Kathmandu is a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by hillocks. It is the capital city of Nepal which is rich in nature and culture. It is the only destination in the world where 7 UNESCO-listed heritages are located within a few kilometers.
Kathmandu is an ancient city of Nepal where many gods and goddesses reside. Being surrounded by hills, there are many beautiful places for hiking from where captivating views of the Himalayas can be seen; obviously with the taste of cultural insight as there are no places in Kathmandu which doesn’t reflect the culture.
There are many awesomazing places in Kathmandu to visit; that provides you the opportunity to experience the beautiful landscape, view of captivating snow-capped Himalayas, idiosyncratic cultures, interaction with locals, tasting local cuisine, adventure activities, and every other thing one can think of, either you are traveling for a short or long time.
This unique destination is perfect for one's enthusiasm to hike, experience culture and tradition, bird watching, eager to experience the local lifestyle, will perform thrilling activities, and everything you want to as this city is blessed with every possible thing. There are many places one shall visit once they are in Kathmandu, and below are mentioned the 20 best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley.
Getting to Kathmandu Nepal
While planning to visit places, it is mandatory to know about the possible ways to get there. Since Kathmandu is located in the center of Nepal, and Nepal only has one International Airport which is located in Kathmandu, it is the gateway to visit every other place in Nepal.
There are domestic airports in other regions of Nepal that are connected to Kathmandu Airport. Likewise, Kathmandu can also be visited by road, as it is connected to the International border to India and China (Tibet), and after fulfilling immigration facilities, Nepal can be traveled by land.
Internet & Communication in Kathmandu Nepal
There are faultless internet and communication facilities in Kathmandu Valley. There will be perfect signal wherever you travel in Kathmandu, hiking spots, remote places, either you stay in Hotel or hostel, or any other places, there is Data services which have no complaints to be connected here in Kathmandu.
There are 2 most reliable Networks/Internet/Telecommunication among others in Nepal which are NTC and NCELL and they provide the best services without any hassle so there will be no problems regarding communication here as Nepal has well-developed communication infrastructures than other infrastructures.
Transportation Facility in Kathmandu Nepal
There are a couple of choices regarding transportation in the valley. There is transportation available as a requirement, budget, interest, and locality as per your convenience. There are public transportations available but they cannot be compared by foreign public transportation.
They are cheap but a bit crowded and uncomfortable so the travelers may feel unsafe although the accident rate is very low. Similarly, private and tourist transportations are easily available anytime here, they are slightly costly due to the high cost and tax of automobile and fuel & road conditions in Nepal; but they are very comfortable, punctual, and much more convenient than public transportation.
Note: If you are interested in a short hike, please visit our short hikes near Kathmandu by following the link.
1. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is an ancient city also known as Bhadgaon and Khwopa where indigenous Newari people reside. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site that was constructed by a Malla King Yaksha Malla during 1427 AD.
The main attractions of Bhaktapur Durbar Square are 55 windows palace, Nyatapola Temple which is the tallest temple in Nepal, Bhairavnath Temple, Lions Gate, Golden Gate, and others. Bhaktapur Dubar Square is very popular for the sculpture, woodcarving and immense pagoda temples sanctified to different gods and goddesses.
2. Bouddhanath Stupa is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and also the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal. It is said to be built in the 5th century and is located in the ancient trade route of Nepal and Tibet. Seen from the top, it looks like a Mandala and every portion has symbolic significance: the base, dome, square harmonica, spire, and pinnacle represent the five elements.
The eyes symbolize the eyes of Lord Buddha and the nose which is written as 1 in the Nepali language represents equality among all. To sum up, it means that Lord Buddha is watching us so we should maintain peace and harmony and behave equally with all. A visit to Boudhanath will clear your mind and spread positivity to you.
3. Swayambhunath Stupa commonly known as ‘Monkey Temple’ is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. It is a monastery that was formed around in the 5th century and is believed that it was formed out of a lotus. This monastery is situated at the top of a hillock which is entirely surrounded by my praying wheels.
To reach the main monastery you will have to climb up the hill which is 365 stairs enjoying the mesmerizing nature. You will encounter many monkeys that are harmless until you tease them. Likewise, after you reach the top, its beauty spellbinds you.
The stupa and the monuments like sleeping buddha, Vajra, etc. will amaze you. Besides the stupa, there is also a museum and behind the stupa, there is a temple of Lord Saraswoti too. The valley view is seen from this the Monkey Temple is worth the visit truly captivating.
4. Patan Durbar Square is a UNESCO-listed world heritage site and one of 3 durbar squares in Nepal. It is located in the Lalitpur district which is very close to Kathmandu. This palace was built in 1627 by Siddhi Narsimha Malla. This place is very popular for arts. Immediately after entering, you will see the craftsmen woodcarving and metal carving, as well as thangka painting and their skills, which will amaze you.
It has 136 courtyards called ‘Bahals’ and 55 major temples. The structures in Patan Durbar Square like Krishna Mandir which is totally made up of stones, Bhimsen Temple, Vishwanath Temple, Taleju Bhawani Temple are very fascinating.
5. Kathmandu Durbar Square is also known as Hanuman Dhoka / Basantapur is one of the 3 Durbar squares in Nepal and also the youngest one. This Durbar Square was built by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century.
Hanuman Dhoka, Maha Vishnu Temple, Kala Bhairav, Gaddhi Baithak, Basantapur Dabali, Taleju Temple, etc are some of the best attractions of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Likewise, it is also where you can see the only living Hindu goddess in the world ‘Kumari’. It is another UNESCO-listed world heritage site and indeed is very popular architecture and has a great significance in reflecting ancient culture.
6. Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest Hindu temple as well as one of the four most important Hindu temples in the world. This UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site is believed that it is formed by itself. The main temple is a Pagoda-style temple that has a roof made up of gold, four sides covered in silver, and amazing wood carvings.
This temple is revered to Lord Shiva. It is the biggest temple in Nepal and is situated on the banks of the Bagmati river. You will also get an opportunity to communicate with Sadhus (Holy man) here.
7. Nagarkot is an enthralling destination located 32 km from Kathmandu Valley. This place is blessed by the mesmerizing landscape. It is one of the best places for hiking located near Kathmandu Valley. Nagarkot is very popular for sunrise.
Likewise, the view of the alluring Himalayas like Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal Range, Langtang, Jugal Range, Rolwaling Range, Everest Range, and Numbur Range can be seen from here.
What could be better than enjoying the stunning view of the Himalayas from the balcony of the hotel with a cup of tea?
8. Namobuddha is a well-preserved and beautiful Monastery situated on the top of the hill. It is located 45 km from Kathmandu Valley. This place is very peaceful and perfect for those who are interested in meditation or learning Buddhism as well as it is blessed with natural beauty.
A visit to Namobuddha will destroy negativity and bring peace and positive energy to you. This monastery is a very important place for Buddhist pilgrimage at it is believed that the relics of Lord Buddha’s past life remain here.
9. Budhanilkantha Temple is a Hindu temple revered to Lord Vishnu. It is located in the northern part of Kathmandu in the place named Budhanilkantha after the temple very close to Shivapuri National Park.
It is believed that the temple is a self-risen that is believed to be found by a farmer while he was plowing the field. In this temple, you will get to see the beautiful monument of Lord Vishnu sleeping on the back of Nagas (serpents) in the middle of a small pond.
This place is not only blessed my culture but also nature. Since it is a gateway to the Shivapuri NP and Nagi Gumba which is also one of the popular places to hike in Kathmandu, you could also hike enjoying the beautiful scenarios.
10. Kirtipur is one of the ancient and preserved cities of Kathmandu valley that is located in the southwest part of the valley where the Newari people having indigenous culture reside. A visit to Kirtipur is a must if you are an enthusiast to learn and experience the culture, history of local inhabitants. Newari people are the local people of Kathmandu.
This city is truly in its ancient form and totally preserved. You will observe the red brick house with roofs of tiles and brick-paved narrow alleys here. After visiting Kirtipur, tasting the Newari food is a must. They are rich in species and have beautiful taste.
You can also hike to Champa Devi (a popular hiking spot in KTM) from where you can see the mesmerizing Kirtipir valley view with the alluring Himalayas. Likewise, the Chilamchu Stupa and Bag Bhairab temple are other places to be visited in Kirtipur.
11. Changunarayan Temple is the oldest temple of Nepal that was built by King Mandev during the 3rd century. This Hindu shrine is also one of the UNESCO-listed world heritage sites which had the first stone inscription. This temple is revered to Lord Vishnu.
Changunarayan Temple is located at the top of the hill called Changu surrounded by Champak tree forest in Bhaktapur districts. The Newari are the inhabitants of this area and have been protecting and preserving the ancient area.
The stone tap is also located on the way which is believed to exist since the Lichhavi Dynasty. There are beautiful monuments in the surrounding like Garuda, Narasimha, Kileshswor, Vishworup, and many others and since it is located on the top of the hill, the spectacular panoramic view of the Annapurna and Manaslu can be seen on a clear day.
12. Narayanhiti Palace Museum is the place where the former royals used to stay. The Narayanhiti Palace was changed into a museum for the public in 2009 after Nepal was declared Republic in 2008. The palace was constructed during the reign of King Mahendra designed by Californian architect Benjamin Polk. There are altogether 54 rooms that are named after some districts of Nepal but only 19 rooms are open to the public.
The interior of the palace is based on the Late Victorian style and is divided into three parts the guest wing, the state wing, and the private wing. The place is very beautiful and is located in the King’s way (Durbar Marg) in Kathmandu which has a size of 38 acres.
13. Thamel is the main touristic area of Kathmandu which is located about 7 km from Kathmandu (TIA) Airport. Since it is located in the center of the city, it is very easier if you stay here or surrounding. There are lots of tourist facilities in Thamel from pubs, bars, restaurants to hotels, souvenir shops, spas, trekking gears, travel & trekking agencies, and every other thing that tourists look for.
Thamel street was popular mainly after the 1960s. During this period, hippies made the area popular but it later got commercialized. If you visit Nepal and don’t go to Thamel then your trip to Nepal is truly incomplete. Likewise, Thamel the only place in Nepal where nightlife exists.
This area is perfect for backpackers to luxury travelers as it has a wide range of facilities and Thamel is justly the life of Kathmandu.
14. Ason is the ancient local trade market which is one of the most popular and busiest local markets in Nepal. Life in Ason begins from 3 am in the morning when the tea shop owners start serving tea and the fruits and vegetable sellers bring fresh fruits and vegetables to sell.
Visiting Ason during the early morning is always the best thing to do in spite of day and afternoon is also fine. Ason is the best place if you are searching for genuine Nepali species. Likewise, Indrachowk, a street in Ason which is very popular for Lassi (a sweet drink made by buttermilk, lassi, sugar, and traditional species). Once you visit Ason you must taste the legendary drink Lassi for which people come from far away. Ason is not only a popular market but also a traditional area that reflects culture and history.
There are many beautiful shrines here like Aakash Bhairav, Annapurna Temple, Narayan Temple, Ganesh Temple, Celestial Fish, Kumari Bhairav, and more. Once you enter the area, you will see traditional Newari culture and ancient architecture although there are some modern buildings, the locals have pleasingly preserved the ancient culture and architect.
Few minutes walking west from Ason, you will reach Bangemuda which means “Twisted wood” where you will see a statue where coins are attached. It is the statue of toothache god and it is believed that if we insert the coin in the statue, we will not be facing teeth problems and will cure our teeth pains.
15. Dakhshinkali Temple is located at Pharping, Kathmandu which is revered to the fierce goddess Kali. This temple was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a devotee of Lord Kali. Lord Kali is the reincarnation of goddess Parvati and this temple was built to pay her respect and thank her for her robust deeds.
Twice a week the sacrifices of the animals are made for the offering to the deity to satisfy her bloodthirst in return for good wishes. This temple is one of the most important temples for Hindu pilgrimages. Apart from it, this temple is located between big rock structures and is very beautiful. There is Bagmati river where the offerings can be made and lots of bells are hung by people hoping their wish shall come true.
16. Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery that was built in the 1970s by Late Lama Thubten Yeshe. This monastery is located on Kopan hill which is near Boudhanath. Kopan monastery is mainly popular among people who are enthusiastic to learn about Buddhism. The monastery is very peaceful and beautiful. There are charming paintings, statues, chortens, and monastery, praying wheel likewise the view seen from the monastery is spellbinding.
The beautiful garden, lust forest, and peaceful area with listening to the calming “Om Mane Padme Hum” mantra by the monks is the perfect place for meditation. You will also get to see the monks learning and teaching about the Tibetan Buddhist culture.
17. Asura cave is also known as the upper Yangleso is a cave in Pharping where Guru Padmasambhava Rinpoche received enlightenment during the 8th century while he was practicing Vishuddha Heruka. The footprint of Guru Rinpoche is also there likewise inside the cave, there are three images of Guru Rinpoche in the middle, Yangdak Heruka to his right and Vajrakilaya to his left. It is believed that if one prays with a pure heart lighting up the flame of peace, their prayer will be listened by the lord and the wishes will be granted.
There are more shrines in Pharping like Bajrabarahi Temple, Pharping Monastery, Dakshinkali Temple, Shesnarayan Temple, Nilbarahi Temple, and many others. A visit to Pharping will provide you the opportunity to explore more than 10 temples, hike in the beautiful landscape and learn about Buddhist and Hindu culture.
18. Chandragiri Hills is a beautiful destination located on the southwest side of Kathmandu Valley which has an altitude of 2,551 m above sea level. You could either drive, hike, or take the cable car to reach the top. The cable here is the second cable care of Nepal. It will take from 10-15 minutes to reach according to the wind speed. Reaching the top of the hill enjoying the spectacular view of lust forest, city, beautiful landscape and the alluring Himalayas in the cable car is simply astonishing.
There is a Hindu shrine named “Bhaleshwor” at the top. This temple is considered one of the most important temples for Hindus as it is believed that your wishes will come true after visiting the shrine. There are also café and a playground for children. Likewise, the hill was named Chandragiri for its shape which looks like a crescent moon. Chandra means moon and Giri means hill in Nepali.
The panoramic view of Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest as well as the mesmerizing view of Kathmandu valley seen from the top will astound you which makes it worth the visit.
19. Phulchowki is the highest hill in Kathmandu valley is known for the astounding views from the high altitude of 2782 meters. It is located in the south of Kathmandu Valley. The name Phulchowki means Flower Garden. Travelers will be hiking about 5 hours or more or less depending on your walking pace both ways and hiking through the trails of Pulchowki hill, you will witness incredible natural sights, marvelous birds and lush green forest. During the spring, the hill is fully covered by Rhododendron and during winter it snows here which has made it one of the popular destinations for people to enjoy Rhododendrons in spring and snow in winter.
This place is rich in flora and fauna. It consists of 1/3 species of birds of Nepal, 570 species of flowers and animals like Leopard, monkeys, deer, etc. This hill is one of the most popular spots for bird watching near Kathmandu Valley. Likewise, after reaching the top, you will get to see the mesmerizing panoramic view of the Himalayas including Mt. Everest, Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Gaurishankar, and many others. There is also a shrine called Phulchowki Mai with the Tibetan praying flags at the top that provides cultural touch to the place.
20. Kakani is located in the northwest of Kathmandu in Nuwakot which has an altitude of 2073m. It is the place from which the unification of Nepal was started. This place is very popular even from ancient times as it was the trade route between Tibet to Kathmandu and now it is popular for the spectacular landscape, mesmerizing Himalayan view, culture, strawberry, and trout farming, and many others.
This destination is one of the best ones for hiking near Kathmandu Valley and as per traveler’s time and interest, you could choose the duration. While hiking, you will go through lust pine forests, enjoying the landscape and encountering many Hindus and Buddhist shrines.
Likewise, the view is seen from the top of snow-capped Himalayan ranges of Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Dorje Lhakpa, and many others and the lush green landscape is astonishing. The people of Tamang communities are the local inhabitants of the place and their warm hospitality and smiley faces are everything one could wish for.
Apart from its natural beauty and culture, Kakani has been a popular weekend gateway because of the strawberry and trout farming. You could also visit the Thai Memorial Park, British Gurkha Welfare Bungalow, town, and also do jeep lining, wall climbing, and rock climbing.