There are endless activities, sights and places to visit during your stay in Kathmandu and our AGA family will show you around during your day off in the city. But in the meantime here are a few things you can plan for if you have a few extra days!
Lets break it down into activities and restaurants.
The center for Buddhist life and culture in Kathmandu, here you can visit the most beautiful and grand stupa in the city and soak in the peaceful and moving atmosphere.
Ask a taxi to take you to the boudha gate (500 rupees for taxi) and there you will see a grand entrance and the stupa just off the main street (entrance fee for tourists 400 rupees) The stupa is surrounded by a circular path in which everyone will walk clockwise. Here you can find endless cafes and restaurants, look out for the ones with a rooftop so you can really get the best view!
Best time to visit: Sunset
Hours for visit: 2-3 hours
Monkey temple (Swayambhu)
The monkey temple is another Buddhist religious structure closer to Thamel where you will be staying. It is located at the top of a hill in the city with a long stretch of stairs leading up to the temples and as the name suggests, many monkeys. Be aware of the monkeys and don’t carry any food or bright bags with you as they will go for it! The monkey temple also has an entry fee which varies but usually is around 200 rupees. The view from the temple of Kathmandu is very beautiful and so definitely worth a visit! There are multiple entrances to the temple, however on the western entrance there are some big golden statues of religious figures which are stunning and worth seeing.
Best time to visit: Sunrise or early morning
Hours for visit: 1-2 hours
Patan is one of the oldest parts of Kathmandu and reveals the ancient architecture and temples of Nepal. Here you can find so much history and so it is worth getting a local guide to show you around and into the palaces of the main square. Patan is a little further away from Thamel then the two above places but it is certainly worth a visit. If you don’t want to travel as far you can also visit Kathmandu Durbar Square around 15 minutes’ walk south of Thamel. A nice thing to do in Patan is to try out the Newari food (one of the oldest inhabitants of Kathmandu) and also try out a singing bowl demonstration at one of the factory shops.
Best time to visit: during day
Hours for visit: 2-4 hours
Visit The Garden of Dreams and Durbar Marg
Both these places are short walking distance from Thamel and resemble the more modern side of Kathmandu.
The Garden of Dreams is a looked after garden area just a 5 minute walk from the hotel which brings a moment of calm and peace to the hustle and bustle of the city. I would recommend visiting the garden on a sunny day and bringing some refreshments.
Durbar Marg is the shopping street of Kathmandu, here you can find a few branded shops but also a nice array of restaurants. It is one street which begins with the pink Royal Palace and takes around 5 minutes to walk from end to end. Here you will find places like the Hard Rock Cafe or shiny watch shops!
Visit Le Sherpa Saturday market
If you're in town on a Saturday you are lucky enough to be able to visit the Le Sherpa Saturday farmers market, my favorite thing to do in KTM! The market begins at 8am and goes on until 12. Here you can find local foods, fresh veg, fruits, bakery goods and gifts for friends and family. There is also a restaurant called Le Sherpa which has the most amazing brunch so definitely worth booking for a post expedition treat! (+977980-1081609)
If you do have a little more time in Nepal you HAVE to visit Pokhara. A little oasis in Nepal where you feel like you're on holiday during your holiday.. Its nice to get out of Kathmandu from time to time so Gelje and I come here often to paraglide, kayak and enjoy the calming atmosphere of this city. Just a 20 minute flight from Kathmandu or 8 hour bus ride and you are suddenly at a beautiful lakeside town with endless restaurants, cafes and activities. I would recommend spending 2-4 days here.
Forest and plate (Thamel)
My favorite place when I am missing some wholesome and flavorsome salads. They are masters in their fresh and healthy food and everything is just so tasty!
Calm Tanglewood (Naxal)
Calm is the perfect place for a glass of wine and lunch, they have a wonderful outdoor seating area and live music on weekends.
Edamame Marriott (Naxal)
Edamame is probably one of the more pricey restaurants but still not crazy! They are a Japanese high quality restaurant inside Marriott Hotel which has excellent customer service and even better food :) Be sure to book beforehand by calling the hotel.
Karma Momo (Naag pokari)
If you really want the best momo, it is here. A tiny local restaurant owned by a friend of ours just opposite the Marriott Hotel on the other side of the water. If you're a meat eater you have to try the pork momo and the small chicken burger.
Jimbhu Thakali (Naxal)
This is the best and yummiest place for Dhal Baat! Come here for traditional Nepali lunch and don't eat too much before because this will fill you right up.
Le Sherpa (Saturday morning) (Lazimpat)
Mentioned above, Le Sherpa is a great restaurant for brunch or lunch. They have all the typical selections like avocado toast etc but made with so much love and attention.
Organic smoothie bowl and cafe (Lazimpat)
Tucked away next to the Radisson hotel, this little gem has incredible smoothie and acai bowls that just hit the mark after a long expedition or trek! Full of fresh fruits and organic ingredients and extremely cheap. Their smoothies and juices are also wonderful.
Pan Asian (Durbarmarg)
Another Asian jem in Durbarmarg, this restaurant has really great sushi and a mix of all Asian foods that are super tasty.
This is my favorite place for ramen, its super tasty and feels so local. Inside is a very small seating area but there are more seats upstairs!
Jeju Korean BBQ (Durbarmarg)
A personal favourite of Gelje and I is Korean bbq! We love it! We would recommend this restaurant if you also love it or would like to try it out! Ask the staff how it all works and they will guide you through it.
Fire and Ice (Thamel)
A famous pizzeria run and owned by Italians in Thamel! The food is great here and its always busy with locals and tourists alike! Be sure to order a pizza and don't hold back on ingredients you may not trust as here all their ingredients are top quality.