The Kathmandu Adventure: Top 15 Best Things to Do 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 as well as a venue to learn about the culture and heritage of the city. Here are some of the Amazing and Unique Things to Do in Kathmandu City:

Best Things to Do in Kathmandu
Best Things to Do in Kathmandu

Taste the Local Dishes in Kathmandu

Nepalese cuisine
Nepalese cuisine

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 the dishes in Nepal 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.


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Visit the Old City

Kathmandu Old City
Kathmandu Old City

The ancient city of Kathmandu can be found when you take a 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 places. 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

Thamel Kathmandu
Thamel – Things to Do in Kathmandu

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

Swayambhunath Temple by Bikalpa Pokhrel via Unsplash
Swayambhunath Temple Photo by Bikalpa Pokhrel on Unsplash

This is the most famous Buddhist temple of 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 by Pravash Raj via Wikipedia CC
Pashupatinath Temple By Pravash_raj – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Pashupatinath Temple accommodates numerous devotees. Its main temple is open only to Hindu practitioners but travelers who wish to see the other parts of the grounds are welcome. The Sadhus (Hindu practitioners) welcome picture taking for a small fee. Visitors who come at 7:00am to 10:00am might see their cremation rituals while those who come at 6:00pm onwards can watch Aarti (worship with fire). The temples are closed from noon to 5:00pm.

Go on a Mount Everest Helicopter Tour

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 then 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

Everest Mountain Flight photo via KLOOK - Things to Do in Kathmandu
Everest Mountain Flight photo via KLOOK
  • 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 Kangchenjuna, Lhotse, the Annapurnas and many more.

Everest Mountain FlightBOOK THIS TOUR

Brave the Currents of Trishuli River

Trisuli River Rafting photo via KLOOK
Trisuli River Rafting photo via KLOOK

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 go for a 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.

Trisuli River RaftingBOOK THIS TOUR

Enjoy a Quiet Morning at the Garden of Dreams

Garden of Dreams photo by Krish Dulai via Wikipedia CC
Garden of Dreams photo by Krish Dulai via Wikipedia CC

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 help of the local government and the Ministry of Education. Now, you can see thriving plants and flowers, a pond and the open skies.

Buy Local Produce at One of the Original Nepalese Markets

Activities in Kathmandu
Activities in Kathmandu

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

Rice Farmers in Kathmandu
Rice Farmers in Kathmandu

Make the most of your stay when you visit the villages of the valley. There, you can immerse 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 for oil. The two popular villages Bungmati and Khokana suffered destruction from the 2015 earthquake but it’s still open to visitors.

Nepal Puppets
Nepal Puppets

Attend Local Kathmandu Workshops

You’ve got some interesting things to learn in Kathmandu like learning about Thangka painting which is 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.

Pashupatinath Temple by Fancycrave via Unsplash
Pashupatinath Temple Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Discover the Street Art of the City

Street art in Kathmandu offers a refreshing way to enjoy the city without getting bored by the absence of greeneries. The city is overflowing with street art, some street 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

Labim Mall in Kathmandu
Labim Mall in Kathmandu

Pulchowk is an easy walk from Durbar Square. There is a number of 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

Narayanhity Palace Kathmandu
Narayanhity Palace Kathmandu

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

New Road, Kathmandu, Nepal at Night by Safai Karki via Unsplash
New Road, Kathmandu, Nepal at Night Photo by safal karki on Unsplash – Things to Do in Kathmandu

The city comes to life at night when numerous bars and restaurants open. You can watch live music or go disco hopping although the 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).

Kathmandu Tourist Attractions
Kathmandu Tourist Attractions

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 has to offer.

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