Kathmandu, the capital and largest city in Nepal, is like no other city in the world. The decaying buildings in the heart of the city are a contrast to the lively atmosphere that permeates the streets. The smell of incense wafts from the stores while street sellers push their wares, and people go about their daily lives, all against a backdrop of historic temples and carved statues.
For several hundred years, Kathmandu was one of three rival royal cities, along with Bhaktapur and Patan. Situated in close proximity to each other, today these three almost run together. Things to do in Kathmandu are as follows:
Basantapur Durbar Square
Located at the heart of bustling old town of Kathmandu, Durbar Square (Basantpur Durbar Square or Kathmandu Durbar Square) is surely the best place to start exploration of Kathmandu. Hanuman Dhoka, built around the 16th century, used to be the old Royal Palace is one of the central attractions of Kathmandu Durbar Square. Another highlight of Kathmandu Durbar Square comprises one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world, renowned to be the source behind the name of Kathmandu Kumari Chowk obviously—home to Kumari—the living virgin goddess! Dating back to the Middle Ages, the practice of worshipping a prepubescent girl as the incarnation of goddess Taleju is said to have been existed in Kathmandu. If you happen to be in Kathmandu, don’t forget to visit this wonderful place once. Well, have you ever heard of Freak Street? If yes, it’s literally on the left lane after the entrance to Durbar Square. Freak Street—where you can find a lot of hippies and they have dozens of cafes and restaurants, tattoo parlors and piercing parlors….
Walking in Thamel
If you are looking for things to do in Kathmandu and you are still clueless about where to start with, go to Thamel. Thamel has been known to be the heart and soul of chaos in Kathmandu. You will find shops and markets all open from the dusk till down. Thamel is the center where tourists and locals intermingle with each other. Here, you can access all things imaginable, from souvenirs to knockoffs, restaurants to tattoo parlors, and mainly trekking and tour companies.
Meditate in Kopan Monastery
If you are looking for a crash course in Meditation in Kathmandu and you want to escape from the chaos of Kathmandu, just visit Kopan monastery. It can be one of the best places to go. Kopan Monastery offers various courses on Buddhist Meditation and Yoga which probably will give you some spiritual insights. It could be worth climbing as well, and if you love trekking in Kathmandu, it will take about 2 hours from Thamel. Kopan Monastery can be one of the best options if you want to escape from the crowd of Kathmandu.
Garden of Dreams
On the entrance of Thamel is The Garden of Dreams. Garden of Dreams is said to be a beautiful garden in the midst of the craziness of Kathmandu. You can find European style landscaping and architecture—a great juxtaposition to what is just outside the fence. The garden itself has gone through renewal and it can be the momentary escape if you take a little time to experience the fresh air in the city of smog.
Shopping in Kathmandu
Shopping—one of the wonderful things to do in Kathmandu! And there are various options and categories of shopping in Kathmandu. Just walk out in the city, get lost in all the winding streets and shop your way through. Shopping in Kathmandu depends solely on your taste. But, there’s everything you can shop ranging from trekking gear, local arts, to souvenirs and all. The list is gonna be endless. So, better not mention them all here! If you have enough time to kill and money to burn, shopping in Kathmandu can be really easy!
Eating out in Kathmandu
If you explore the food scene in Kathmandu, you can easily identify the diversity of it. You can find almost anything to eat in Kathmandu ranging from Bhutanese street food to French dining. Kathmandu serves you almost any sort of cuisine you want to taste. But there are some foods you shouldn’t miss out during your stay in Kathmandu. Local Nepali Food is what I meant. There are some quality hotels in Kathmandu that serve you exemplary Nepali foods. They provide some out of this world versions of Nepalese National dish—Dal—Bhat—Tarkari (lentils—rice—vegetables) along with some other unusual cuisine options.
Kathmandu offers some of the interesting hiking options for hikers. While you are in Kathmandu, you can opt to hike around. The most popular day hikes around Kathmandu can be Nagarkot Hike, Chisapani Hike, Champadevi Hike, Nagarjuna Hike, and so on. It’s not that hard, and not bad for the first time hikers! You can find some reliable travel operators to organize your perfect Kathmandu private hiking trips. Definitely one of the most interesting things to do in Kathmandu!