Searching for the best places to visit in Kathmandu, Nepal? Here are the top ten Kathmandu places and sites to travel to during your stay.
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is one of the most inspirational cities on Earth. It has been the subject of novels, films and stands for the authentic Oriental charm that makes you want to return again and again or even to make it your home. It is located in a valley surrounded by mountains and is a majestic place to visit through and through. To truly feel the unique atmosphere of Kathmandu you must see and experience the best places and experiences.
Here are the top ten places to visit in Kathmandu for the ultimate Nepal experience.
(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)
In This Post
10 Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu
Delight in the fresh potpourri of cultures in Thamel
Located downtown, Thamel is the place to start your Kathmandu journey. Its main street, Chaksibari Marg is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops selling local items such as hand-loomed yak-wool socks, bags, scarfs; mountain gear to explore the surrounding Himalayas and teas among other things.
To uncover the magic of Thamel head to New Orleans Café. A vegan-friendly restaurant with great burgers, fries, beer, and a crowd of intrepid mountaineers, backpackers, and amicable locals are bound to make your night full of adventure and help find good connections to venture into the mountains. It is this vibe that makes New Orleans Café one of the most alluring secret places in Kathmandu.
Note that Thamel is not all about tourism, beer and shopping, it is also home to Bhagowoti Bahal, an ancient temple hidden inside the district, which reminds of the past when the bamboo-covered grounds of the area sheltered monasteries; it is one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu with your loved ones.
Embrace the Orient at Swayambunath Stupa (Monkey temple)
Translated as “Sublime Trees” the magnificent stupa is definitely one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. Heading there is a must not only due to its being one of Kathmandu’s main sites but also to boost your karma. If you walk around the stupa with no ill thoughts your karma will be significantly enhanced and you can continue your journey with the promise of luck being on your side. Also, it is a truly one of its kind site with its cubical structure painted with Buddha’s orbs gazing in all four directions.
Note that in the environs you can find sadhus, or holy men, who devoted their lives to roaming and abandoned the simple joys of living such as family, and less joyful occupations such as work.
See the Divine at Kumari Palace
Kumari Ghar is not just an old palace in the center of Kathmandu. It is here that the goddess Kumari dwells, revealed to mortals through a pre-pubescent girl that shows from her temporal abode now and then for all the world to see. The beautiful kumaris symbolize divine feminine energy. They are treated as deities they are and are occasionally seen on a golden palanquin leaving the palace. The deities follow a rigorous code of conduct, with an ill-tempered goddess portending bad times for those petitioning her, for example, the goddess’ laughter during an audience can mean death or illness.
Note the dwelling of the divinity is located at Durbar Square, arguably the most beautiful and kinetic of the places to visit in Kathmandu.
Relish the Opulence in Hotel Yak & Yeti
The luxurious 5-star hotel called Hotel Yak & Yeti features all the modern facilities the most jaded of jet-setters can wish for, including a giant pool, but it is its history that truly captivates and shines a light on the past of tourism in Kathmandu. The building once housed Chimney Restaurant, created and run by famed Boris Lisanevithc, the father of tourism in Nepal and alleged power broker behind the restoration of the monarchy in Nepal. Even today, you can try the Russian borsch in Yak&Yeti’s Chimney Restaurant, inherited from the times of the Russian culinary star. It is this cosmopolitan spirit that makes the hotel one of the most historical places to visit in Kathmandu.
Find peace in The Garden of Dreams
The stunning architectural complex is a tribute to calm and greenery in the heart of the hectic Kathmandu’s downtown, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the touristy Thamel. It was built by Kaiser Shamser, as part of his palatial residence, on the proceeds of a game of cowrie shells he won against his father, pocketing RS 100.000. The gardens have become one of the most popular places to visit in Kathmandu.
Gaze at the stunning lush vegetation and beautiful facades Kaiser Shamser’s dreamed up on a visit to Edwardian estates in England. Plomp down on a supplied lawn mat beside the amorous Nepali couples with a book, or a significant other of your own and marvel at the piece of a truly global Britain in the Himalayas. Also, note that you can use Wi-Fi here, and even drink mouth-watering tea in Kaiser Café.
Approach the ancient at Pashupatinath Temple
Home to the world-renowned Shivaratri festival, when crowds of sadhu are submerging Kathmandu in cannabis smoke (a holy ritual), the Shiva-devoted temple is one of Kathmandu’s holiest and grandest. It receives throngs of pilgrims from India, because it is considered the seat of Pashupatinath, the incarnation of Lord Shiva, and is one of Hinduism’s most revered sites.
Come here in seek of spiritual enlightenment and to see the culture of the Hindu Kathmandu or to take pleasure in the architecture of the place, added to UNESCO list in 1979.
Note the temple is one of the utmost places to visit in Kathmandu to meet a sadhu or a holy man. Also, beware of the monkeys, and avoid wearing anything overly blingy when visiting as they will snatch it.
Sense the history of Nepal on the tour of The Royal Palace
A place of royal residence before 2008, the palace was forcefully vacated and turned into a museum after the monarchy was abolished. The mid-20th century built structure is a reminder of the country’s gory past and the perils of absolute power. One of the parts of the palace was suspiciously razed to the ground after a Nepali royal massacred his family there in 2001.
Its interior is redolent of the excesses of the royal household and is befittingly hung with portraits of the likes of other leaders with a penchant for despotism and intrigue such as Tito, Ceausescu, and Zia Ul-Haq. The royal palace is one of the topmost places to visit in Kathmandu to plunge into the country’s tumultuous past.
Befriend your destiny at The Astrologist
One of the best places to visit in Kathmandu is an astrologist parlour. The city has a great many of them with the prophesier’s predictions based on science as solid as math or chemistry. Be straightforward and curious and your horizon will be clearer after leaving Kathmandu.
Succumb to the tenderness of sunset at Boudnath Stuppa
One of the greatest stupas of South and Central Asia Boudhanath is one of the main places to visit in Kathmandu. Its stairs are a perfect spot to see the sunset in Kathmandu, in an atmosphere of pious calm and tangibly universal benevolence.
The structure itself has much to do with nature. The plinth represents the earth, the dome is water, the square tower is fire; and the spire is air, with the umbrella standing for ether or beyond space. The 13 levels of the spire symbolize levels a person has to go through to attain nirvana. Enjoy the sunset at the Boudanath, one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu for couples.
Keep in mind that the most devout prostrate themselves full-length in the courtyard eastward of the stupa.
Share the beauty of sunrise with your loved ones at Nagarkot Sunrise Spotting Ground
The best way to start your day is to get out of the traffic-clogged Kathmandu to see the sunrise and commune with nature. One of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley to see the sunset is Nagarkot. It is a village at the rim of Kathmandu Valley, known as a perfect spot to watch sunsets in Kathmandu. You can gaze at Mount Everest in the tender glow of the rising sun. Stay beyond the dawn time to enjoy hiking and the rich flora and fauna of the mountains. Don’t miss out on the famed Nagarkot butterflies, and keep in mind that Nagarkot is arguably the best picnic spot in Kathmandu.
Best Tours in Kathmandu
Where to Stay in Kathmandu
Nepal is a great country to definitively abolish the monotony of life and espouse the diverse and adventurous in all its incarnations. The Oriental divinities, untamed animals and rank jungle all promise a journey into one of the most authentic destinations left on offer, with Kathmandu, its jewel, being the city to start exploring the unique country with. Explore the city with a taste for adventure, and don’t miss out on the local exotic pastimes such as rickshaw-driving and yak-dumplings eating. Make Nepal the land of the unforgettable and lasting on your Kathmandu adventure.
Like this post? Pin “Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu” for later!