Kathmandu, the city of beautiful chaos!

During my backpack trip through Nepal, I spent several days in the capital. I mainly spend time in a local children´s home, but also visited the tourism highlights. This post will provide you with 10 things you should definitely do in Kathmandu.

Visit the Boudhanath Stupa
This holy and recognizable place in Kathmandu is part of the UNESCO World Heritages Sites and definitely worth a visit. The Stupa is pretty big with a diameter of 120 meters. It is surrounded by prayer wheels and colorful prayer flags. During my stay in Kathmandu, I spent many days at this place. It is wonderful to see the local people and monks walk around the Stupa and spinning the prayer wheels.

Visit the three Durbar Squares
Durbar square is a name used to describe the area opposite of the old royal palace in Nepal. Nepal knows three Durbar Squares and they are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square are all worth to visit. All the squares have a palace, temples and great architecture.

Witness a cremation at the Pashupatinath temple
The Pashupatinath temple is a famous and sacred Hindu temple which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple consists of 518 smaller temples and monuments. Along the river in the temple complex you can witness the open air cremation ceremonies. It is a sensitive thing to do, but a very interesting cultural experience. You will witness how the dead bodies will be washed in the holy river, blessed and burned before your eyes.

Fly past Mount Everest
Fly along the Himalayas and enjoy the spectacular view of the highest mountain in Nepal: Mount Everest. You can book the Mount Everest Mountain flight by many tour operators or in hotels.

Visit the monkey temple Swayambhunath
On top of a hill in the west of Kathmandu, you can find the Buddhist temple and Unesco World Heritage Site; Swayambhunath. You can reach the temple by two ways. One way will lead you up the hill by a long stairway with 365 steps, leading directly to the main platform of the temple, but you can also find on the other side of temple a way that lead you up with just a few steps. You can find plenty of monkeys around the temple and the view from the temple over the city is amazing!

Enjoy a rooftop restaurant or bar
Kathmandu is well known for its many rooftop restaurants and bars. In every tourist area you can find plenty of them.

Learn to cook Nepali
The best way to learn about the local food, is to try cooking it yourself during a cooking workshop. Many local companies offer intimate classes for hungry travelers. It is a perfect opportunity to learn about the local habits, ingredients and culture.

Enjoy the local Nepali dishes
Visit one of the many local restaurants and enjoy momos or the Nepalese main dish Dal-Bhat. Momos are a type of dumplings native to Nepal. You can either choose them to be stuffed, fried, filled with meat or vegetables. Dal-Bhat consists mainly of steamed rice, cooked lentil soup (called dal), vegetables and a small portion of pickle and chutney. Sometimes meat and/or potatoes are included.

Go for a local ride
Hop on a rickshaw or in one of the local buses. First it may be a bit shocking, but definitely worth an experience.

Shop in the tourist area Thamel
You can shop till you drop in this city area of Kathmandu. You can find plenty of handicrafts, jewelry, camping and trekking gear, clothes and other souvenirs.

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Author: Daphne

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.

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  • Sally E

    I’ve been intrigued by Nepal for awhile but haven’t been to Central Asia yet so I really like this post. There’s so much cool stuff to do! I’d love to go and try the local cuisine and do cooking classes – it’s one of my favorite ways to learn about local culture!

  • Shayan Naveed

    I am surprised to hear about the rooftop restaurant and bars. There you go…media has done it again and I have fell for it. This is exactly why we must travel!

  • Hung Thai [Up Up and a Bear]

    Oh my… these are great tips but I’m not sure if I can watch a cremation. Definitely a worthy cultural experience but I’m truly not a fan of death. Truly a spectacular place though – it’s been on my “list” for quite some time now…

    • Girlswanderlust

      Yes, it is a very special cultural experience. You witness the cremation and see family members suffering from their lost. It is hard to see, but so special, because I never witnessed a cremation from so close. It is a very special place to visit….

  • Chantell

    That food looks super delicious!! Did you take a class and if so, have you cooked a meal since? I have never taken a cooking class abroad because I am pretty certain that I will never make use of it ha ha. These look like a great list of things to do too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Girlswanderlust

      Yes, I usually do a cooking class abroad and cook the dishes at home again. Most of the time you can bring the recipes with you, the only hard thing is to find the right ingredients in Europe haha (especially for African and Asian dishes).

  • Laura @ Grassroots Nomad

    I love your tips about cooking classes – I love to do these as well while I’m away. Not only are they so much fun but you can recreate the meals at homeand pretend you are travelling between trips!

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