Last Updated on January 11, 2022 by Alpha Adventure Treks
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is an enormously busy, lively, and bustling city that is usually the first stop for most international visitors to the country. If you’re visiting the city for the first time, there are a few things to keep in mind. Transportation can be slow, roads can be dusty in hot weather (bring a face mask), and the summer can be extremely hot (something I didn’t expect on our May visit). Having said that, Kathmandu offers an astounding variety of things to see and do. On your visit, you’ll be spoiled for choice.With that in mind, here are some of Kathmandu’s most exciting activities.
Get a Blessing at Pasupatinath
Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most important Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva, attracts worshipers from around the Indian subcontinent, as well as a diverse assortment of painted sadhus (Hindu ascetics). The sadhus are often pleasant and willing to be photographed for a nominal price in exchange for a blessing.
Inside the temple complex, ancient Hindu rites are performed that are awe-inspiring and time-tested. Enter, and you’ll be treated to an unvarnished (and often shocking) view of life, death, and reincarnation, complete with open-air cremations on funeral pyres along the riverbank.
Early in the morning, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., to view the cremations, or in the evening, from 6 p.m., to see the aarti, are the most exciting times to visit (worship with fire). Every day from midday to 5 p.m., the temple is closed.
Marvel over Historic Durbar Square
The medieval city of Kathmandu is centered around the Durbar Square in Basantapur, south of Thamel, where the royal family resided until the nineteenth century. In 1979, it was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are various Hindu and Buddhist temples dating back to the 12th century, in addition to the Royal Palace (Hanuman Dhoka). Durbar Square is made up of three independent squares, each of which served a particular purpose. Some palaces and structures are now museums, while others were rebuilt in the twentieth century. You can walk around the square and engage on a scavenger hunt for the many images of Hanuman, the monkey god.
Dodge Monkeys at Swayambhunath
Swayambhunath, also known as the monkey temple, is one of the holiest venues for people to pray in peace. This stupa, perched on a mound, is a perfect symbol of Hindu and Buddhist peace and harmony. It’s reached after an arduous climb of 365 stone stairs. Take this Swayambhunath tour given by a local monk if you’re interested in learning more about the temple’s religious significance and its place in society. You’ll be able to take part in chanting sessions and ceremonies.
Boudhanath, Nepal’s largest Buddhist stupa, is located on the northeast suburbs of Kathmandu, about 20 minutes’ walk from Pashupatinath. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a key center of Tibetan Buddhism and culture.
The Tibetan community gathers to circumambulate the stupa as the sun sets, accompanied by peaceful chanting of the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and spinning of prayer wheels. The best times to visit are early mornings and evenings, when prayers are delivered and tour groups are not present.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the many gumba’s (monasteries) in the Boudhanath area. They’re elegantly ornamented with colorful paintings. Tamang Gumba, one of the most impressive, is located just across from the stupa and affords a spectacular view of it from the higher floors.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur (while officially outside the city) is one of the most amazing things to do in Kathmandu. The travel itself should be quick, when you arrive, make a point of visiting the Nyatapola Temple, Durbar Square, and Taumadhi Square. After a quick lunch of momos (dumplings), visit the Dattatreya Temple and Pujari Math at 55 Window Palace.
Now, this may appear to be a large number of locations, but they are all easily accessible on foot. Spend a few hours meandering through Bhaktapur, taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful and old city.
Hike Shivapuri National Park
Hiking to Shivapuri, which is located near Kathmandu, entails an adventurous hiking track that is ideal for quenching the thirst of adventure seekers. The site has some of the top meditation centers, and you’ll be able to enjoy the picturesque beauty of Shivapuri’s lush environs while doing so. As you hike to the summit of the Shivapuri hill, Shivapuri guarantees you of incredible calm. With an altitude of 2563 meters, the Shivapuri Peak, the second-highest hill near the Kathmandu valley, stands majestic and wealthy. The location provides a captivating view and serves as a haven for a variety of species.
Chandragiri Cable Car Tour
Chandragiri Hill is a remarkable trip destination in Nepal, located in the south-west of the capital city of Kathmandu. This site is great for an amazing experience and some lovely memories, whether you are a resident or a tourist. The central goal of Chandragiri Hill refers to a high peak that offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. Furthermore, the pleasant chilly weather, together with the natural beauty of the area, combine to make your trip a wonderful escape from the city’s rush and bustle. Many mountain giants’ snow-covered summits stand tall with their heads above the hazy mist, with the green valley of Kathmandu visible at the bottom, which appears lovely, captivating, and majestic.
Nagarkot Sunrise Day Tour
Nepal’s Nagarkot Hill (2175m) is a renowned tourist destination. It is 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu, at an elevation of 2175 meters. The breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks from Dhaulagiri in the west to Mt. Everest in the east, as seen from this hill, is an ever-refreshing memory. You’ll pass through pine forests, terraces, and little traditional villages along the way. At Changunarayan temple, you may see the ancient and cultural town. On the approach to Changunarayan temple, you can see Bhaktapur Village in the distance and the gorgeous Kathmandu Valley in the distance, as well as a magnificent view of the Himalayas.
Visit the Thamel District
Walking is one of the finest ways to see Thamel, but be aware that the surrounding area may be busy, so keep an eye out for cars.
The Thamel District is now unquestionably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kathmandu. There are numerous cafés, little shops, and attractions such as the Garden of Dreams, a calm little nook off the main thoroughfare within a lovely park.