30 Things To Do In Kathmandu: Discover Some Hidden Gems
Looking for the ultimate list of things to do in Kathmandu? You’ve come to the right place! From sacred temples to thrilling Kathmandu hiking trails, this bustling Nepalese city offers many experiences for adventurous souls like us.
Fun Things to Do in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is more than a starting point on the route to Everest Base Camp. You’ll never be bored with these 30 fun things to do in Kathmandu.
6 Points of Interest & Landmarks to Visit
Kathmandu is a city where history and modernity coexist, often side by side. If you’re captivated by the stories that buildings and landmarks can tell, then you’re in for a treat.
Kathmandu is dotted with points of interest that are not just Instagram-worthy but also steeped in history and cultural significance.
1. Durbar Square
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit. With its ancient palaces, temples, and courtyards, Durbar Square offers a glimpse into the royal history of Nepal. Don’t forget to check out the Kumari Chowk, home to the living goddess Kumari.
2. Rani Pokhari
This historic pond in the heart of Kathmandu is a serene escape and holds religious significance. Built in the 17th century, it’s opened only once a year during the Chhath Puja festival.
3. Sankhu Village
A lesser-known gem, Sankhu Village is an ancient Newar town rich in history and local traditions. The Vajrayogini Temple here is a significant pilgrimage site and offers a different perspective on local life.
4. Garden of Dreams
This neo-classical garden is a peaceful oasis amidst the city’s chaos. Built in the early 20th century, it’s a perfect blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles and an excellent spot for some downtime.
5. Patan Museum
Located in the ancient city of Patan, this museum is a treasure trove of traditional Nepalese art. It’s considered one of the best museums in Asia and for a good reason.
6. Thamel Area
While not a ‘landmark’ in the traditional sense, Thamel is the tourist hub of Kathmandu. With its myriad of shops, restaurants, and bars, it’s a landmark in its own right. It offers a different kind of cultural experience.
5 Sacred & Religious Sites You Must Visit
Kathmandu is more than just a bustling city. It’s a spiritual haven brimming with ancient temples, monasteries, and sacred sites that beckon to both the faithful and the curious.
If you’re fascinated by the spiritual tapestry of a place, then Kathmandu’s sacred sites are not to be missed.
1. Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple)
Perched atop a hill, this iconic stupa is not just a religious site but also offers panoramic views of the city. Oh, and let’s not forget the monkeys that call this place home!
2. Pashupatinath Temple
This Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit for anyone interested in Hindu rituals, especially the open-air cremations that take place by the Bagmati River.
3. Boudhanath Stupa
One of the largest stupas in the world, Boudhanath is a centre for Tibetan Buddhism. The area around the stupa is filled with monasteries and shops selling Tibetan crafts—a true immersion into Tibetan culture.
4. Kopan Monastery
If you want to experience monastic life or even take part in a short meditation course, Kopan Monastery is the place to be. It’s a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
5. Dakshinkali Temple
Dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali, this temple is famous for its animal sacrifices, primarily chickens and goats, offered by devotees. It’s a different, more intense spiritual experience.
5 Day Trips from Kathmandu to Try
Ah, day trips—the perfect way to explore the beauty and diversity that surrounds Kathmandu without straying too far from the city’s comforts.
If you’re like us, always on the hunt for a quick escape, you’re in luck! Kathmandu is a hub that offers a variety of day trip options, each with its unique charm and allure.
Just a short drive away, Bhaktapur is a living museum of ancient architecture and Newari culture. Don’t miss the chance to taste the famous Juju Dhau, a local yoghurt as rich in flavour as the city is in history.
Nagarkot is your go-to if you’re a sucker for sunrise and mountain views. Located just 32 km from Kathmandu, it offers panoramic views of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest, on a clear day.
For those of us who love to mix a bit of adventure with culture, Dhulikhel offers a blend of both. From ancient temples to hiking trails that lead to stunning viewpoints, it’s a day well-spent.
The birthplace of Buddha, Lumbini, is a spiritual journey that will leave you with a sense of peace and enlightenment. While it’s a bit of a stretch for a day trip, if you’re up for it, the experience is transformative.
5. Trishuli River
Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you! The Trishuli River offers white-water rafting experiences that will get your heart pumping and your spirits soaring.
4 Bus Tours to Experience
When exploring Kathmandu, bus tours offer a convenient and efficient way to see the city’s highlights without the hassle of navigating its bustling streets.
Trust us, if you’re looking to cover a lot of ground quickly, hopping on a bus tour is a game-changer.
1. Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
These tours are perfect for those who love the freedom to explore at their own pace. With multiple stops at key attractions like Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple) and Durbar Square, you can hop off, explore, and hop back on the next bus.
2. Guided Tours
If you’re the type who appreciates a well-narrated history and lesser-known facts, a guided bus tour is your best bet. These tours often come with a knowledgeable guide who can offer insights that you won’t find in your average guidebook.
3. Night Tours
Ever wondered what Kathmandu looks like under the moonlight? Night bus tours offer a unique perspective of the city, illuminating its temples and markets in a whole new light. It’s a magical experience, to say the least.
4. Themed Tours
For something more specialised, themed bus tours focus on specific aspects of Kathmandu, like its culinary scene or religious sites. These tours dive deep, offering a more immersive experience.
5 Cultural Tours to Immerse Yourself in
Nothing beats a cultural tour when it comes to truly understanding a place. These tours are like a backstage pass to Kathmandu, offering an in-depth look at the city’s rich history, traditions, and local life.
1. Newari Culture Tours
The indigenous Newari community has a rich cultural heritage deeply ingrained in Kathmandu. These tours often include visits to traditional Newari homes, sampling local cuisine, and even participating in age-old rituals.
2. Art and Craft Tours
For those who appreciate the finer things in life, these tours focus on the local arts and crafts. From intricate Thangka paintings to traditional Nepali handicrafts, you’ll see artisans at work and maybe even try your hand at creating something.
3. Historical Tours
If you’re a history buff like us, you’ll love tours that take you through Kathmandu’s ancient palaces, temples, and courtyards, each with its own story to tell. Guides often share fascinating tales of kings, conquests, and legends that shaped the city.
4. Food Tours
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love food? These tours offer a culinary journey through the streets of Kathmandu, sampling everything from momos to traditional Newari feasts. It’s a feast for your taste buds and a cultural experience rolled into one.
5. Festival Tours
Kathmandu is a city of festivals, and what better way to experience its vibrant culture than by participating in one? These tours are timed to coincide with significant celebrations like Dashain and Tihar, offering a colourful and joyous experience.
5 Hiking Tours to Stretch Your Legs
If you’re anything like us, feeling the earth beneath your boots and the wind in your hair is the epitome of freedom.
Kathmandu offers many hiking trails that satisfy your wanderlust and provide a much-needed escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. So, lace up those hiking boots and start hiking in Kathmandu!
1. Shivapuri National Park
Just a short drive from the city, this national park offers various trails leading to the Shivapuri Peak. You’ll encounter lush forests, diverse flora and fauna, and even some hidden waterfalls along the way. It’s a nature lover’s paradise.
2. Nagarkot to Dhulikhel
This trail offers the best of both worlds: cultural insights and natural beauty. Starting from the scenic viewpoint of Nagarkot, the trail passes through traditional villages before culminating in Dhulikhel. And yes, the mountain views are to die for!
3. Champadevi Hill
Ideal for a day hike, Champadevi Hill offers panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding mountains. Kathmandu Valley trekking is relatively easy, making it perfect for beginners or those looking for a quick adventure.
4. Helambu Trek
If you’re up for a multi-day adventure, the Helambu Trek offers an immersive experience into local Hyolmo culture. The trail takes you through terraced fields, dense forests, and remote mountain villages.
5. Gosainkunda Lake
For those seeking a spiritual experience, the trek to Gosainkunda Lake is a pilgrimage to a sacred alpine lake. It’s a challenging trek but incredibly rewarding, both spiritually and visually.
Pro tip: For the best hiking experience, don’t forget to rent trekking gear in Kathmandu before you set out.
From the bustling streets of Thamel to the tranquil trails leading to Shivapuri, Kathmandu is a city of endless possibilities. Whether you’re here for a cultural deep-dive or gearing up for an Everest Base Camp trek, this city offers a rich tapestry of experiences that cater to adventurers like us.