Explore Kathmandu: Our 5 Favorite Things To Do
Even if you’re not that kind of a city dweller (like me), it is worth it to explore Kathmandu. At least for a day or 2. Stepping into Kathmandu for the first time can be a sensory overload. The bustling traffic, a symphony of motorcycles, scooters, buses, taxis, and street vendors — not to mention the occasional cow strolling down the street — it’s an experience for sure. But amidst the chaos, Kathmandu is a city steeped in culture, history, and beautiful spots.
Whether you’re an adventurous soul gearing up for a Himalayan trek or just in search of unique experiences, Kathmandu has something for everyone. Obviously, we primarily spend time with family here. Next to that, this is our top 5 list of things we love to do in and around Kathmandu.
1. Shop for Your Trek in Thamel
Thamel, the heart of Kathmandu, is a treasure trove of outdoor shops. You’ll find almost everything you need for your trekking adventure. Most shops offer replicas of well-known brands like The North Face, Mammut, and Mountain Hardware. Despite being imitations, the quality is often quite good, especially considering the price.
From cozy fleece vests to essential trekking poles, Thamel has it all. Don’t forget to haggle for the best price. You can even rent certain items, which is convenient if you plan to travel beyond Nepal.
Note: It’s best to buy your sunglasses and hiking shoes from an authentic brand back home. Sunglasses should provide the right protection, and you’ll want to break in your shoes well before your Nepal journey.
2. Visit Swayambhunath Stupa or Boudhanath Stupa
Stupas never cease to amaze me. These fascinating structures decorated with prayer flags hold a unique charm, sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus.
Visit Swayambhunath, perched atop a hill and famously known as the Monkey Temple. Start your journey from the bottom of the stairs instead of the back road for a memorable encounter with curious monkeys. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city.
Or explore Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal and the world! Surrounded by restaurants and handicraft shops in a neighborhood where many Tibetan refugees reside, it’s also home to Buddhist monasteries and a park you can visit.
Tip: Consider walking to the stupas! Walking through local neighborhoods outside Thamel gives you a glimpse into the daily lives of residents. Walking across the city is a great way to explore Kathmandu as it truly is.
3. Explore Bhaktapur
Spend a day in Bhaktapur, one of the three ancient royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. This picturesque town is known for its ancient pagoda from 1702 and numerous buildings with beautiful woodwork and pottery.
Stroll through cobblestone streets, admire traditional architecture, and savor ‘Juju dhau’, a yogurt made from buffalo milk. Bhaktapur is a journey back in time, where the past seamlessly merges with the present.
4. Escape to Nagarkot
For a getaway from the city hustle, consider spending a night in Nagarkot. Govinda and I prefer a roadtrip on Govinda’s brother’s motorcycle, but a taxi journey through winding roads in the picturesque forest is just as enjoyable.
In Nagarkot, you can relax in charming hotels and guesthouses on steep hills surrounded by greenery. If the weather’s on your side, you’ll have a view of the impressive Mount Everest and surrounding giants. 🙂
5. Drink a Lassi at our Favorite Spot
These folks know how to make REAL LASSI!! No sweetness from fruit or added sugar, just a sprinkle of raisins and almonds. And it’s perfect. Yum!
It’s a local spot where you order a glass from a window on the street. A great place to sip on a lassi at the end of the day you explore Kathmandu, soaking in the vibrant energy of the city before heading back to your hotel.
Their place is called Janakpur Dahi Lassi Bhandar. It’s about a 15-minute walk. Here’s a link to their location on Google Maps: https://maps.app.goo.gl/4Bo9aZrN7Jps31nu9.
Thank me later. 😉
Explore Kathmandu; what to do?!
Summit of the Mountain… Kathmandu is a treasure trove of experiences, and these 5 activities just make up my personal top 5. But it’s truly just the tip of the mountain. Dive into this ancient city, and let yourself be surprised by the rich culture and history of this vibrant city.
I’m looking forward to hearing what YOU’ve discovered and loved the most!