Whenever I think of Kathmandu loads of things comes in my mind. From the difficult ride to the cool and soothing spa, you are going to love it all. Rich in unique and worldwide culture and tradition, Kathmandu brings a lot of fun to your travel diaries. Among them, I have listed out 50 most interesting things that you can do in Kathmandu.
30+ Things to Do in Kathmandu
1. Peaceful view of Swayambhunath
Whenever I think of Kathmandu the first thing that strikes in my mind is the peaceful and attractive view of Swayambhunath. Being the oldest stupa and located in the measurable altitude, it provides the beautiful scenery of whole Kathmandu valley. Moreover, the economical and hospitable hotels will make your stay comfortable and easy. So, Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), an ancient self-created temple will make your visit to Kathmandu more interesting.
2. Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square, in front of the old royal palace of Kathmandu Kingdom, is one of the three ancient Durbar Square located in the Kathmandu, all of which are included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Built in pagoda style, the ancient royal place has the wide range of wooden craving and local art crafts and culture. Apart from the city’s sound there, you can find many mythical temples. Also there lies the religious residence of the famous living goddess “Kumari”. So the artistic and spectacular architect and the local Newari craftsmen’s works are going to take your breath away.
3. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the plaza located in front of ancient Bhaktapur, 1400m above from the sea level. It is also one of the sites listed in UNESCO World Heritage.
55 window palace, Nyatapol temple, Batsala temple, Bhairavnath Temple, lion’s Gate, Golden gate, Mini Pashupati temple are its major attraction. Also, there lie many religious temples like Ugrachandi, Ugravairav, Rameshwar, Badrinath, Bastala etc.
Each of them is famous for their unique ancient designs and making.Also there lies the ancient museum where you can see such monumental beauties never experienced before.
4. Patan Durbar Square
It is another famous royal palace of Nepal situated in Latitpur. It is also one of the UNESCO Sites. One of its major attraction is the ancient royal palace where the ancient king used to reside.
Patan Durbar Square is another marvel of Newa Architecture. Besides the surrounding temples, it has many idols and holds many old residential houses. The main feature of this royal palace is the beautiful gardens and many chowks that are located inside.
5. Flavourous Curd of Bhaktapur
Besides the Dubar Square, Bhaktapur is famous for the handmade curd made in its cultural way. If you go on without tasting the famous Bhaktapur’s ‘JUJU DHAU’, you are going to miss a lot.
Pashupatinath temple is a famous, sacred temple located on the bank of Bagmati River. This “extensive Hindu temple precinct” is a “sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river” and is included as one of the seven monument groups in UNESCO’s designation of Kathmandu Valley as a cultural heritage site. One of the major Festivals of the temple is Maha Shivaratri on which day over 700,000 devotees visits here.
Evening aarti and its soothing environment are going to make you mind really peaceful.
7. Kopan Monastery
Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Boudhanath, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. It is a member of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers, and once served as its headquarters.
This place is especially famous for teaching Buddhism to the visiting western foreigners.
These courses generally combine traditional Lam Rim teachings with informal discussion, several periods of guided meditation, and a vegetarian diet. It is one of the popular recreational destination.
8. Biggest stupa “Boudhanath”
World famous Boudhanath is another ancient stupa located in Kathmandu. From the amazing view of the sun to the cool environment, it also provides you the wide local shopping markets nearby. Also, there is a lot of amazing restaurants which doesn’t only provides the wide variety of cultural food but also the scenic view.
Surrounding Boudhanath Stupa are streets and narrow alleys lined with colorful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and street vendors.
9. Hippie trails of Old Freak Street
Old Freak Street or Freak Street is located in the south of Kathmandu Durbar Square. Presently known as Old Freak Street, this ancient street was named as Freak Street referring to the hippie trail of the 1960s and 1970s.
Belonging to the interesting history that Hippies from different parts of the world traveled to Freak Street (Basantapur) in search of legal cannabis. Direct bus services to Freak Street were also available from the airport and borders targeting the hippies looking for legal smokes. Freak Street was a hippie nirvana since marijuana and hashish were legal and sold openly. So it would be very much interesting to visit such freaky place.
10. Extinct species at Natural History Museum of Nepal
Located near the Swayambhunath Temple, the ancient museum has collected more than 50000 flora and faunas. The museum’s huge specimen collection is the treasure trove of Nepal’s diversity. From the very old and ancient fossilized skull of a wooly mammoth to the molar teeth of a hominid, it will provide you much more information on the evolution of human being.
The museum also has thousands of extinct species and many strange specimens including an eight-legged embryo of a goat, a four-legged chick, and a two-headed snake. Researchers from the field of botany and zoology can benefit a lot from this place.
11. The Royal Narayanhiti Palace
Narayanhiti Palace or Narayanhiti Durbar is a palace in Kathmandu, which long served as a residence and principal workplace of the reigning Monarch of Kingdom of Nepal. Located in the Kathmandu, the palace was often the center of state occasions and royal hospitality. It was in Narayanhiti palace where the scene of the 2001 Nepalese Royal Massacre took place. And still, there are scars and scenes which admit the massacre.
Moreover to say about the palace you can see the various royal rooms where different official and royal occasions used to take place. Also, there is a valuable royal crown and throne for visitors. You can find many interesting things there which dictates the royal nature.
12. Araniko highway
Named after a 13th-century architect, Araniko highway is the highway which connects Kathmandu to Kodari. It is one of the dangerous highways of Nepal due to extremely steep slopes on each side. At the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge, it connects with China National Highway 318 to Lhasa, and eventually to Shanghai. So when you visit Kathmandu this adventurous highway is going to take you many places.
Originally named as Nhu Phukhu, Ranipokhari (meaning queen’s pond) lies in the heart of the capital. The pond is one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks and is known for its religious and aesthetic significance. In the middle of the pond lies the temple having an idol of Lord Shiva. The temple is opened only on specific days.
14. Bhimsen tower or Dharahara
Located in the center, Dharahara was nine storied monument which has been recently devastated due to the earthquake. Its construction is going on and its recovery is being hoped soon. It has historical value since its bricks are very ancient. Whenever you go there, you must not miss the finger licking momos available aside.
Tundhikhel is a large grass-covered ground in the center of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and one of its most important landmarks. The field is rectangular in shape and has a north-south orientation. It lies between Ratna Park in the north and Sahid Gate, the memorial dedicated to the martyrs of 1941, in the south.
Tundikhel’s history goes back to at least the early 18th century during the Malla period. It serves multiple purposes as a military parade ground, horse race track, a spot for religious festivals, rock concert venue, public park, and cattle grazing the ground. Tundikhel has also been described as Kathmandu’s lungs as the large field provides fresh air in the midst of the city congested with houses. The townspeople throng Tundikhel in the mornings and evenings to enjoy the breeze and exercise.
16. Casino Rad
Feeling lucky? So why don’t you try your luck at Casino Rad? Casino Radisson is located within the 5-star hotel Radisson a deluxe hotel in Kathmandu and is open daily 24 hours.
The casino’s 12,000 square foot gaming space features twenty gaming machines and four table games. The Casino is well located at a strategic point surrounded by embassies and consulates. Small but cozy, Rad has a homely atmosphere with a great care.
With Routette, Blackjack, mini-flush, Baccarat and Slots, this casino offers a peaceful venue for 24′ hour gaming in Kathmandu. It also features live entertainment every evening. The service here is of international standard and the overall gaming atmosphere is fantastic.
17. Casino Malla
If you wish for the best casino of the city then you should visit the casino Malla, inside the Malla Hotel at Lekhnath Marg, Kathmandu. With the facility of 24-hour casino play, it will provide you other hospitable services satisfactorily.
18. Garden Of Dreams
Garden of Dreams, a neo-classical ancient garden which has been recently renovated and opened for public. However, it was a private garden of Kaiser Sumsher, it was beautifully designed inspired by the famous Edwardian style.
Now, Garden of Dreams is considered as one of the most attractive tranquil oasis, tourism landmark which also houses a natural library where visitors can take advantage of natural beauty interrelated with historical and architectural flavor. Garden of Dreams welcomes private and corporate functions, receptions, cultural programs, and classical concerts too.
19. Children’s Art Museum of Nepal (CAMON)
Established in 2014, Nepal’s Children’s Art Museum is a creative space designed for youth and children. CAMON which aims to “encourage children’s appreciation of their culture and promotes self-expression through hands-on art experience”.
The art museum houses two rooms, the Exhibition Room and the Education Room. The Exhibition Room displays arts that were produced in regularly scheduled museum workshops by Nepali students. It also displays art by local artists, international collaborators. Space is used as a miniature art gallery as well as an impromptu workshop.
The Education Room houses a mini-library and serves as the center of activity or the creativity lab. The room also includes a workshop stocked with art supplies. So it’s a perfect artistic place to visit.
20. Siddhartha Art Gallery
Located in Babarmahal Revisited premises, Siddhartha Art Gallery is filled with internationally recognized arts. “A journey through the imagination”, the Siddhartha Art Gallery has held exhibitions of up and coming artists, photographic exhibitions, organized workshops in ceramics and printmaking, and has conducted slideshows and lectures by visiting artists.
Installation art and new media experiments have also been represented at the Gallery.
Siddhartha Art Gallery believes that culture is an important component of development and coordinates special events that bring together artists, writers, and musicians. The Gallery focuses on myriad areas such as socio-cultural and political issues, as it believes that art can play a significant role in shaping national and international perceptions -The Siddhartha Art Gallery projects itself as a Gallery that has a conscience and is committed to social responsibility.
21. Mesmerising art at Buddhist Art Gallery
Established since 1998, Buddhist Art Gallery is located nearby Basantapur Durbar Square of Kathmandu. The school is providing lots of varieties of Thanka paintings in Tibetan text and making thousands of customers happy. Following its aim to preserve the ancient art of Buddhism, it has been supporting, preserving and distributing this ancient Thanka painting to many parts of Nepal and abroad as well.
So when you visit the famous Durbar Square, this art gallery will definitely provide the plus point.
22. Handicrafts at Tibet House
From the beautiful and economical Thanka painting to the teaching of meditation, it has been proving its services for more than three decades. The house is located both in Boudha as well as Thamel. Tibet house is the combination of traditional and modern art collections.
With the motto to serve customers conveniently and reliably, not only its craft but also its warm welcoming will make your visit worth awhile. So if you are or aren’t interested in art, I strongly recommend this place. Because if you are interested, it’s the best place but if you aren’t after visiting will definitely fall for its art and crafts.
23. Nepal Mountaineering Association
Nepal is the only country having more than 10 mountains above 8000m. So to get as much information about the mountaineering, base camps, and its trekking routes, this association is a reliable one. Not the information but also it provides guidance and climbing rules.
It has been a national alpine association of Nepal for mountain tourism and climbing sports. So when you are in Kathmandu you should not miss this place for your adventurous rides.
24. Busy street of Thamel
Thamel has been the center of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks. This busy street is distinguished by its narrow ways crowded with various shops. Food, fresh vegetables/fruits, pastries, trekking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woolen clothes etc. are the commonly available goods.
Travel agencies, small grocery stores, budget hotels and restaurants serving traditional and continental cuisines also are there. It also acts as a pre-base camp for mountaineers. It is also famous for the body massage and soothing hot spa. So Thamel is a whole package for the Kathmandu visitors.
25. Greenery of Balaju Park
In Kathmandu definitely you cannot feel bored, but if you have extra time Balaju Park can be the one that you should not miss. Surrounded by high hills, with greenery around you will have pleasure time. It is located in Balaju of Kathmandu. It is one of the famous picnic spots which is provided with beautiful garden and water fountains. It is at the measurable height so you can have an amazing view.
Also not to forget since Raniban is near to it you can have a walk over there too.
26. National Institute Of Natural Sciences (NINS)
Preserving thousands of zoological, botanical and archeological specimen, NINS welcomes students, teachers, researchers, wildlife watchers, visitors and general public to know the floral and faunal diversity of the country. With the aim of natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, the ecology of both flora, fauna and community participation for the conservation education and eco-tourism promotion and management, there you get to see scientific, educational, historical and anthropologically valued specimen.
27. Maru Tole
One of the most important culture spots in Nepal, Maru tole is the historical neighborhood in the central Kathmandu. Dominated by massive pagoda roofs, Maru is also a market square, the venue for the religious festivals and a celebrated residential quarter. An interesting fact is that it is a crossroads where two ancient trade routes India and Tibet intersects.
Maru is a perfect example of temple square typically of Newar urban planning. Encircled by temples and rest-houses it features ancient idols like Silyan Sata, Gakuti, Lakhu Phalecha, Maru Ganeshya and Maruthi with their respective meaning. So it’s basically a place to roam and rest and view typical Newari culture.
Kathmandu itself lies in the hilly region so many high hills are located here which are famous for hiking. On the top-most lies Phulchowki, the highest hill situated in the South-Kathmandu. Famous for its vegetation, scenic beauty, and bird-watching, eye-catching view of eastern part of Annapurna Range to Gaurishanker in the east is going to take your breath away.
Plus the walking is easy and also it’s the only place in Kathmandu where it snows. Thus, the hike to Phulchowki will make your Kathmandu visit more exciting.
29. Gaddhi Baithak
A European-styled building] built during Rana reign, Gaddhi Baithak is a white neoclassical building which used to be the residence of the then kings. This palace inspired a new phase a new phase of palace construction in European style all over the Himalayan style (and mostly in the valley of capital).
Currently, higher Governmental officials visit this palace for looking different parvas and jatras held in front of its balcony. It adds the beauty view while visiting Kathmandu Durbar Square.
30. Changunarayan Temple
Changunarayan is the oldest temple in the history and is an interesting place to be. It is located in Bhaktapur district surrounded by forest of champ tree. Enlisted on the world heritage sites, the valuable stone sculpture and ancient inscriptions have archeological, historical and cultural significance. The temple also has many surrounding mini-temples and idols.
Changunarayan Museum and Ethnographic Museum accompany its visit. Its unique architectural style and the oldest inscription from Lichhavi period (464 AD) are its major attraction.
Amusing ride at Whoopee Land Amusement and Water Park, Chobar
Chobar is one of the hill of the Nepal where Bagmati River flows through the Chobar Gorge, allegedly chopped out by the sacred sword of Manjushri. Newly opened Whoopee Land Amusement park, a modern amusement park offers stunning fantasy rides such as slides, children’s playground, 360-degree ranger, 180- degree Frisbee, the bouncy Zorb along curvy meadows and animatronics dinosaurs.
It is an internationally designed park in Nepal which you should not miss.
31. Chittadhar Hridaya Memorial Museum
Named after Chittadhar Hridaya, one of the greatest literary figures of Nepal from the 20th century the museum was his native home dedicating his works. The Chittadhar Hridaya Memorial Museum opened on 20 July 2013. It contains photographs, books, sketches, personal belongings and household items.
The room where Hridaya lived and worked has been maintained in its original form. Located in the historical section of Kathmandu, the house is also a specimen of traditional Nepalese architecture with Newar windows of carved wood. It encloses a typical courtyard containing shrines and a well.
So these are 32 amazing places and things which you can do in Kathmandu. Hope you all will visit these places and enjoy every bit of the tour.