10 Things to Do in Kathmandu

10 cool things to do while in Kathmandu, Nepal


Arriving or departing for a trek or climb through Kathmandu and wondering what to do while you are there?

Here are 10 ideas of cool things to do in Kathmandu:

 10. Get a manicure / pedicure followed by a haircut and straight shave at a street barber (for the gents) or hair salon (for the ladies)

Coming back from a trek or climb and destroyed your feet and hands? Go to the Bliss Spa on the 3rd floor of the Chhaya Center Mall (next to Aloft Hotel). The treatment last 1 hour and costs $25. Afterwards take a haircut and wet shave on one of the barbers on the street outside (gents)—expect to pay about $4.

Ladies can stay at Bliss. Expect to pay $20 for a cut and blow dry.

Perfect, whether you’re returning from an expedition, having a mid-expedition break or just fancy being spoiled and prepped before heading off.

9. Go rock climbing, eat lunch and take a massage at Astrek Park in Thamel

Astrek Park is a really good outdoor climbing and bouldering centre right in the heart of Kathmandu and very close to the Aloft Hotel and Chhaya Center. Climb multiple top roped or single pitch routes, take an instructor, join a group class or try your hand at bouldering…

Afterwards enjoy lunch at the restaurant, peruse the Everest Outfit and Petzl climbing shops or go for a massage at the spa.

Expect to pay 3500 Rupees for a 90 minute full body massage but guests of Astrek Park enjoy a 20% discount…

8. See a cricket match!

Yes, you read that correctly! Cricket is really on the rise in Nepal, with the national team gaining ODI status in 2018. Although still a way to go before they reach the level of neighbors India or Pakistan, they are making progress and regularly host matches against other second tier sides, winning the recent 3 team series against Qatar and the UAE. The national team plays at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur. See cricnepal.com for more information and scheduling.

7. Visit the climbing shops in Thamel and have lunch or dinner at the famous Fire and Ice pizzeria

All the big outfitters are here: international brands like North Fface, Mountain Hardwear, Rab and Colombia sit alongside Nepali brands like Kaemp 8848. Expect to pay the same price or a slight premium on international brands purchased in Nepal. Nepali brand Kaemp 8848 sells locally produced clothing for the high mountains for very reasonable prices.

After shopping then make your way to Fire and Ice, a pizzeria loved by the adventure community. Expect to see famous alpinist tucking into their favorite pizza.

6. Visit the Monkey Temple

The Swayambu or Monkey Temple as it is known is an ancient religious site on top of a hill in west Kathmandu. The complex consists of a Stupa, a variety of shrines and temples and of course, lots of monkeys! There are also a few restaurants and cafes and incredible views out over Kathmandu. Entrance is a few hundred rupees.

5. Have cocktails and dinner at the Dwarika’s Hotel

Dwarika’s is an institution in Kathmandu and one of the only 5 star hotels in the City. . Sit in the courtyard and enjoy the amazing surroundings with a pre-dinner cocktail from the bar before enjoying a traditional 6 course Nepali banquet Krishnarpan restaurant. Truly delicious Nepalese food, with mouth-watering flavors in an amazing setting. Expect to pay c. $80 per head for the set dinner with drinks on top.

4. Visit Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the heart of the city! It is a historic square that served as the royal palace complex of the ancient Malla and Shah kings of Nepal.

The square is surrounded by several stunning ancient palaces and temples that showcase the rich architectural heritage of Nepal. The Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the main palace complex, is a remarkable structure with intricately carved wooden windows and doors. Check out the various courtyards, halls, and rooms within the palace!

Basantapur Tower: Also known as the Taleju Bell, this nine-story tower stands tall in the Durbar Square. It offers panoramic views of the entire square and the surrounding area. The tower has a beautiful golden spire at the top, and the bells were traditionally rung to announce the start and end of important ceremonies. If you’re lucky, you might hear them ring!

At the Kumari Ghar, or the House of the Living Goddess, you can catch a glimpse of the revered Kumari, a young girl believed to be the incarnation of the goddess Durga.

Another highlight is the Shiva-Parvati Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, adorned with intricate carvings and exquisite craftsmanship. It is a popular place of worship for locals.

Adjacent to Durbar Square, you'll find bustling marketplaces like Indra Chowk and Asan. These vibrant markets offer a glimpse into the daily lives of locals, where you can shop for souvenirs, traditional crafts, spices, and other local products.

Entrance to Durbar Square is 1000 rupees.

3. Explore Boudhha, see the Boudhha Stupa and have lunch at Roadhouse 

Boudha, also known as Boudhanath, is another significant religious and cultural site of the city. At its center stands the magnificent Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world. The stupa is an architectural marvel, with its massive white dome and gilded spire adorned with the watchful eyes of the Buddha, known as the "Buddha Eyes." It is a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists and a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking peace, serenity, and spiritual enlightenment.

The atmosphere around Boudha is filled with a sense of tranquility as devotees circumambulate the stupa, spin prayer wheels, chant mantras, and offer prayers, creating a powerful and meditative ambiance. Surrounding the stupa, you'll find monasteries, shops, and cafes that add to the vibrant cultural experience. Boudha and its iconic stupa are not only a symbol of religious devotion but also a symbol of Nepal's rich Buddhist heritage.

To top off the experience, treat yourself to a casual lunch at the Roadouse which overlooks the Stupa.

Entrance to the Boudha Stupa is c. 400 rupees.

2. Visit Bhaktapur, Nepal’s smallest city and once capital

A 30-minute drive outside of Kathmandu, Bakhtapur was Nepal’s capital from the 12th to the 15th century. At the centre of it, sits Taumadhi Square, known for its architectural beauty and cultural significance. At the heart of the square stands the iconic Nyatapola Temple, a five-story pagoda temple that is the tallest of its kind in Nepal. The temple's exquisite woodwork and intricate carvings are a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of ancient Newari artisans.

Worthy of a visit is also the Dattatreya Temple, a short walk from the Taumadhi Square, built in the early 15th century. The temple is a shrine to Dattatreya, a hybrid deity, blending elements of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Taxi to Bhaktapur from Thamel costs approximately $20 and entrance is 1000 rupees.

1. Visit Shree Pashupatinath Temple and Hindu Cremation Site

Shree Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most revered and sacred Hindu temples in Nepal, located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and attracts devotees and pilgrims from around the world. The temple complex consists of multiple shrines, pagoda-style temples, and ashrams, spread across a sprawling area.

The main temple, adorned with intricate wood carvings and golden spires, houses the sacred lingam, a representation of Lord Shiva. It is a must-visit destination for those seeking a deep connection with Hindu spirituality and Nepalese culture!