Explore Kathmandu

Explore Kathmandu
Kathmandu is an ancient city that has recently survived the devastation brought on by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in April 2015. Many of the historic buildings and temples were badly damaged, and although restoration is taking place, it is going slowly in some parts. Overall, considering the amount of damage done, the clean-up that has already taken place is astounding, and tourism is really picking up again.

There were two requests from Nepali government in reference to the restoration of the historic sites: help with machinery that could determine the strength and structure of the existing monuments, and professional training for their archaeological technicians. Science is also playing an important role in the preservation of these monuments since historically traditional materials are difficult to find and not as sturdy as contemporary alternatives. Most restoration efforts are replicating the outside look, however, the internal portion of the structures are being fortified with newer, more durable materials.

Monday Market, typical in Kathmandu
Boudhanath Stupa
Durbar Square in reconstruction stage

Places to Visit in Kathmandu

  • Boudhanath Stupa
  • Durbar Square
  • Swayambhu Stupa
  • Pashupatinath Temple
  • Changu Narayan Temple
  • Thamel
  • Kopan Monestry
  • Swayambhunath Monkey Temple
  • Narayanhiti Palace

Unique Things to See and Do in Kathmandu

  • Shop for the best Nepali goods, like singing bowls or cashmere pashminas
  • Go for a picnic at the Garden of Dreams – an oasis in the city
  • Experience some local yoga at the Kopan Monastery
  • Eat the best ‘momos’ which are Nepali dumplings
  • Trek! You can choose your activity level and don’t need to be an Everest superstar!
  • Take a local mountain flight, especially if trekking isn’t in your cards
  • Walk through Thamel, the shops, sights and smells are simply fun chaos

Culture in Kathmandu

Nepal is a country that you hear rumours about how friendly and wonderful the people are and that it is a fantastic country to travel in. But what is it that makes this country so unique? First of all, the culture has a long rich history that has evolved over centuries, most of which was visible, prior to the earthquake, in the temples, buildings and neighbourhoods.

The Nepali culture has been infused with different traditions and customs from many different nations: Mongolia, Tibet, India and China. Just think, there are 123 languages spoken that have evolved from three groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibet-Burman, and the indigenous people. Even the religious followings, which are predominately Hinduism and Buddhism, have had a strong influence and are widely practiced today.

Another way the Nepalese have kept their traditions alive has been through their national celebrations, festivals, and religious ceremonies. Dashain is a great example of when the country comes together to celebrate the end of the monsoon season. It happens in October and lasts for 15 days. An important aspect about this festival is its focus is on family ties, family gatherings, and a confirmation of community relationships.

Getting Around Kathmandu

Although Kathmandu has an extensive network of public transportation, it can be quite confusing, which is why we recommend to get your bearings first, either by taxi, bicycle or by walking. The public routes are inexpensive and if you can handle crowds, then it’s perfect for the adventurer. Most buses leave from the Old Bus Park.

Taking an eco-friendly motorized rickshaw is another way to get around the city. Confirm the price before getting on and have your destination written down for the driver; it will save you some complicated conversations. Same goes for Taxis. Taxi drivers are often reluctant to use their meters, so again, make sure you agree on the fixed price before getting in.

Did you know…?

Kathmandu Valley is made up from three ancient cities- Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur.

Did you ALSO know…?

Kathmandu is considered one of the most polluted cities in all of Asia.

Kathmandu Traffic
Renting a car yourself is impossible in Nepal, however you can hire a car with driver. This can be a great way to learn some local history if your driver speaks English. If you rent a bicycle or motorcycle, you’ll need an international drivers license (not strictly enforced, but you could receive a fine for not having one), and always bring your bike or motorcycle in at night  - even at hotels.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Kathmandu

Weather conditions in Nepal are really important when deciding when you want to go.

In October and November, the dry season is starting and it is probably the best time to see the country. It is right after the monsoon time which means the area is lush and green. It’s also a great time for festivals.

During the winter months it can get quite cold, and if you’re planning a Mt. Everest Base Camp trip, then you’ll want to talk with your local guiding company as to the best time of year for travelling. All the guides are regulated through the Nepali government to ensure the best and safest experiences for tourists.

From February to April the dry season is ending, but it’s still a good time to see the country. May through to September is the monsoon season, which is extremely hot, and it rains every day.

Ready to plan your visit to Kathmandu? Check out these popular guides and trips.

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