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[[Image:Panautisuraj.jpg|thumb|panauti]]
 
[[Image:Panautisuraj.jpg|thumb|panauti]]
Kathmandu city itself has limited activities for visitors beyond the amazing sightseeing and general experience of ''being there'', but it is the starting point for numerous adventures in the rest of the country including trekking, rafting, jungle adventures, and more extreme sports.
+
Kathmandu city itself has limited activities for visitors beyond the amazing sightseeing and general experience of ''being there''.
  
* '''Mountain Flight'''. These flights from Kathmandu Airport offer an opportunity to see the magnificent Himalayan range the easy way - from the air. It's always a good idea to book early, especially in the 'Tourist Season' from August to October. Flight costs are US$171 (December 2011).
+
===Adventure Sports===
 +
Kathmandu is the starting point for numerous adventures in the rest of the country including trekking, rafting, jungle adventures, and more extreme sports.
  
*<do name="Hidden Journeys Nepal" alt="" address="Kathmandu" phone="+977 9818 039 645">[http://facebook.com/hiddenjourneysnepal Facebook] - [http://hiddenjourneysnepal.com/ Hidden Journeys Nepal] organizes tours that take guests to visit and learn from Nepal's change makers, i.e. social entrepreneurs, artists, activists and other innovators. There are prearranged tours (usually 2 days including a networking session in the evening) on specific issues - or you can design your own.</do>
+
*'''Hiking / Trekking in the Kathmandu Valley''' - For more information, see [[Trekking_in_Nepal]]
 +
** '''[[Nagarkot]]''' (2 days) - offers a great spot for watching surrounding mountain ranges at sunrise or sunset from atop the hill.
 +
** '''[http://www.netif-nepal.org/itineraries.htm The Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail]''' (5 days), includes treks to [[Nagarkot]] and [[Dhulikhel]]
 +
** '''[http://www.netif-nepal.org/shivapuri_hiking_treks.htm Shivapuri Hiking Trek]''' (5 days) displays the best of Nepal’s rural culture, biodiversity and stunning Himalayan views. Trekking Routes to [[Nagarkot]], Gosainkunda, Helambu and the Langtang National Park.  
  
*<do name="Backstreet Academy" alt="" address="Kathmandu" phone="+977 9818 421 646">[https://www.facebook.com/backstreetacademy Facebook] - [http://www.backstreetacademy.com/ Backstreet Academy] An alternative tour experiences company, they sell authentic and unique activities to tourists such as cooking classes, sketching classes, carving workshops, sari draping classes and the like. There are also curated tours which are created by locals such as street food tours. Guides and transport are usually provided. A good way to interact with local people and take in the culture..</do>
+
* '''[http://www.thelastresort.com.np/ Bungy Jumping @ The Last Resort]''' - located 3 hours by bus east of Kathmandu, near the border with [[Tibet]], features the 3rd highest bungy jump in the world.
  
===Hiking===
+
===Flightseeing===
If you would like to see some of the Himalayas, but do not want to go on a trek it is possible to spend a few days (two or more) walking from Kathmandu out of the valley. This is less intense than the trekking available in the rest of the country, but can still reward you with some great views of the mountains. For instance, the walk up to [[Nagarkot]], which offers a great spot for watching surrounding mountain ranges at sunrise or sunset from atop the hill, can be done in a couple of days. Any of the trekking companies in Kathmandu will be willing to organise this for you.
+
* '''Mountain Flights'''. Most local airlines offer one hour flights over the Himalayas departing between 6:30-9:00 AM from Kathmandu airport, costing US197. Book in advance during the popular tourist season.
* '''The Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail.'''<br>Day 01: [[Kathmandu]] - Sundarijal - [[Chisapani]] (2150M) 5:30hrs. Drive from Kathmandu to Sundarijal. Trail climbs up through mixed forest to Chisopani Danda. In a clear day there are good views of mountain from east to west. There are good view of mountain and Kathmandu Valley. <br> Day 02: [[Chisapani]] - [[Nagarkot]] (2163M) 5 to 7:30hrs. An interesting trail takes us to the hill retreat of Nagarkot, perched on a ridge 28 km east of Kathmandu. It commands sweeping views of the Himalayas. Five of the world's ten highest peaks, Everest, Lhotse, Choyu, Makalu and Manaslu are visible from here. <br> Day 03: [[Nagarkot]] - [[Dhulikhel]] 6:00hrs The trail climbs up to the tower of Nagarkot. From the tower there are excellent views of mountain including view of Mt Everest and Kahmandu valley. Trail descends through rhododendron forest and villages to Dhulikhel. <br> Day 04: [[Dhulikhel]] -Namobuddha- Kathmandu. The trail passes many villages and terrace to reach to Namoboudha. In Namobuddha there are some interesting Tibetan monastery which is such an intresting among the tourists. <br> For details about the trek please refer to [http://www.netif-nepal.org/kathmandu_valley_cultural_trail.htm the site of foundation (NETIF) which developed and promotes this trek].
+
* '''Shivapuri Hiking Trek.''' The trail displays the best of Nepal’s rural culture, biodiversity and stunning Himalayan views. Trekking Routes to Nagarkot, Gosainkunda , Helambu and the Langtang National Park. Lots of hiking & trekking routes available. For details about this trek please refer to [http://www.netif-nepal.org/shivapuri_hiking_treks.htm the site of foundation (NETIF) which developed and promotes this trek].
+
* '''[[Pharping]] - [[Kirtipur]]''' 5hrs. Arrive at Pharping town (19 km SW of Kathmandu). Walk for 3hrs to the Champadevi Hill. From where descend to Kirtipur(about 2hrs).
+
  
'''Trekking Companies in Thamel'
+
===Connecting with Locals===
  
*'''Himalayan Glory Travels & Tours''' [http://www.travelhimalayan.com/] Tel . 00977-1-4700302/401091 A independent travel and tour company originally started by a group of experienced trekking guides and porters. They have a comprehensive offering of trekking options, mountain biking, rafting, sightseeing, jungle safaris and long list of other adventure activities such as paragliding, cannoying, bungy jumping and so forth. This small independent company has the reputation for providing the bests guides at reasonable rates. They also offer culture traveling tour in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan plus bus and plane ticketing services.  
+
*<do name="Hidden Journeys Nepal" alt="" address="Kathmandu" phone="+977 9818 039 645">[http://facebook.com/hiddenjourneysnepal Facebook] - [http://hiddenjourneysnepal.com/ Hidden Journeys Nepal] organizes tours that take guests to visit and learn from Nepal's change makers, i.e. social entrepreneurs, artists, activists and other innovators. There are prearranged tours (usually 2 days including a networking session in the evening) on specific issues - or you can design your own.</do>
  
*'''Himalayan Planet Adventures''' [http://www.himalayanplanet.com].  A well-known trekking agency based in central Thamel consults and provides services in tours, treks and expeditions in Himalayas of Nepal. This is next door to New Orlanse Cafe and opposite of Shisha Terrace. Phone: 4701040;
+
*<do name="Backstreet Academy" alt="" address="Kathmandu" phone="+977 9818 421 646">[https://www.facebook.com/backstreetacademy Facebook] - [http://www.backstreetacademy.com/ Backstreet Academy] An alternative tour experiences company, they sell authentic and unique activities to tourists such as cooking classes, sketching classes, carving workshops, sari draping classes and the like. There are also curated tours which are created by locals such as street food tours. Guides and transport are usually provided. A good way to interact with local people and take in the culture..</do>
 
+
*'''Himalayan Advisor''' [http://www.himalayanadvisor.com/].  This newly-established travel and adventure-based company in Thamel provides reliable and excellent services in the Himalayas of Nepal and Tibet. The company team experienced, having worked more than a decade in adventure tourism in Himalayas. Ph: 00977 1 4700591;
+
  
 
===Festivals===
 
===Festivals===
 
[[Image:Nepal_festival1.jpg|thumb|Festival just outside Kathmandu]]
 
[[Image:Nepal_festival1.jpg|thumb|Festival just outside Kathmandu]]
Kathmandu and Dubar Square is the centre for many of Nepal's festivals. Note that many businesses are closed for all of these holidays-- and often a few days before and after. Dasain in particular tend to shut down much of the city for October.
+
Kathmandu and Dubar Square is the centre for many of Nepal's festivals. Note that many businesses are closed for all of these holidays—and often a few days before and after. Dasain in particular tend to shut down much of the city for October.
  
*'''Holi''' is celebrated in '''March''' with splashes of water and coloured powder that is both good luck and very messy.  
+
*'''Dashain (Dasain)''' Dashain, the most important of Nepal's religious festivals takes place over fifteen days, between September and October each year. Dashain celebrates all of the manifestations of the goddess Durga, it is marked by animal sacrifices and feasting. It serves to renew family and community ties. Due to many residents of Kathmandu returning home to their villages during Dashain, the city takes on a more peaceful atmosphere.
  
*'''Bikram Sambat's New Year's''' (April) A day of pilgrimages (often from Kathmandu to the holy Bagamati river that separates it from [[Patan]])
+
*'''Tihar, Festival of Lights (Also called Deepawali)''' A five day festival which takes place each year on the fifteenth day of ''Kartika'', around the end of '''October'''/start of '''November''', celebrated by all Hindus with ritual house-cleaning, lanterns, candles, and fireworks. The Nepali version tends to be more picturesque and less explosive  than those celebrated in [[India]].
  
*'''Teej''', the most important women's festival, is celebrated in '''(September)''' with married women dressed in their red marriage saris visiting male relatives and unmarried women and girls staying up all night to celebrate and pray for their future husbands.
+
*'''Holi''' is celebrated in '''March''' with splashes of water and colored powder that is both good luck and very messy.
 +
 
 +
*'''Bikram Sambat's New Year's''' (April) A day of pilgrimages (often from Kathmandu to the holy Bagamati river that separates it from [[Patan]])
  
*'''Indra Jatra''' Harvest festival held in Kathmandu's Dubar Square for 8 days each '''(September)'''. The ''' Goddess Kumari''' is paraded in her sacred chariot.
+
*'''Teej''', the most important women's festival, is celebrated in '''September''' with married women dressed in their red marriage saris visiting male relatives and unmarried women and girls staying up all night to celebrate and pray for their future husbands.
  
*'''Tihar, Festival of Lights (Also called Deepawali) ( around the end of '''October'''/start of '''November''')''' A  five day festival which takes place each year on the fifteenth day of ''Kartika'' celebrated by all Hindus with ritual house-cleaning, lanterns, candles, and fireworks. The Nepali version tends to be more picturesque and less explosive (literally) than those celebrated in [[India]].
+
*'''Indra Jatra''' Harvest festival held in Kathmandu's Dubar Square for 8 days each '''September'''. The ''' Goddess Kumari''' is paraded in her sacred chariot.
  
 
*<do name="Himalayan Blues Festival (October-November)" alt="" address="Kathmandu" directions="" phone="+977-9841297451" url=http://"www.himalayanblues.com" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Himalayan Blues Festival is one of the most acclaimed music festival in Kathmandu. It takes place in the months in Kathmandu. It boasts of having the best venues like the Garden of Dreams and Patan Museum. It also happens in many bars and different hotel venues. It features musicians from all around the world.</do>
 
*<do name="Himalayan Blues Festival (October-November)" alt="" address="Kathmandu" directions="" phone="+977-9841297451" url=http://"www.himalayanblues.com" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Himalayan Blues Festival is one of the most acclaimed music festival in Kathmandu. It takes place in the months in Kathmandu. It boasts of having the best venues like the Garden of Dreams and Patan Museum. It also happens in many bars and different hotel venues. It features musicians from all around the world.</do>

Revision as of 09:50, 20 May 2014

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu (काठमाण्डु) [1] is the largest city and capital of Nepal and the namesake of the Kathmandu Valley. Once thought to be the fabled and inaccessible Shangri-La, Kathmandu is now a hub for independent travellers as well as a growing vacation spot catering to all budgets. As a result of considerable urban growth in recent decades, it is now part of one continuous urban area together with Patan to the south.


Contents

Get in

For information on visa requirements and immigration procedure, see Nepal#Get_in

By plane

Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA: KTM), is the largest and only international airport in Nepal, located 5.5km east of the popular tourist neighborhood of Thamel.

International Flights

Most international flights to Kathmandu arrive from Delhi, UAE, Qatar, or Bangkok.

International airlines serving Kathmandu include:

Domestic Flights

Commercial domestic flights are available to/from Bhadrapur, Bhairawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangarhi, Janakpur, Nepalganj, Pokhara, Simara, and Tumling Tar. Domestic flights take about an hour and cost USD100-175. The primary domestic airlines are air viva, Yeti, Nepal Airlines, and Buddha Air. Domestic flights are almost always delayed and afternoon flights run the risk of cancellation as delays from the morning compound.

Baggage Handlers & Concerns

Your luggage is vulnerable entering and leaving this airport. Do not keep anything of value in checked bags, and if you lock the bag, the zipper may be forced open and broken. There is little to no security for your bags. You should also be aware that most luggage is treated quite poorly in Nepalese airports. It is recommended that all fragile and valuable items are kept in your carry on luggage.

Be aware that when you collect your luggage, an "airport baggage cart collector" may appear and assist you with a baggage trolley. Unless you insist on handling your own baggage, your items will be loaded on the trolley and will be conveyed with you to the entrance of the terminal. You will then be expected to pay a tip to this person. Arriving just beforehand in Nepal, you will often only have larger denomination foreign currency in your pocket, making the issue of a tip a bit of a problem. It's fine to pay the tip in foreign currency but make sure you have some small bills or coins on hand (even a dollar or two will be significant to Nepalis).

Money Exchange at the Airport

Try not to exchange money at the airport as there are service charges and lower rates offered than what you can get in Thamel or elsewhere in the city.

Getting to and from the airport

There are no trains in Kathmandu and renting a car without a driver is not possible.

  • Pre-Arranged Hotel Transfers are available from most hotels and are included in most trekking/touring packages. Representatives will be standing outside the arrivals doors behind a barricade and will hold a sign identifying themselves. This form of transport is particularly helpful if you are a novice to Nepal, arriving late at night and unfamiliar with how things work in the country.
  • Prepaid Taxis cost NPR800 to Thamel. Don't give the receipt to the driver until you are at your destination and you are satisfied, as this serves as the driver's payment. If the driver asks for more money, don't give it. There is no culture of tipping taxi drivers.
  • Regular Taxis are an easy way to get to the city but be prepared to negotiate the price beforehand, heavily. The cheapest rate that you can get to Thamel is NPR400-500, or, if you go to the end of the parking lot and catch a taxi there (where the taxis do not have to pay the airport entrance fee), you may be able to get a rate of NPR200-300, which is close to the standard meter rate. Taxi drivers may try to extract some commission by showing you one or more hotels on the way.
  • Local buses pickup and drop-off at the airport gate, 0.5km from the terminal. The buses generally do not have fixed schedules and are often crowded and painful but cost only NPR10. Ask the cashier about where the bus stops.

By bus

For more information, see Nepal 'Get in' section.

There is frequent and cheap bus service between Kathmandu and nearly all parts of Nepal. However, due to poor roads and frequent delays the buses are some of the slowest and least comfortable in South Asia.

Buses arriving from the border with India, Pokhara, and Chitwan terminate in Kathmandu either at the Balaju Bus Station (north) or the Kalanki Station (south). From there, there are 'mini buses' which criss cross the main roads of the city for about NPR20.

From Pokhara

Tourist buses (NPR800, 6-7h) and crowded local buses/microbuses (NPR400-600, 6-7h) travel the 200km journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara almost every 15 minutes starting at 07:30 through late afternoon. Night buses are available, but the ride is painful. Greenline operates a convenient bus every morning between the popular tourist areas of Thamel in Kathmandu and Lakeside in Pokhara (USD20, lunch included). The road is winding and includes many switchbacks and offers wonderful views of hills and rural Nepalese lifestyle. The drivers will generally not drive too fast but some will calmly weave in and out of the stream of opposing traffic and slam on the brakes when a stop is required, making for a scary ride if you look out the front window. During the rainy season, there may be problems with the roads and flying may make more sense.

From India

Buses run between Kathmandu and the Indian cities of Patna, Gorakhpur, Varanasi (INR1,200), and Lucknow.

From Tibet

Buses and minivans run between Kathmandu and the Nepalese border town of Kodari, across the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge from the Tibetan city of Zhangmu. The 123km journey takes 6+ hours and costs NPR500. Buses depart until the early afternoon. Private jeeps (USD60 for up to 4 people) are a faster option, and can make this journey in 4 hours.

Get around

Map of central Kathmandu

If you fly in, be sure to pick up a free Katmandu Valley map at the airport. The first thing some visitors notice about Kathmandu is the general lack of street names except for major roads such as Tri Devi & Ring Road (loops around the city) & address numbers. In most cases directions are given relative to the nearest chowk or tole (an intersection or square, often with a market) or a noteworthy location or building (such as a temple or restaurant). In the tourist district of Thamel, the Kathmandu Guest House & Hot Breads bakery are two main landmarks.

By foot

It is possible to get around Kathmandu by foot, but it is not always a pleasant walk & you may want to consider a public transportation for anything more than wandering around a specific area.

By rickshaw or taxi

Rickshaws can be found around the tourist area of Thamel and taxis are everywhere. Negotiate on a price before you get in a taxi or Rickshaw. If you can't agree, ask another driver. Prices go up after dark & in less busy areas. Taxis are easy to find; they park near all major streets & have fare-meters. After 22 it can be very difficult to find taxis away from central tourist areas or major hotels. It should be possible to hire a taxi for 300rs one-way to Patan & 800-1,200 rs to Bakhtapur from Thamel or the airport. For longer trips & to hire a taxi by the day negotiate with the driver. Haggle hard and you will easily find another driver if you are not satisfied. The meter is your best bet if you are not confident enough to negotiate. However it should be avoided if the driver suggest using it, as it is probably fixed and will overcharge you. After 11PM, taxis can be harder to find outside Thamel.

By bus

There are also buses for longer trips within the valley, ie Patan, Bakhtapur, Boudha, etc. that can be used for trips in & around around town. See below for tips on traveling outside of the valley. Blue buses & green buses constantly drive in circles/loops around the city on "Ring Road" - for 15 to 20rps - depending on the distance. Every bus has a cashier/attendent who can tell you where it stops & alert you upon arrival. Riding the buses with the local people can be very pleasant & interesting. The buses are typically very old and rough.

See

  • Swayambhu (स्वयम्भू) aka Monkey Temple - A site on a hill overlooking the city with a large stupa and other Buddhist and Hindu iconography. One of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. There are 350 steps to the top - the back route is less steep but the views on the way up are not as nice. Aside from the views over the city and the ancient carvings in every available space, it's crowded with monkeys mingling with the visitors. The base of the hill is a 30 minute walk from Thamel (make sure you have a map as there are several confusing intersections along the way), or take a taxi or rickshaw. As with the Boudha Stupa, are plenty of Buddhist and Tibetan-inspired trinkets for sale. There are also drinks for sale at the top, and at least one small restaurant selling momos. For those that have their own transport or have difficulty climbing stairs there is a parking lot at the back entrance that significantly reduces the number of stairs that need to be climbed to gain access to the main compound. This is one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley. Foreigners: NPR750 for a multiple entry pass.
  • Boudha Stupa in Boudha (बौद्ध). One of the most sacred sites for Tibetan Buddhism. This huge stupa is one of the largest in the world. It is located to the north-east of Dwarikas' Hotel and just to the north of the airport area. This is another World Heritage Site.
  • Narayanhiti Palace Museum - This is the former Royal palace which was turned partly into a Museum and partly into the Foreign Ministry after the abolition of the monarchy in 2009. Now you can visit the splendid Halls of the main building of the palace. Giant fruit bats hanging from the tall trees and 20 foot-tall bamboo around the otherwise modern (and still well secured) former palace are a sight, especially around sunset when the bats depart en masse. Foreigners: NPR500
  • Thamel Chowk - a tourist neighborhood with many restaurants and shops.
  • Freak Street - Historic street where western hippies seeking enlightenment would stay. Now just a few restaurants and hotels.
  • Pashupatinath - An important Hindu temple to Shiva in the form of Lord of Animals. See monkeys, cremation, sadhus and meditation caves. Morning or sunset are great times to go. 1000 Rupess for foreigners, though you can sneak in through the park at the North side of the temple, as many locals do (beware of police though, who try to catch people doing exactly this). No entry inside the main temple for foreigners, though you can peer inside from the doorway. Also, there are stairs on the East side of the river leading to the Boudha Stupa (a short walk away).
  • Garden of Dreams / Kaiser Mahal [2] - Relax in this beautiful and peaceful walled garden close to Thamel and the former Royal Palace. Beautifully renovated in partnership with Austrian government. Currently has two pavilions depicting two of the six annual seasons in the Hindu calendar. It has several expensive cafes and a bar. Nice toilets. NPR200.
  • Budda Neelkanth Temple (Narangdham), (6km from Main Bus Park, Kathmandu). An Idol of Bhagwan Vishnu in a sleeping position surrounded by water is an extraordinary cool and calm experience.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Durbar Square, Kathmandu

This ancient square is crowded with palaces and temples, including the current incarnation of the Kasthamandap or "Wooden house" that gives the city its name. The square has been occupied since the construction of a palace around 1000AD. This site is the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nepal.

The Square is particularly fascinating in the very early morning as all the various merchants set up their wares and when many devotees make their offerings at the various shrines and temples. There will be a number of young men who will offer to be "guides." Be firm with saying "no" if you are not interested. The entrance fee for foreigners is NPR750. If you plan to be in the area for more than one day, it's worth being directed to the Site Office where you can exchange your single-entry ticket with a multiple-entry pass allowing you to wander in and out as you wish. You will need your passport and one passport photo. The whole process takes only a few minutes. Your entry pass gives you access to all open parts of Durbar Square as well as the Hanuman Dhoka. In Nepali, Durbar means "palace" and this is where the monarch was crowned and from where he ruled.

It is possible to climb the steps of many of the temples for a better look and to join others seated near the top watching the activity below. There are more than a dozen buildings and statues of note in this small area. They include:

  • Taleju Temple One of the oldest temples in the square, this three-roofed temple with its pyramid shaped bases, is an example of the typical Newari architectural style.
  • Ashok Binayak
  • Shiva Temple
  • Maju Deval
  • Narayan Temple
  • Shiva-Parvati Temple
  • Kumari Palace- home of "the Kumari", or living goddess, a young girl. South side of Durbar square,
  • Bhagwati Temple
  • Saraswati Temple The Goddess of Knowledge and Learning
  • Krishna Temple
  • Sweta Bhairab Statue shown only during the Indra Jatra festival.
  • Kal Bhairab
  • Indrapur Temple
  • Vishnu temple
  • Mahendreswar Temple
  • Nasal Chowk Statues, temples and the Rana museum. Located in the Hanuman Dhoka former palace complex, the courtyard was used for royal coronations as recently as 2001.

Do

panauti

Kathmandu city itself has limited activities for visitors beyond the amazing sightseeing and general experience of being there.

Adventure Sports

Kathmandu is the starting point for numerous adventures in the rest of the country including trekking, rafting, jungle adventures, and more extreme sports.

Flightseeing

  • Mountain Flights. Most local airlines offer one hour flights over the Himalayas departing between 6:30-9:00 AM from Kathmandu airport, costing US197. Book in advance during the popular tourist season.

Connecting with Locals

  • Hidden Journeys Nepal, Kathmandu, +977 9818 039 645. Facebook - Hidden Journeys Nepal organizes tours that take guests to visit and learn from Nepal's change makers, i.e. social entrepreneurs, artists, activists and other innovators. There are prearranged tours (usually 2 days including a networking session in the evening) on specific issues - or you can design your own.
  • Backstreet Academy, Kathmandu, +977 9818 421 646. Facebook - Backstreet Academy An alternative tour experiences company, they sell authentic and unique activities to tourists such as cooking classes, sketching classes, carving workshops, sari draping classes and the like. There are also curated tours which are created by locals such as street food tours. Guides and transport are usually provided. A good way to interact with local people and take in the culture..

Festivals

Festival just outside Kathmandu

Kathmandu and Dubar Square is the centre for many of Nepal's festivals. Note that many businesses are closed for all of these holidays—and often a few days before and after. Dasain in particular tend to shut down much of the city for October.

  • Dashain (Dasain) Dashain, the most important of Nepal's religious festivals takes place over fifteen days, between September and October each year. Dashain celebrates all of the manifestations of the goddess Durga, it is marked by animal sacrifices and feasting. It serves to renew family and community ties. Due to many residents of Kathmandu returning home to their villages during Dashain, the city takes on a more peaceful atmosphere.
  • Tihar, Festival of Lights (Also called Deepawali) A five day festival which takes place each year on the fifteenth day of Kartika, around the end of October/start of November, celebrated by all Hindus with ritual house-cleaning, lanterns, candles, and fireworks. The Nepali version tends to be more picturesque and less explosive than those celebrated in India.
  • Holi is celebrated in March with splashes of water and colored powder that is both good luck and very messy.
  • Bikram Sambat's New Year's (April) A day of pilgrimages (often from Kathmandu to the holy Bagamati river that separates it from Patan)
  • Teej, the most important women's festival, is celebrated in September with married women dressed in their red marriage saris visiting male relatives and unmarried women and girls staying up all night to celebrate and pray for their future husbands.
  • Indra Jatra Harvest festival held in Kathmandu's Dubar Square for 8 days each September. The Goddess Kumari is paraded in her sacred chariot.
  • Himalayan Blues Festival (October-November), Kathmandu, +977-9841297451. Himalayan Blues Festival is one of the most acclaimed music festival in Kathmandu. It takes place in the months in Kathmandu. It boasts of having the best venues like the Garden of Dreams and Patan Museum. It also happens in many bars and different hotel venues. It features musicians from all around the world.
  • Dashain (October- November) is a 15 day long national (religious) festival. The fifteen days of celebration occur during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon. You’ll see animal sacrifices, barley seeds being sown, and hopes for a good year to come.

Learn

Buddhism

Baudha
  • Rangjung Yeshe Institute, [3]. An international institute for Buddhist higher studies in Baudha - modeled on a traditional Tibetan Buddhist College. The Institute is affiliated with Kathmandu University, and located on the premises of the monastery Ka-Nying [short for "Kagyu and Nyingma"] Shedrup Ling. It offers bachelors and masters degrees in Buddhist Studies with Himalayan Language (Tibetan, Nepali, and Sanskrit), as well as six week stand alone intensive courses in each.
  • Kopan Monastery, [4]. Founded by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa as the core of what has become an international network of Gelugpa dharma centres, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Located near Baudha, Kopan offers ten-day meditation courses regularly throughout the year, and a month-long course (for which it is famous) every November-to-December. Reservations are necessary.

Meditation Courses

  • Pathik Foundation, [5]. Meditation, Ancient Yog Methods discovered by various Saints from Eastern and Western world (Gautam Buddha, Guru Nanak, Meera Bai, Saheb Kabir, Osho .....), Practice of Collective Living for Higher Conciousness. (Dhawalagiri Avash Chetra, Matatirtha, Satungal) Patron : Dr. T.N. Pathik
  • Nepal Vipassana Centres, [6]. Vipassana Meditation (a popular Buddhist Meditation) as taught by S. N. Goenka.
  • Osho Tapoban Forest Retreat, [7]. Nagarjun Forest (Raniban).

Yoga Courses

  • Bikram Yoga College of India, [8] Daily hot yoga classes in the heart of Thamel on a drop-in or monthly basis.
  • Patanjali Yoga Centre, [9]. The first residential school of Yoga in Nepal.
  • Satyananda Yoga Centre, [10]. Group and individual courses. Yoga Camps.
  • Sadhana Bhumi Himalaya For Life Research, [11] Yoga and Naturopathy retreat centre offers ancient traditional yoga combined with modern yoga style in the best natural environment.
  • Pranamaya Yoga, [12] Offers 3-day yoga and mediation retreats, daily classes in eight yoga disciplines, and experiments with singing bowl healing therapy and often has guest teachers from other countries.
  • Yoga With Chintamani [13]. Individual yoga tuition, group classes and a wide range yogic services from Dr Chintamani Gautam (Nepal's 1st PhD in yoga). See website for retreat centres.

Massage Courses

  • The Healing Hands Centre, [14]. Classes in Ancient Massage / Thai Massage. Five-day course, ten-day course and one-month professional course, runs every month and recognized by THAI (Thai Healing Alliance International) worldwide and Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC).
  • The Himalayan Healers, [15] inside Hotel Ambassador, Lajimpat, offers 500 hours of internationally accredited massage therapy training. Along with being featured on CNN as a "Top 28 Spa in Asia", they were also recognized as "Top 10 Philanthropic Cause" by Asia Spa.

Library

  • TU Central Library, [16]. It is one of the largest library of Nepal situated within Tribhuvan University premise at Kirtipur. You can get there by regular bus or micro-bus for Kirtipur. It has a large collection of old and new books, journals and newspaper.
  • British Council Library [17] It is in Lainchaur beside British Embassy.

Environment

  • KEEP [18] Kathmandu Environmental Education Project have a centre in Kathmandu (behind Kilroy's), which provides environmental information about Nepal. They provide books for trekkers to record their experiences in for others to read before they set off. You can ask to see a BBC film entitled "Bearing the Burden" about Nepalese porters. They also provide a water bottle refill service that is also cheaper than buying new bottles (Rs 10). You can also buy there some biodegradable soap and iodine for your trek.

Buy

  • Silver. Note that jewellers from Bangkok come to Kathmandu to buy wholesale silver with Indian-processed semiprecious gemstones. The wholesale price of silver is published on the front page of the "Himalayan" newspaper (1 tola= 11.6 gm), so buyers can get an idea of the metal cost of the piece, apart from the labor cost. Silver is almost invariably near the stamped "92.5%" sterling, as claimed.
  • Clothing. Kathmandu is a great place to shop for clothes. Flowing hippie gauzes, Monk's robes in saffrons and maroons, funky neon trance-wear, hemp clothing, dozens of elegant silks and 'suiting and shirting' are available in all qualities and prices. Tailors can be hired at reasonable fees and quality is high. Handwoven Nepali fabrics are $1-3/m and available in endless patterns and colours. Anything, from bags to mountaineering equipment to cocktail dresses can be made to order and tailored to perfection. The alleys around Indra Chowk, between Thamel and Durbar Square, have dozens of fabric shops and tailors, much more dedicated to customer satisfaction than the hurried and expensive shops in Thamel. Bishal Bazaar, near the corner of New Road and Durbar Square, is a mall-like experience which also boasts several fabric shops and tailors. It is acceptable to buy fabric from one place and get it stitched in another! Expect to pay around 250 NPR to stitch a Western-style mens/ladies shirt. Feel free to take an existing item of clothing with you for the tailor to copy. Warning: If having clothes made to wear later at home, get measured BEFORE trekking, if you want them to fit when you return to your normal size!
  • Carpets and Rugs. Thamel has a number of carpet shops that have good quality silk and wool carpets. Royal Collection (Shop 13, L.P. Jyoti Line) has a nice selection and good prices (after some aggressive price negotiations). Some places will charge a service fee on a purchase with a credit card, so make sure you get that clear during the pricing process.
  • Cultural artifacts. Be advised that there are a lot of counterfeits, sly salesmen, and plastics presented as wood. Most real antiques are illegal to export. Genuine antiquities may have been looted from temples. Patan, sister city of Kathmandu, is known for the quality of her bronzes. Read "Shopping for Buddhas" available in book stores, if you are.
  • Pashmina (the South Asian word for cashmere). Scarves and shawls can be purchased for a fraction of the price of those in Europe or North America. Look for those produced by the Tibetan refugee camp just outside of Patan or other charitable organizations.
  • Electronics. A lot of people find Kathmandu a good place to buy a camera or other electronic device due to the lack of sales tax and import duty on electronics. There are shops in Thamel, and around New Road.

Books

Kathmandu is a great place to stock up or trade in reading material. Used bookstores cover everything from backpacker favorites, to classics, to local history and culture.

  • Vajra Books[19], Jyatha, Thamel (very near to Chikusa Café). Huge selection of books on Buddhism, Nepal and Tibet studies.
  • Pilgrims in Thamel (next to the Kathmandu Guest house) was the largest and most well-established English language bookshop in Kathmandu, until it burned in May 2013.
  • Tibet Book Store, Thamel (on the road leading in from the palace). Good selection of books on vajrayana and Tibet studies.
  • Second Hand. The alleys of Thamel are full of second hand book shops. Check around for a good price, as they do vary immensely. Return read books for 50% buyback or store credit.
  • Ekta Books. Huge collection of almost all types of books is found in Ekta Books, which is in Thapathali near Norvic Hospital.
  • Mandala Book Point, Kantipath, Tel: 4227711 [20]. Probably the best for all types of reference, academic texts, tourist books and maps. Mandala also publishes books on sociology, anthropology, culture, politics and history of Nepal. It also a centre for most scholars visiting Nepal, and patrons are encouraged to take part in the lively and informative discussions that frequently occur within the shop every evening. The most reliable shop for The Economist and International Herald Tribune. Located on the east side of Kantipath just south of the Mountain Hotel and Nabil Bank building.
  • Quixote's Cove: the bookshop, Jawalakhel, Tel: 553-6974 [21]. Located next to New Orleans Cafe in Jawalakhel, this bookshop is housed in an old 1930s building and combines a great collection of fiction with a marvelously cosy environment.

Eat

One of Thamel's Many Rooftop Cafes

The most popular food in Kathmandu has to be Momo, a dumpling which has its roots in the Tibetan mountains. Try them fried or steamed stuffed with buffalo, chicken, or veggies with a Tuborg or San Miguel beer. In a local place expect to pay 50 NPR for ten buff momos, 90-120 NPR in a tourist place. However, the prices vary according to what it is stuffed with. For example, Chicken momos cost more than a regular buffalo momos. Also a good place to sample Newari and Tibetan dishes.

A Nepali set meal will usually include rice, dhal, vegetable/meat curry, a vegetable dish, chutney and curd. Expect to pay around 140-280 NPR at a tourist place, much less at local places. Chiya (similar to the Indian chai), a milky spiced tea, is ubiquitous and good for a break to calm one's nerves.

  • Ratomato Organics BBQ Bistro, Jhamsikhel, Patan, Nepal, [22]. Ratomato Organics BBQ Bistro is a continental restaurant which caters an array of nutritious and flavorful delicacies. Most of the produce is sourced locally from an organic farm in Kirtipur and other local farmers. NRs 100 to 500.
  • The Lazy Gringo, Jawalakel Chowk (near the zoo, across from the German bakery), 2210527. 11:00AM-9:00PM. Come enjoy the only Arizona style Mexican food in KTM. Serves burritos, chimichangas, nachos, and more. Stay for fried ice cream, thick shakes, and sopapillas for dessert. A party of 10 or more gets free chips and salsa. Thursday nights kids eat free with the purchase of one adult size entree. Closed on Mondays. [Sources say this is a 200 NRS taxi ride from the Thamel tourist area, be advised.] 200-300 NPR.

Thamel

Main page Thamel

There are dozens of tourist restaurants and bars clustered in the Thamel district, serving everything from Middle Eastern to Mexican food. Indian and Nepali dishes are always the best tasting -- and best priced. Don't hesitate to state your preference for spiciness. Travellers who venture into smaller places are often rewarded with better prices and friendlier staff. Inspect your bill and count your change at the places frequented by short trip tourists. Thamel is also home to mass of tourists souvenir, clothing, and trekking equipment shops. It also host a good number of tour agents, trekking company, mounting biking tour companies and a host of other adventure activity agents. Prices in Kathmandu are often given without an additional 13% government tax and 10% service charge. Sometimes one og them is included, sometimes both.

Happy Bubble Cafe - Taiwanese cuisine. Tel: +977-981-867-5088. First and only Taiwanese restaurant in Nepal. Menu include the famous Taiwanese bubble (tapioca) tea, lemon tea with Aiyu jelly and Basil seed, pork stew with rice or noodles, mince pork with noodles/rice, bubble cake and Taiwanese burger with pork or omelet. Off JP road (if you are at Thamel supermarket, it's on the opposite direction from Kathmandu GH, about 3-5min walk south), in a little ally across from Third Eye restaurant, next to Kizuna and Phat Khat restaurant; open space dining. Open 10am-9pm Sun to Fri.


  • Shree Lal Pure Veg Restaurant*. Tel 00977-1-4250417. On Thamel Road, look out for the red scrolling neon letter sign. Best Indian food in Kathmandu and really cheap (Indian meals with chapatis 150-200 Rps), plus very friendly owners. In a cellar rather than a rooftop, but the food more than makes up for it.
  • Helena's Rooftop Restaurant. Tel: 4266979. Excellent food, great service, and modest prices. Apparently it's the tallest rooftop restaurant in Kathmandu, and the views from there of the city (especially at night) are fantastic. Serves Western and regional cuisine - chicken tikka masala will set you back around 350 NPR. From Chhetrapati, pass the Everest Steak House on your right, and turn the next left. Helena's is about 2 minutes walk up this road on your right. Claims to have the best breakfasts in Kathmandu.
  • Thamel House Restaurant, (In front of Hotel Thamel), 4410388, [23]. From the outside looks like a regular restaurant, but in the inside it has a beautiful garden, very cozy and calm. Good service.
  • Aqua Java Zing. The newest restaurant to hit the Thamel dining scene. Part of an international chain of restaurants and cafes, they serve amazing international gourmet cuisine with a full range of Risottos, Pastas, Thai curry to five-spice exotic vegetables. They also probably do the best stone oven baked pizzas in town. The dessert range and quality is unparalleled, and so is the coffee that they are famous for. They also serve Hookahs/Shishas with over 100 flavours. For a truly gourmet experience and superb prices they are your best bet 200-350NPR. They are located just next to Helena's and opposite Galleria Cafe.
  • Ace Cafe And Bar. Good mix of Indian, Nepali, and Western. Prices generally Rs. 50-120. Located on Paknajol Street (the first non-touristy street West of Thamel) about 100 meters north of Chetrapatri. A haunt for budget travelers in the know because of its quality food at local prices.
  • Krua Thai, (Located at the outskirts of Thamel, take first the left curve after Pilgrims, then right.). Probably the best Thai food in Kathmandu
  • Cafe Kaldi has a small menu with drinks, salads & snacks as well as free WiFi for customers (please refrain from downloading anything, as the connection is limited.) Located behind OR2K - across the street from Pumpernickel Bakery & K-Too Steakhouse.
  • Cozy Restaurant. The best buffalo steak and chocolate banana pancakes in the city -- awesome post-trek feast. New place, relatively unknown, but great food. Chef trained in the US, and is one of the friendliest people in town. As you walk down Tridevi Marg from Thamel Chowk, it's on the right, on the second story by an internet cafe. Meals 200-300 Rs.
  • La Dolce Vita. Probably the first and best Italian restaurant you can find in Kathmandu serves great pastas, desserts and speciality coffees, all at very reasonable prices.
  • Tashi Delek. Tibetan restaurant with extensive menu and good Mexican/ Italian dishes. Open late. Across the street from the postcard shop, near HotBreads corner. 100-300 NPR.
  • Northfield Cafe. Basic pub grub and Nepali attempt at Mexican, often with live traditional music. Popular with English teachers and expats. A few doors up from Kathmandu Guest House. 100-300 NPR.
  • New Orleans. A good variety of well-made food, including pasta, Nepali and salads. Pleasant Newari courtyard setting almost opposite Kathmandu Guest House. 200-400 NPR.
  • Third Eye. Indian food in a nice building and outdoor garden. 250-500 NPR.
  • Green Ice. Amazingly good Indian cuisine, Thamel Chowk upstairs with the green windows overlooking "Kukuri Crossroads".
  • Just Juice and Shakes. Popular with Israelis and long-timers. Decent coffees and, yes, juices and shakes. Two eggs on toast: 20rs. [80 RS in 2012]. 10m down the alley across the street from the music shop, near Pilgrim's bookstore curve.
  • Everest Steak House. Traditional pre-or post-trekking feast: Massive steaks cooked just right; about 800 NPR for a full portion will stuff you (400 NPR for half portion, about 150 grams). The steaks comes as a round piece, the "mushroom sauce" is simply box mushrooms put on top. Just off Chhetrapati, the pagoda-cum-roundabout.
  • Fire & Ice. A popular western haunt, and for good reason. Serves traditional Italian-style stone-baked pizzas, which are delicious. Certainly pricier than most, however - a cheese & tomato pizza will cost around 475 NPR (2014). Chocolate ice cream with added chocolate on top is definitely to be recommended, and will cost about 145 NPR [Deserts average 300 NRP in 2012]. Supposedly the best pizza in Nepal, but you pay a lot for it. Everyone knows where it is: on the left side of the main road into Thamel from the Palace Museum, next to a temple under Himalayan Bank.
  • Himalayan Java. Wonderful pizza and some of the best (if not the only) paninis available in Nepal. See below for detailed coverage. Located across the street from Fire & Ice on the second story of the building nearest the palace wall.
  • Fu Ru Sato. Just past The Roadhouse, beside the second Pilgrim's bookshop, this quiet Japanese restaurant with Japanese trained chefs offers great food. From sushi to udon to teriaki chicken, this awesome little restaurant offers amazing food at super low prices. Expect to pay 200rs for a set meal, or 400 for fresh Sushi. Fish is brought in frozen.
  • Funky Buddha. Excellent food, nice garden, reasonable prices. Chicken Biriani 350, Nasi Goreng 395, spaghetti carbonara 295 (April 2014). Follow the JP School street 200m after "Hot Breads", then turn right; on your left after 50 m.
  • Or2K. Great middle eastern food. Try the falafel and the homemade mint juice. Opposite the Pumpernickel Bakery. Verying degrees of service.
  • Rum Doodle. Excellent food at modest prices, including live music on most nights. Carry on straight past Helena's, around the "chicane" (where the road bends then straightens out again) and turn the next right (it should be signposted, though the sign's fairly small). Everest summiters can eat here for free!
  • Hot Breads. Past Helena's, opposite the right-turn junction towards Fire & Ice, Hot Breads sells fresh pastries (pain au chocolats, cinnamon bakes) from about 65 NPR each (although almost all bakeries sell pastries at 50% off in the late evening), which you can eat on the roof along with a selection of drinks. The place to go for breakfast at least once.
  • KC. Across street from "Helena's Restaurant", and 1/2 block toward King's Palace from KTM Guest House. Safe salads, vegetarian & Brown Rice dishes, sizzling steaks, and 'Pumpkin Pie' - not a dessert, but an entre', made with pumpkins & almonds. Outdoor balcony overlooking the street, and indoor dining on 2 or 3 levels.
  • BK's. French Fry heaven in Thamel. Opposite Funky Buddha Bar.
  • Roadhouse Cafe. Excellent Wood fired pizza, similar to (better than?) Fire and Ice. Fantastic decor. Good coffee and hot chocolate. Draught Everest beer, when available. A very relaxing, upscale place for when you need to escape from Kathmandu for an evening. WiFi available. One branch is a bit up from Hot Breads in Thamel, another near Bhat Bhateni supermarket, and one in Patan.
  • Sandwich Point is a small sandwich bar with a wide range of fillings including beacons, ham, chicken and sausage. To get to Sandwich Point, turn left on the second intersection of Thamel arriving from Himalayan Java. It is on the left just a few metres down the road.
  • Café Mitra. Serves excellent European meals. It is expensive for Kathmandu, but the standard of the food more than makes up for this. 250/13 Thamel Marg.
  • Galaria is a very smart upmarket coffee shop, above a bookshop. Serves fantastic 'Illy' (not local?) coffee, and some great desserts - brownies to die for. Less exciting but good sandwiches.
  • Ciao Ciao. This newer place is in Bhagawan Bahal Road, just behind the Hotel Malla. The Italian owner Francesco offers wood-fired pizzas and some very good italian delicacies.
  • Electric Pagoda is a very eclectic bar on Satghumti Road. Specializes in Mexican cuisine, and also offers local and continental dishes between 100-300 NPR. Easygoing atmosphere with well rounded music and very friendly staff. Tuborg/Everest beer 240 NPR.
  • Alchemy. A newly-opened italian restaurant (2008). On the upper tier, price-wise, in Thamel. Excellent italian dishes and nothing else. Large pizzas or pastas from 400 NPR (April 2014). You get wine in 1/4 or 1/2 litre, so suitable for dining alone or in two. The restaurant is guided by Kapil, which has long experience. It's about 100 m before Chetrapati Chowk.
  • Royal Penguin Restaurant Tel. 00977-1-4215013 [24]. Completely smoke-free, three-room restaurant, with unique teak root furniture from Indonesia, large species of petrified wood from Madagascar, installations from South Korea and Singapore, paintings of Nepali artists, and aquariums. А rich selection of enchanting lighting, headed by magnificent many-coloured lustres. One of the few ACs in town with heat mode, plus free wifi. Menu consists of continental, Nepali, Thai and Italian cuisine. About 50 m from Chettrapati Chowk.
  • Himalayan Glory Travels & Tours [25] Tel . 00977-1-4700302/401091 A independent travel and tour company originally started by a group of experienced trekking guides and porters. They have a comprehensive offering of trekking options, mountain biking, rafting, sightseeing, jungle safaris and long list of other adventure activities such as paragliding, cannoying, bungy jumping and so forth. This small independent company has the reputation for providing the bests guides at reasonable rates. They also offer culture traveling tour in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan plus bus and plane ticketing services. http://www.travelhimalayan.com/
  • Himalayan Planet Adventures. A well-known trekking agency based in central Thamel consults and provides services in tours, treks and expeditions in Himalayas of Nepal. This is next door to New Orlanse Cafe and opposite of Shisha Terrace. Phone: 4701040; webpage: http://www.himalayanplanet.com/.
  • Himalayan Advisor. This newly-established travel and adventure-based company in Thamel provides reliable and excellent services in the Himalayas of Nepal and Tibet. The company team experienced, having worked more than a decade in adventure tourism in Himalayas. Ph: 00977 1 4700591; webpage: http://www.himalayanadvisor.com/.

Outside Thamel

Kathmandu butchers

Yes, there is a whole world waiting outside Thamel!

  • Freak Street has a few good eats, too, such as the Ganesh restaurant halfway along the street next to a small shrine. Try the cakes at the tiny, bright blue "Snowman" cakeshop. Sit and check out the walls while you eat. Sensational.
  • Angan (on the corner behind the King's statue roundabout). A great place to have sanitary ice cream (35 NPR), Indian traditional sweets, or try out a delicious freshly prepared Masala Dhosa (curry in a crisp savory crêpe, 65-75 NPR) or other North and South Indian food alongside Kathmandu's bourgeoisie. Sweets in the front, fast food restaurant in the back. The bhel poori is spicy! This is the heart of the Nepalis' upmarket shopping district, where New Road and Dharma Path meet. Walk west from here on the pedestrian street to Freak St., the outdoor craft market, the old 'Red Palace', and the many temples of Durbar Square.
  • Wunjala Moskva Tucked away in Naxal district, delicious Newari food in a beautiful setting; performances on the courtyard of the restaurant, and unlimited shots of local booze.
  • Bakery Cafe There are several outlets of this chain restaurant all around Kathmandu and Patan. A great place to have momos, beer and sizzlers (steak with butter sauce and noodles). It is essentially considered "the McDonald's of Nepal" due to its popularity. Although it isn't fast food, you can find great food here that is prepared within 15 minutes (momos are best).
  • Mike's Breakfast is a brisk 15 minute walk from Thamel Taxi Stand, but confusing with one-way streets. Take a rickshaw or taxi the first time, & mark it on one of the free hotel KTM maps. The best pancakes in Nepal, and now other meals, too. Mostly outdoor tables under bamboo shelters, and available indoor screened dining.
  • Chez Caroline. The place to be seen in Kathmandu, set in Babar Mahal Revisited, just off the main Thapathali junction, near the old parliament building. Excellent French food and salads. 700-900 for a main. Ask a taxi driver to find it.
  • Bawarchi. Superb Indian and Chinese food, specializing in kathi rolls (fried flat bread wrap with spicy meat, paneer or veg filling). Great for lunchtime snacks or evening meals. Their three locations can be found opposite the Ambassador Hotel on Lazimpat; on the Maharajgunj, near the UNHCR and American Embassy; and in the Barryo Fiesta foodcourt next to Mike's Breakfast. One of the few expatriate-friendly restaurants with delivery.
  • New Natraj Tandoori. Cheap, plentiful and delicious Indian food. Not to be confused with the Natraj tandoori a few doors down. Opposite the Shangri-La Hotel on Lazimpat.
  • Roadhouse Cafe maintains locations outside of Thamel in Bhat Bhatteni (one block north of the Bhat Bateni supermarket) and Pulchowk.
  • Pizza Express. While not quite on par with Roadhouse Cafe or Fire and Ice, Pizza Express makes a tasty product from their locations in Lazimpat (216-1212) and in Basantbur Plaza (423-2777). They are unique in that they are the only mainstream pizza shop with delivery in Kathmandu. The fast-food style decor and focus on delivery and take-out are reflected both in their prices and quick service.
  • Rameshwaram & Nandan Indian Restaurant in New Road, walkable from Thamel and in between Durbar and Thamel s Tahiti Pole. Dosas, Punjabi and what not... Spicy & Tasty food.

If you're looking for a quick cheap snack of tasty curry or momo near the airport, check out the small roadside stand across the ring road right at the airport. With your back towards the airport, it's just 200m left of the Airport Hotel, at the junction of a small dirt road. Say hello to Raj, a deaf boy who seems to always be around, tell him Alex from Canada says hi.

Drink

  • The Lazy Gringo, Jawalakel Chowk (near the zoo, across from the German bakery), 2210527. 11:00am to 9:00pm. The only Arizona style Mexican food in KTM. Come enjoy burritos and chips and salsa and then stay for some fried ice cream for dessert. 300 average plate price.

Coffee

the taste of Nepali coffee

Nepal is also a coffee producing country, though the people are famously tea drinkers. Most often coffee comes as a dishwater-coloured cup of instant; however, good coffee IS available. The first thing to remember is that people who don't drink coffee don't understand coffee. When ordering, try ordering "Strong coffee", as opposed to just "Coffee", to minimize those dishwater blues. Also note that cafes here don't follow the equal espresso, milk and froth rule. Expect your cappuccino to be anywhere from very little froth in large cup to something laced with whipped cream. And there is little difference between latte and cappuccino. Places to look for ground coffee, either drip or espresso, are:

  • Alchemy, Chetrapati, Thamel. Very good cappucino's and espresso's from Nepali coffee. They serve also other italian specialities such as Pizza, pasta and superb "gelato" (Italian ice cream).
  • Aqua Java Zing, thamel (opposite Nepal Investment Bank). 10-10. - resto-lounge- global gourmet cuisine- specialty coffees- refreshing cocktail-free wi fi -scrumptious desserts
  • Chikusa Café, Jyatha road, Thamel [26]. Nepali coffee, Sandwiches and crêpes. Strawberry lassi is a specialty. Now they have wi-fi too; just ask for the password.
  • Just Juice and Shakes. Coffee drinks, espresso, Cappuccino, and juice and shakes, sweet rolls, etc., too. See 'Eat' above for location.
  • Himalayan Java. Everything you ever wanted in a coffee shop, great coffees, meals, desserts, newspapers, sofas, Large screen TV, even a guitar on the wall that says, "Play me!" Meet the teenage elite of Kathmandu here. Upstairs, the last building on the left as you leave Thamel heading for the former Royal Palace, near a sign for an Apple computer shop. One floor above it is a bar and pizza shop from which you can also order Himalayan Java's coffee. Several other Himalayan Java outlets include Civil Mall, Bluebird Mall complex, Moksh restaurant, and Star Mall.
  • Roadhouse Cafe at Thamel, Bhat Bhatteni or Pulchowk, has ILLY COFFEE-Italy's favorite coffee (single or double), Cappuccino, Cafe Mocha, etc. Accompany your coffee with the selection of desserts (p.s. Tiramisu is the best you can find in Thamel). See 'Eat' above for location.
  • La Dolce Vita at Thamel has ILLY COFFEE- Italy's favorite coffee(don;t forget to order their mouth watering desserts when you are having your cup of coffee).
  • Mike's Breakfast Get unlimited refills of fresh ground drip coffee for Rs.75.
  • Bakery Cafe Also serves good coffee at some outlets. The one in Sundhara (near Dharahara) has the best. The chain also has one of the best espresso equipment around, hence the good quality.
  • Chobhar Cafe-Restaurantwith panoramic views of the Himalayas, in Kathmandu suburbs, on the road to Daskshinkali (8km). Peace, no air or noise pollution. In natural setting, surrounded by flower & sculpture garden. 20 min away
  • Higher Ground Cafe, Jawalakhel, Patan. Excellent lattes and fresh cinnamon rolls.
  • Galleria Cafeat thamel.Relaxing lounge serving illy coffee and wine.
  • Magic Beans at Kingsway. There's an open lounge called Sherpa Mall and when you enter it, Magic Beans is on the first floor to the right side. A lot of varieties, and quick service. Accompanied by soft music, mostly pop and soft-rock.
  • The Coffee Point at Thapathali Road. Propped up at Kanchenjunga Housing premise in Trade Tower Nepal (TTN) opposite the Rashtra Banijya Bank, before Nepal Rastra bank and beside Khadya Sangsthan (Nepal Food Corporation). Delicious cups of White Mochas, Cappuccinos, Lattes and Espressos and scrumptious Blended Java Chips Caramel and Blended Mochas.

Bars

Beer and mixed drinks are available at almost every bar and restaurant. For a quick drink and cheap cultural experience try the local 'Nepali wine' (raksi) or 'Nepali Beer' (chang) neither of which taste anything like their namesakes. Ask for these at local places. San Miguel, Everest Beer, Nepal Ice, Carlsberg, and Tuborg beer are the principal conventional beers served in Kathmandu. Everest, being locally produced rather than shipped in from Turkey (the source of the Danish name-brands), tends to be more reliable than the available imports. Gorkha Beer, a local brand is lately popular and even exported to Belgium, Japan and Hong Kong!

  • House of Music is largely frequented by locals and expats for its focus on original live Nepali music - from rock to reggae, himalayan blues to jazz (rarely covers). Artists featured are up-and-coming and popular Nepali bands. Food (bar snacks/asian fusion) and drinks served.
  • Everest Irish Pub a newly opened Irish Pub where you can have Irish drinks (viz. Guinness Beer), foods and music along with friendly and excellent ambience.
  • Irish Pub Lazimpat, (next to Shanker Hotel). Irish dishes, a great variety of beer (also Guinness) and whisky (international and local), Irish Coffee (also Creamy Irish Coffee) cocktails, mocktails, energy cocktails, summer cocktails, shooters (try "Irish Flag"). During the cold season, you can also find "hot winter drinks". Friday nights live music, dart. Well trained, friendly staff.
  • Tom and Jerry's Pub A busy, fun bar with pool tables, a wide selection of cocktails and beers as well as friendly staff. Very much a tourist hang out. However avoided by local expats after several incidents with aggressive rats.
  • Sam's A cozy nook upstairs with years of wisdom or random song lyrics scrawled on the walls. The usual drinks and usual ex-pat crowd.
  • Fire Club Late-night dance club. Busy and one of the only places to go after midnight.
  • Maya Cocktail Bar. 2-for-1 specials on mixed drinks at happy hour, 4-8PM in this friendly spot. Next to Star Hotel.
  • Pub Maya. Laid back sports bar version of Cocktail Bar. Free popcorn and 2-for-1 happy hour drinks.
  • Jump Club. Locals and ex-pats as well as tourist crowd; one of the few dance clubs in Kathmandu.
  • J Bar. The place to be seen for young and hip Nepalis. Entrance varies but is often 500-1000 on Friday nights with 2 free drinks. Live DJs, sometimes from India or abroad. Behind Himalayan Java.
  • Tongues and Tales. Chilled, smoke-friendly cocktail bar with comfortable seating and good music. Upstairs, (look for the sign at the doorway) halfway downhill on the road between Hot Breads corner and Steak House street. A good place to hear about parties.
  • New Orleans Cafe. Opposite Kathmandu guest house, live music on many nights. Described by its manager as "the most happening place in Kathmandu". Make of that what you will!
  • Full Moon Club. Above Just Juice and Shakes. Full Moon is one of the more happening spots in Thamel right now. The crowd is a convivial mix of young Nepalis and expats. Occasional live music
  • Celtic Manang Irish bar, run by Mary from Cork. Over some shops, not far from Kathmandu Guest House. Mighty crack on St Patrick's Day!
  • Jessy Penny, Freak Street, 9841 925727 (). A nice bar in Freak Street on several floors. Each floors has a its own atmosphere. It is also possible to have shishas at the first floor.

Sleep

Virtually all tourist accommodations are located in Thamel, near the Kathmandu Guesthouse. Upscale hotels tend to be a few blocks away on Durbar Marg near the former Royal Palace. A few guest houses still remain on Freak Street below Durbar Square, they tend to be somewhat cheaper, and a bit less well cared for than Thamel, but the neighbourhood is quieter and there are fewer touts though there tend to be more pickpockets.

Remember any tout on the street who takes you to a place, their commission will be included in the price. Best to find a place on your own and cheaper.

Prices can range from 5 - 350 USD for a double room.



Budget

  • King's Land, Thamel-29, Bhagawatishan, 0097714421060. Family run hotel. The owner and his wife are very friendly and helpful. The rooms are old but clean. Wifi, hot water, roof top available. 6-15$.
  • Sacred Valley Inn - Kathmandu (sacredvalleyi9nn@hotmail.com), Brahma Kumari Marg, Thamel, Kathmandu, 977-1-4251063, [27]. checkin: 1 pm; checkout: 12 noon. Lovely rooms in this clean, comfortable hotel in Thamel. Great location - close to all the action but on a quieter lane. Good rooftop area to sit and relax and eat. Simple but delicious food served in the restaurant. Helpful knowledgeable staff. US$25 - 50. edit US$25 - US$50.
  • Hotel Silver Home, http://hotelsilverhome.com/, Tel: +977-1-4262986, +977-1-4249735,Mobile:9851071593 Contact :Yogesh lama. A great location in the heart of Thamel. Friendly and helpful staff with excellent hospitality. Pretty rooms with private bathrooms 24/7 full time running hot cold shower system. (Hot water actually is 24 hr.) Room rate start from $3 to $21 dollars. (Dorms are 300, cheapest/ private Budget single Room 600 and 900 as double, and they have two beds. Best and brightest rooms are 1500.) Restaurant, travel desk, 24-hour reception. Free Wi-Fi in room and lobby. Free airport Pick up. Good crowd where the good people meet in good place. Pleasant "herbal remedy" grows just outside and can be employed to "relaxing" effect...
  • Alobar1000. Two beautifully designed homes with a bar, cozy lounge area, weight room, movie hall, dining hall and communal kitchen. They also have 24 hr hot shower. The staff treats you like family here and the owners, brothers Shiva and Tashi, are generous hosts (Shiva also happens to be a fantastic cook). There's also a guard at the door, free and strong Wi-Fi and people congregate on the roftop lounge nightly. It's a great place to meet other travellers. Dorm beds go for 300 NRPs (3USD), private rooms start at 1200. Tel: +977-1-4410114, 9801029935, Email: alobar1000@gmail.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/alobar1000. Address: 214 Kesar Mahal Marg, Thamel-29, Kathmandu, Nepal. Just follow the sidestreet beside Himalayan Java Coffee shop and you'll see the yellow and green building on your right. Right across the street from Fire and Ice Pizza.
  • Mahadev Guest House (http://nmahadevgh.weebly.com/), Kathmandu -11, Pokhara line, Sundhara Behind CIVIL MALL (Main Road, Sundhara), +9779851159911, [28]. checkin: 04:00 AM; checkout: 12:00 PM. Mahadev Guest House is down a quiet back alley off the main center of Sundhara, Kathmandu (Behind CIVIL MALL). An enviable location near the major shopping and business area (hotels, trekking shops, restaurants, pubs). It is budget friendly with clean accommodations. Great for backpacker travelers. See the sunrise and sunset over an amazing mountain and Kathmandu valley view from out roof-top terrace. 500-1600 Nepali Rupee(NPR). (27.69919,85.31222)
  • Hotel Backpackers. http://budgethotelinnepal.com, Tel: +977 1 4248069, Cell No: +977 98510 79858 - Raju Pandey) Hotel Backpackers is your best budget home in Kathmandu, Nepal for safe and sweet stay. Hotels have nice garden and free wi-fi and very friendly staff around. Hot water is running 24 hrs. Room rate start from NPR 500 - 1000.00. Hotels all room are attached bathroom. email info[at]budgethotelinnepal.com
  • Chillout Resort, http://chilloutresort.com/, Tel: +977 014215070 ,Email: info@chilloutresort.com. A good location right at the corner of Thamel and Jyatha. 4 minutes' walk from Tourist Bus Stand. It has a nice rooftop garden restaurant with good food and cool staff that can help you out with pretty much anything. Newly renovated rooms with clean private bathrooms that have hot/cold showers. Room rates start from $10. Theres also free Wi-Fi in rooms, restaurant and lobby. Airport pick-up and drop-off.
  • Kohinoor Inn Hotel, Jyatha. Very nice and one of the oldest hotels in the area, recently renovated and perfectly clean. Located near to the old city and the main transportation lines. Very efficient staff, especially for Nepal. The hotel includes a very reasonably priced restaurant with excellent Burgers and Momo's. A private clinic is located nearby. Free Wi-fi. Ph: +977-1-4249930 Address: Jyatha marg, Kantipath, Kathmandu, Nepal. First street on the right after Honda showroom on Kantipath avenue. Then walk 100m inside the street. The hotel is on the right side. Prices range from approx. 500-700 Nrs. Discounts for longer stay.
  • Sparkling Turtle Backpackers Hostel Outside of Thamel, near the Swayambunath Temple, this place is quiet, full of backpackers, and serves incredible food. Only Rs 300/ night including breakfast. In the process of installing a pizza oven. Free wifi, cool roof terrace, bar, Canadian managed. Impossible to find as they don't really advertise. Get a cab or walk to Buddha Park near Swayambunath and call their number (00977-1-428 4647) from there, they'll come pick you up.
  • Sun Rise Cottage Nice family run guesthouse in a quiet street just south of central Thamel, lovely big rooms, simple furnishings, clean and with hot water 24hrs. Great garden area to relax and really friendly family. Chhetrapati, next to Tibet Guesthouse. Ph: 4256850 email: src@mos.com.np. Prices range from approx. 500-800Nrs
  • Hotel Easy. Rooms are mid range at budget prices (200-700NPR)or($3 to $10 dollars.) depending on type, TV, most have inside bathroom 24 hot water/shower. Managing director Bhuwan gives a warm welcome(Mobile Number :0977-9851020475). Easy to find 2 mins past Kathmandu guest house (if on left side), just ask a local or taxi. Free airport pickup. webpage [29]Email: hoteleasy@yahoo.com,977 -1- 4701462.
  • Shangrila Guest House Jyatha, Thamel Tel: 977-1-4250188 Mobile: 9841211528 Email: amit_tangal@hotmail.com. Fun and friendly guest house on the edge of Thamel but with dubious business practices and not particularly clean and pressing for business and water was orange colour no hotwater.
  • Lhasa Guest house Tel: +977 1 4228019 and +977 1 4226147. Email: lhasaguesthouse@hotmail.com. Its on Jyatha, its on the quiet side of Thamel. A very friendly and helpful staff, lived in Kathmandu all their lives, rooms are large, clean, and have hot water when power is on. Rooms range from the 300NPR. Double for Rs 800. Has free bag storage while you go on a trek, so long as you spend a night or two here. The best thing is this place has free wifi that doesn't shut off - even when the power goes down!
  • Hotel Downtown, 9771 4700471/4700150. Friendly and very helpful staff, safe and clean and centrally located in the Satghumti area of Thamel (just around the corner from the Kathmandu Guest House), doubles and singles (they even have family rooms!) with and without attached showers - USP is that they never run out of hot water! nice rooftop with ample sunshine, moderately priced from 2 USD for a single and 5 USD for a double with en suite shower. It's a favorite of many regulars; one should book ahead. Unfortunately as most hotels in Thamel now are - its surrounded by dance bars!
  • The Star. Made famous among visitors and expats in the book "Escape from Kathmandu" but otherwise your basic budget accommodation. Double and single rooms with or without private bathrooms. Friendly staff. Mail drop for repeat/long-term clients. Gate locks around midnight. 2 - 5 USD.
  • Hotel Great Wall, aka Hotel Victoria, is a friendly, comfortable hotel in Thamel, with rooms for USD4-8 a night. A very friendly owner and staff who are very helpful and even run a travel agency inside the hotel for all your trekking needs. Comfortable good sized rooms with excellent views over Thamel and the Kathmandu valley from the roof.
  • Cozy Corner. Just next door to the Star. A very basic double room with shared bathroom and cold shower. Safety deposit boxes at the front desk. No lock out time. 1 - 5 USD.
  • Thorong Peak, Thamel. (+997 1 4253458). Rooms for 250 NPR (Double) and up. You get much more than in other just houses for that price.
  • Nirvana Peace Home, [30], Paknajol, near Thamel. Tel+977 1 438-3503 - highly recommended
  • Hotel Impala, [31], For discount lodging and economic accommodation in Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel+977 1 470-1549 - cool place in town!
  • Budget Hotel Nepal, [32]. Unique in Kathmandu suburbs. 20 minutes from the centre of the capital. No noise, fresh air and panoramic views of the Himalayas, city and atop Chobhar ancient village hill (1420m)
  • Hotel Blue Horizon. Nicely decorated rooms for about 400-500, let down a little by the bathrooms. Friendly staff, and good room service breakfasts. Good location down side street opposite Himalayan bank
  • Student Guest House, (close to Tamel chowk), +977 1 251448 (). Friendly staff who will always try and help you out, although you might have to tell Suraj about the non-working lamp a couple of times before he remembers. On the edge of Thamel, easy to find. Internet is availbale at the entrance as well as a laundry service. Rs 600 for a double room.
  • Kathmandu Peace Guesthouse, [33]. Not to be mistaken for the pricier and up-scale, but not so peaceful name brother, Kathmandu Guesthouse. This guesthouse is in a more peaceful area just outside Thamel. 8-21 USD.
  • Hotel Lucky star Tel- +977 1 4701 569 Hotel Lucky Star is one of the best budget & cheap tourist stay hotel in Thamel, Z- Street. It is situated at the Central Thamel at Kumari Gate, which is the main down town of Thamel.
  • Hotel Ashoka (hotelashoka@ntc.net.np), Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu (Walk from Ratna Park via Rani Pokhari Lake and Skywalk, Before Honda Showroom), +977-1-4249617. 3 beds, 4 beds in a room available and suitable for family with kids, bigger groups & large families on budget. They have package to Nagarkot which is 38 kms frpm KTM. A diner, bar, laundry, barber, provision store are nearby and it is walking easily accessible to Ratna Park for onward journey and trips.
  • Hotel Travelers Home, JP Road, Thamel, Kathmandu, 9851175776. checkin: 10AM; checkout: 12PM. Hotel Travelers Home, leading budget accommodation in Nepal - price range from USD 14-45 and depends on the season. it is close to the tourist places like some local restaurants, some souvenir shops. With travel information desk. for more sales@travelershome.com.np (USD 45.00,)
  • Sanu's House, Gwarko, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal (Across Ring Road from the B&B hospital, then 50 meters North-NE), 9841485045, [35]. Large 5 story house run by friendly/caring Nepali Buddhist family. 15 min walk to Patan Durbar Square. 50 meter walk to bus stop/taxis. 24hr WiFi. Great views from roof & upper floors. Organic veggie lunch or dinner (100 rupees). Budget singles: 375 nrp (5.25 US) per person, per night includes breakfast..

Mid-range

  • Ambassador Hotel, Lazimbat, 4-414432 (), [36]. Around 10 minutes walk from Thamel, so the environment is not as hectic, but the bars are still at a walking distance. It includes unlimited free use of internet in the two computers on the lobby 2.500 NPR Per person in double room.
  • Kathmandu Guesthouse, Thamel, +977 1 4700 004 / 4700 977, [37]. The original guesthouse now with rooms ranging from basic to almost-fancy. Restaurant and bar. The axis on the compass of Thamel, all other addresses are given in relation to this hotel. Rates from 2 - 55 USD. WiFi internet access (semi-reliable) from lobby, garden and some rooms for 75 NPR/hr. Otherwise, 4 computers with internet access until midnight, 60 R/hour. The guest house has a sister concern in Pokhara. Those who wish to visit Pokhara can book for the Pokhara view garden hotel at Kathmandu Guesthouse.
  • The Garuda. Private bathrooms, sheets, towels, etc. Some rooms with AC and balconies. Located near Kathmandu Guest House in Thamel. 10 - 25 USD
  • Avalon House, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal (Lekhnathmarg), 00977-1-4413284, [38]. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 12 noon. Avalon House is a newly opened hostel with modern facility established by a group of Elbrus Home. It has modern rooms with bath, television, wifi, internet access, nice terrace, restaurant. There is solar hot water and separate solar powered for lights during power outages. It is walking distance to all airlines, travel agent etc. Breakfast is included. $12USD Single, $20USD Double.
  • Hotel Encounter Nepal, +977 1 4440476, [39]. In the north Thamel (about 20 metres down from the Map of Thamel), 4 minutes' walk from the centre of Thamel. Clean, peaceful place with free Wifi, computers, garden restaurant & friendly staff. In the hotel there is also the office of Alpine Club of Himalaya, where you can book tours, etc. Rooms rates begin at 15USD.
  • Hotel Harati, 977 1 4257907 / 4257758, [40]. Located on the main street from/through Tamel into Durbar Square (which is about 5-10 minutes away on foot, or a 50 NPR rickshaw or taxi ride). Clean, hygienic and comfortable rooms, including en-suites with hot showers most of the time. The website quotes rooms from 50 USD, but this is almost certainly negotiable.
  • Hotel Utse, Jyatha - Thamel, 977 1 4257614 / 4228952, [41]. The hotel has a quaint and homely Tibetan theme and rooms are also clean, hygienic and comfortable. The hotel has a restaurant on the ground floor that serves Tibetan/Chinese/Continental cuisine (open 6AM to 10PM), in addition to a rooftop terrace. There are standard/deluxe/super deluxe rooms from 15 - 35 USD. Deluxe rooms include attached shower/bath with 24 hr hot water and cable T.V. Great value for the money.
  • Kathmandu Budget Hotel , 977 1- 4333555, [42]. Located 20 minutes from the centre of the city, in Chobhar, just past the University. In fully renovated 200-year old stonebuildings, with Western standard of comfort. Unique & no air, noise pollution.
  • Hotel Ganesh Himal, Tel: 977-1-4243819, 4263598 / Fax: 977-1-4263549 [43] Just south of Thamel, decent rooms and good service. Hot water, TV (why would you stay in and watch?), and hot food. Quieter location in Chhetrapati Chowk, great views and balconies. Standard 15 for single and 20 for double USD not including taxes. Somewhat overrated (in both tripadvisor and lp) and overpriced for the standard rooms where carpet is filthy and toilet flush is super weak. UPDATE: 2013 July - Bed bugs found in a top floor deluxe room! Please check before you stay there.
  • Tibet Guest House, Thamel, +977 1 4260556 / 4260383, [44]. Home away from Home. Serving since 1984. Total rooms 102 with 24 hours room service. Free WiFi internet access,coffee shop,beauty parlour and travel desk for travellers. Rate 16-96 USD
  • Kathmandu Resort Hotel. Located within the chic Mandala Street, this hotel is a clean and relatively quite (in Thamel!) rooms. Special rooms in top floor have small garden area. Free internet and friendly staff. Other facilities in room include AC, TV, hot water, clean and comfortable. Some rooms have balconies. Located opposite Kathmandu Guest House in Thamel. 30 - 55 USD. [45]
  • Thamel Eco-Resort, Chibahal, Thamel, +97714257505 (), [46]. . The hotel has a quiet, boutique, ecofriendly theme and rooms are also clean, hygienic and very comfortable. The hotel has a restaurant on the ground floor. Yoga classes and facilities, spa treatments, renowned trekking tours organised. A rooftop terrace. There are standard/deluxe/super deluxe rooms from US$50-95. Deluxe rooms include attached shower with 24 hr hot water and cable T.V. Free wifi. A great way to experience Kathmandu.
  • Traditional Homes - SWOTHA, Swotha Tol Ward 18 (50 metres away North of Patan Durbar Square, opposite to Narayan Temple), (00 977)985 11 41 950 or (00 977) 1 555 11 84, [47]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Beautifully renovated Newari house in the heart of Patan, just on the side of Patan Durbar square. Here you will enjoy minimalist luxury and live a unique experience in the heart of the medieval city centre surrounded with its palace complex, lavish temples, and bustling bazaar. Traditional Homes Swotha has seven comfortable and spacious rooms. All rooms have comfortable beds, free wi-fi, and en-suite bathrooms with hot showers. Most also have their own private balcony. Upstairs, the sunny terrace offers a panoramic view of Patan’s pagoda-strewn roofscape, and beyond it a glimpse of the Himalaya. from (70 US).
  • Himanshu homestay and Nepali cooking class (Nepali cooking class and Homestay Nepal), Nagarjun, Banasthali, Ekaltar, Kathmandu, Nepal (Just Below Raniban - Leave Ring Road at DhungeDhara, Erahiti then 1.8 KM North, near Radha Krishna Temple), 9841245975, [48]. checkin: 1200; checkout: 1100. Clean - Himanshu Home stay, it is a new home but built by ancient style brick and wood. The windows are over 60 years old and the bricks are traditional "Da Chi Pa " the terra cotta style brick which they used to built Temples in Kathmandu valley UNESCO world heritage sites. run by friendly Nepali family. 4 km from Thamel & 9 km from airport. Organic veggie lunch & dinner, nepali meal cooking class, Great views from roof and nepali rural life Singles: 2100 nrp (27 US) per person, per night -includes breakfast.
  • Hotel Pariwar B&B, Ganeshman Street, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal (Front of Road House Cafe), +977 1 4256409, [49]. checkin: Any Time; checkout: 12:00 Noon. Pariwar (The Family) Bed and Breakfast - one of the finest Boutique B&B in the town located at the centre of Thamel district's Ganesh Man Street. The Pariwar B&B is situated just 20 meters south from the famous Thamel Centre, also widely known as Kathmandu Guest House Centre. Around here you will find major shopping areas, nice restaurants & bars and actual Kathmandu nightlife. Pariwar features stylishly furnished boutique design rooms with free Wi-Fi and satellite LED wide screen TV as well as 24 hrs room service and hot water. Price from US $ 15.00 - US $ 75.

Splurge

  • Hotel Shanker (Hotel Shanker Pvt. Ltd), PO BOX 350, Lazimpat, Kathmandu (Just behind the Royal Palace Museum North Gate), 977 1 4410151 (, fax: 977 1 4412691), [50]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. - Formerly a Rana palace bought over in 1964. Luxurious 100 year old palace hotel. 4.4 acre property right in the centre of the heart of the city. This palace was constructed in 1894 A.D. by Kumar Narsingh Rana (Nepal’s first Civil Engineer, Maker of Singha Durbar). It was made for Jeet Shamsher Rana (then Southern Commanding General of the Army). After Jeet Shamsher’s death, this Palace came under Prime Minister Juddha Shamsher Rana. He passed it on to his son, Agni Shamsher Rana. Late Queen Aishwarya and her two sisters, the erstwhile Queen Komal and Princess Prekshya, all three were born in the durbar. Starts at USD 80. Company Policy 20% Off Flat on Online Booking.. (27.718998,85.320092)
  • Hotel d'Annapurna, PO Box 140, Durbar Marg, 977 1 422 1711 (, fax: 977 1 422 5236), [51]. - Four-star international hotel with all the amenities. Located on Durbar Marg. Very good conference facilities at reasonable rates. Wifi and business centre are very expensive for photocoping, etc.) Starting at $140/night.
  • Yak and Yeti. [52] A five star hotel located in a converted palace on Durbar Marg. This is a landmark since Nepal first opened to tourism at the end of WW ll. At that time the King was living in exile in Kolkata and was ask to return to govern the nation. He asked Boris Lesonavich, a Russian also in exile to come to Nepal and establish tourist accommodation in Kathmandu. He established the Palace Hotel in a large Rana's palace that was available. He named the nar "The Yak and Yeti". Early Everest expeditions put up there and used the grounds to organise their gear for the climb. The present downtown Hotel is also located at the site of an old palace that was at one time the foreign post office for Kathmandu. The beautiful present day hotel was built up around and incorporating the old buildings.
  • Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza is a five star hotel in Tahachal, western side of Kathmandu. It also has Al Fresco, the most authentic Italian restaurant in Kathmandu. Although the hotel is rated as a 5 star, it takes a generous person to give it that rating, however that is relative to the other hotels. Double confirm your rooms for preferences (smoking or non-smoking) and do not get a ground floor room.
  • Dwarika's, Battisputali (on the intersection Pashupatinath - Airport 200 m down the road to Battisputali), (), [53]. A fair four-star hotel with unique charm of old newari palace architecture, considered a heritage hotel and one of the most charming in Asia. Clients include those who come specifically for it from around the world. Truly one of a kind. Everyone knows this hotel in Kathmandu which has now also a swimming pool and the renowned restaurant "Krishnarpan" which serves elaborate multi course nepali dinner (only on reservation). Hotel and restaurant are popular with international high society and diplomats.
  • Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, PO Box 9609, Taragaon, Boudha (10 Km from the city centre of Kathmandu, on the road to Baudha Stupa), +977 1 449 1234 (), [54]. 5 star hotel with 290 rooms and suites. The hotel offers a health and beauty spa, swimming pool, wading pool for children and an outdoor whirlpool. The hotel is 4 km from Tribhuvan International Airport and within walking distance of Baudha Stupa.
  • Royal Penguin Boutique Hotel, Thamel, Chettrapati (2 minutes from Thamel Centre, 25 minutes from the airport), +977 1 4215013 (), [55]. Boutique Hotel with 24 hours electricity, hot water, fast internet, heaters in the room. 13 rooms (4 deluxe, 4 superdeluxe, 4 executive suites and 1 penthouse suite). Fitness-centre, sauna, massage room. Attractions: luxury teak root furniture from Indonesia, large species of petrified wood from Madagascar, installations (in every room) from South Korea and Singapore, many paintings of Nepali artists on the walls (every room), tibetan style roof top park with swings. 3 rooms restaurant 24 hours and a bar. Completely non-smoking. Rooms from 80$ a night

Stay safe

Canadian Consular Affairs [56], the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office [57], and the US State department [58] provide travel advice. Currently Nepal is safe to visit but caution must be taken. After the Maoists joined the government, Nepal has become relatively peaceful. However, visitors should avoid public demonstrations and may want to register with their consulate on arrival. Although tourists haven't been directly targeted by politically motivated violence, it is possible to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The frequent strikes that are still held are a major inconvenience for most tourists as all transportation stops, and shops and restaurants close.

Power cuts during the dry season can make life in Nepal very difficult. Due to the lack of street lights, tourists should watch out for the double hazards of opportunistic crimes in the darkness, and tripping or twisting ankles when walking the uneven, unlit streets by night.

Following the news and government warnings is important. Be sure to check on current road conditions before leaving Kathmandu. As of April 2010, long-haul bus trips through the Eastern Terai are to be avoided as there was a risk of Maoist activity in this area. The most common route being Kathmandu to the border crossing at Karkavitta. There have been numerous reports of Maoists stopping buses and setting them alight, although allowing passengers to disembark first. Check daily newspapers or NepalBandh, [59] for advance warning of planned strikes (bandh), when it may be safe to stay away from the main roads in town.

While in Kathmandu, always keep an eye on belongings. Violent crime is rare; pickpockets are not, especially in crowded places. If your hotel room door doesn't have a good lock or safe windows, store valuables on your person or in a hotel safety deposit box at all times. As with any large city, avoid walking alone in unlit areas.

Stay healthy

  • Water in Kathmandu borders on being lethal, and water borne diseases are rife. Do not, under any circumstances, drink directly from the faucet or take salads and ice unless you have absolute proof that the water used in their preparation has been filtered and boiled. Also, use boiled and filtered water for brushing teeth and avoid swallowing water when taking a shower. Circumstances may differ in private houses or one of the better hotels in Kathmandu.
  • Food can be contaminated and some people suggest that you should eat only at larger restaurants.
  • Vaccinations for rabies, tetanus, typhoid, and hepatitis are recommended prior to arriving in Kathmandu, and can take several months to complete. Tropical diseases such as Japanese encephalitis should be vaccinated against if you plan to travel outside of the Kathmandu Valley, towards the lowlands in the Terai. You may wish to take a malarial prophylaxis. See Immunization advice for Nepal
  • Animals, such as bats and monkeys (including those at Swayambhunath), may be carriers of rabies and other diseases. Even if you've had the foresight to be vaccinated for rabies prior to travelling in Nepal, treatment following possible exposure is still necessary to prevent infection. If you are bitten, you should go to a clinic immediately for treatment. No cases of avian influenza have been documented in Nepal to date, but it has been confirmed in nearby countries. Birds live in extremely close proximity to humans, both in the market and the home.
  • Clinics & Hospitals
    • Ciwec Clinic Travel Medicine Center caters to western travelers and the ex-pat community. It is one of the few places you can get health care at par with western countries in Kathmandu. Located centrally in Lazimpat, across from the British embassy, it is well appointed, but it costs $50 just to be seen by a doctor.
    • Shechen Clinic, located in the overcrowded suburb of Baudha, is a hygienic and efficient place to receive medical attention. They have some very potent Tibetan medicine that is effective in the treatment of Travellers' diarrhea.
    • National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences, run by Dr. Upendra Devkota, also comes at par with some of the western hospitals.
    • Dent Inn offers international-standard service for dental problems at good prices.
    • Patan Hospital is definitely the best public hospital in Nepal. It also has a private clinic.
    • Bir Hospital is home to one of the few ENT departments in the country, but should otherwise be avoided. It is a government hospital and is run down and chaotic at best.

Contact

Most cafes & coffee shops in tourist areas have free WiFi for customers. Computer/internet rentals are almost stacked on top of each other in Thamel & near the stupa at Boudha. You can surf to you heart's content for about 15Rs to 20Rps an hour (10Rps in Putalisadak). Though not adequate for video conferencing the 128-256kbps NTC backbone often used by the cafes is more than adequate for VOIP calling. Please refrain from downloading anything large, as most connections are limited. ISD and STD telephone services are available in almost all internet cafes. Services such as Skype are available in most tourist areas.

Cope

Embassies and Consulates

  • Be-flag.png Belgium (Honorary) (Belgium), Bhagawan Bahal, Thamal Amrit Marg 643/26, +977 1 4418922 and +977 1 4410330 (), [60].
  • In-flag.png India, 336 Kapurdhara Marg, Lainchaur, +977 1 4410900/4414990/4411699 (, fax: +977 1 4428279), [62]. The Indian visa centre is just before the embassy (9:30AM-noon for deposit; closed on Sa Su and public holidays). People start to queue 1-2 hr before opening usually. 700nrs for re-entry endorsement, 3600 for tourist visa up to 6 months (or 4500 in total including taxes service charges), 1900 for transit visa.
  • Us-flag.png United States, Maharajgunj (just S of the Narayan Chowk intersection with Ring Rd), [63]. The entrance to the Consular Section is to the left of the main entrance.
  • Au-flag.png Austria (Honorary Consulate General), 22, Manakamana Marg, Nagpokhari, Naxal - P.O.Box 4416, +977 1 44 34 860 (, fax: +977 1 44 34 515). Mon 12.00-15.00, Wed 12.00-15.00, Fri 12.00-15.00.
  • De-flag.png Germany, Gyaneshwar Marga 690 - P.O. Box 226, +977 1 441 27 86, 441 65 27, 441 66 55, 441 68 32 (, fax: +977 1 441 68 99), [64]. Mon-Fri 09:00am-11:30am.
  • Sz-flag.png Switzerland, Jawalakhel, Ekanta Kuna, Lalitpur, +977 1 554 92 25 (fax: +977 1 554 92 24), [65]. Mon-Fri 10:00am-noon.
  • Pl-flag.png Poland (Honorary Consulate General), Golchha House, Ganabahal, P.O. Box 363, Kathmandu, Nepal., + 977 1 425 0001, 424 9114 (, fax: + 977 1 4249 723).

Airline offices

Many airline companies have their offices on Hatisser road, about 20min from north Thamel/Jyatha by walk, if you need to buy/edit ticket.

Visas and Trekking permits

To extend your Nepal tourist visa, up to a maximum of 150 days per year, you need to visit the Nepal Immigration Office. Bring your passport, a passport photocopy and one passport sized photo (even though you've already given these details to get your original visa!). Visa extensions can only be bought per day, at a rate of USD $2 a day. Although you can pay in NPR! If you have questions, they actually speak quite good english +977 1 4438868. Their site is of little help, but it can be found here: http://www.immi.gov.np/contact-us/3-contact-us/1-contact-us

TIMS card - to register for a TIMS card for hiking, you need to visit the Nepal Tourist Office

Get out

Nearby

  • Kathmandu Valley is home to a number of sacred sites and historical cities.
    • Patan aka Lalitpur (7km South of Thamel, across the Bagmati river) is one of the largest cities in Nepal. Patan Durbar Square is a UNESCO world heritage site, full of temples, statues, palaces & the must-see attraction of Patan Museum.
    • Kirtipur is one of the oldest settlements in the Kathmandu Valley. Located right next to Patan.
    • Bhaktapur
    • Madhyapur Thimi
  • Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites
    • Boudhanath (7km NE of Kathmandu) is home to at least 29 Buddhist Monasteries & Nunneries & one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world, the Boudha Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built during the 5th century AD.
    • Namo Buddha is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal and one of the holiest in the world. It is known as the place where the Buddha, in a previous life as a prince, gave his body to a starving tigress and her cubs.
    • Swayambhunath Stupa
  • Shivapuri Hill and the Bishnu Muhan (20km N of Kathmandu) is a small spring from where river Bishnumati originates. Stay for a night at the Shivapuri Heights Cottage.
  • Nagarkot (30 km E from Kathmandu, altitude: 2,000m) is just the place for a quick getaway from the bustling capital for some relaxation and outdoor activities. It's an ideal location to watch the sunrise, but plan on leaving early, as traffic jams can happen anywhere and at anytime. The last 5km of the trip is narrow, with lots of curves in the road. Car-sickness is a distinct possibility. The Club Himalaya Resort, located 3km outside of the village, has a great viewing point.
  • Dhulikhel (30 km SE of Kathmandu) is a village that offers a nice quiet setting to wander the streets and see the 'non-tourist' side of Nepali life. Dhulikhel Lodge Resort is a nice place for lunch and a view of the mountains.
  • Changunarayan (20km E of Kathmandu) is a small village and home to the ancient temple of Changu Narayan which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kathmandu Valley.
  • Panauti (32km SE of Kathmandu) is one of the oldest towns in Nepal, consisting of many temples dating back to the 15th Century or earlier.
  • Kakani (30km SE of Kathmandu) is a settlement of 8,000 people famous for its strawberry farms.

Further Away

Commercial domestic flights are available to/from Bhadrapur, Bhairawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Dhangarhi, Janakpur, Nepalganj, Pokhara, Simara, and Tumling Tar. Domestic flights take about an hour and cost USD100-175. The primary domestic airlines are air viva, Yeti, Nepal Airlines, and Buddha Air. Buddha Air has a reputation among local expatriates as the safest domestic airline. Flights are typically delayed more later in the day and therefore it is better to take an early morning flight.

  • Pokhara. (5–8 hours by bus, 40 minutes flight), is a pleasant little city on Phewa Lake. Many visitors use it as a hub for treks and adventure sports. The city is a popular destination for travelers and also features a bustling live music scene.
  • Chitwan National Park is a popular place for safaris, complete with Elephant rides, rhino and tiger spotting, and jungle walks.
  • Khumbu, located near Mount Everest, is a short flight from Kathmandu and offers snow capped peaks and yak caravans carrying goods over mountain passes from Tibet.





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