10 Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu You Should Never Miss

Wandering Journal eBook Cover

Get Your Free
"Ultimate Travel Bucket List" eBook!

It’s my first ever e-book, and I want to share it with you! 

Everyone hates spammy emails, so do I. 
Rest assured, I will never spam your inbox! 

Nepal was closed for outsiders until democracy came in 1955. Tourist visas were issued by the government to foreigners. After the summit of Mount Everest by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, the country attracted trekkers and climbers all around the world for their adventures in Himalayan mountain ranges. This number just kept soaring every year, along with tourists who came for history and architecture. What really are the places to visit in Kathmandu?

While most would probably think Nepal as the haven for climbers and trekkers, it’s not. I mean, it’s more than that. This rustic country has thousands of years of history behind it, contributing to all those ancient buildings you see in Kathmandu city.

Before that, have Gantabya Plus App installed to your phone from Google Play Store. Enough of all those introduction stuff, let’s dive into the main topic.

Thamel in Kathmandu

Thamel had been a hub for travelers and tourists for decades. Most of the travelers and tourists chose to stay in Thamel due to its convenient location. There are bars, restaurants, supermarkets, souvenir stores, you name it. If you’re going for a backpacking trip in Nepal, I definitely recommend staying here.

Thamel is just a 15-minute walk away from the main bus terminal in Kathmandu city, Ratna Park. You can take public transport there to every corner of the city.

For this entire article, I will use Ratna Park as the base for transportations. Check out this article for the guide to taking public transport in Nepal.

I definitely recommend using Thamel as your base, as tourism is most concentrated there.

How to get there:

If you booked a hotel in Thamel, you need a transport to the airport to Thamel. This could be very challenging if you never took one before. However, I have provided a comprehensive guide above for your needs. Check out the link I provided above.

So here’s how to get to Thamel. From the airport, walk all the way out to the airport entrance, which is around 5 to 10-minutes’ walk. Ignore the cab drivers around you if you refused to take a cab.

You will see the crowded bus station once you got out, on your left. Bus conductors will shout the destination name when they are stopping. Listen for “Ratna Park”, and get on the bus.

Bus fare will not be more than Rs25, please bring small changes. Once you’re in Ratna Park, Thamel is around 15 minutes’ walk from you.

For cabs, be prepared to negotiate. The fare from the airport to Thamel is around Rs400. Fix a quote with the driver before you hop on to avoid overcharging and scams.

If you’re going shopping in Thamel, here are 5 tips you should know before shopping in Kathmandu.

Pashupatinath Temple

Undoubtedly one of the top 3 places to visit in Kathmandu. The most sacred Hindu pilgrimage site in Nepal. Along Pashupatinath flows the Bagmati River, which is used as the most important place for Hindu cremation.

Pashupatinath is a large complex with temples, shrines, cremation sites, and bathing areas wandered by security guards.

Sadhus, the wandering holy men are not hard to find here. However, note that you have to pay for a photo with him. They will even quote you a price instead of accepting any cash you pay them. And guess what, they quote you in USD. That took me by surprise, like seriously.

There is an entrance fee upon admission, which is Rs1000 ($10). This is payable at the main entrance ticket booth. Guides are easily hirable to explain everything you need to know about this holy Hindu compound.

How to get there:

At Ratna Park, find the bus which heads to Pashupatinath. The conductors will not shout “Pashupatinath” as it’s not the main destination. Which is why you have to ask.

The bus fare is around Rs20. Taxi fare is around Rs400.

Check out the best time for visiting Nepal to start planning your trip!

Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Among the three Durbar Squares in Kathmandu City, Bhaktapur Durbar Square always crowns among all. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is crowned as one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal. The other one being Lumbini, which is quite far away.

With dozens of temples, artisans, shrines, courtyards, and a network of winding back streets, Bhaktapur has much more to offer than anywhere else in Nepal.

The damages caused by the earthquake in 2015 does not affect Bhaktapur severely. Most of the temples and buildings remain intact and whole.

Even though the entrance fee is more pricey than the other two (Kathmandu Durbar Square & Patan Durbar Square) at Rs1500, it offers more than both of the two combined.

You can easily spend a whole day just walking around, spend some time chilling in the cafes. You will need some time to really take everything in, as the architectures and history are unique and ancient.

Don’t miss King Curd outside of the Durbar Square! This culinary specialty is well-known across the capital and among travelers.

How to get there:

The same way. Get yourself a bus in Ratna Park and ask for “Bhaktapur”. The ride will take a little longer as Bhaktapur is some miles away. The bus fare is Rs25.

Planning a Trip to Kathmandu? Check out my 3-days Kathmandu Itinerary.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu city

Swayambunath Temple (Monkey Temple)

This is probably the most well-known places to visit in Kathmandu. While it’s easy to get yourself a bus or taxi there, the best way is to walk from Thamel.

Swayambunath is located at the top of the hill so you can easily see it while walking forth. Young Buddhist monks are walking around the temple. The golden stupa is one of the most iconic landmarks of Kathmandu City. Feed yourself a city view from the viewing deck beside the stupa.

It’s around 45-minutes’ walk from Thamel, passing through residential areas with small shop lots and local faces. Along the way, you can find giant prayer wheels inside temples, feel free to spin it, in the clockwise direction, as the direction in which the mantras are written is that of the movement of the sun across the sky.

“on mani padme hum” (Hail to the jewel in the lotus)

The entrance fee was Rs250, but the entrance fee was changing from time to time. So be prepared to pay a different amount.

How to get there:

Walk from Thamel (45 minutes), or take a bus from Ratna Park (Rs20). The taxi fare is around Rs250-350.

Swoyambunath Temple or Monkey Temple in Kathmandu

Amideva Buddha Park

Located near the foothill of Swoyambunath, Amideva Buddha Park is home to three massive golden Buddha statues. The park is flocked by locals almost the entire day so it might not be the best place to chill.

While there are not many things to do in the park, other than taking photos and appreciating the artwork at the base of the statues, I only recommend a visit along with Swoyambunath.

It could be a bit tricky to find without a GPS since it’s located by the roadside. The entrance is free of charge.

How to get there:

Same as Swoyambunath.

Amideva Buddha Park in Kathmandu

Boudhanath Stupa

One of the largest and magnificent Buddhist stupas in the world. Boudhanath is one of the holiest places to visit in Kathmandu, especially for Buddhists. Definitely a must-visit in Kathmandu city during your Kathmandu sightseeing tour. Tibetan monks spend most of their time in Boudhanath, which is why the surrounding areas are occupied by Tibetans.

There are numbers of cafes around the stupa, which offers rooftop views at the circular compound, with visitors and monks walking in a single clockwise direction. However, it will be more expensive than the cafes you find outside.

The funny part about this place is the ticket booths. While there are more than 3 entrances into the stupa compound, the only ticket booth is located at the main entrance. The entrance fee is Rs250.

How to get there:

From Ratna Park, ask for “Boudhanath” (pronounced “Bou-dha-nat” with silent-“h”). The bus fare is around Rs20. Taxi fare is around Rs400.

A foodie? Check out these 7 amazing Nepalese cuisines.

Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu

Patan & Patan Durbar Square

Nope, not typo.

Patan is one of the oldest cities in Kathmandu Valley. The architectures and crafting of buildings were well-known since centuries ago. There are three durbar squares in Kathmandu, the other two being Kathmandu Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

It’s worth to spend a half-day walking around the city, paying attention to all the details on the temples and shrines. Start from anywhere you like, it’s common to come across any temples at an interval of 10 minutes.

The earthquake in 2015 brought a lot of damages to Patan, destroying dozens of ancient historic buildings, which you can find in Patan Durbar Square. Restoration works are still ongoing there, but still worth a visit. However, the reconstruction project seems endless with almost no result when I visited.

The entrance fee into Patan Durbar Square is Rs1000, while outside of it is totally free. I personally wouldn’t recommend paying for the entrance. The complex is so small and can be finished within 10 minutes.

How to get there:

Bus to Patan is quite rare in Ratna Park. It’s easier to find micro-van to Patan in Kathmandu Mall, which is another bus terminal, unofficially, for buses and micro-vans across the city. The fare is around Rs20. Taxi fare is around Rs400.

places to visit in kathmandu

Kirtipur

Kirtipur was always overlooked by travelers and tourists. It’s probably the most underrated places to visit in Kathmandu city. This quiet and rustic Newari town is located at the border of Kathmandu city. Hardly are there any foreigners.

Locals there seem to be extremely friendly too, especially to foreigners. Don’t hesitate to smile and talk to them. Have a try at traditional Newari cuisines at the local restaurants.

There was one Nepali from Kirtipur who walked up and talked to me about his travel to France and eventually asked if I want to have my lunch at his home. I was a little worried at first as I was traveling alone but I gave it a try. That’s one of the best decisions I made.

By the way, the garlic fried rice made by his wife was heavenly delicious, packed full of local flavors.

There is a beautiful culture I love about Nepali. They believe that visitors can bring good luck to themselves, which made them so welcoming to foreigners.

There is no entrance fee upon entering.

How to get there:

From Ratna Park, take a bus to Kirtipur. The ride is longer than usual, which is around 30 minutes. Taxi fare runs from Rs400, bus fare at Rs25.

Check out the hidden gem of Nepal, located between Kathmandu and Pokhara – Bandipur.

Kirtipur District in Kathmandu

Locals gathering for a meal in Kirtipur

Narayanhity Palace Museum

Once served as the residence and principal workplace of the reigning Monarch of the Kingdom of Nepal, Narayanhity is now a museum open to local and foreign visitors.

Upon entering you will see luxury sculptures, architectures, and decorations, which pretty much explains why the royal family was overthrown decades ago.

Everything inside was very well-preserved and clean. Visitors have to walk at the designated path in an organized manner.

Every item showcased in the museum was tagged with explanations, which is very rare in Nepal. Most of the history of ancient buildings in Nepal went unrecorded, which suck for those interested in the history of Nepal.

The entrance fee is Rs500. Half-price for Chinese visitors and even lower for SAARC Countries visitors. Purchasable at the main entrance gate. Photographs are prohibited inside the compound. There are lockers at the entrance to store your belongings.

How to get there:

Narayanhity Palace Museum is easily reachable within a few minutes’ walks from Thamel.

Godavari Botanical Garden

Another gem overlooked by travelers while planning their Kathmandu itineraries. Personally, I will recommend a visit only if you have extra time.

Godavari Botanical Garden, as its name, is a royal botanical garden located quite far away from the city center. The complex is large enough for you to spend a half-day there strolling around.

Though the plants inside the showcase houses were not that well-nurtured, the entire compound is worth walking. It’s perfect for those who seek a quiet and green place to relax.

The entrance fee is around Rs230 for all-day admission. Have lunch at the village outside before you enter. It’s one of the most relaxing places to visit in Kathmandu.

How to get there:

The buses from Ratna Park to Godavari do not leave regularly so you might have to wait for it. Bus fare at Rs50, due to the very long distance which consumes up to an hour with traffic. Leave at early morning or avoid peak hours. Taxi fare around Rs1000.

Godavari Botanical Garden in Kathmandu

Wrapping it up

Hope you enjoyed reading these amazing places to visit in Kathmandu. While most people travel Kathmandu with their spare time before and after trekking, Kathmandu is definitely worth a few more days stay to fully explore everything. This city has more than what you think it offers, no doubt.

Have you ever been to Kathmandu? Which place remains most memorable to you? Let me know below, I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Check out this article if you’re visiting Pokhara too!

Would You Pin This?

kathmandu nepal

10 Awesome Places to Visit in Kathmandu Nepal

Written by

Yen is a university student from Malaysia and a huge fan of Blues music and photography. His passion for travel can be traced back to 2016 when he spent 6 months traveling New Zealand. By blending into the locals and traveling long-term, he shares all the comprehensive and detailed travel ideas and guides for the countries with his footprints.

Travel Resources:

Related Posts:

Chaotic traffics, overpopulation, and Himalaya mountains. Wonder how life works in a third-world country? Here's how it's like to live in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Offering majestic landscapes and historical cultures, Kathmandu has been popular among trekkers and backpackers, now even tourists. However the things to do and see can be overwhelming when...
This elegant hilltop Newari town between Kathmandu and Pokhara had recently gained the attention of international travelers over these few years. While it is originally a weekend getaway...

5 thoughts on “10 Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu You Should Never Miss”

  1. Pingback: What You Could Get In Kathmandu For $10 - From Getting Scammed To Visiting Three Places All At Once! - The BeauTraveler

  2. Great that democracy later on opened up Katmandu to the world. it seems a great destination and a place that offers hiking opportunities is one you can’t miss to visit. Hiking is relaxing and offers body stress relief. My concern however before i get there is whether the means of transport that are public are safe. In some countries asking for allocation could get you to thieves or even get lost.

    1. Hey Samuel, Nepal is one of the safest countries I’ve ever visited. The people there are super nice and helpful, and the crime rates is surprisingly low. Traveling there makes me feel safe all the time, but I still do take care of my personal belongings attentively. You know, bad people are everywhere in this world. But rest assured, Nepal is a very safe country, so is the public transport in Kathmandu. Have fun in Nepal!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.