The Discoverer
The Discoverer
Kathmandu, Nepal
Edition 92   |   4‌:‌4‌9 r‌ea‌d t‌im‌e
Kathmandu, Nepal | @safaljiwan
Kathmandu is not a glamorous city, but for the many visitors who flock here, that’s a good thing. It’s chaos at its best — dusty streets crowded with traffic in front of ornamental temples, and winding alleys that lead to thriving markets and packed squares. Nepal’s majestic natural landscape is often the draw, but in the heart of its capital city lies a vibrant culture worth exploring.
Fun Fact:
Kathmandu Valley is rich with history and is home to seven UNESCO heritage sites.
April — June
Following a summer of monsoons, autumn (September-November) tends to be the best season to travel to Kathmandu weather-wise. But that’s when most visitors will flock to the city and surrounding trails, crowding the streets and filling up hotels. If you want to avoid rubbing elbows with a bunch of other tourists, consider traveling in spring, before the rains and the crowds arrive.
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Swayambhunath Temple | @darylariawan
Something Sacred
Kathmandu sits at the intersection of Buddhist and Hindu faith, and has numerous sacred sites representing both religions. Perhaps most recognizable and certainly the most striking is Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world. Decorated with prayer flags and painted with serene eyes, this stupa gazes over its busy surroundings. Next is a visit to the Hindu Pashupatinath Temple, a religious complex dedicated to the god Shiva and the largest temple complex in Nepal. Observe Hindu cremations and last rites outside the gates (only Hindus are allowed inside). Finally, if you’d rather escape the noisy city, make the trek to Swayambhunath, a hilltop stupa and temple that is not only a site of religious faith but also home to several mischievous monkeys.
Thamel | @darylariawan
Through the Chaos
Wandering the dusty, loud, maze-like streets of Kathmandu can be intimidating, but it will also get you closer to the most energetic parts of the city. Find your way to Durbar Square, where kings were once crowned. Though many temples in the square were damaged in the 2015 earthquake, rebuilding continues and the area remains one of the most active parts of the city. Spend a little time in Thamel, a main commercial hub lined with watering holes and shops selling hiking gear. Yes, the area is touristy but it’s also a fun place to mingle with other backpackers. If you’re looking for locals, then make your way to Asan Tole, a buzzing bazaar of vendors selling everything from Buddha statues to spices.
Everest Base Camp Trek | @britt__travels
From the Highest Peak
The majority of Kathmandu’s visitors are heading to the mountains. From Everest hopefuls to trekkers exploring the Annapurna circuit, we don’t blame travelers for being eager to explore Nepal’s vertical wonders. If you aren’t a hiker, though, consider booking a mountain flight with Buddha Air to catch sight of Everest’s summit from the sky. But mountains aren’t all Nepal has to offer. Just outside Kathmandu is Chitwan National Park, a biodiverse national park that’s home to incredible wildlife, including endangered rhinos and Bengal tigers. You can find a little green escape within the city as well, at the Garden of Dreams, an oasis park with pavilions, fountains and manicured lawns.

NOTE: As of January 2019, Everest Base Camp is closed to tourists. Read more here.
#naturallynepal | @shaouraav
Through the Valley
A patchwork of rice fields and hills, Kathmandu Valley is home to a beautiful collection of villages that most tourists never see. The surest way to escape the crowds of the city is by heading out of town. Nearby Patan and Bhaktapur offer their own bustling attractions, including temples and city squares. But it’s the smaller, traditional Newari villages like Bungmati and Khokana, that will capture your heart. These spots are more like living museums, and you can choose to bike or hire a taxi to help you explore. Also worth visiting is Nagarkot, a hillside village with stunning views of eight different mountain ranges. Many of these districts also make for great places to stay if you prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.
Nina's Discovery
"One of the most spectacular sights of Kathmandu is the enormous Bodnath stupa. Soak in the magical atmosphere of this holy temple while watching the believers walking around it murmuring prayers. Special tip: Admire the view and the colorful prayer flags blowing in the wind from one of the rooftop cafés."
Ason Bazaar | @lawson406
More, Please?
Can anything beat a good plate of dumplings? While in town, try a plate of momo dumplings served with tomato-based achar from one of the many dumpling huts lining the streets. Thamel Momo Hut is a particular recommendation. For a traditional Nepalese meal, head to OR2K where you’ll sit cross-legged on cushions, or Fusion Himalaya which serves up delicious yet affordable entrees like dahl bot and curry.
Hotel Yak & Yeti | @hotelyakandyeti
Napping in Nepal
Like most tourist centers, Kathmandu is not without its nice resorts, and you can find a Hyatt and a Radisson if you want something familiar. But if you want something a little more local yet still luxurious, the dreamy Dwarika’s Hotel or the grand Hotel Yak and Yeti are perfect. Staying on a budget? Try Maya Boutique Lodge. Of course, getting out of the city opens the door to more options, so don’t count out the villages surrounding Kathmandu, where you can find some great accommodations in more peaceful locales.
#nepaltravel | @hannahrmac
Layer Up
"Be aware that during wintertime it can get quite chilly in Kathmandu. And the bad news is there is no heating in restaurants or Airbnbs. Maybe if you’re lucky there is one gas stove to (not) heat up the whole room. So always put an extra layer on." – @goodmorningworldblog
Make New Friends
"Kathmandu while seemingly chaotic and at times overwhelming is one of the friendliest cities I have ever been in. It is easy to walk and take taxis in, and while sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the people trying to approach and sell you things, they are not relentless like some cities, and the vendors are generally incredibly polite and ready to help if you need to find directions or suggestions." – @lawson406
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