Things To Do And See In Kathmandu

  • Updated on Feb 26, 2023
  • Rugged Trails Nepal

The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu is the place where you start and end up your Nepal Holiday. Someday Kathmandu used to be the city of Temples and thousands of Gods and Goddesses. Time has changed and now most of the visitors and even local people complain about dust and hunk. But hey think that time population and now nearly 3 million and in the development phase. 

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So here in this blog, we are not only talking about the good things to do and see in Kathmandu but we will share some worse parts of Kathmandu too. Most travel bloggers just pointed out the tourist places and the best things to do in Kathmandu city and some people just write the worst things. There is no doubt Kathmandu is a unique city and especially if you are coming from a big country.
Working in this tourism industry for more than 2 decades we have seen many different reactions and expressions. For Asian people, it might not that crazy but for developed countries, people will give them a big surprise. What’s that ...? Keep scrolling and read further. 

The first thing normally as a traveler ask is, Is living in Kathmandu cheap? 

It depends on how and where you want to live, but in general, overall Nepal is a budget destination country. 

But it doesn't mean that it’s cheap if you want to stay in luxury hotels and want to make your trip luxurious you can do luxury things too. 

First Let’s talk about some of the best things to see in Kathmandu City. 

Ok, we shouldn’t forget that Kathmandu city is not that big so for tour activities we count 3 cities Bhaktapur, Patan, and Kathmandu as a place to see in Kathmandu. 

Temples and Architecture - Heritage Tour.

Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan these three cities were ancient kingdoms. Each city has its own character and we can see the battle architecture battles in their temples, and palaces. Kathmandu Durbar Square is in the heart of Kathmandu valley if you are staying in Thamel and Durbar Marg, walking distance of about 10-15 minutes. The famous Living goddess Kumari who is famous in the world she lives in this Square. 

Fun fact of Kumari: There are 5 different Kumari in Nepal, one is from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan and other 2 are just for a certain time which is not so popular. 

Patan Durbar Square is another popular Ancient Kingdoms and the third-largest city in Nepal. Patan is 7-8 Km from Kathmandu and takes 20 -25 minutes by drive. The city of beauty Patan is one of the best cities in metalwork, architecture, wood carving, thanka, statues, and pendants. Somewhere it’s written that the great Artist Arniko was from Patan City. Most of the Buddha status are built-in Patan and export all around the world. Don’t be confused that those statuses, pendants, you're buying were not brought from Tibet but actually, it’s from Patan. Patan also has 136 Buddhist Monasteries and it has a long history behind Buddhism. Patan Museum is another interesting place to visit and to learn about the history of Nepal. Patan Maps and City Maps will be provided by the company or you can simply collect from the airport.  

Bhaktapur Durbar Square, 14 Km (9 miles) from Kathmandu valley. Historically and traditionally Bhaktapur is quite different than Kathmandu Durbar Square, and Patan Durbar Square. Bhaktapur is not just in images but in reality, represents the old dates of living style. Many courtyards, tallest pagoda style temples, glorious architecture, and historical festivals are a unique part of this town. Pottery square, Peacock windows, Taleju temple, and many other temples are the major highlights of this place. The entry fee is worth which goes to reconstruction, maintenance, and to protect the historical monuments.

Pashupatinath Temple is one of the biggest Hindu temples in the world. 3 Km northwest of Kathmandu and a temple of Lord Shiva. This temple has a long history and non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the main temple. Other activities and the temple view can be seen clearly from the opposite bank of the river. If you have heard about the Shivaratri Festival then it’s celebrated in this place. The Pooja, cremation at the bank looks crazy for some people but it’s a circle of life so must have a proper guide with you. A normal tour guide and the street guides can’t give brief information and the importance of this place. This place is actually a highly spiritual place for those practitioners and meditators.

You can book Kathmandu City Day Tour with Rugged Trails Nepal.

2. Stupas and Monastry - Heritage Tour.

The Birth country of Buddha, Nepal is also popular for the Monasteries, Stupas, and Buddhism followers. In Kathmandu and around Kathmandu there are hundreds of Stupas and Monasteries. Some follow Tibetan Buddhism but the Nepalese people didn’t separate Buddhism in a different religion. This is a unique part of Nepalese culture. Buddhism faith and followers are older than the Tibet in Nepal especially Patan, Kathmandu, and Bhaktapur. So let’s talk about the major places to visit for Stupas and Monasteries. 

Boudhanath Stupa; The major attraction of Kathmandu valley. Almost all the people who come to Kathmandu they don’t want to miss this Stupa. There are dozens of Monasteries around and they follow Tibetan Buddhism. 8km from Kathmandu, a white dome buzzing with energy. Morning and evening visit is quite nice with the chanting, prayers which is beautiful. Boudhanath Stupa generally opens all the time also there are nice hotels and guest houses around to stay. 

Swayambhunath Stupa; Popular as Monkey Temple because of many monkeys around the stupa. 3 Km west of Kathmandu, the  Stupa is on the little hill with the panoramic view of Kathmandu valley. Swayambhu literally means “self-existent one” and many legends behind it. Many Monasteries around the Stupa with a beautiful dome. Shouldn’t Miss this place. 

Kopan Monastery is on the hilltop near to Boudhnath Stupa and 10 Km from Kathmandu. The view from the Monastery is beautiful and it opens from 9 am to 5 pm. Kopan monastery is also known as the home of 360 Monks, lama, teachers, and students are from Nepal and Tibet. Visitors come to this place to attend courses and to practice meditation in the spiritual atmosphere.

Seto Gumba also is known as “White Gumba”,  Gumba means Monastery. This Monastery is a northwest hill by Swayambhunath Stupa. After the 2015 Earthquake, the monastery was damaged and for reconstruction and maintenance, it was close to visiting inside. The view from here is beautiful with the Himalayan views.

Namobuddha Monastery, this is not really in Kathmandu but also a day trip destination from Kathmandu. Almost 40km from Kathmandu at the elevation of 1750 M and takes 2 to 3 hrs to drive from Kathmandu. If you want to get out of Kathmandu valley for a while and want to enjoy the scenery with the fresh air then it’s worth to visit. Legends and mythology is another part which is interesting in this place. On a clear day can be panoramic mountain views from the Monastery. For those who want to stay at the monastery, they have a guest house too. Rugged Trails Nepal will arrange the overnight tour to Namobuddha Monastery, write us.

Those are a major attraction but there are many other Spiritual Places such as Pharping Monastery and stupas in the valley. Nepalese people call Bihar and those are 100's years old which are inside the courtyards. 

Things to Do in Kathmandu

Above we mentioned things to see in Kathmandu city which means that you can do sightseeing and culture day trips. Besides of Cultural activities, there are many things to do in Kathmandu city in one day. During the festival time, there are activities to do in these cities while touring around such as Holi Festival. Check out the festivals and events Celebration in Kathmandu. Festivals of Kathmandu

List of Activities to Do in Kathmandu City.

Mountain Flight (Everest Flight).
One Hour scenic Everest flight from Kathmandu in the morning. If you are in Nepal for a limited time and want to see the Himalayan range then don't miss this one. Rugged Trails Nepal arrange flight tickets and private transportation with pickup and drop in good price.  Linked Trip Package: Everest Flight

Day Hiking Trip.
For mountain and hiking people here are some of the best day hiking trails to see the panoramic mountain views and the local villages. It's peaceful to get outside of the city. Some of the day hiking trips also offer the Mt. Everest View.  Rugged Trails Nepal Nagarkot Bhaktapur day hike is the travelers favorite day hiking package. To Book, and learn more about the Nagarkot Day Hike follow the Link: Day Hike Nagarkot

Day Trip Rafting.
Day trip rafting to the Trishuli River and Sunkoshi River is another exciting and thrilling experience. Trishuli River is more popular and famous for white water rafting. Rugged Trails Nepal arranges daily Rafting Trip from Kathmandu to Trishuli, Sunkoshi, and Bhote Koshi River. 

Cable Car Ride.
Chandragiri Hills is another beautiful spot to see panoramic mountain views including Mt. Everest. If you want to see a clear view of Mt. Everest without walking and flying then Chandragiri Hills is the perfect place. 

Street Photography Walk.
For Photographers the street of Kathmandu is the live museum. Portrait, colorful culture, and street photography is another interesting part of Kathmandu. Rugged Trails Nepal Photographers will lead this kind of tour privately, contact us. 

Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour with Landing. 
Imagine flying over the world's tallest Mountain Peaks and having breakfast facing Mt. Everest. Some people say why to trek to Everest Base Camp since it's simply easy to experiencing glorious views. 

Things to do in Kathmandu at night

First thing Kathmandu street especially Thamel awakes till 2 am in the morning max. The city markets are not like Bangkok or other countries that open for 24hrs. Night street life is not that much if you are expecting but the Thamel (center of Touristic hub) is the major place for nightlife with bars, restaurants, live music, etc. Casinos are inside Kathmandu valley if you love to play. 

Shopping around the Thamel market and joining clubs is another fun thing to do in Kathmandu at Night. If you come to Nepal during the festivals such as Indra Jatra, Dashain, Tihar then you will able to see the festive Kathmandu.