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Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and along with Patan and Bhaktapur, is considered to be one of the three most important imperial cities of the country.
The contrast of beautiful temples, breathtaking views, chaotic traffic, traditional rituals, and the occasional power outage ensure that this unique city will leave a huge impression on you.
Together with useful tips and inspiring photos this article includes some of the best places to visit in Kathmandu that you should explore during your journey.
READ ALSO: Backpacking in Nepal: the perfect 3 weeks in Nepal itinerary
How to get to Kathmandu?
Since Kathmandu is the capital of the country, it is very easy to reach by international flights and it’s very likely that your trip will begin here as well.
Flights departing from Europe are pretty easy to find with Skyscanner, and several airlines, such as Etihad, Qatar Airways, and Malaysia Airlines, offer many departures on a daily basis. these flights typically cost about €500-700 for a round-trip ticket for one person.
I booked my flight with Malaysian Airlines from Malaysia for just €370.
From the International Airport to the center (Thamel) is a 30-minute ride by taxi and cost approx. NPR 750 / €5. However, when I went back from the city to the airport, I grabbed a local taxi and paid NPR 500 / €3,5. So there is room for bargaining.
Where to stay?
Since it is the largest and capital city of Nepal, it’s the perfect spot to start your trip or get lost in the city’s winding alleys and take in the fascinating blend of temples, culture, and hectic traffic.
One of my favorite things to do in Kathmandu is to stroll about at night in Thamel, the “backpacker’s hub” with some of the top hotels and hostels in the city. Along with the wonderful hotels, this area is full of great restaurants, local gift shops, and a pleasant vibe.
You can find already a comfortable double room with a private bathroom for €20 per night. Obviously, you can make this as expensive as you wish
READ ALSO: 15 x best hotels in Nepal
9 best places to visit in Kathmandu
This religious temple is not only one of the most significant temples in Nepal for the local people but also one of the country’s top landmarks.
The Boudhanath Temple is surrounded by stores, cafes, and restaurants, many of which have rooftop bars from where visitors may enjoy a magnificent view of the white-domed Stupa.
If you want some awesome photos without too many tourists, then I recommend visiting this lovely white stupa early in the morning, as soon as it opens.
The easiest way to get there is by local taxi, which will cost you about NPR 300 / €2, and believe me, it’s just too far to walk from Thamel.
ENTRANCE FEE: Entrance fee is NPR 400 / €3,2 per person
BOOK: A guided heritage tour that includes a visit to this amazing Stupa
The Swayambhunath Stupa, often known as the Monkey Temple, is located just outside the center on top of the hill in the Kathmandu Valley. It takes about 10 minutes to get there by taxi, which will cost approximately NPR 300 / €2,1 cab ride.
Once the taxi driver drops you off at the North side, you’ll have to walk up the 370 steps to reach the top of the Swayambhunath Stupa. However, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley, where local residents and monks perform rituals and pray.
A unique sight and a lovely place to visit during sunset.
ENTRANCE FEE: The entrance fee is NPR 200 / € 1,4 per person
BOOK: This amazing Heritage tour includes the Swayambhunath Stupa
READ ALSO: Nepal Budget: How much does a trip to Nepal cost?
The Pashupatinath Temple is Nepal’s largest and most important religious monument. It is also one of the holiest places in all of Asia however, the temple is only accessible to Hindu people but you can explore the surrounding area and the rituals along the river.
Human remains are cremated on the platforms (ghats) constructed along the banks of the Bagmati River. Families flock to the temple to pay their respects to their loved ones.
The body is ritually cleaned in the river before being wrapped in linen and placed on a massive funeral pyre. During our visit to the Pashupatinath Temple, we witnessed an important person being cremated, which was remarkable to witness.
ENTRANCE FEE: To enter the temple complex you’ll need to pay an admission fee of NPR 1000 / €7 per person
BOOK: A guided tour that includes all the highlights of the city such as the Pashupatinath Temple
Kathmandu Durbar Square
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is a beautiful square surrounded by cultural temples and royal palaces located in the historical center of the city. There are often ceremonies and activities held here that attract many tourists and locals to pray and offer to their gods.
However, after the terrible earthquake in 2015, a big part of the structures was damaged and even today they are working to restore it. There is a lot of damage but it’s still worth visiting this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site to admire the rituals and traditions of the locals.
On the day, I visited Kathmandu Durbar Square, a huge event was taking place. Normally I try to beat the crowds, but this time it made the visit more authentic and unique.
ENTRANCE FEE: Entrance fee is between NPR 1000 / €7 per person
BOOK: This guided cultural tour shows you the most historical and cultural landmarks
Discover hidden gems like Yetkha Bahal Chaitya and Shree Ghah Chaitya
On the way from Thamel to Durbar Square, I stumbled into these hidden gem locations while exploring the alleys and streets of the city.
The serenity and peacefulness that characterized these little squares and stupas were fascinating, and the fact that they were surrounded by authentic buildings made them lovely places to shoot some photos.
Later, I learned that these are Bahals, which are typical and traditional squares of a Newa community, frequently with a Chaitya (stupa) in the center to symbolize their respect and devotion to Buddhism.
Thamel is the famous backpacker district and one of the loveliest but also busiest neighborhoods. There are various restaurants, pubs, cafes, outdoor shops, and souvenir shops in this neighborhood.
I stayed for over a week in a guesthouse in Thamel because it’s extremely easy to meet other hikers or travelers, and aside from being close to everything, the places to stay are also very reasonably priced.
Thamel is the perfect location for exploring the best places around the city, taking day trips to places like Bhaktapur or Patan, and also starting various multi-day treks to the Himalayan mountains from here.
BOOK: Join a cooking class and learn some amazing traditional recipes
Visit the Gardens of Dreams
Visit the Garden of Dreams if you want to avoid all of the crowds and chaotic traffic in the city.
This is the perfect spot to unwind and relax because it’s abundant with colorful plants and flowers, chirping birds, and the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves of the trees.
Bhaktapur, which is listed as a world heritage site, is one of the best-preserved royal cities in Nepal. With its authentic temples and squares, it feels like you are wandering through an open-air museum.
Even though there are a lot of people walking around, it feels much calmer than in Kathmandu. This is because the center is basically car-free, which makes it ideal for exploring the small alleys and hidden pathways of the city.
Some of Bhaktapur’s must-see sights are the city’s famous Durbar Square, Pottery Square, and the Nyatapola Temple.
ENTRANCE FEE: The entrance fee to enter the World Heritage site is NRP 1500 / €10 per person but make sure you ask for a stamp to re-enter if you consider staying a few days.
Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a must-do for every outdoor lover traveling to Nepal. At least, this was one of the reasons I went to Nepal.
After doing some preparation and a shorter hike in the Annapurna Mountains that lasted for multiple days, I purchased flights from Kathmandu to Lukla, which is the starting point for the hikes to the base camp.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t in my favor and the flights got canceled for three consecutive days. On the last day of waiting in the airport, I became sick, which led to the cancellation of the entire adventure.
Luckily, the mountain isn’t going anywhere, and I’m planning to go back soon to accomplish this ultimate dream.
ENTRANCE FEE: A guided tour to Mount Everest Base Camp cost about US$900-$1300 per person
BOOK: A 12-day Everest Base Camp Trek including flights, guide, accommodation, …
A visit to Kathmandu is remarkable and one-of-a-kind, yet it provides an entirely new perspective on the country’s culture and traditions.
After visiting the hectic capital, embark on a jungle safari in Chitwan or experience the peaceful environment of Pokhara.
If you have any questions or would like to share tips, let us know in the comments.
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9 best places to visit in Kathmandu
Plan your visit to Kathmandu with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Trip – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- VisitorCoverage – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.