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Kathmandu

Practical information on Kathmandu

  • Family
  • Encounters with locals
  • Romantic
  • Nature, Adventure & Sport
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Festivals
  • Museums
  • Castle and fortress
  • Handicraft
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Unesco World Heritage
  • Essential
4 / 5 - 6 reviews
How to get there
By foot, in the centre of Kathmandu / 200 km from Pokhara by car
When to go
From October to May
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Kathmandu

David Debrincat Seasoned Traveller
459 written opinions

Located just six kilometres from the international airport, Kathmandu is both Nepal's capital and the country's most culturally interesting city.

My suggestion:
Kathmandu is a booming, rapidly developing city. Discover the wonderful attractions and little-known treasures it has to offer and simply pay not attention to the pollution, the noise and the traffic jams.
My review

Kathmandu and its valley are inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage. And it is indeed true to say that this is a nice city. I immediately felt a sense of well-being when I arrived here, at the start of my Nepal trip. This is quite unusual for a large city. I'm sure the ex-hippies and beatniks, etc., will be disappointed with the development that's taken place here, but I personally loved the place.

From a cultural point of view, the city's Durbar Square is quite tremendous, and I spent hours there simply watching life going on around me. It's absolutely essential not to restrict yourself just to this historic centre of the city however. Casually wandering the little streets away from the square and discovering Kathmandu's hidden treasures is an adventure in itself. When it comes to facilities for tourists, I recommend the Thamel district, where there are large numbers of guest-houses and restaurants. This is the liveliest and most tourist-oriented area in Kathmandu. It also serves as an ideal place to base yourself when visiting and exploring the wonderful valley.

In summary, I really adored Kathmandu. I loved the city's ambiance and atmosphere, its tourist attractions, and the cultural, historical and religious wealth it has to offer. That fact that it's a noisy and bustling place really doesn't bother me at all (and it's certainly not as bad as India in this respect). I love Kathmandu, and I strongly recommend spending enough time here to really get to know and appreciate it properly.


*Following the powerful earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May of 2015, the country is gradually being rebuilt. This article was written before that natural disaster occurred.

David Debrincat Seasoned Traveller
459 written opinions

Situated in the heart of Kathmandu, Durbar Square is the town's historic focal point. It's home to all the major monuments in the Nepalese capital.

My suggestion:
You need permission to visit or even cross Durbar Square. It's best to get a multi-day pass to avoid paying every time you visit.
My review

Durbar Square is the most important place In Kathmandu, if not the whole country, and a focal point for tourism in Nepal. The majority of visitors will pass through it at least once during their trip. To avoid hordes of people and fully enjoy this open air musuem, I suggest you go early in the morning. Durbar Square is buzzing and it was fun to watch the world go by. I settled down in a corner and watched kids chasing pigeons, porters carrying heavy loads, worshippers praying and tourists being hustled to take photos of Sadhus. I breathed in the intoxicating scent of joss sticks - a meditative olifactory experience. And, like everyone else, I wandered around admiring this Nepalese treasure. Houses, temples, sculptures, palaces, incredible facades...it was a feast for the eyes.

I loved the hours I spent at Durbar Square and heartily recommend that you come here once, if not more often. From morning to dusk you'll find something going on and each time of day has its own particular feel.


*After the devasting earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May 2015, the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before these catastrophic events occurred.

Simon Hoffmann Seasoned Traveller
185 written opinions

Nestled at 1,350m high, Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. Home to almost a million inhabitants, it's also the country's most densely populated town.

My suggestion:
If you're in Kathmandu at the end of February/beginning of March, make sure you see the Maha Shivaratri Festival in honour of Shiva and Holi, the famous festival of colour that celebrates the arrival of Spring.
My review

Kathmandu is legendary. Despite appearing chaotic, the city is fascinating and worth exploring for a few days. Kathmandu and its valley are home to numerous cultural and historical sites. The best known are Durbar Square and the Hanuman Dhoka, the former royal palace. Check out the Pashupatinath Temple, which is dedicated to Shiva, the Boudhanath Buddhist Pagoda as well as the Swayambunath Temple that sits on a hill overlooking the city.
I loved wandering around the streets near to Durbar Square, where the houses in the old quarter have beautifully carved doors, drinking chai on terraces that overlook the town and strolling around the vegetable market. A must-do during a trip to Nepal .



*After the devastating earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May 2015 the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before these catastrophic events occurred.

Simon Hoffmann Seasoned Traveller
185 written opinions

Durbar Square in Kathmandu is opposite the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the former royal residence on which numerous pagodas have been constructed.

My suggestion:
If you're looking for cheap accommodation close to Durbar Square, go to Jhochhen Tole near to the Hanuman Dhoka. It used to be a hippy hangout and it's a great base from which to explore the area.
My review

Durbar Square in Kathmandu is one of my favourite places in Nepal. The layout and large number of temples transport you back in time. Imagine a myriad of temples and pagodas, built from wood and brick that are dedicated to numerous deities: Vishnou, Shiva, Taleju…And opposite these religious buildings is the Hanuman Dhoka, the former royal palace that today houses the museum and whose white facades contrast with the red and brown of its neighbouring temples. A must-see duringyourholiday in Nepal!


An unusual feature of Durbar Square in Kathmandu, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is that it's home to a temple dedicated to a living goddess - the Kumari Devi. Chosen from a selection of young, female candidates, the Kumari Devi is worshipped as a goddess until the day she spills a drop of blood. At which point she's replaced by a successor and so forth...



*After the devastating earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May 2015 the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before these catastrophic events occurred.

Lorette Vinet Seasoned Traveller
59 written opinions

Kathmandu is a wonderful city. Have you seen "The City of Lost Children" with its dreamlike images of badly lit streets at night? That's Kathmandu!

My suggestion:
Make sure you wander down the streets of the Nepalese capital, explore the business quarters, find forgotten crafts workers, see blindingly white sheets drying the autumn sun...
My review

Kathmandu is somewhere you must go during your stay in Nepal. You should expect to spend some time there. When we arrived we were overwhelmed by the dense crowds, the incredibly loud noise and the really strong smells... Welcome to Asia, or at least one Asia.

Hinduism and Buddhism are intimately connected and basically incomprehensible to the westerner that you are. But despite that you will be charmed by the monks and their orange robes, the brightly coloured saris and the white of women in mourning. I suffered from sensory overload when I arrived in Kathmandu. Everything is extreme (even the spices, so be careful about ordering Indian dishes, although there's nothing spicy about their traditional dish, Dhal Bat, a mixture of lentils and rice). 

Everywhere you go, absolutely everywhere, you will see temples, monuments and courtyards that you want to go and explore. I gave myself a real headache searching through my guide to find the names of different statues - pointlessly, since there's no real way to tell them apart, there are too many of them!



*After the strong earthquakes that hit Nepal in April and May 2015, the country is rebuilding itself little by little. This article was written before the disaster.

Marc Sigala Seasoned Traveller
66 written opinions

A visit to Durbar Square will plunge you into the cultural heart of Kathmandu. The area comprises of three neighbouring zones - Basantapur Square to the south, Durbar Square to the west and Makhan Tole to the northeast.

My suggestion:
Try to get there as early as possible. You'll avoid hordes of tourists and you'll get a better feel for the place. What's more, the early morning light only enhances its beauty.
My review

Durbar Square is near to the Thamel quarter, a must-see in Kathmandu, that you shouldn't miss during your trip to Nepal, Getting there by foot is the best way and there are shortcuts through town that you can follow. You'll stumble upon a lot of Kathandu's fascinating sites completely by accident. You need to pay to enter the square, but you can get a tourist pass that will allow you to come and go as you please. Shiva, Vishnou, Ganesh, Parvati...the Neplese come here in droves to place offerings in front of their statues.

I enjoyed climbing up to the top level of the temple dedicated to Shiva (Maju Deval), where I got a fantastic view of the entire square. The temple that impressed me the most was the 16th Century Taleju Temple. It's also the biggest. Unfortunately it's only open during the Dasain Festival, which is held every Autumn.



*After the devastating earthquakes that shook Nepal in April and May 2015 the country is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before these catastrophic events occurred.

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