Kathmandu Bucket List: Top Tourist Spots and Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal, with more than a million people in the city proper. It’s the most urbanized place in Nepal and the gateway to other places in the country since it’s the only place where there’s an international airport.
Despite the city lacking green space, its nearby mountains and other forms of nature make it a great stop and a venue to learn about the city’s culture and heritage.
Here are some of the Amazing and Unique Things to Do in Kathmandu City:
Taste the Local Dishes in Kathmandu
The national dish of Nepal is Dal Bhat. It’s basically rice and lentil soup; the locals eat it twice a day.
The majority of Nepal’s dishes can be quite bland, as there’s a lack of spices. Their dishes are rich in vegetables, grains, and meat.
They’re all about healthy eating, but this can be a good thing as stomach problems arise when traveling due to too much eating.
Visit the Old City
Kathmandu’s ancient city can be found when you stroll through the narrow streets to the Durbar Square and Thamel Market.
It will take you a couple of hours to fully enjoy the whole place. You’ll see temples like Seto Machhendranath Temple.
You’ll also see locals with some goods to sell, so this can be a perfect time to buy a souvenir.
Shop at Tourist District Thamel
Your tour of the old city will have you venturing to Thamel. This is where you can buy local products like paper lanterns, wood carvings, thangka painting, Bronze statues, and more.
You must be a good haggler to get an awesome bargain price. Sellers will most likely give you better discounts when you buy in bulk.
You can join a Kathmandu shopping tour if you feel overwhelmed by the place.
Climb Your Way to Swayambhunath Temple
This is the most famous Buddhist temple in Nepal, and you need to climb a hill to reach it. The trek can be tiring, but you’ll see monkeys on your journey as they’re common in the place.
Those monkeys are considered holy, so it’s best to pay respect when you see them.
The temple wasn’t devastated by the earthquake that shocked Kathmandu in 2015; thus, you can still see it in all its glory.
Visit the Temple Built for Lord Shiva
Pashupatinath Temple accommodates numerous devotees. Its main temple is open only to Hindu practitioners but travelers who wish to see the other parts are welcome. The Sadhus (Hindu practitioners) welcome picture taking for a small fee.
Visitors who come from 7:00am to 10:00am might see their cremation rituals, while those who come at 6:00pm can watch Aarti (worship with fire). The temples are closed from noon to 5:00pm.
Go on a Mount Everest Helicopter Tour
Looking for unique things to do in Kathmandu? It’s easy to go on a side tour of Mount Everest as you can just hop on a helicopter at Kathmandu Airport’s domestic terminal. You’ll be taken on an exhilarating ride 200 meters above the peaks of Mount Everest.
It’s a unique experience, especially if you don’t want to climb it. The helicopter will take you to Solo Khumbu, where you can enjoy great views until it’s time to head back to Kathmandu.
Everest Mountain Flight
- Soar amidst the magnificent wonders of the Everest region.
- Fly a trusted airline for a memorable experience: Buddha Air, Yeti Air, or Simrik Air (subject to scheduling availability).
- See the peak of Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
- Glimpse other Himalayan peaks, such as Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, the Annapurnas, and many more.
Brave the Currents of Trishuli River
The white water rafting adventure of Trishuli River goes from Kathmandu to Pokhara. It’s an exciting sport where you get to join a group, and you all use your skills for this adventure up to the finish.
The scenic villages offer a great backdrop to the crystal clear river where you can also swim. You need 2-3 days to go rafting.
Trisuli River Rafting
- Glimpse scenic rock formations, bird flocks, and a host of natural wonders as you brave the Trisuli River!.
- Get briefed on river rafting and safety procedures by experienced guides, all of whom are certified instructors with rescue qualifications and first aid knowledge.
- Enjoy a private return transfer between Trisuli River and your hotel in Kathmandu.
Enjoy a Quiet Morning at the Garden of Dreams
There isn’t a need for you to miss nature when you’re in Kathmandu, for this tranquil oasis is located in downtown Kathmandu.
The garden is the legacy of Kaiser Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana. It used to be a neglected garden, but it was restored thanks to the Austrian Development Aid with the local government and the Ministry of Education.
Now, you can see thriving plants and flowers, a pond, and open skies.
Buy Local Produce at One of the Original Nepalese Markets
Indra Chowk Bazaar happens to be one of the oldest and famous markets in Nepal. This market is a busy place where you can find original Nepalese handicrafts for a bargain.
They’ve got fresh produce, some of which you may not find in your country, so do check out with immigration authorities if you’re allowed to bring some home.
Visit the Villages of Kathmandu Valley
Make the most of your stay when you visit the villages of the valley. There, you can immerse yourself in the local way of living.
You can learn the art of wood carving and sculpture. Some tours can take you to agricultural villages like Khokana, where they plant and harvest mustard oil.
The two popular villages Bungmati and Khokana suffered destruction from the 2015 earthquake, but it’s still open to visitors.
Attend Local Kathmandu Workshops
You’ve got some interesting things to learn in Kathmandu, like learning about Thangka painting, a traditional Buddhist painting using silk appliqué, or cotton with Buddhist theme designs.
You can also learn the local cuisines through the Cook like a Local Tour, which begins its lesson at the market and ends by trying to foods you cooked.
Discover the Street Art of the City
Street art in Kathmandu offers a refreshing way to enjoy the city without getting bored by greeneries’ absence. The city is overflowing with street art; some streets have more while some have less.
One remarkable area is Kupondole, where more famous works are located. Jawalakhel is also an area you should check out as some notable works are located there.
Drop by Pulchowk for Your Last-Minute Shopping
Pulchowk is an easy walk from Durbar Square. There are several fair-trade shops located there, and there are several tailor shops you can choose from to have your traditional Nepali costume made.
These shops offer good quality fabrics, and you might even be lucky to have a discount. Some shops feature women artisans who make rugs, hand-made paper, and linen.
Explore Narayanhity Palace
The former principal residence of past monarchs was built by American architect Benjamin Polk in 1970.
It was turned into a museum after the 2006 revolution. The palace used to be a venue for state events due to its lavish style and gardens. Today, the museum serves as the house of the crown jewels of the country.
Visitors can admire these jewels as well as see the Reception Hall and Throne Room.
Tour Kathmandu at Night
The city comes to life at night when numerous bars and restaurants open. You can watch live music or go disco hopping although loud music is supposed to stop by 10:00pm, bars and restaurants don’t close until midnight or later.
Some cultural centers which open at night have live traditional dance performances. You can try drinking raksi (similar to tequila) or Jaand (Nepalese beer).
With a little creativity, your trip to Kathmandu can be so much fun and exciting. Don’t make the city a stopover; stay a night or two to enjoy what the place offers.
Kathmandu Travel and Tour Packages
To help you plan out your visit to Kathmandu, we listed places to visit and other amazing things in Kathmandu, Nepal. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Kathmandu hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.