The gateway to the Himalayas, Kathmandu is known mostly for the mountains it allows travellers to access. That is if they’re not confusing the city with the well-known outdoors brand, also called Kathmandu.

But Kathmandu is more than a gateway city, it’s worth spending a few days exploring itself. The city is vibrant and full of rich history, culture and tradition. In the heart of the Himalayas and surrounded by majestic mountains, Kathmandu exerts an enchanting energy.

With the Nepalese city being seen largely as a transit point, it can be hard to work out where you’d want to stay to suit your travel style. There are different areas to choose from in Kathmandu that each offer something unique.

The best place to stay in Kathmandu depends on you and what you want to get out of your trip. Lucky for you, I’ve created this ULTIMATE guide on where to stay in Kathmandu. Equipped with this guide, you’ll soon be an expert on the areas of Kathmandu and which is best for you.

So, let’s dive into it and find out where is best for you in Kathmandu.

Where to Stay in Kathmandu

Not worried about where you’ll be and just looking for a fit for you? Check out our top picks for Kathmandu in general!

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Very cute and central home | Best Airbnb in Kathmandu

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.

Rest Up | Best Hostel in Kathmandu

A hostel unlike any other hostel, Rest up’s a perfect place to make new friends, relax and rest up. Rest up Kathmandu Hostel is located in central hub of tourist Paknajol Marg, Thamel, where array of restaurant, shop and travel agencies are located.

Sometimes the best way to experience a destination is from a good dorm room with good people. Book one of these sweet hostels in Kathmandu and get ready for the time of your life!

Hotel Mulberry Kathmandu | Best Hotel in Kathmandu

Hotel Mulberry Kathmandu is within walking distance of Casino Malla and provides an outdoor pool. Hotel Mulberry Kathmandu has a 9.5 rating on travel sites, as well as 67 rooms that are fitted with all the essentials to ensure a comfortable stay.

Kathmandu’s Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Kathmandu

FIRST TIME IN KATHMANDU
Chhetrapati, Kathmandu
FIRST TIME 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!

ON A BUDGET
NayaBazaar Kathmandu
ON A BUDGET

Naya Bazaar

This part of town is just north-west of Thamel. It’s super well serviced by the bus system of Kathmandu, with the big Naya Bazaar stop right at the end of the main Naya Bazaar Marg (road).

NIGHTLIFE
Thamel Kathmandu
NIGHTLIFE

Thamel

Thamel is the central part of Kathmandu where a lot of tourists go. It’s where you’ll find the tour operators, the stalls, the restaurants all servicing the many visitors to the city.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Patan, Kathmandu
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Patan

Patan once was a separate city to Kathmandu, its own kingdom in fact, and one of the oldest Buddhist cities in the world. It lies on the south side of the Bagmati River that winds its way through the larger city.

FOR FAMILIES
Lazimpat, Kathmandu
FOR FAMILIES

Lazimpat

Lazimpat is the tranquil oasis northeast of Thamel. It’s where a few of the embassies are located, and where a lot of the expats live.

Kathmandu is the largest city and capital of the backpacker mecca of Nepal and sits in a valley around about in the middle of the country.

It’s the access point for the Nepalese Himalayas and home to the main international airport of the country. This means it has far and away the most visitors of any area in Nepal.

But people don’t just go there on their way to Everest Base Camp (or higher), or to the Annapurna track. There are all sorts of programs for people wishing to study there, especially relating to Tibetan and Himalayan people and politics.

Kathmandu should be more than just a pit-stop on your way somewhere else. It is home to seven world heritage sites, so is deserving of a few days of your undivided time!

The neighborhoods of Kathmandu are fairly easy to work out. There’s north of the river, where most of our recommendations are. And south of the river, where we’re sending the cool kids.

In the north, the city is divided into lots of very small areas, so for our purposes, we mean that little part, and the immediate near sections too.

There are a few similar names for sub-regions, so just double check your spelling when typing your area into your map app, to save a cross-city trip that wasn’t needed!

Looking for more details on traveling to Kathmandu? Check out our EPIC guide to backpacking Kathmandu!

Kathmandu’s Five Best Neighborhoods to Stay in…

Four of our five choices radiate out from the center of town, where tourists and young locals hang out. Our fifth is in the sub-city to the south. Every one of them is perfect for the traveller type named. If you’re a combination of our categories, the choice is yours!

#1 Around Chhetrapati – Where to Stay in Kathmandu Your First Time

This is the small neighborhood immediately south of the main tourist area of Thamel, but so close you can touch it!

It’s the best place to stay in Kathmandu for your first time to the city because it’s right next to all the area has to offer. It’s also maybe a touch more real feeling than being right in the tourist hot-spot. You may have a walk a little way from the bus stop, but that’s how you get to know an area best!

Chhetrapati has huge numbers of restaurants and cafes, so you’ll definitely not go hungry in this part of town.

Chhetrapati, Kathmandu

There’s equally as many temples, both Buddhist and Hindu, for you to find on your explorations. Some are small and subtle, others a bit more ostentatious.

You’re also the closest to the iconic Durbar Square, the center of the old city of Kathmandu, and home to ancient temples and palaces. It was partly destroyed by the devastating 2015 earthquake, but much remains and it is worth a visit. It was named a UNESCO site over 40 years ago for it’s cultural and historic significance.

Very cute and central home | Best Airbnb around Chhetrapati

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.

DOM Himalaya Hotel | Best Hotel around Chhetrapati

The comfortable rooms at DOM Himalaya Hotel include a private bathroom, free wireless internet access, and tea and coffee making facilities. For guests who enjoy cycling, the Victorian-style hotel offers a bike rental service.

Royal Penguin Boutique Hotel | Best Hotel around Chhetrapati

Well, if the name doesn’t sway you, maybe this will: The Royal Penguin Boutique Hotel offers a rooftop terrace, a sauna and an executive floor. Guests can soak up the sun on the terrace or have a beverage at the bar. The air conditioned rooms at the hotel are well-appointed.

The Nepali Hive | Best Hostel around Chhetrapati

The Nepali Hive is a small family home in Kathmandu, close to Thamel. As you will be staying with your host, it is more like a home than a hostel. They have a nice rooftop to chill on and are full of greenery.

Things to See and Do in Chhetrapati

  1. Go and eat your fill at the Chhetrapati Party Palace. What a name!
  2. Visit Kathmandu Durbar Square. There are others nearby so, again, careful with the navigation!
  3. Temple tour – find as many as you can in a set period of time.
  4. Walk through the old city – between Durbar Square and Thamel, crossing through this neighborhood.
  5. Check out the Chittadhar Hridaya Memorial Museum to learn a bit about your surroundings.
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#2 Naya Bazaar – Where to Stay in Kathmandu on a Budget

This part of town is just north-west of Thamel.

It’s super well serviced by the bus system of Kathmandu, with the big Naya Bazaar stop right at the end of the main Naya Bazaar Marg (road). Just be careful crossing the street ‘cause that place is hectic!

Naya Bazaar is our best neighborhood to stay in Kathmandu when you’re on a budget as it is so close – walking distance – to the main part of town, which means it’s free to get around. And for the times you need to go further afield, the transport links are easily accessible too.

NayaBazaar Kathmandu
Photo: Sundar1 (WikiCommons)

A lot of what there is to see and do in Kathmandu, like world-famous temples, are located away from the main center, so ask at your hostel or hotel how you can get to them.

Oh, and there’s the simple fact of a lot of the accommodations here being super cheap while still being good quality. The banquet halls dotted up and down the main road are a treat.

Being able to walk down into Thamel is your main attraction here, though you can find one or two minor temples and religious sites dotted about too.

Getting to the Thamel part is easy, with a straight line walk until you reach the bustling heart of traveler-town.

A true home with great hosts | Best Airbnb in Naya Bazaar

Travelling sometimes gives you the opportunity to build your own family. In this Airbnb case, it’s true. The private room in a family home is super cute but the main reason why it’s only got the best reviews are the hosts. They’ll treat you like a family member, help you wherever they can and make sure that your stay is just perfect. A great home for only little money.

Gurung’s Home | Best Hostel in Naya Bazaar

Gurung’s Home is family-based accommodation designed for travelers who wish to stay in a peaceful area away from the crowds of the touristic hub of Thamel, and learn about the general local lifestyle of the people.

Metro Eco Hotel | Best Hotel in Naya Bazaar

Metro Eco Hotel has 17 rustic rooms that are fitted with all the essentials to ensure an enjoyable stay. Metro Eco Hotel houses both a restaurant and a bar where guests can unwind with dinner and a drink. A wide selection of cafés and restaurants can also be found close by.

Hotel Holy Temple Tree | Best Hotel in Naya Bazaar

Ideally situated for sightseeing, Hotel Holy Temple Tree is within walking distance of several of the city’s attractions, including Casino Malla and Department of Mines and Geology. Hotel Holy Temple Tree features rooms equipped with cable/satellite channels.

Things to See and Do in Naya Bazaar

  1. Catch a bus in any direction to explore some of Kathmandu’s famous sites. Just hope you don’t hit their infamous traffic!
  2. Walk the length of Naya Bazaar Marg and take in the uniqueness of your surroundings.
  3. Grab dinner at one of the banquet halls on the street.
  4. Wander down to Thamel.
  5. Fuel up at Gorkhali Bakery and Coffee Shop – famous for its tea!

#3 Thamel – Best Area to Stay in Kathmandu for Nightlife

Thamel is the central part of Kathmandu where a lot of tourists go. It’s where you’ll find the tour operators, the stalls, the restaurants all servicing the many visitors to the city.

Seen by some as tacky or inauthentic, it’s actually where a lot of the young people of Kathmandu like to hang out. It’s largely pedestrianized so it’s safe and easy to wander around.

It’s colourful and chaotic, so just perfect as the neighborhood to stay in Kathmandu for nightlife.

The vast majority of the bars and clubs are here in Thamel, which is what gives it our title.

Thamel Kathmandu

You can imagine the energy on a night out, with the places full of people high on completing the hardest treks of their lives.

For comfort’s sake, it’s here where you’ll find a lot of English and other languages are spoken, and western menus. After all, there’s no shame in wanting your old favourite after several weeks of camp food!

Thamel is also your go-to for souvenirs, so if you really want something to remind you of your fantastic Himalayan night out, you’re in luck.

Very convenient studio | Best Airbnb in Thamel

With less than a 5min walk to Thamel and the busy tourist streets, this Airbnb is an amazing choice for travellers that want to experience a bit more of the nightlife. The home is very bright, designed in a local style and super comfortable. You can enjoy a good nights sleep since the area is pretty calm.

Zostel Kathmandu | Best Hostel in Thamel

Zostel is the liveliest & classiest backpacker hostel in Kathmandu. Located right in the city’s backpacking hub, Thamel, there is no better pitstop for travelers to explore Kathmandu on budget. Located in Thamel, Zostel captures the essence of the city.

Dalai-La Boutique Hotel | Best Hotel in Thamel

Dalai-La Boutique Hotel provides comfortable 3-star accommodation in Kathmandu. It has a fitness centre, as well as a rooftop terrace, free Wi-Fi and valet parking. After a day of discovering the nearby area, guests can relax in the comfort of their air conditioned rooms.

Kathmandu City Hotel | Best Hotel in Thamel

Each room at Kathmandu City Hotel Pvt. Ltd. features all the necessities for a comfortable stay. Those staying at Kathmandu City Hotel can enjoy a unique dining experience at the in-house restaurant, conveniently located for those who want to stay close by at mealtime.

Things to See and Do in Thamel

  1. Get a drink at the best-named bar in the nightlife district, which has to go to Bar Bar Black Sip, with its nod to the children’s rhyme.
  2. Grab some souvenirs to commemorate your time in Nepal at any one of the many stalls or shops. Practise your bargaining skills.
  3. Check out the deals the tour operators have on offer, to see more of the surrounding area.
  4. Take a breather at the Garden of Dreams, just to the east of the neighborhood.
  5. Boost your skill level in a safe zone at Astrek Climbing Wall, before you head to the real deal in the mountains!
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#4 Patan – Coolest Place to Stay in Kathmandu

Patan once was a separate city to Kathmandu, its own kingdom in fact, and one of the oldest Buddhist cities in the world. It lies on the south side of the Bagmati River that winds its way through the larger city.

It’s known as ‘The City of Beauty’ for all the incredible structures in the region. When we say Patan, we mean just the old town area of the neighborhood.

Patan, Kathmandu

Patan gets the nod as the coolest neighborhood to stay in Kathmandu as it’s considered to be more natural than some of the other areas. The artisans working here have been doing so for a long time, and their wares are truly what locals would also buy (you’ll probably pay a bit more though!).

It also has a bunch of things to see and do that any traveler would be thrilled by. Whether you’re into history, religion, culture, or a combo of the three, Patan has what you’re after.

You can see kids playing beside the roads while wandering around the neighborhood. Or you can find some of the best food in the city. Cafe Swotha is a good’un.

Stylish rooftop apartment | Best Airbnb in Patan

We can’t even wrap our heads around how cool this Airbnb is. The rooftop apartment has exposed brick walls, old beams and a super cosy and welcoming vibe. You’ll have your own little rooftop terrace where you can enjoy your coffee in the morning sun. Kitchen and bathroom are very well equipped and new since the whole space has been renovated recently.

Hotel Himalaya | Best Hotel in Patan

Hotel Himalaya Patan features 125 air conditioned rooms equipped with all the necessities to ensure a comfortable stay. Enjoy a relaxing pre-dinner drink in the hotel’s comfortable lounge bar, then head to the restaurant for an evening meal.

Sanus House | Best Hostel in Patan

The top floor provides a magnificent view of the Himalayas whenever the weather is clear. Durbar Square, the ancient palace which has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, is just a fifteen-minute walk from the house.

Black Pepper Guest House | Best Hotel in Patan

Black Pepper Guest House provides a comfortable setting when in Patan. It also offers bicycle rental, a tour desk and an executive floor. The rooms at Black Pepper Guest House feature wireless internet access and a minibar.

Things to See and Do in Patan

  1. Go and see the Golden Temple.
  2. Check out the Temple of a Thousand Buddhas.
  3. See the Patan Durbar Square.
  4. Do a walking tour, self-guided, around the area.
  5. Try the momos, everywhere you go. These Nepalese dumplings are a godsend!

#5 Lazimpat – Best Neighborhood in Kathmandu for Families

Lazimpat is the tranquil oasis northeast of Thamel. It’s where a few of the embassies are located, and where a lot of the expats live.

It’s a bit more chill than the rest of the city, which can be overwhelming for hardy travelers, let only little kids.

It’s this laid back vibe that makes it the best place to stay in Kathmandu for families.

The accommodation options are a bit swankier than the rest of the city, and the houses are a bit fancier too.

It may not be the kind of activity for the whole family, but there are a few good casinos here as well!

Lazimpat, Kathmandu

For the kids, there is the Samakhusi Children Park in the west of the neighborhood. It’s not as well-maintained as it once was, but it’s still a green space to run around in!

You can walk from Lazimpat to Thamel but by all accounts, it’s a better idea to take one of the ubiquitous buses. The road is dusty, noisy and chaotic.

Sara’s Backpackers Hostel | Best Hostel in Lazimpat

Sara and Sudan welcome you to Nepal. They love meeting travelers so much they turned one floor in their family home into a hostel. Stay in a cozy bed, rest and rejuvenate before making your next move.

Ambassador Garden Home | Best Hotel in Lazimpat

Ambassador Garden Home is a comfortable setting when visiting Kathmandu and is close to everything the area has to offer. It has a bar and is moments from the Department of Mines and Geology. The hotel has 18 rooms and has been recently refurbished.

Hotel Tibet Kathmandu | Best Hotel in Lazimpat

Tibet Hotel Kathmandu has 56 air conditioned rooms. Those staying at Hotel Tibet can sit down to a unique dining experience at the on-site restaurant, conveniently based for those who want to stay close by when looking to sit down to a meal.

Things to See and Do in Lazimpat

  1. Go for an afternoon adventure in the Children’s Park.
  2. Create yourself a tour of the big buildings of the area.
  3. Catch a bus to head to the tourist center of Thamel or beyond.
  4. Treat yourselves to dinner at the restaurant of one of the high end hotels.
  5. Enjoy the serenity!
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Kathmandu

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Kathmandu and where to stay.

What To Pack For Kathmandu

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a colorful place in one of the most remote regions of the world.

It’s a dream destination for many, and the last bit of comfort before a grueling adventure for a few! Or the welcome bookend of a punishing hike!

Whatever your reasons for visiting Kathmandu, you’ll find an excellent base in the Hotel Mulberry Kathmandu, treating yourself to a bit of luxury that’s been rated as excellent by fellow travelers.

So get out there and explore the city and its surrounds. There’s so much more than we’ve been able to say here!

That’s it for recommendations from our travel team. The rest is up to you!

While Nepal can be very safe, it’s super important to make sure you get travel insurance!

Looking for more info on travelling to Kathmandu and Nepal?