Exploring the capital of Nepal, Kathmanduby | July 17, 2023
Nepal is one of the most important countries in the world for adrenaline seekers. It has some of the highest peaks in the world, beautiful natural parks and hiking trails. There are many Nepal tourist places. It’s also home to an ancient culture and it’s a pilgrimage spot for Buddhists and Hinduists.
Kathmandu, the capital, holds a special religious interest, but it also has places of cultural importance that are worth the visit. Here you will discover everything about the city of Kathmandu, Nepal.
Where is Kathmandu?
The most important city of Nepal, Kathmandu, is located in the Kathmandu Valley near the confluence of the Baghmati and Vishnumati rivers, amongst the breathtaking Himalayas. This means that the city has a pretty high altitude: 1.324 meters above sea level!
Kathmandu is a destination that commands the attention of adventure and trekking in Nepal lovers, but it’s also a place of enormous religious and spiritual importance for buddhism and hinduism.
How to get to Kathmandu, Nepal
There are many options of getting around Nepal. If you want to visit Kathmandu, these are the main ways:
If you are traveling to Nepal by plane, you will arrive at the Kathmandu airport: Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). Due to its location near the heart of the city, it will be very easy to get to your accommodation by transfer or taxi.
Maybe you visited a neighboring country like India before getting to Nepal. In that case, taking a bus is a good solution for your transportation needs that, at the same time, allows you to take in the scenery.
There are buses to Nepal departing from Indian cities like Delhi, Varanasi or Gorakhpur.
You can also travel to Nepal from Tibet: you would cross the border at Kodari and depart from Zhangmu.
There are also long-distance buses coming to and from Kathmandu, connecting the capital with other cities and towns of Nepal.
There are no direct train services to Kathmandu, but you can combine trains with buses to finally reach the city.
This option allows you the most freedom, but it’s also riskier than taking a bus or a plane. It’s very important to be informed about road and weather conditions before undertaking a roadtrip like this because Kathmandu is in a mountainous area. Plan your route carefully! And, last but not least, remember to enjoy the view.
What’s the best time to visit Kathmandu?
The best time to visit Nepal and Kathmandu is during autumn or spring.
Autumn (from September to November) is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities such as trekking, and during spring (from March to June) you can appreciate the blossoming nature of Nepal if you visit some of the national parks in the area.
Things to do in Kathmandu
Places of historic and cultural importance
As the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is the main hub of history and culture in the country: it has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
The first place to visit would be the Durbar Square, one of the places highlighted by UNESCO. In it you will find palaces and temples built by former Malla and Shah kings. Sadly, the square was severely damaged by an earthquake that took place in 2015, but it’s still worth visiting.
To enjoy the melting pot of cultures living inside Kathmandu, you should walk around the bazaars of Thamel and Asan. There you will be able to try the local gastronomy, to shop for mementos and traditional crafts and just take in the energy of the city.
The Pashupatinath Temple is another of Kathmandu’s main sights and it’s also a shrine of enormous importance for Hinduism.
The Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath Stupa) is a Buddhist temple and it also has a stunning panoramic view of the city.
Other temples worth visiting are the Boudhanath Stupa and the Temple of Kumari.
To enjoy the natural landscapes
The Himalayas provide one of the main attractions for tourists visiting Nepal: the renowned Mount Everest. You can take part in a guided expedition to the Everest Base Camp, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Inside Kathmandu you can also visit the Garden of Dreams. This garden, which resembles those of European countries, is an ideal spot to relax and walk around in peace. It’s also located near the Boudhanath Stupa.
From Kathmandu, you can drive to the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. Its forests and wildlife are worth admiring! Here you will also get stunning views of the Himalayas.
Lastly, you can go to the Trishuli River for white-water rafting, or hiking through the trails of Nagarkot or Chandragiri.
What do you need to travel to Kathmandu?
To tavel to Kathmandu, International tourists must apply for a Nepal visa before traveling to Kathmandu. You need to check if your nationality is eligible to apply online. You can learn more about this with our article on how to get a visa for Nepal.
If it’s not or you’re traveling for reasons other than tourism, you have to apply in person at your nearest embassy or consulate. It’s also possible to apply on arrival at the Kathmandu airport, although it’s not the most recommended choice.
All visas have to be presented on arrival at the airport to be checked by government officials.
- Having a valid visa
- A passport-size photograph taken within the same year of the trip
- Having a valid passport with at least 6 months validity and three blank pages
Having travel insurance isn’t mandatory, but it’s recommended.