Introduction to Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and the largest city in this country.
Named after Kathmandu Valley, this city has religious connotations and was once considered the inaccessible Shangri-La.
This city is now a hive for tourists and uniquely caters to all budgets. Kathmandu has long been a tourist’ abode for over 50 years, however, the recent rise in political tensions and economic turmoil has led to an expected decline.
Despite these tantrums, Kathmandu remains unfazed and retains its ability to amaze visitors consistently, complemented by the breath-taking mountain views.
It is not difficult to go around in Kathmandu, as a lot of it can be covered by foot, albeit the high traffic, honking, and the dusty roads. Most of the closer destinations are accessible by foot. Renting a bicycle, motorcycle or a scooter to go around Kathmandu is the best option. Taxis and cabs are reasonably priced and offer convenient transportation. Numerous motorcycle rentals in the Thamel area offer assistance in securing a motorcycle. Keep in mind the stressful traffic and the congestion. Buses and tram are available and are cheap, but overly crowded. Smaller minibuses are frequent and take tourists to various destinations around Kathmandu. Taxis are the best and most convenient option and charge reasonable fares.
Top Sight Seeing Places
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is situated in the old Kathmandu city. It is here that previous rulers (Kings) were crowned and ascended to the throne and commenced ruling from the Durbar, meaning palace. This structure retains its legacy and traditional architecture as it includes the magnificent Taleju Temple that stands at 40 m height, the historic seat of the royalty known as the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace (built by Kind Pratap Malla), the residence of Kumari, the Living Goddess- Kumari Ghar, the residence of – Ashok Vinayak or Kathmandu Ganesh and Kal Bhairav, among others. By accessing the Maju Deval, one can get a glimpse of the entire city.
Located 8 km from downtown Kathmandu, the first stupa at Bodnath dates backs to AD600, when Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King unwittingly killed his own father before converting to Buddhism. History indicates that the first stupa was destroyed by Mughals that invaded, during the 14th century and it has been rebuilt subsequently. These stupas were originally built to house holy relics and near the base of the stupa one can see the 108 tiny images of Dhyani Buddha Amitabha. A three-storey temple built in 12th century enshrines Lord Shiva depicted as Akash Bhairav. Even today, this temple features tiled roofs, hanging balcony, latticed windows and artistic doorway leading to the Indra Chowk market area. The Asan market squarewas once the epicentre of old Kathmandu and is an important shopping area and houses a busy market with numerous vendors selling various goods.
The temple of Lord Shiva – Pashupathinath temple, considered to be one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the worlds is situated 5 km from Kathmandu center.
This two-tiered temple has silver doors and golden roofs and the sanctum sanctorum consists of the Shivalinga. This temple is believed to have existed prior to 400 AD. The Balaju Garden is situated 3 km northwest of Kathmandu city. This garden serves an amicable place for relaxation below the Nagarjuna hills. Above this garden is the Nagarjun forest, and one can see the stupa at the summit as well.
Outside the city
Several valleys exist outside Kathmandu, in particular the Baglung Bazar, located about 300 km west of Kathmandu is a large and popularspot for tourists as it offers gorgeous views of the Himalayas. The village of Bandipur is an 18th century village and home several ethnic groups of Nepal, and is about 150 km west of Kathmandu.
Where to sleep in Kathmandu
Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu - Soaltee
Tahachal, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: +977 (1) 4273999 / Fax: +977 (1) 4272205 - Rates from USD 208
Crowne Plaza is idyllically located in the serene Tahachal, a few kilometer distances from the palaces & temples of Durbar Square in Katmandu.
Gokarna Forest Resort Kathmandu
Rajnikunj Gokarna Thali, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 97 71 4451212 / Fax: 97 71 4450002 - Rates from USD 162
Gokarna Forest Resort is within Gokarna Forest. Bairoling Monastry & Kapan Gumba are interesting places to explore nearby. Kathmandu International Airport provides the point of entry to & is positioned within the city proper.
Hotel Garuda Kathmandu
Thamel, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 97 7147 00340 / Fax: 97 7147 00614 - Rates from USD 16
Hotel Garuda is in the heart of Kathmandu, in the tourist district of Thamel. During free time, tourists can bargain for local products at Thamel Chowk or shop for souvenirs at Times Square Mall.
Hotel Himalaya Kathmandu
Sahid Sukra Marg, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 977 155 23900 / Fax: 977 155 23909 - Rates from USD 140
Positioned 20 minutes drive from the airport, Hotel Himalaya lies between the city of Kathmandu & Patan. It is in proximity to business & tourist places & is only a few minutes walk from ancient Patan Durbar Square.
Hotel Kathmandu View
Lekhnath Street, Thamel Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 977 1 4253253 / Fax: 977 1 4253771 - Rates from USD 44
Positioned in Thamel, Hotel Kathmandu places guests within walking distance to Durbar Square where they can admire the various buildings & temples including Taleju Temple, Ashok Binayak & Kumari Palace. Holidaymakers can easily explore the area with the central bus station just close by.
Hotel Thamel Kathmandu
Ward 29 Block 16 / 57 Thamel, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 977 1 4417643/4693 / Fax: 977 1 4418547 - Rates from USD 56
This property is positioned on a quiet lane in the heart of Thamel.
Hyatt Regency Hotel Kathmandu
Taragaon Boudha, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: +977 (1) 4491234 / Fax: +977 (1) 4490033 - Rates from USD 187
Positioned close to the business district & shopping areas, the Hyatt Regency Hotel Kathmandu is 4 kilometers from the Tribhuvan International Airport & 10 kilometers from the city centre. The local attractions include Boudhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa & Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Kathmandu Guest House
Thamel, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 977 1 4700800 Fax: 977 1 4700133 - Rates from USD 85
Positioned in the heart of the city, the Kathmandu Guest House is within walking distance from the Royal Palace, Kathmandu Durbar Square as well as major shopping areas, while the airport is 15 minutes away.
Radisson Hotel Kathmandu
Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: +977 (1) 441-1818 / Fax: +977 (1) 441-1720 - Rates from USD 242
The Radisson Hotel Kathmandu is strategically positioned in Lazimpat, a prime location in the center of the city. It is adjacent to the Royal Palace & within easy walking distance to exciting areas of this bustling metro, such as Durbar Marg & Thamel.
The Everest Hotel Kathmandu
New Baneswar, Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 977 1 488099 / Fax: 977 1 224421 - Rates from USD 152
Strategically positioned in the heart of Kathmandu Valley, The Everest Hotel Kathmandu is conveniently located, near Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport & just minutes away from the city centre.