Things to do in Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu is capital city of Nepal, it is a big and very dusty city which has a lot of things to offer before or after your trek. It is recommended to spend more time after trekking, because it is not hard to get sick in the city and have bad stomach. You want that after the trekking, not before!
Swaymbhunath stupa or Monkey Temple in Kathmandu
Easily reachable by foot from backpackers district of Thamel this temple offers amazing views of Kathmandu city. No surprise that inside the temple and on the way there you will see a lot of monkeys. On top of the hill you will find many souvenir shops. It is believed that this stupa was built by
King Manadeva 460A.D. and by 13th century Monkey Temple became important spot for Buddhism. Also it is one of the oldest stupa of its kind. It is also probably the most popular temple in Kathmandu as it is not that far away from Thamel.
Entrance price: 200NRP for foreigners but it is very easy to avoid this price by walking around the official entrance points.
Kathmandu Durbar square
Durbar square is located in front of old royal palace from former Kathmandu Kingdom. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. During daytime place is full of people, pigeons and cows. You can also find a lot of souvenir sellers and other tourists wandering around. Durbar square offers you many interesting old buildings which are nice to see and photograph. Check out Basantapur Tower, Taleju Temple, Indrapur temple and Courtyard of Kumari Bahal, Talaju temple is also impressive.
Entrance fee: 1000NRP for foreigners. Very easy to avoid if you walk further away from the ckecposts. I don’t know if you can enter all of the places without ticket, but to see main buildings from outside it is definitely possible.
Check out unique places to visit in Kathmandu which are recommended by Katie.
Souvenirs shopping in Thamel, Kathmandu
What to buy for your friends and family from Kathmandu, Nepal? Check out Thamel shops and you will get some ideas. If you want to know what to look for here are my recommendations:
- Nepalese tea in nice small boxes. Price – 160/250NRP/box.
- Yak wool shawls and or blankets. Price – 700-1500NRP.
- Tibet bowls (handmade ones, not from AliExpress). Price – from 800NRP.
- Colorful hats made from wool. Price – starts at 150NRP.
- Prayer flags. Price – no idea.
- Colorful jackets/sweaters. Price – from 2000NRP.
- Paintings of mountains in many galleries around Thamel. Price – from 1000NRP.
Before buying souvenirs you need to find out more information about changing money in Nepal. It is recommended to change cash, as the ATM fees are pretty high!
Secret garden in Thamel
This place was my favorite for breakfast or dinner. Great chicken BBQ, good deserts and sweet banana lassi. The atmosphere is nice and quiet – that’s what you want after busy streets of Thamel. Check this place out, it is in fron of Pokhara peace hotel.
Eat cakes and drink coffee in bakeries
Sweet pastries are on every corner in Thamel. Check out chocolate cakes, apple pies, strawberry tarts. Many bakeries serve their best sweets, get your calories back!
BONUS: Check out ultimate backpacking guide in Nepal for best information about traveling in Nepal.
Shopping original (or fake) mountain gear in Thamel
There are many shops in Thamel which sell original or fake mountain gear. You can easily find many cheap The North Face down jackets, pants or other stuff. If you are interested at the end of season you can get really good prices on original stuff from these shops:
- Sonam (original Nepalese brand)
- The North Face
- Mountain hardware
- Black Yak
- Red fox
Visit massage center in Thamel
After your long hike you probably dream about good massage. I can definitely recommend Seeing Hands clinic which is located exactly in Thamel backpackers district in Kathmandu. It is managed by blind people and the people doing massage are also blind. They are super friendly and communicative. Massage for one hour will cost you 2000NRP, but the quality of it is really worth the money.
You can also rent motorbike and drive around, visit other stupas around the city, eat local food including momos, dal bhat and other stuff. Enjoy your time in Kathmandu!