With its bowl-shaped valley and jagged, snowy peaks, Kathmandu is Nepal’s colourful capital. There is something for every type of traveller in Kathmandu – whether they seek nature, adventure, wildlife, food, or culture. An evening at a casino or a serene, spiritual walk around Boudhanath Stupa can provide you with a lovely sunset amidst the mountains. In this article we list the important places to visit in Kathmandu for a fulfilling trip.
How to reach Kathmandu
By air: Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. Southeast Asian Airlines and European Airlines fly to this airport mainly. There are direct flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Varanasi to Kathmandu.
By road: The best way to get to Kathmandu from India is by road. Buses or tour operators operate from various major cities to Kathmandu. It is possible to take buses directly to Nepal from the Indian cities of Gorakhpur and Patna. Also, you can reach the border by car, but make sure you keep the toll fee and the transport permit to show at the border crossing.
By rail: Trains from India do not directly reach Kathmandu. However, you can take the train from Jainagar, India to Janakpur in Nepal. You can reach Kathmandu from there. A few regular passengers also travel between Southern Nepal and Raxaul (India).
Places to visit in Kathmandu and things to do
Are you looking for things to do and places to visit in Kathmandu? You wouldn’t want to miss this list of the best Kathmandu tourist places.
See also: Places to visit in Bhutan
1. Boudhanath Stupa
Kathmandu’s skyline is dominated by the Boudhanath Stupa, located approximately 11 kilometres away from the city centre. There are thousands of pilgrims here every day from a variety of religious backgrounds. They circumnavigate the large dome known as the ‘kora’ in a ritualistic way. In order to receive good karma, one must circumambulate the stupa without any malice in their heart.
This majestic stupa has the largest mandala in Nepal and the entire continent. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most visited Buddhist sites in the world. Kassapa Buddha’s ashes are believed to be buried in this stupa.
2. Pashupatinath Temple
Located on the eastern edge of Kathmandu, Pashupatinath Temple stretches across both banks of the Bagmati River. Thousands of devotees seek blessings from Lord Shiva in the magnificent sanctum dedicated to him. Temples and ashrams dot the area surrounding the Pashupatinath temple, which houses a Jyotirlinga believed to be the head of the body of the twelve Jyotirlinga located across India. UNESCO recognised the temple as a World Heritage Site in 1979.
See also: Places near Vaishno Devi to visit
In Kathmandu city of Nepal, Thamel is one of the most crowded and popular commercial hubs. Over the past four decades, Thamel has never failed to meet the tourist needs with its historical monuments or clubs, cosy restaurants or magnificent temples. Thamel’s street shops have everything you need, from good food and clothes to new music albums and trekking gear. Wi-fi is available throughout the area.
This maze of streets, formerly called Tabitha Bahal, is home to numerous shops lined up one after another. The goods sold here are unique, despite the steep prices.
4. Namo Buddha (Stupa)
The Namo Buddha is among the most well-known Buddhist religious monuments in Kathmandu. Four kilometres away from Boudhanath Stupa, the pilgrimage site is a pleasant place to visit. Enjoy the stunning views of the emerald and turquoise jewel-covered mountains and forest. The lush landscape here will just captivate you.
5. Durbar Square
Visit Durbar Square to discover Kathmandu’s culture and history. Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famed for its artist and craftsman displays and is located in front of the former palace of the Kathmandu Palace Kingdom. A number of reconstructions have been carried out on the palaces and the square itself. This place should be on the list of best places to visit during a Nepal trip for those with finer tastes.
There is also Kumari Chok here, which is one of Nepal’s most curious attractions. It has a cage containing Kumari, a girl chosen to be the human incarnation of Durga.
See also: Top tourist places in north India
6. Garden of Dreams
There are many tourists who visit Swapna Baigicha, also called Garden of Dreams, in Kathmandu to enjoy a tranquil and rejuvenating escape from the stresses of daily life. Originally built in the 1920s, the garden was resurrected by an Austrian-financed team. With beautiful and refined details, the stunningly restored garden is a sight to behold.
Among the main attractions of this place are Omar Khayam’s Rubaiyat marble inscriptions, beautiful fountains, and ponds. There are many things to do in the area, such as picnicking or simply marvelling at the interaction between humans and nature.
7. Taudaha Lake
The Taudaha Lake, a famous freshwater lake on the outskirts of Kathmandu, is surrounded by dense forests and hills. There are many fish in the lake, as well as migratory birds in the area, which makes the area a great place for birdwatching. According to a legend, Taudaha is one of the lakes created when a mythical figure cut the mountain behind it and let the water flow freely.
8. Langtang National Park
The fourth national park in Nepal, Langtang, offers hiking trails, lush greenery, and a variety of wildlife. Langtang National Park lies about 32 kilometres north of Kathmandu, bordering Tibet’s Qomolangma National Nature Preserve.
There is also a high-altitude lake called Gosaikunda Lake within the park, which is thought to be sacred. As the park descends from the hilly regions, it spans across the Nepalese larch groves and goes into the meadows of green fields below. There are more than a thousand species of plants and more than 250 species of birds in this place, making it an ideal place for nature enthusiasts. Langtang National Park is only a few hours’ drive from Kathmandu. From Machhapokhari, New Bus Park in Kathmandu, there are buses that run in the early morning to Syabrubesi in Langtang National Park. You can also opt to hire a local jeep or a private jeep.
See also: Places to visit and things to do in Ladakh for a dreamy vacation
9. Siddhartha Art Gallery
It was established with the intention of providing a platform for native artists to display their works, which is why you’ll find a wide range of contemporary Nepali art at Siddhartha Art Gallery. The gallery has been promoting contemporary art in Nepal for the last 20 years and serving as a catalyst for change to support artists. The company also evaluates and restores artefacts for investors in art. Art lovers and those who wish to learn about the history of Nepalese art should visit this museum.
10. The Last Resort
A three-hour drive from Kathmandu, the Last Resort is perched on the cliffside of the elevated gorge. Nestled among terraced slopes, the Last Resort is just a short walk from the Bhote Kosi River. White water rafting and thrilling bungee jumping are just a few of the thrilling activities you can enjoy here. There is no better place to relax, indulge in adventure activities, lounge at the plunge pool or read a book than this magnificent resort.
The Phulchowki mountain range surrounds Kathmandu valley. Its name, Phul, means ‘flowers’ in the literal sense. Beautiful flowers grow here, and everything is bright and colourful!
Those who have trekked or are fond of hiking should visit this spot during their Kathmandu trip—it shouldn’t take you more than four hours. There are also many resorts in the area. Your itinerary should include this place if you’re looking for something quiet or if you want an easy day hike.
12. Jagannath Temple
A famous temple in Kathmandu, Jagannath Temple is most notable for its structure and religious significance. Its exquisite erotic carvings attract large numbers of tourists. One of the oldest temples in the city, it was built during King Mahendra’s reign of the Malla dynasty in the early 16th century. Built-in traditional pagoda-style architecture mostly out of wood and brick, it is a two-storey building raised over a platform.
13. Kaiser Library
A collection of over 45,000 books is located in Keshar Library in Kathmandu’s Kaiser Mahal from the personal library of Field Marshal Kaiser Shumsher Rana. Founded in 1969, the library contains a wide variety of books on subjects like history, law, art, religion, and philosophy. The library was once a famous tourist attraction but was badly damaged by an earthquake in 2015. In spite of the fact that the ground floor of the building has been restored and made publicly accessible, the grandeur of the building has largely been lost. Visit the museum to see the collection of books and artefacts that were uncovered and restored.
14. Casino Royale
With its enchanting fountains, beautiful gardens, and gold-coloured décor, Casino Royale is located inside the hotel Yeti & Yak in the heart of Kathmandu. It is possible to feel like a celebrity when entering through the red-carpeted entrance. Strolling forward, one would hear slot machines, cards, chips, chatter at the gaming tables, and the sounds of the casino would stimulate their senses. If you are interested in trying your luck at the games, the ambience is quite similar to a carnival.
Also read: Most beautiful places in China to to see during your visit
15. Akash Bhairav Temple
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Akash Bhairav means the ‘Lord of the sky’. A mere five-minute walk from Kathmandu Durbar Square, the temple is dedicated to Akash Bhairav, said to bring strength, safety and goodwill to Nepal and its people. There is also great enthusiasm for the Indra Jatra festival here, which is an annual 8-day celebration dedicated to the god. During this time of year, devotees from all over the world travel to Kathmandu to participate in important pooja rituals.
16. White Monastery
Located in Nepal, Amitabha Monastery—also called Seto Gomba and White Monastery—is a Buddhist monastery. Sunsets and sunrises here are a delight due to the vivid terrain and lush green surroundings. This place allows visitors to view the entire Kathmandu Valley. After exploring Kathmandu’s bustling city, travellers come here to soak up some tranquillity.
What is the best time to visit Kathmandu?
The best time to visit the city is from September to November. This time of year, the weather is dry and clear, and there are plenty of cultural events to attend.
How many days are required to explore Kathmandu?
In three days, you can see all the famous sights in Kathmandu plus visit other historic landmarks nearby.
Where can you travel near Kathmandu?
Near Kathmandu, you can visit the following places: Kailash Mansarovar’s famous gateway, Nepalgunj Mithila’s capital and a prominent religious site, Janakpur The wildlife and flora of Chitwan in Nepal Buddha’s birthplace, Bhairahawa.