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The bus to or from Pokhara takes 7-8 hours to cover the 200km. Traffic jams often occur on the zig-zags just out of the KTM valley. All the tourist buses now stop for lunch and snacks at prearranged restaurants. It can be nerve-wracking to look out the front bus window while traveling, due to the  narrow roads and much weaving in and out of cars, scooters, & buses. There are many of what westerners would call "close-calls", but they are normal in Nepal and the drivers stay calm through it all. It's best to avoid looking out the front window. There are countless, extremely beautiful sights to be seen while looking out the side windows.
 
The bus to or from Pokhara takes 7-8 hours to cover the 200km. Traffic jams often occur on the zig-zags just out of the KTM valley. All the tourist buses now stop for lunch and snacks at prearranged restaurants. It can be nerve-wracking to look out the front bus window while traveling, due to the  narrow roads and much weaving in and out of cars, scooters, & buses. There are many of what westerners would call "close-calls", but they are normal in Nepal and the drivers stay calm through it all. It's best to avoid looking out the front window. There are countless, extremely beautiful sights to be seen while looking out the side windows.
 
Bus tickets can also be bought online via [http://www.pombai.com Pombai].
 
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
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==Get out==
 
==Get out==
Domestic flights[http://www.nepalairflight.com/] also leave from Tribhuvan International Airport. There is a 200rs (about 2.50 USD) airport tax. The primary domestic airlines are Yeti [http://www.yetiairlines.com/], Nepal Airlines [http://www.royalnepal-airlines.com/], and Buddha Air [http://www.buddhaair.com/]. The latter, Buddha, has a reputation among local expatriates as the safest domestic airline. Bus tickets can be bought online via [http://www.pombai.com Pombai].
+
Domestic flights[http://www.nepalairflight.com/] also leave from Tribhuvan International Airport. There is a 200rs (about 2.50 USD) airport tax. The primary domestic airlines are Yeti [http://www.yetiairlines.com/], Nepal Airlines [http://www.royalnepal-airlines.com/], and Buddha Air [http://www.buddhaair.com/]. The latter, Buddha, has a reputation among local expatriates as the safest domestic airline.  
  
 
*The '''[[Kathmandu Valley]]''''. Home to a number of [[Sacred sites of the Indian sub-continent| sacred sites]] and historical cities.  
 
*The '''[[Kathmandu Valley]]''''. Home to a number of [[Sacred sites of the Indian sub-continent| sacred sites]] and historical cities.  

Revision as of 20:03, 14 December 2012

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

Visas are available on arrival for citizens of most countries, and one passport-sized photograph is required. To complete the process, you must pay a fee (it makes it much easier if you bring the fees in US dollars): Transit ($5), 15 day ($25), 30 day ($40) or 90 day ($100.) Make sure that you fill in all of the forms and keep your departure card for when you want to leave. Facilities for taking passport-sized photographs are available near the immigration desk, though it saves a lot of time if they are prepared before arrival. SAARC nationals are exempt from visa fees.

Please note: 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 baggage is treated quite poorly in Tribhuvan International Airport as well as all the other airports in the country. It is recommended that all fragile items are in your carry on baggage.

There are no trains to Kathmandu, renting a car without a driver is not a reasonable option. You can hire bikes in Kathmandu and ride up, but you need to be brave. Alternatively, catch a bus. Check with other travellers to find a safe bus company (Green Line & Golden Travels have been recommended), some are quite dangerous and travel at stupid speeds through mountain passes. Many hotels will pick you up from the airport if you give them advanced notice. You can also use a pre-paid taxi the stand is on your right as you come out of baggage reclaim/arrivals. Alliteratively you can hire a local taxi to drive you anywhere in Kathmandu. From the airport it is around 400 rupees to get to Thamel and 800-1000 rupees to go to Patan. These taxis are always waiting outside the airport and are less expensive than the pre-paid taxi. However, these taxi drivers have been known to take you to a different hotel than you asked for, and these hotels are usually expensive.

By plane

Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA: KTM), [2] is the largest, and only international airport in Nepal. Most flights to Kathmandu arrive via Delhi, gulf countries (UAE Qatar, and increasingly Bahrain), or Bangkok, and of the remaining only a few originate from outside Asia. International airlines serving Kathmandu:

To and from airport

Many hotel and guest houses offer complimentary pick up and delivery from the airport. Taxis are also available. As always, negotiate the price beforehand with the driver. In 2012, prices for fuel have skyrocketed, and drivers of metered taxis will generally refuse to use the meter. If you take a taxi from the terminal, be prepared to negotiate heavily. Drivers will usually not go below 400NPR to Thamel or Boudha (June 2012). A pre-paid from the taxi stand outside the domestic terminal cost NPR800 to Thamel in June 2012. Both these fees are more than the meter rate, but will save the hassle of long negotiations. When booking a prepaid taxi, 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. Try not to exchange money at the airport. Money changers at the airport not only charge service charge but also offer a lower rate than is offered in Thamel or elsewhere in town.

If you pass the taxi drivers waiting at the terminal and go instead to the edge of the parking lot, where many other drivers wait, you can haggle with them to get to Thamel for around 300 NRS.

By bus

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

Connections include India (usually Patna, Gorakhpur, Varanasi or Lucknow) and other parts of Nepal such as Chitwan National Park and the trekking hubs of Pokhara to the west, Langtang to the north and Jiri to the east of Kathmandu. For points of departure in India or Tibet see the Nepal 'Get in' section. Buses arriving from the Indian border, Pokhara and Chitwan terminate either at the bus station at Balaju at north of the city or Kalanki at the south of the city since large vehicles and long distance vehicles are not allowed to enter the city due to traffic congestion. From there, there are 'mini buses' which criss cross the main roads of the city for about NPR 20. Varanasi to Kathmandu & Kathmandu to Varanasi INR. 1200 per seat.

The bus to or from Pokhara takes 7-8 hours to cover the 200km. Traffic jams often occur on the zig-zags just out of the KTM valley. All the tourist buses now stop for lunch and snacks at prearranged restaurants. It can be nerve-wracking to look out the front bus window while traveling, due to the narrow roads and much weaving in and out of cars, scooters, & buses. There are many of what westerners would call "close-calls", but they are normal in Nepal and the drivers stay calm through it all. It's best to avoid looking out the front window. There are countless, extremely beautiful sights to be seen while looking out the side windows.

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.

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. 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.

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) - A large stupa, highly revered in Nepal, and one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. It offers great views over the city, and no lack of monkeys. It's a 20-30 minute walk from Thamel, or take a taxi or rickshaw. Pay Rs 200 (July 2010) to enter at the front steps or slip in free on the ramp on the south side. As with the Boudha Stupa, there's no shortage 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 amount of stairs that need to be climbed to gain access to the main compound.
  • Boudha Stupa in Boudha (बौद्ध). One of the most sacred sites for Tibetan Buddhism. It is a must see in Kathmandu.
  • Narayanhiti Palace Museum - The once Royal palace was turned officialy in 2009 partly into a Museum and the Foreign Ministry. Now you can visit the splendid Halls of the main building of the palace, entrance fee is 500 NRS for foreigners. 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 they depart en masse.
  • Thamel Chowk - lots of restaurants and shops.
  • Freak Street - Historic home of western hippies seeking enlightenment, but now just a few restaurants and hotels.
  • Nasal Chowk Statues, temples and the Rana museum.
  • Pashupatinath - An important Hindu temple to Shiva in the form of Lord of Animals. See monkeys, cremation, sadhus and a holy cave. Morning is a great time to go.
  • Garden of Dreams - Relax in this beautiful and peaceful walled garden close to Thamal & the former Royal Palace. Entry Rs 160.


  • Budda Neelkanth (Narangdham). An Idol of Bhagwan Vishnu in a sleeping position surrounded by water is an extraordinary cool and calm experience. At a distance of about 5-6 kilometres from Main Bus Park, Kathmandu.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Durbar Square, Kathmandu

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

Magical in the very early morning and evening, Durbar Square. There are a number of young men who offer to be "guides." Be firm with saying "no" if you are not interested. A place not to be missed is a visit to Durbar Square Museum.

Film "Durbar Square", poetic short movie directed by Guillaume Boulanger, 1996. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK2Gd300Sac


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

It is possible to climb the steps of many of the temples for a better look, or to join the people sat at the top watching the bustle below.

Do

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.

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.


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.

  • 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 (literally) than those celebrated in India.
  • Holi is celebrated in March with splashes of water and coloured 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, Kathmandu, +977-9841297451. Himalayan Blues Festival is one of the most acclaimed music festival in Kathmandu. It takes place in the months of October-November 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.

Learn

Buddhism

Baudha
  • Rangjung Yeshe Institute, [25]. 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, [26]. 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, [27]. 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, [28]. Vipassana Meditation (a popular Buddhist Meditation) as taught by S. N. Goenka.
  • Osho Tapoban Forest Retreat, [29]. Nagarjun Forest (Raniban).

Yoga Courses

  • Bikram Yoga College of India, [30] Daily hot yoga classes in the heart of Thamel on a drop-in or monthly basis.
  • Patanjali Yoga Centre, [31]. The first residential school of Yoga in Nepal.
  • Satyananda Yoga Centre, [32]. Group and individual courses. Yoga Camps.
  • Sadhana Bhumi Himalaya For Life Research, [33] Yoga and Naturopathy retreat centre offers ancient traditional yoga combined with modern yoga style in the best natural environment.
  • Pranamaya Yoga, [34] 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.

Massage Courses

  • The Healing Hands Centre, [35]. 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, [36] 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, [37]. 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 [38] It is in Lainchaur beside British Embassy.

Environment

  • KEEP [39] 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) had 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[40], 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) is the largest and most well established English language bookshop in Kathmandu. They have great sections on Buddhism (a whole room devoted to vajrayana), as well as an encyclopedic selection on books devoted to subjects on Nepal.
  • 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 [41]. 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 [42]. 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.

  • Just Pass, Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal (on jyatha street (near the chikusa cafe)), +97714253178. 0900. great Indian food at affordable prices, situated near the Chikusa Cafe on the Jyatha street. friendly staff and a tummy full of Indian food (including naans!)and cheap tea for 125 Nrs.! 125 Nrs..


  • 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

There are dozens of tourist restaurants 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.

  • 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. No rooftop though but a cellar, 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, [43]. 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. With a chain of restaurants and cafes Internationally, it is a welcome for Nepal. They serve amazing international gourmet cuisine with a full range of Risottos, Pastas, Thai curry to a 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 internationally. 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. Delicious and way cheaper than anything else I found in Thamel. Good mix of Indian, Nepali, and Western. Prices generally Rs. 50 - 120. Located on the first non-touristy street West of Thamel, across from the People's Campus (or something similar to that).
  • 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.

the best breakfast in kathmandu for sure.. amazing omelette and very good potatoes in american style

  • "La Dolce Vita" probably the first Italian restaurant and the best 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. Great coffees [decent coffee] 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 300 NPR will stuff you. 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 250 NPR, whereas a Hawaiian will cost 350 NRP [300-700 NRP pricing in 2012]. 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.
  • Or2K. Great middle eastern food. Try the falafel and the homemade mint juice. Opposite the Pumpernickel Bakery. However very variying degree 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 (pan au chocolats, cinnamon bakes) from about 30 NPR each, 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", & 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. Branches 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-fire pizza's and some very good italian delicaties.
  • Electric Pagodais a very eclectic bar on Satghumti Road. Specializes in Mexican cuisine and also offers local and continental dishes between 100-300 NPR. Easy going atmosphere with well rounded music and very friendly staff. Tuborg/Everest beer 240 NPR.
  • Alchemy a new opend italian restauran. On the upper pricing in Thamel, but same as price is for the food. Excellent italian dishes and nothing else. Pizzas from 300 NPR and pastas from 280. 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 Italy experience. It's about 100 m before Chetrapati Chowk.
  • Himalayan Planet Adventures - A well known trekking agency based on central Thamel, kathmandu and consult and provide 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 and their webpage: http://www.himalayanplanet.com/
  • Himalayan Advisor - The newly stabilished travel and adventure based company in Thamel and provide reliable and excellent services in the Himalayas of Nepal and Tibet. The company team is from well experienced who worked more than one 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, + 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.
  • Near the Airport If you're looking for a quick cheap snack of tasty curry or momo check out the small roadside stand across the ring road right at the airport. With your back towards the airport its 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 [44]. 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. Run under German management.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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, [45]. 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 3500 NRP (35 US).
  • Avalon House, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal (Lekhnathmarg), 00977-1-4413284, [46]. 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, [47]. 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.
  • Sanu's House homestay (Homestay Nepal), Gwarko, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal (Across from the B&B hospital - on Ring Road then 50 metres North-NE), 9841485045, [48]. checkin: 1400; checkout: 1000. Clean 4 story home run by friendly, traditional Nepali Buddhist family. 8 km SE of Thamel & 7 km SW of the Airport. 15 min walk to Durbar Square. 50 metre walk to bus stop/taxis. Organic veggie lunch & dinner (100 rupees). 24hr WiFi. Great views from roof & upper floors. Singles: 375 nrp (5.25 US) per person, per night -includes breakfast.


Budget

  • Alobar1000. Two beautifully designed homes with a bar, cozy lounge area, weight room, dining hall and communal kitchen. 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 Wi-Fi and usually a few seasoned travellers chatting in the lounge. Dorm beds go for 250 NRPs (less than 3USD), private rooms start at 900. Tel: +977-1-4410114. 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.
  • Hotel Silver Home,[49], Tel: +977-1-4262986, +977-1-4249735,Mobile:9851071593 Contact :Yogesh lama.) A great location in the heart of Thamel. Friendly and helpful staff. Pretty rooms with private bathrooms 24/7 full time running hot cold shower system. Room rate start from $2 to $12 dollars. Restaurant, travel desk, 24-hour reception. Free Wi-Fi in room and lobby. Free airport Pick up.
  • Komfort 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 [50]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, [51], Paknajol, near Thamel. Tel+977 1 438-3503 - highly recommended
  • Hotel Impala, [52], For discount lodging and economic accommodation in Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel+977 1 470-1549 - cool place in town!
  • Budget Hotel Nepal, [53]. 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, [54]. 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.

Mid-range

  • Ambassador Hotel, Lazimbat, 4-414432 (), [56]. 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, [57]. 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
  • Hotel Harati, 977 1 4257907 / 4257758, [58]. 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, [59]. 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, [60]. 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 [61] 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. 8-15 USD
  • Tibet Guest House, Thamel, +977 1 4260556 / 4260383, [62]. 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. [63]

Splurge

  • Hotel d'Annapurna, PO Box 140, Durbar Marg, 977 1 422 1711 (, fax: 977 1 422 5236), [64]. - 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. [65] 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), (), [66]. 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 (), [67]. 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.


  • The Shanker Hotel, PO BOX 350, Lazimpat, Kathmandu (Just behind the Royal Palace Museum North Gate), 977 1 4410151 (, fax: 977 1 4412691), [68]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. - Formerly a Rana palace bought over in 1964. Luxurious 100 year old palace hotel. 4.5 acre property right in the centre of the heart of the city. A typically Nepali Maharaja's Palace. Starts at USD 80. Company Policy 20% Off Flat on Online Booking..

Stay safe

Canadian Consular Affairs [69], the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office [70], and the US State department [71] 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, [72] 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 locations or one of the better hotels in Kathmandu.
  • Food Some people suggest that you have a greater chance of avoiding contamination if you stick to larger restaurants.
  • Animals such as the monkeys at Swayambhu and other places may be carriers of rabies and other diseases, as can the bats and other animals. Animal bites should be followed by a prompt trip to Ciwec [73]. 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. 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.
  • 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. [74]
  • Clinics. A hygienic and efficient place to receive medical attention is the Shechen Clinic in Baudha. They have some very potent Tibetan medicine that is effective in the treatment of Travellers' diarrhea. Ciwec Clinic Travel Medicine Centre [75] caters to western visitors 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 embasy, it is well appointed, but at $50 just to be seen by a Doctor is rather overpriced. Another clinic run by Dr. Upendra Devkota also comes at par with some of the western hospitals. Norvic isn't so heavy on the check up charge as Ciwec is. For dental problems Dent Inn ([76]) offers international standard service at good prices.
  • Hospitals Bir Hospital in Kathmandu 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. Patan Hospital is the easily the best public hospital in Nepal. It also has a private clinic.

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 (), [77].
  • In-flag.png India, 336 Kapurdhara Marg, Lainchaur, +977 1 4410900/4414990/4411699 (, fax: +977 1 4428279), [79]. 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, 1900 for transit visa.
  • Us-flag.png United States, Maharajgunj (just S of the Narayan Chowk intersection with Ring Rd), [80]. 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), [81]. 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), [82]. Mon-Fri 10:00am-noon.

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

Domestic flights[83] also leave from Tribhuvan International Airport. There is a 200rs (about 2.50 USD) airport tax. The primary domestic airlines are Yeti [84], Nepal Airlines [85], and Buddha Air [86]. The latter, Buddha, has a reputation among local expatriates as the safest domestic airline.

  • The Kathmandu Valley'. Home to a number of sacred sites and historical cities.
  • Pokhara. 5-8 hours by bus, or a 30 minute flight, is a pleasant little city on a lake. Many visitors use it as a hub for treks, rafting trips and other adventure activities. It's got a great live music scene, & is fast becoming the destination of choice in Nepal. You can't go past the "Pushkar Guesthouse" for value & service. (Just past the crossroads, Lakeside, on the right.)
  • Chitwan National Park. Jungle low-lands of western Nepal are a popular place for safaris, complete with Elephant rides, rhino and tiger spotting, and jungle walks.
  • Boudhanath. 7 km East/Northeast of Kathmandu a short taxi or bus ride. It's 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.
  • Patan. 7 km South of Thamel, Kathmandu across the Bagmati river from Kathmandu. One of the largest cities in Nepal, it is also known as Lalitpur. Patan Durbar Square is a UNESCO world heritage site, full of temples, statues, palaces & the must-see attraction of Patan Museum.
  • Everest region. Within a short flight from Kathmandu, you can be trekking under the protective gaze of snow capped peaks and watching yak caravans carrying goods over mountain passes from Tibet.
  • 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).

Also, there is an airport fee for all domestic flights that you must pay before you board (RS 200). Best to get the first flight of the morning as the later flights get delayed more and more as the day moves on. These are offered by both Buddha and Yeti.

  • Shivapuri Hill. North of the city and the nearby Bishnu Muhan, a small spring from where river Bishnumati originates. Stay for a night at the Shivapuri Heights Cottage.
  • Nagarkot (altitude: 2,000 m). Approximately 30 kms away from Kathmandu by car. It is just the place for a quick getaway from the bustling capital for some relaxation and outdoor activities. A great place to watch the sunrise, however plan on leaving early (5AM) as traffic jams can happen anywhere and at anytime. Also, The Club Himalaya, has a great viewing point however the last 5 kilometres is VERY narrow, with lots of curves. Car-sickness is a distinct possibility. The Fort Resort also has great views, well-kept rooms (ask for a room in the cottages) and the grounds are lovely.
  • Chobhar "Le Village" Resort A hidden paradise only 8 km from the centre of Thamel, Kathmandu. Perched on top of Chobhar village, altitude 1420 m, enjoy sunrise and panoramic views of all of Kathmandu valley and Patan. 20 min by car on the road to Dakshinkali.
  • Dhulikhel Is a village about 40 km from Kathmandu, Dhulikhel Lodge Resort, is a nice place for lunch and a view of the mountains. The village offers a nice quiet setting to wander the streets and see the 'non-tourist' side of Nepali life.






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