Some fun ways to spend 48 hours in Kathmandu, Nepal
Adventurers the world over flock to Nepal and almost all trips to Nepal include some time for exploring the ancient temples, royal palaces and maze of streets in the Nepalese capital.
Kathmandu has a reputation for being overcrowded and polluted. But beyond the grime, there's grace. Kathmandu's charisma shines through its chaos in the narrow streets, ancient temples and Buddhist stupas that earned it World Heritage Site status.
Get your bearings
The old city, known as Durbar Square lies at the center of Kathmandu. To its north, the main tourist district of Thamel is a maze of hotels, restaurants, trekking agencies and shops. To the south, the Bagmati River borders the ancient and peaceful town of Patan and to the east is the former Royal Palace, upscale shopping centers and foreign embassies. For getting around we recommend walking, biking, cheap taxis and rickshaws.
Take in a view of the Kathmandu Valley
Climb the 400 steps to Swayambhunath Temple (aka The Monkey Temple) for an all-encompassing view of the sprawling Kathmandu Valley. A visit to this 5th century temple with its beautiful Buddhist stupa and golden spire are worth the climb. Entrance is approx. $3.00.
Take a hike
The ancient Durbar Square beckons out to be explored. Its palaces, shrines and temples, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, bustle with flower sellers, pilgrims, orange-clad Sadhus and tourists. Enter by Narayan Temple from Thamel to purchase a ticket ($9.00) which includes a detailed map.
Lunch on the run
There are several restaurants in the square offering rooftop dining and great people watching. Try a local meal such as momos, a specialty of steamed vegetable or chicken dumplings with a spicy peanut dip.
Kathmandu is a shopper’s paradise! You want it, someone sells it. Browse the myriad of shops selling everything from prayer flags and singing bowls to intricate wooden sculptures and hand-painted thangkas. Looking for trekking gear? Step into one of the many shops for fair priced, good quality packs, down jackets, sleeping bags, hiking boots and more. Try Pilgrims Bookshop for the latest releases and good travel guidebooks.
Thamel is full of hopping pubs and nightlife. Try the courtyard of the New Orleans Bar, a popular watering hole for both tourists and the younger local crowd.
Dining with the locals
So many options in Kathmandu! Pizza? Try the pie at Fire and Ice. For something a bit fancier, many head to the Chimney Restaurant at the Yak & Yeti Hotel (Kathmandu's first hotel opened in the 1950s) for dishes such as borscht, chicken stroganoff and vegetable Kiev. A good place for local Nepali cuisine is the Thamel House, where you sit on cushions and enjoy a multi-course meal.
Take to the sky
A contender for one of the world's most scenic flights is an early morning trip in a turbo-prop plane towards Mount Everest. Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines both offer one-hour Everest View Flights from the domestic terminal at Tribhuvan Airport. The cost approximately $250.00 and includes the airport transfers from your hotel.
Out to brunch
Take a taxi over to Mike's Breakfast. Mike’s is probably Kathmandu’s most well-known and popular breakfast joints. It’s worth the wait and try the American style "Country" breakfast, eggs Benedict, Mexican options and great pancakes.
Go to church
Boudhanath Stupa is one of the world's largest Buddhist temples. Pilgrims and tourists walk clockwise around the stupa to the melodic strains of the Buddhist chant "Om mani padme hum" floating from pirate CD stalls around the square. This is one of the most peaceful places in the city. Entrance fee is $2.00.
You’ve been eyeing all the trinkets, so now is the time to hit the streets for some major league bargaining! There’s no reason to bring any Rupees home.