I visited Kathmandu on a whim this past December after finishing my tour in India. A friend of mine had just left his job in Dubai and setoff on a journey towards enlightenment in Nepal and invited me along. That sounded like an offer I simply couldn’t refuse! So I booked my flight and away I went. Lets just say I’m so happy I did! My recommendations for a first time visit to this majestic city are below.
What to Pack:
- Kathmandu is (and I mean this in the kindest way imaginable) a bit rugged. The city is still very much in recovery from the most recent earthquake it endured and many of its buildings are still buried under wires and rubble. That said, it is otherworldly FASCINATING. You just need to pack comfortable walking shoes, a good pair of jeans, sweaters for layering, and a great jacket. I did find the dressing to be a bit more conservative so I would keep that in mind when preparing your bags.
Where to Stay:
- Thamel Eco Resort – super charming and affordable in the heart of Thamel
- The Dwarika’s Hotel – luxury hideaway tucked behind beautifully crafted walls in a heritage style palace
What to See:
- Thamel – bustling city centre filled with cool shops, restaurants, spas, and clubs. Be sure to buy some incredible handmade prayer beads.
- Swayambhunath – also known as the monkey temple, sits atop of the city overlooking the valley and mountains. It is an incredible white washed dome featuring the iconic eyes of buddha filled with monkey “friends”.
- Pashupatinah – sacred Hindu temple located on the Bagmati River where they perform cremation ceremonies. I didn’t go myself – I wasn’t sure I could handle it – but I’ve heard it is an incredible site to witness.
- Namo Buddhist Monastery – we hired a guide to walk us up the mountain to the Buddhist Monastery. It was the perfect half a day trip since I was only there for a short period of time. It was amazing getting to see the monks (young children to adult) in their striking maroon robes.
- Serenity Spa – for an amazing yoga, sound bath experience.
Where to Eat:
- Revolution Cafe
- Fire & Ice
- Classic Momo Express
Where to Shop:
- Thamel is really the shopping district from what I could observe in my short time. You will find locally made jewelry, hand-knitted goods, Himalayan singing bowls and some kitschy souvenirs ha!
Where to Play:
- Truthfully the club scene in Thamel is quite fun and brimming with backpackers from all over the world. If you start at Purple Haze Rock Bar and hop to Ibyza from there, you are sure to find A LOT of fun along the way.
What to See Outside the City:
- Most people visit Nepal (especially Kathmandu) in order to trek. I came to experience the city, its temples, and tranquil energy. No matter what brought you, no trip to Nepal is complete without a hike and visit to a monastery. Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan monastery located on the outskirts of Kathmandu and offers incredible insight into their daily lives and practices and an opportunity for you to step into their world.