The city of Kathmandu resembles almost all the rest of Asian capitals because of the chaotic. Buses, rickshaws, vans and motorcycles struggle to find their space. However, taking Asian standards as a measure, Kathmandu is not a large city. It has only one and a half million inhabitants, which is not much for a country located between the two largest in the world: China and India.
Kathmandu is in the middle of a valley and at a height of 1317 meters above sea level. It is a city with a lot of personality that will not leave anyone indifferent. Its streets, temples, squares and parks entertain any traveler with a little curiosity. The Nepalis, with their sympathy, friendly ways and hospitality, make you feel at home.
In short, Kathmandu is a city that offers many places to visit and activities to do. I was almost 3 weeks in it and there was almost no day that I did not discover something different. Here are some ideas for things to do and see in Kathmandu :
1) Stroll through the alleys of the famous and tourist district of Thammel
This neighborhood is the most touristic of Kathmandu. This is where the majority of travelers stay and where is the largest offer in accommodation, restaurants and shops to buy a little of everything. A must to experience the chaos and energy that this city gives off.
2) The Durbar Square near the Thammel district
The Basantapur Square, also called Durbar Square, is located opposite the old royal palace of Kathmandu ( Hanuman Dhoka ), a World Heritage Site. Because of its beauty, it is one of the most famous places in the city. It may take you a whole morning to visit her.
3) Swayambhu , the famous Monkey Temple
During the sunset it is one of the best moments to visit this emblematic temple. One of the most famous and famous in the city. It is an old religious complex located on top of a hill to the west of the city of Kathmandu. As its name says there are usually many monkeys, which are considered sacred. This temple occupies a central position in the Tibetan Buddhist. To visit it you will have to climb its 365 steps. What is that for someone willing to trek through the Himalayas? Or did not you come to Nepal to that?
4) The Boudhanath Pashupatinath Temple , the most important and oldest in the Valley
Boudhanath is the most spritual place in Kathmandu. It is the largest spherical stupa in Nepal and the most sacred site in the country, together with Swayambhu. It is located about 11 km from the Thammel district and can be reached by taking a bus line from Ratnaparko or a taxi for about 3 euros. For those who like or do not mind early, every morning at 7 a ritual is performed in which people walk three or more times around the stupa while repeating the famous mantra Om Mani Padme Um and spilling pots from painting to the stupa. Near the temple you can reach Pashupatinath, a Hindu temple where you can witness the cremations of the deceased. Something that will cause you a good culture shock .
5) The beautiful Dreams of Gardens park
It is located at the entrance of the Thammel neighborhood. It is a garden and / or quite large park ideal to take a break from the bustling activity of the capital and relax among its beautiful green spaces. A good place to rest, walk or have a drink after having been walking through the alleys of the Thammel neighborhood. The entry is only approx. 250 rupees.
6) Enjoy the varied Nepalese gastronomy
Something that no one should miss is tasting the most typical dishes of the Nepalese culture. The most typical are: the traditional Dal Bath (cooked rice, lentil soup, vegetables and potatoes) that as you will realize is basically what the Nepalese always eat. The momos (also called gyoza or dumplings) with different shapes and ingredients (from buffalo or Yak to chocolate). The rotis (a kind of bread) cooked in artisan ovens. The different curris of vegetables, potatoes, cheese, etc. (Aloo Gobi, Aloo matar, etc.) typical of Indian cuisine.
7) Shopping in the Thammel neighborhood
In the alleys of the Thammel neighborhood you can find lots of shops to buy accessories and clothing for trekking to souvenirs and other Nepalese and / or hippie style things. What you will find more will be counterfeit clothes North Face brand with very low prices and different qualities. Now, you have to keep an eye on what you buy and more if you plan to use it for trekking. For example, fake trekking sticks often become useless pieces of metal within a few days.
8) Take a walk through the Ratnapark
It is one of the largest green spaces in Kathmandu. It was built for children and bears the name of Ratna, the second marriage of King Mahendra. In it you can witness many young people practicing the country’s favorite sport, cricket, as well as people exercising and next door there is an open-air market with different street vendors. Next to this park is one of the most important intercity bus stations in the capital.
9) Visit to the city or neighborhood of Patan
Patan is considered a city apart from Kathmandu although it is completely attached to it. You can get there by bus or walk half an hour. It is an area with a rich cultural heritage. This is where you will find the DurbarSquare which, in my opinion and that of many other travelers, is perhaps the most beautiful in Nepal. I recommend that you go to one of the terraces of the many restaurants around and take a good Lassi (yogurt drink) contemplating the views and the bustle of the square. One of the best days to go is Saturday as it is a holiday.
10) The surroundings of Kathmandu
In the Kathmandu Valley there are several places that are worth visiting if one has time. The most famous are: the ancient and artistic city of Bhaktapur (for me it was the most beautiful city I visited), Nagarkot (one option is to arrive with one or two days of walking from Bahktapur), Kirkipur (a very authentic small town for observe the Nepalese culture), among others.
How to reach Kathmandu?
Phokara: You can go by local or tourist bus. The price difference is almost non-existent so I would recommend the tourist. It is a journey of approximately 6 hours and costs between approx. 500 and 600 rupees.
Chitwan: As before, the tourist bus is recommended. It is a journey of 6 or 7 hours and a price of approx. 600 rupees.
Dunche : There is only the possibility of arriving by local bus. The journey is hard, about 7 and even up to 8 hours, because the roads are horrible. The price is approximately 300 rupees