city clouding and try one of the park’s hikes. There are several popular treks including Langtang Valley and Gosaikunda lake. Just be aware that you may experience altitude sickness and will need to stay in a group and carry provisions with you.

 

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#6 – Thamel

A great place in Kathmandu if you love to shop!

Thamel

• The best souvenir shopping in the city is in this area.
• Make sure you get a receipt and take it with you when you leave the country, as they may ask you for it at the airport.

 

Why it’s so awesome: Whether trekking is on your Kathmandu itinerary or if you’re just there to explore the city, this is the place to go for souvenirs and supplies. Thamel is filled with markets and shops that sell everything from trekking gear to singing bowls, and you could easily spend a day wandering its streets and enjoying the spectacle.

What to do there: If you’re looking for something fun to take home then you’ll find it in this area. It’s also a popular spot to visit if you want to pick up some supplies for trekking. And it’s probably cheaper to buy your rucksacks, clothing, poles, and shoes in this area than it would be back home, so keep that in mind! And if you want some really unique souvenirs, keep your eyes open for gifts such as paper or cards made of elephant dung or singing bowls.

 

#7 – Champa Devi Hiking Trail

• An easy hike that will allow you to explore a small part of the Himalayas without breaking the bank or risking your life.
• This is a great day hike from the city.

 

Why it’s so awesome: If you like the idea of mountains more than the physical exertion, then you should try the Champa Devi Hiking Trail. Champa Devi is a hill to the south of Kathmandu Valley and it offers a 3-hour incline walk with views of the valley and the Western Himalayan Ranges.

What to do there: If you aren’t interested in the long hikes or don’t have the money, this is a good place to get a taste of it. You’ll walk for 3 hours up the mountain before coming to a Hindu and Buddhist shrine at the top. The elevation is only 2,285m and you’ll get some amazing views of the ranges, so make sure you take your camera with you.

 

Quick Note – Staying Safe in Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a fairly safe city to travel in. As in most large cities, there are some issues with petty crime such as bag snatching, so make sure you keep your belongings close at all times. This city is also a safe place for women to travel to alone as long as you use your common sense and refrain from walking around at night alone.

One problem in Kathmandu has to do with protests, which are fairly common in the city. Most of the time they’re peaceful protests but they can turn violent. In these cases, random passers-by are often victimized. So, if you notice people gathering for any reason, move away from the area as quickly as possible. Also, try to avoid the massage parlors as they tend to overcharge tourists and are often a front for other activities.

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#8 – Swayambhunath Temple

Swayambhunath Temple
source: Jorge Láscar (flickr)

• The oldest temple of its kind in Nepal.
• If you like monkeys, then you’ll be spoiled for cute sights here are hundreds of monkeys live at this temple.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This is one of the most popular landmarks in Kathmandu and it’s mostly populated by monkeys! The monkeys are considered holy at this temple because they were supposedly created from the head lice of the Buddhist deity Manjushri. But whatever you believe, it’s adorable to see them sitting all over the steps and building. The temple is also culturally significant. It was founded in the 5th century and survived the 2015 earthquake mostly intact.

What to do there: It’s a long and tiring trek up to this temple. You’ll have to walk up 365 steps, and there are no elevators, so you’ll need to be in reasonable physical condition. Once you’re there, it’s probably best to take a tour guided by one of the temple monks. They’ll be able to give you an insider’s view of the history and significance of the site and you’ll be able to participant in ceremonies as well.

 

#9 – Bungmati Village

Bungmati Village
source: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra (Flickr)

• This village is located in the south of Kathmandu and makes for a great day trip.
• The 2015 earthquake hit this village hard, so it needs the help and money that tourism brings in.

 

Why it’s so awesome: If you want to see a more traditional way of life then you need to get out of the city. Bungmati is a small village that’s been virtually untouched by modern development and the villagers live very traditionally and simply. The village dates back to the 6th century and is believed to be the birthplace of the rain god Rato Mahhendranath.

What to do there: You can take a day trip from the city to this village as well as another that’s close by. Make sure you spend some time enjoying and perhaps even buying wood carvings or sculpture at the local workshops. The locals have been practicing these crafts for generations and supporting these traditional arts is highly beneficial.

 

#10 – Boudhanath

One of the most religious places to see in Kathmandu

Boudhanath

• The largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal.
• This stupa is an important center of Tibetan Buddhism and culture and you’ll find locals praying and chanting there at almost all hours of the day.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This is the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it’s definitely worth adding to your Kathmandu itinerary. It’s also one of the most important religious landmarks in Kathmandu and you can’t start to understand the culture without visiting this site.

What to do there: If you go early in the morning or late in the evening then you’ll be able to avoid the tour groups and get a more authentic experience. At these times of day, prayers are offered and the Tibetan community comes out to walk around the stupa, spin prayer wheels, and offer chants. If you have time, make sure you visit one of the many monasteries called gompas around the stupa. They’re decorated with vibrant murals and are located within a short walk from Boudhanath.

 

#11 – Patan

A must visit place to visit in Kathmandu on the weekend!

Patan

• Patan is 5km south of the capital and is known as Lalitpur or the City of Beauty.
• This is the oldest town in the valley with amazing temples and palaces.

 

Why it’s so awesome: Patan is known as the City of Beauty and when you spend some time there you’ll understand why. The Newari Architecture includes painstaking details and fine work, which makes the wood and stone carvings in the temples and palaces absolutely stunning.

What to do there: You could spend a whole day exploring this city and taking in the architecture, temples, and palaces. It’s also an easy drive from Kathmandu and is much less busy than the major city, which is why you should spend some time there if you want a break from the city.

 

#12 – Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp

• This base camp is why people really travel to Kathmandu.
• It’s a long trek from Kathmandu to the Everest Base Camp, so make sure that you have the time to make the most of the experience.

 

Why it’s so awesome: You don’t need anyone to tell you why you should go to Everest. It’s the highest point int the world and a physical challenge that has inspired numerous stories and legends. Even if you have absolutely no intention of actually trying to climb the mountain, you can trek to Everest base camp and get a good taste of the experience without most of the physical dangers.

What to do there: There are numerous ways to get to the Everest base camp from Kathmandu. You can fly to the Lukla airport and walk a couple of days from there to the Sherpa capital. From there, you need to wait a few days to adjust to the altitude before you start the seven-day walk to the Base Camp.

 

#13 – Chhauni Museum

Chhauni Museum
source: Clemensmarabu (Wikicommons)

• A huge museum located in one of the most beautiful monasteries in the world.
• This is a Kathmandu must see.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This national museum is close to Swayambhunath and it’s also located in a stunningly beautiful venue. The treasures inside of it are just as incredible, which is why you absolutely must visit this museum while you’re in the city.

What to do there: You’ll find a range of exhibits in this museum. The Judda Art Gallery is particularly popular because it’s home to a range of beautiful stone, terracotta and metal statues of Nepali deities. You should also spend some time looking at the famous cloth paintings as well as the 1800-year-old statue of Jayaraman which was discovered in 1992. The Buddhist Art Gallery section is amazing as well, so make sure you take the time to explore everything this museum has to offer.

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#14 – Ashok Binayak Temple

Possibly one of the most important places to visit in Kathmandu

Ashok Binayak Temple
source: Piotr Kloska (Shutterstock)

• This is a shrine to Lord Ganesha, one of the most loved gods in the city.
• This is one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu if you want to understand more about the city’s religion and culture.

 

Why it’s so awesome: Located in the center of temple rubble at the top of Maru Tole, this shrine is tiny and golden and is one of the most important religious sites in the city. That’s why it’s a Kathmandu must-see. Thousands of locals and tourists visit every, so make sure that you don’t miss out.

What to do there: It obviously doesn’t take long to explore this site as it’s a small shrine. Make sure that you’re respectful while you’re there, remembering that the locals still worship there. The temple also has a self-serve tika dispenser and the bells ring regularly, so make sure you stay long enough and partake in the whole experience.

 

#15 – Asan

Asan
source: Juan Antonio Segal (Flickr)

• One of the best places to visit in Kathmandu if you enjoy shopping!
• You’ll find almost anything here you could want to buy, own, or take home with you.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This is one of the most popular areas in Kathmandu for travelers because it’s so bright and colorful. The streets converge in this area and the colors are bright and enticing. The stalls also cell an incredibly wide range of different goods and souvenirs, everything you could want as a traveler.

What to do there: This is the perfect place to do some people watching, so set aside an afternoon and settle down to watch the world go buy. You should also bring your wallet along and see if you can grab some bargains to take back home with you. The market sells everything from electronics to food, textiles and bulllions, so there will definitely be something you need at this market!

 

#16 – Phulchowki

Phulchowki
source: Ashishlohorung (Wikicommons)

• A stunning mountain peak that surrounds the valley of Kathmandu.
• The mountain is basically a stunning garden that’s filled with flowers and looks amazing in photographs.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This mountain peak surrounds Kathmandu and is an easy 4 hour trip from the center of the city. It’s a great place to enjoy some easy trekking without having to travel far from the city and the roads are well kept and suitable if you have a reasonable level of fitness.

What to do there: The flowers on this mountain are amazing and include wild roses, iris, jasmine and native flowers. To enjoy them all, you need to explore and take your time trekking through the trails. This area is well known for its resorts and it’s a peaceful, natural area that makes for an easy, short hike.

 

#17 – Casino Royale

Great place to visit in Kathmandu for couples!

• This is your chance to dress up and have a luxurious night.
• If you enjoy casinos, then this is a Kathmandu must do!

 

Why it’s so awesome: Even if you’re in Kathmandu for the trekking, it’s still nice to get dressed up and have an elegant night out. The Casino Royale is located in the former Rana Palace at the Yak and Yeti Hotel. The casino has gambling, card games and an amazing dinner buffet, which is why it’s popular amongst tourists and locals alike.

What to do there: Make sure you dress up in your best clothes, grab your friends or partner, and get ready for a sumptuous night out. Try a few of the tables, see if you can win some travel money on the slot machines, and sit down for a delicious buffet dinner. This is one of the hotspots in Kathmandu for socializing, so make sure you take advantage of the chance to have a good chat.

 

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#18 – Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park

Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
source: Nabin K. Sapkota (Wikicommons)

• A park located at the northern part of Kathmandu.
• This park was only recently upgraded to national park status so that the valley’s main water source could be protected.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This park protects 177 species of birds and a variety of rare orchids. The sprawling forests are one of the last areas of primary woodland in the valley and there are monkeys, leopards, and bears in the national park as well.

What to do there: This is a popular hiking spot, so if you’re looking to get even more trekking done during your trip to Kathmandu then this is your chance. The flora and fauna in this area are also famously unique, so make sure you take the time to appreciate it and take a few photos as well.

 

#19 – Utse Restaurant

• One of the longest-running restaurants in Nepal.
• This is one of the best places to visit in the city for Tibetan food.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This restaurant is located in the hotel of the same name and was first established in 1971. That serves as proof of the quality of the food, so if you want some authentic Tibetan dishes, then you need to have a meal at this restaurant.

What to do there: There are a variety of interesting, tasty, and unique dishes that you can try at this restaurant. Drink authentic butter tea or try the hot millet beer with your meal and make sure you have dessert as well. The restaurant serves some delicious options such as dhay-shi, which is curd, sweet rice, and raisins.

 

#20 – Taudaha Lake

A nice quiet place to see in Kathmandu

Taudaha lake
source: Shadow Ayush (Wikicommons)

• A small lake with lots of mythology surrounding it.
• If you want to enjoy a bit of nature and see some animals, then this is the place to do it.

 

Why it’s so awesome: If you’re ready to get off the beaten track when you travel to Kathmandu, then this is the place to do it. The lake is located in Kathmandu’s outskirts and according to legends was once drained by a mythical character, leaving the half snake, half human inhabitants homeless. An underground lake was built in response, which made the former inhabitants much happier and supposedly accounts for the tranquillity of this Kathmandu landmark.

What to do there: There is a lot to do at this lake if you enjoy nature and animals. The birdwatching is great because of the migratory species that visit the lake and it’s also a great place to sit and relax in natural surroundings.

 

#21 – Chabahil Stupa

One of the most underrated places to see in Kathmandu

Chabahil Stupa

• This stupa is quieter than some of the other options, so you’ll be able to explore in peace.

 

Why it’s so awesome: When you visit stupas in Kathmandu, you’ll end up fighting with the crowds to find a good spot. But this stupa gets fewer visitors, so you’ll be able to enjoy your visit and really take in the surroundings in peace and quiet.

What to do there: This is one of the most interesting points of interest in Kathmandu and it’s worth exploring during your trip. Luckily, this stupa wasn’t damaged during the 2015 earthquakes, so you’ll be able to see it in all its glory.

 

#22 – Narayanhiti Palace

Narayanhiti Palace
source: Suraj Belbase (Wikicommons)

• This is one of the most important places in Kathmandu’s history.
• If you enjoy learning more about the history of the places you visit, then you’ll enjoy exploring this site.

 

Why it’s so awesome: Over the years, Nepal has gone through a lot of changes and one of the biggest ones was the change from a monarchy to a democracy. This palace is a sign of this history. It’s located close to Thamel to the east of the Kaiser Mahal and was once home to the monarchs of Nepal. This long history makes it irresistible to tourists and to history buffs.

What to do there: If you want to understand Nepal, then you need to know about the incredible changes that the country has gone through over the years. And this is the place to learn about those changes. So, explore the palace and make sure that you take a look at the temple of Lord Vishnu, which is located opposite.

 

#23 – Hanuman Dhoka

One of Kathmandu’s coolest historical sites!

Hanuman Dhoka
source: manjariz (Flickr)

• This is an amazing collection of ancient monuments, some of them dating back to the 16th century.
• This is one of the most famous places in Kathmandu if you’re interested in exploring the past.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This area was once the royal palace of Malla kings and the Shah dynasty and consists of several monuments and buildings. Different buildings are dedicated to different gods and the entire complex is derived from the idol of Lord Hanuman which stands near the entrance.

What to do there: You’ll need a couple of hours to explore this complex because there are a lot of buildings that are worth some attention. Make sure that you explore Nasal Chowk, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was the location of the crowning of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah in 1975. You should also check out the Mul Chok, which is to Goddess Taleju Bhawani.

 

#24 – The Last Resort

A very cool place in Kathmandu to go for a day

The Last Resort
source: Steve Hicks (Flickr)

• This location is a lovely three-hour drive from Kathmandu with scenic views along the way.
• It’s also the best place to visit in Kathmandu for adventure sports.

 

Why it’s so awesome: This resort is perched on top of a gorge of the Bhote Kosi River which is close to the Tibetan border. It’s surroundings by lush forests and jungles and offers something for everyone, no matter what you’re looking for. You can enjoy the plunge pool or just relax in the middle of all that stunning nature!

What to do there: This is the perfect place to get away from the city and relax with some sports, exercise, or just a few hours by the pool! Relax in a hammock and read a book, spend some time in the plunge pool, or just take in the views of the jungle with your camera in hand. If you’re looking for something more exciting, the resort offers a range of adventure activities like bungee jumping and white-water rafting. And if you get hungry, make sure that you check out the delicious foods served in the dining hall or the Karma Bar.

 

#25 – The Royal Botanical Gardens

• This is the city’s national botanical garden and is filled with a range of native flora and orchids.
• It’s located at the base of Phulchowki hill, so it’s easy to find if you need a break from the city.

 

Why it’s so awesome: When you’re visiting Kathmandu, you’ll probably need a few breaks from the busyness of the city. And the best place to have a break is in a garden. This botanical garden is surrounded by evergreen forests and includes indigenous plants, trees, lilies, ferns, medicinal plants and orchids all on display for you to enjoy.

What to do there: This is a lovely serene place to visit and if you’re interested in botany, then it will allow you to learn all about the plants in the region. The medicinal plants are particularly interesting, and of course, there are a range of orchids for you to enjoy as well.

 

#26 – The White Monastery

The White Monastery
source: Nirmal Dulal (Wikicommons)

• This monastery is otherwise known as Seto Gomba or the Amitabha Monastery.
• Watching the sunset and sunrise at this spot is a special treat.

 

Why it’s so awesome: You can see the whole of the Kathmandu Valley from this site and it has a soothing atmosphere that draws in travelers from all walks of life. But this monastery isn’t only aesthetically appealing, it also has a strong religious significance to the local people which adds to the value of visiting this site. The architecture too is magnificent, and the building includes a range of statues, paintings, and murals that depict the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha.

What to do there: The best time to visit this monastery is at night or early morning so you can watch the sunset or sunrise over the Kathmandu Valley. The scenery around the monastery is amazing because of the bright green terrain, so you’ll definitely want to take your camera with you.

 

#27 – Kaiser Library

A great place to visit in Kathmandu if you are alone/traveling solo

Kaiser Library
source: Grentidez (Wikicommons)

• This library contains over 45,000 books that were once in the collection of the Field Marshal Kaiser Shumsher Rana.
• The books cover a range of subjects from history to philosophy and art.

 

Why it’s so awesome: If you enjoy libraries, then you must explore this prime example. Established in 1969, the library took a major hit during the 2015 earthquake, though the lower floor has been restored and reopened to the public. Unfortunately, the grandeur of the site was mostly lost in the restoration, but the books are still worth exploring.

What to do there: This is one of the most popular attractions in Kathmandu because of the range of artifacts and books it contains. At the moment, most of these books and artifacts are stacked haphazardly, but you can still find some gems if you look. You can also borrow a book from the library if you need something to read while you’re in the city. A great place to visit in the library is the outside area, which include a beautiful garden that’s filled with fountains, pavilions, a lotus pool and verandas.

 

#28 – Siddhartha Art Gallery

• When you travel, you should always support the local craftsmen where possible, and this art gallery is the perfect place to do that!
• This is a Kathmandu must-see for art lovers!

 

Why it’s so awesome: This art gallery contains a wide range of contemporary Nepali art and was established to give local artists a place to display their work. The gallery has been performing this service for the last 20 years and it also provides a place to have artwork evaluated and restored.

What to do there: The work that this art gallery is doing is worth supporting, so make sure that you spend some time there. When you explore the artwork in this gallery, it will give you a unique window into the art culture of Nepal and Kathmandu, so make sure you take the opportunity to get to know this facet of the local culture.

 

#29 – Changu Narayan

Changu Narayan
source: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra (Flickr)

• The oldest working temple in Kathmandu.
• This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is surrounded by ancient carvings and statues.

 

Why it’s so awesome: The complex at this site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and there are seven groups of monuments and buildings in the area. The temple complex includes shrines to Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Ashta Matrika, Kileshwor, Krishna and Chhinnamasta. It’s the oldest complex in the Kathmandu Valley and one of the oldest in Nepal, which is why it must be on your Kathmandu itinerary.

What to do there: This is a working temple complex so it’s important that you’re respectful when you visit it. The carvings throughout the temple complex and the statues surrounding it are some of the best and most beautiful you’ll see in Kathmandu, so make sure you take the time to appreciate them. The oldest statue dates back to the Licchavi era between 400 and 750 and the oldest stone inscription in the Kathmandu Valley is also located near them. It’s a story etched in 464 of a king convincing his mother not to commit suicide after the death of her husband.

 

#30 – The Toothache Tree

Quite the quirky place in Kathmandu!

Toothache Tree
source: Megh shakya (Wikicommons)

• If you have a toothache, then this tree could help you!
• This gnarled tree stump is located at an intersection just past Thahiti Tole and is used by the locals to beg for toothache relief from the gods.

 

Why it’s so awesome: If you don’t know what you’re looking at, you might wonder what this Kathmandu attraction actually is. It’s a gnarled thing that’s covered in nailed on coins that the locals have put there as an offering to the god of sore teeth. It’s said to be a cutting from a legendary tree known as Bangemudha and is located right in the center of the dental district.

What to do there: If you have a toothache, then it can’t hurt to follow local customs and nail a coin to the tree as an offering to Vaishya Dev, the Newar god of the toothache. This tree stump looks great in photos too, because it’s covered in so many coins that you can’t see the wood anymore!

 

#31 – Kakani

A must visit place to visit in Kathmandu on the weekend!

Kakani
source: Brian Dell (Wikicommons)

• This is where the locals go on day trips.
• You can get some amazing views of the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Ganesh Himal ranges from this spot.

 

Why it’s so awesome: Kakani is an old hill station and the home of the Tamang ethnic group. It was once the chosen summer retreat of diplomats from the British Embassy and is a peaceful parkland area where the locals go when they need a day away from the city.

What to do there: When you need a nice, peaceful break, this is where you’ll find it. On Saturdays, the site is filled with picnickers, so make sure you choose another day to visit if you can so you can enjoy the peace and quiet without the crowds. You should also spend some time at the Thai Memorial Park, which commemorates the 113 victims of the 1992 Thai Airlines crash.

 

#32 – Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park
source: Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn) (Flickr)

• This park is 158km from Kathmandu and will give you the chance to actually get up close with some of Nepal’s wild animals.
• Lots of different types of animals live in this park including reptiles, mammals, birds, and water animals.

 

Why it’s so awesome: if you’ve ever wanted to see rhinos and Bengal tigers walking around free in the wild then this is your chance! It’s also your chance to see an amazing range of trees and plants, some of which you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

What to do there: You can take a safari to this park, which will give you the best chance of seeing some animals in the wild. If you enjoy bird watching, then you will need to arrive early as the birds prefer the early mornings. You should also do some nature walks while you’re in the area, as there’s a wide variety of flora, each of which have their own history and appeal.

Don’t forget to pack a good book!

Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day: This is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.

 

Get insured for your trip to Kathmandu!

Remember, when you are traveling you may need insurance! World Nomads are one of the best insurers on the market and we have used them ourselves for years now.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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Final Thoughts on the Coolest Places to Visit in Kathmandu

When you visit Kathmandu, you’ll have access to some of the most remote and amazing natural landscapes on the planet. But you’ll also be in a city that’s busy, noisy, and famously polluted. Don’t let this put you off though, because there is a wide range of amazing places to visit in Kathmandu for great food, a cultural experience, or amazing shopping. So, take a few large steps outside of your comfort zone and explore everything this city has to offer with our easy guide to the attractions and landmarks that are worth your time.

 

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.


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Places to Visit in Kathmandu