Certainly a marmite city (you will either love it or hate it), we had a bit of a shock when we first landed in Kathmandu, we had arrived from sleepy Laos and weren’t completely prepared for the chaos and dust. We were there for the new year 2075 (that’s right, not a typing error) celebrations so the area was even more busy than usual.
Unfortunately we didn’t see too much of the city, we were applying for Chinese visas at the embassy in Napal which turned out to be an absolute nightmare. But now is not the time for ranting about that.
Things To Do:
The best thing we did in Nepal (and one of the best things we’ve done during our whole trip) was a mountain flight to Everest and back. The plane is tiny, meaning that everyone gets a window seat and they let you take turns visiting the pilots cockpit, the flight takes around 1 hour. We haggled hard and managed to get the flight for $165 per person (the most expensive thing we’ve done all year) and it was worth every penny.
We’re not really massive hikers but we did do a 1 day trek from Kathmandu (because you can’t go to Nepal and not do at least 1 hike), we paid $80 for 1 full day including driver and guide. There are quite a few places you can see in just 1 day from the city, ask your hotel for some ideas.
Swoyambhunath Stupa, also known as Monkey Temple has the best views over the city, it’s named money temple because of its resident monkeys who play around the site. It takes around 40 minutes to walk from Tamal and costs Rs200 per person. Nirvana roof top restaurant is perfect for a cool lassi or iced tea to cool you down after all those steps to the temple.
The Durbur square was hugely effected by the 2015 earthquake and is still currently (2018) undergoing huge restoration work. It’s still worth a look but don’t plan to spend all day there as there is a lot covered in scaffolding so you can’t see much. Entrance costs Rs1,000 per person and takes around 20 minutes walk from Tamal.
For a break from all the craziness that comes with any trip to Kathmandu, visit the garden of dreams, you’ll instantly feel calmer and more relaxed. Entrance costs Rs200 per person.
Where To Eat:
One thing Kathmandu really has going for it is the amazing food available in Tamal and its surrounding areas, we never had a meal that we didn’t love, and there were so many choices, all at reasonable prices.
Blueberry Restaurant – must try the Mo:Mo’s,
Mitho Restaurant – really good pizzas,
Fusion Kitchen – my favourite curry in Nepal,
Sanangi Vegetarian – perfect dal bhat,
Rosemary Kitchen – Mongolian curry was to die for,
A taxi from the airport costs Rs700 to the centre of Tamal, see the taxi counter outside of arrivals.
Where To Stay:
We don’t usually stay in the centre of the tourist traps, they tend to be busy and expensive, though in the case of Kathmandu, you really do need to stay in the heart of Tamel. Anywhere else can be a bit daunting, loud and chaotic. The centre of this backpackers paradise is closed off to traffic, giving you a much needed break from all the craziness.
We actually stayed in 2 hotels in Kathmandu, the first one was the Bed and Breakfast Tamal, we really liked it there but they only have 3 or 4 rooms so it gets fully booked pretty fast. I booked through Hotels.com for £14 per night.
The second time we visited Kathmandu we stayed at the Hotel Namasto, prices are usually around £40 per night but we booked on a Hotels.com flash sale for only £15 per night including breakfast. The hotel was lovely and the staff on reception helped book our mountain flight and trek.