Top 10 Things to Do in Kathmandu
As peoples from the Indus Valley Civilization (3300 – 1300 BC) expanded north they founded settlements in the Kathmandu Valley. Today the capital of Kathmandu bears gorgeous remnants of those small medieval kingdoms. Once a key stop along the ancient Salt Route, Kathmandu thrives still as a confluence of culture, a gateway to the Himalaya, and a destination for experiencing this land of riches. Here you can find pristine examples of Nepal’s earliest architecture and exotic goods ranging from handcrafts, spices, jewelry, and textiles.
An oasis of calm amid the bustle of Kathmandu, this immense stupa features a whitewashed dome and gilded tower painted with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha. Join the Tibetan pilgrims on morning and evening circuambulations. During the observation of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, hundreds of lamas and traditionally dressed Tibetans circle the stupa in mesmerizing ritual.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
In the eastern Kathmandu Valley, at the heart of the ancient city is Bhaktapur Durbar Square, largely unchanged since the 17th century. The monuments and temples of the broad site preserve the history and traditions of medieval Nepal, and have earned inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The oldest Hindu temple complex in Nepal totals some 518 temples, buildings, and structures. Dating to 400 B.C., this site features a main pagoda of carved wooden rafters, cubic sculptures, and roofs gilded in silver and gold. Included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this temple once served as the seat of Nepal’s national deity, Lord Pashupatinath.
Patan Durbar Square
The oldest of all the three Durbar squares of Kathmandu valley, it is at the center of the city of Lalitpur. Its chief attraction is the ancient royal palace, a marvel of Newa architecture, where the Malla Kings once resided. This style of building used by the Newari people is marked by brick word and unique wood carving.
Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)
An ascent of some 365 steep steps brings you to the sacred Buddhist home of hundreds of monkeys considered holy to Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus. The monkeys who inhabit this sacred pilgrimage site are said to have originated from lice in the hair of its builder, Manjushree, the bodhisattva of wisdom. Swayambhunath means “self-arisen.” The temple is a sight to behold itself, consisting of a domed stupa and a variety of shrines and temples—each ornately decorated.
Fly Around Everest
Get a bird’s-eye panoramic view of the Himalaya and majestic Everest on a private flight circling the tallest mountain in the world. You see numerous snow-capped peaks and get the best view of Everest’s summit without risking the climb yourself. We at Nomadic Expeditions can also arrange for a Sherpa who has summited Everest to join you on the flight, to narrate features of the climb, pointing out its routes and sharing stories of mountaineering this unique land.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Dating back to the third century, this square of Royal Palaces was once home to the kings of the Shah and Malla Dynasty. An important site for Buddhist and Hindu rituals, the square hosts holy ceremonies, royal events, and kingly coronations. The palaces, now museums, are surrounded by fountains, ancient statues, small ponds, and a series of courtyards. This site, included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a meditative and religious site for spiritual seekers.
The oldest Hindu temple still in use in the Kathmandu Valley, Changunarayan features some of the Kathmandu Valley’s finest carvings in the main temple. Dating back to the fourth century, it also displays a collection of statues surrounding the temple that are the best apart from the National Museum of Nepal.
One of the Nepal’s most loved day-trip destinations, Chandragiri hilltop is a major tourist attraction with a tremendous scenic view and cultural significance. Sixteen kilometers from Central Kathmandu, it is one of the four hills that surround Kathmandu valley and can be reached by hiking, driving or a stunning cable car ride 2.5 km uphill. The hill provides panoramic views of Kathmandu valley and the Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest.
A bustling market area, the Asan Market area is one of Kathmandu’s most ancient parts, a crossroads of the old trade routes through the Himalaya. Once a hub of culture to the Newari—the ethnic group who were the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley–it thrives to this day as a visitors and shoppers enjoy its old houses, temples and architecture. All manner of foods, spices, textiles and souvenirs can be found here.