Things to do in Kathmandu

Top attractions in Kathmandu

About Kathmandu

The must-see attractions in Kathmandu include the historic Kathmandu Durbar Square, the sacred Swayambhunath Stupa, and the impressive Boudhanath Stupa. Additionally, Pashupatinath Temple and the ancient city of Patan are essential places to visit in Kathmandu for a glimpse into the city's vibrant cultural and religious heritage.
For families visiting with children, the Kathmandu Fun Valley offers amusement rides and water activities. The Central Zoo presents a chance to view native wildlife, and interactive learning can be enjoyed at The Natural History Museum. These are suitable Kathmandu activities that cater to the curiosity and energy of young travelers.
Outdoor enthusiasts can embark on picturesque hikes such as the ones around Shivapuri National Park, take a scenic cable car trip to Chandragiri Hills, or explore the terrains on a mountain biking adventure. Each activity allows visitors to appreciate the natural splendor surrounding Kathmandu.
Indoor activities in Kathmandu include learning about the art and history at the Patan Museum, discovering the intricacies of local craftsmanship at the Thangka painting schools, and enjoying the culinary delights during a traditional Nepalese cooking class.
The best tours in Kathmandu often revolve around its rich cultural landmarks with offerings such as guided heritage walks through the old parts of the city, explorations of the medieval architecture of Durbar Squares, and spiritual tours around the various temples and monasteries.
The most popular museums in Kathmandu include the National Museum of Nepal which provides insights into the country’s history, the Patan Museum showcasing traditional art, and the Taragaon Museum that reflects the architectural journey of Kathmandu valley.
On rainy days, visitors can engage in immersive experiences such as museum tours, which protect from the elements while providing cultural enrichment. Other indoor options include visiting art galleries, cultural centers, and participating in cooking classes or indoor craft workshops.
Short tours in Kathmandu that last 1 hour or less include quick guided walks around local markets, introductory Tibetan bowl healing sessions, and brief yet encompassing expeditions to some of the city's significant temples located close to the city center.

Best Things to Do In Kathmandu

Embark on an enchanting voyage through the rich tapestry of culture and history that Kathmandu has to offer with our audio tours.

Kathmandu: Bhaktapur Durbar Square

What is it?
A cultural gem featuring palaces, temples, and monuments exemplifying medieval Nepalese townscapes.
Why you should go?
Visitors eager to enhance their itinerary with the richness of Newar architecture should not miss Bhaktapur Durbar Square. This area, radiating ancient charisma, showcases artistic magnificence through structures like Nyatapola Temple and the 55 Window Palace. Amidst the backdrop of historical edifices, one can observe artisans at work, adding a tactile dimension to the best Kathmandu tours.

Kathmandu: Patan Durbar Square

What is it?
A masterpiece of Newari architecture, this square is surrounded by palaces and temples, steeped in history.
Why you should go?
As an integral part of the best Kathmandu tours, Patan Durbar Square is a cultural heartland offering an insight into the valley's artistic heritage. The intricately carved Krishna Mandir and Patan Museum are highlights, offering vignettes of a regal past. The square encapsulates the essence of places to visit in Kathmandu for history buffs and art lovers alike.

Kathmandu: Chandragiri Hills

What is it?
A breath-taking hilltop offering majestic views of the Himalayas and a scenic cable car ride.
Why you should go?
Chandragiri Hills, situated on the outskirts of Kathmandu, offer a panoramic escape with a vista of lush landscapes and mountain peaks. As one of the fun things to do in Kathmandu, visitors can enjoy the thrilling cable car journey, hike to the hilltop temple, or simply unwind and absorb the tranquil surroundings, making it a must for nature enthusiasts.

Kathmandu: Asan Tole Market

What is it?
A bustling local market, Asan Tole is a sensory overload with a multitude of vendors and goods on offer.
Why you should go?
Those curious about things to do in Kathmandu will find Asan Tole Market an exhilarating hive of activity. This traditional bazaar is a kaleidoscope of spices, textiles, and local produce, providing a quintessential Nepali shopping experience. A walk through Asan is an invitation to engage with the essence of Kathmandu's daily commerce and culture.

Kathmandu: National Museum of Nepal

What is it?
A grand repository of Nepal's art, history, and culture with an extensive collection of artefacts.
Why you should go?
The National Museum of Nepal presents a fascinating excursion for those interested in things to see in Kathmandu. With exhibits ranging from ancient manuscripts to medieval weapons, the museum offers a captivating narrative of Nepal's past. Visitors can witness the evolution of Nepali culture, making it a cornerstone among Kathmandu activities for the culturally inclined.

Kathmandu: Durbar Square

What is it?
A historic plaza famed for its exquisite architecture and vibrant cultural significance.
Why you should go?
Durbar Square, with its majestic temples and palaces, stands as a testament to Kathmandu's rich historical legacy. Visitors seeking fun things to do in Kathmandu can marvel at the craftsmanship of Newari artisans, immerse in the grandeur of old royal complexes, and witness the living traditions that make this UNESCO World Heritage Site a dynamic hub of heritage and culture.

Kathmandu: Swayambhunath Stupa

What is it?
An ancient religious complex perched on a hilltop, offering panoramic views of the city.
Why you should go?
Known affectionately as the 'Monkey Temple,' Swayambhunath is not just one of the best Kathmandu tours but a spiritual journey. Kathmandu excursions here involve circumambulating the stupa, spinning prayer wheels, and soaking in the ambiance of serene chants. The ascent through the monkey-laden stairway leads to a magnificent vista, rewarding those who venture with a blend of spirituality and landscape.

Kathmandu: Pashupatinath Temple

What is it?
A sacred Hindu temple complex on the banks of the Bagmati River, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Why you should go?
As the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu, Pashupatinath stands as a beacon of faith and tradition. Its elaborate rituals, sadhus meditating, and the poignant sight of open-air cremations make it a profoundly moving experience. This place embodies the essence of what to see in Kathmandu, offering a deep dive into the spiritual heartbeat of Nepal.

Kathmandu: Thamel Neighborhood

What is it?
A bustling tourist hotspot brimming with shops, restaurants, and a labyrinth of streets to explore.
Why you should go?
Thamel stands as the epitome of what to do in Kathmandu for travelers seeking a lively urban atmosphere. A melting pot of cultures, it offers endless shopping, diverse dining options, and a nightlife that buzzes with energy. Explorers on Kathmandu tours will find Thamel's colorful alleys rich with opportunities for souvenir hunting and authentic encounters.

Kathmandu: Garden of Dreams

What is it?
A neoclassical historical garden, providing a tranquil escape from the city's hustle.
Why you should go?
The Garden of Dreams invites guests into an oasis of calm amidst the urban chaos. Known for its sophisticated design and quiet corners, it offers a haven for relaxation and reflection. Those looking for serene Kathmandu activities will appreciate the beautiful pavilions, fountains, and well-manicured flora that transport visitors back to a time of elegance and charm.

TOP-5 tours in Kathmandu for first time visitors

  • Discover the ancient heart of the city while exploring top things to see in Kathmandu, from the vibrancy of Durbar Square to the sacred Swayambhunath Stupa.
  • Delve into the spiritual essence of Pashupatinath, one of the most important places to visit in Kathmandu for an immersive experience of rituals and architecture.
  • For those pondering what to do in Kathmandu, an audio visit through the bustling streets of Thamel showcases the blend of culture, commerce, and crafts.
  • A trip to Boudhanath Stupa offers a serene and meditative exploration; indeed, one of the best things to do in Kathmandu for tranquility seekers.
  • Drench in the local heritage with Kathmandu activities that bring Garden of Dreams' lush landscapes and neoclassical charm to life through captivating storytelling.

Fun things to do in Kathmandu with kids

Unveiling a delightful side of Kathmandu that sparkles with family-friendly appeal, little explorers can enjoy a myriad of engaging activities. The Natural History Museum is a fascinating destination where the curious minds of children can delve into Nepal’s rich biodiversity. Interactive displays, dinosaur fossils, and a butterfly gallery ensure an educational adventure. For an energetic outdoor excursion, the fun-filled Kathmandu Fun Valley presents a water park with slides and pools, perfect for splashing away sunny days, alongside amusement rides that add to the laughter and excitement. Not to be missed, the Patan Zoo in Jawalakhel hosts an array of animals, which is the only zoo in Kathmandu, providing kids with the chance to encounter native and exotic wildlife and learn about conservation efforts. This delightful mix of educational and playful experiences are essential in rounding out the top attractions for families wondering about the best things to do in Kathmandu with their little ones.

Things to do in Kathmandu with family

Kathmandu invites families to discover its blend of culture, history, and fun through attractions tailored for all ages. Start with an immersive journey through the historical Bhaktapur Durbar Square; it's like stepping back in time with its ancient temples and traditional crafts, a superb educational experience for everyone. Next, the children can marvel at the eclectic species housed at the Central Zoo, Nepal's premier zoological garden, offering engaging insights into wildlife and conservation. Lastly, a visit to the Garden of Dreams provides a serene retreat, with enough space for kids to roam freely among the elegantly manicured lawns and pavilions, a perfect spot for a family picnic. This trio of attractions represents the diversity of things to do in Kathmandu with family, combining learning, wildlife exploration, and relaxation in the heart of the city.

Free things to do in Kathmandu

Explore Kathmandu without spending a rupee and still experience the city's cultural wealth and beauty. Meander through the bustling streets of Asan Tole, where the sensory overload is a treasure itself, offering a vivid glimpse into local life and traditional markets. Revel in the spiritual ambiance of the Boudhanath Stupa; although entrance to the main premises has a fee, the surrounding area is accessible free of charge and is perfect for absorbing the site's magnificence and observing the ritualistic circumambulations. Finally, soak in the panoramic cityscapes from the Swayambhunath Stupa outskirts—again, the main area requires a ticket, but the approach and peripheral points offer stunning views and a sense of tranquility amid the urban setting. These locations stand out as prime free things to do in Kathmandu, showcasing the city's vibrant culture, spirituality, and energy.

Cheap things to do in Kathmandu

Kathmandu caters to budget-conscious travelers with a plethora of inexpensive yet enriching activities. The vibrancy of Kathmandu's heritage is best witnessed firsthand in the historical enclaves of the city like the old bazaars and alleyways where culture thrives, and vibrant photo opportunities abound at no cost. A modest entrance fee allows access to the Patan Museum, housed in a beautiful courtyard of Patan Durbar Square, where the splendor of Nepalese art and history is on full display. Furthermore, enrich your understanding of Tibetan culture and spirituality with a visit to a traditional Tibetan Monastery. Many monasteries in and around the city welcome visitors to observe or even partake in daily rituals. These top attractions stand out as some of the most rewarding cheap things to do in Kathmandu, giving visitors an immersive experience of the local culture and spirituality without stretching your budget.

Things to do in Kathmandu for couples

Kathmandu, with its blend of history, culture and natural beauty, offers an array of romantic activities for couples. Start your journey hand-in-hand at the Garden of Dreams, a neoclassical oasis that offers a serene retreat from the city's bustle, perfect for leisurely strolls and quiet picnics. As the sun sets, make your way to one of the rooftop restaurants in the Thamel district, where you can dine under the stars with a view of the illuminated cityscape. Enjoy the flavors of Nepalese cuisine or international dishes as you soak in the ambiance. For an experience steeped in culture, a visit to the Patan Durbar Square in the evening lets you admire the city's architectural grandeur with far fewer crowds, offering a peaceful setting for couples to explore the rich heritage of the valley. These romantic destinations are sure to be highlights for couples looking to discover things to do in Kathmandu that cater to a shared sense of adventure and intimacy.

Things to do in Kathmandu at night

As the sun dips below the horizon, Kathmandu's nocturnal charm emerges. Begin the evening with the enchantment of Ason Bazaar, where the market lights flicker against the night, with vendors selling everything from aromatic spices to handcrafted souvenirs—perfect for a twilight shopping spree. Transition to the bustling streets of Thamel, the heart of Kathmandu nightlife. Thamel offers an array of bars, live music venues, and cafes to enjoy an evening out, where you can sample local brews, international cuisine, or simply enjoy the energetic atmosphere. For a gentler experience, take an evening stroll around the iconic Boudhanath Stupa. The stupa, breathtakingly lit, creates a serene ambiance for couples and solo travelers alike, inviting reflection or a quiet moment of togetherness. These evening outings provide a glimpse into the vibrant things to do in Kathmandu at night, each offering a unique perspective of the city's diverse nightlife.