Travel blogger, Jen Lowthrop, shares her Kathmandu travel tips and the best things to see and do if you’re spending a few days in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu is an adventurous traveller’s paradise. There are plenty of cheap and simple places to stay, wifi in every restaurant and cafe and hundreds of friendly travellers just waiting to offer their top advice and make fun new memories with you.
Whether you are a seasoned traveller with a trusty backpack permanently attached, a holiday goer with only a couple of weeks to see the sites or a hardcore trekker just returned from Everest Base Camp, Kathmandu has everything for an amazing few days.
Here are three great ways to spend a day or two in Kathmandu.
Seeing the sights
There are so many incredible temples all over Kathmandu.
My favourite Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the monkey temple, which is, you guessed it… full of monkeys. They are everywhere and cute as anything but beware, they will stop at nothing and have been known to steal cameras. Don’t trust the monkeys!
Bodhnath is well worth a visit as it’s one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. You’ll see many Tibetan buddhists making their pilgrimage and meditating there too. Bodhnath is 7km north east of Kathmandu so it’s best reached in a taxi.
Another site to visit is the Kathmandu Garden of Dreams. You can while away a few hours sitting amongst the water fountains and statues and if you fancy food beyond the touristy Thamel they have a lovely restaurant. It’s a bit pricier than most restaurants in Nepal but it’s worth it for a tasty steak and fresh vegetables.
If you’re returning from a long trek
You’ve just trekked for two weeks from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and back. Your feet, legs and back ache, you’ve eaten nothing but simple pasta since you left for that scary flight to Lukla and you haven’t spoken to your family and friends to let them know how your trek went.
Kathmandu is well equipped for fixing your tired limbs and bringing you back up to full health. First check into one of the city’s more luxury hotels. They do exist and you will be sure to find air conditioning, plush comfy beds and full room service. Once you are checked in, showered and dressed in some fresh clothes, head to one of the many beauty clinics for a full body massage and perhaps a mani/pedi (boys you might want this too after EBC).
Now you’re almost up to full spec, head to the main town centre to try out one of the many international cuisines. Almost all restaurants and cafes have free wifi available for customers so you can send on those photos to your family and friends know you’re healthy and that you made it! You conquered the mountain and now you’re back to lap up the luxury. Nepal may not have the 5* infrastructure that Dubai or even Delhi might have but there are plenty of places to get your fix of all things fancy.
If you want to make lifelong friends
Nepal is full of travellers attracted to the beautiful mountains, the low costs and the super friendly locals. There are always plenty of people starting their epic journeys, ending a trip around Asia or volunteering for a few months so there are plenty of interesting people to meet. It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling alone or as part of a big group, you’re bound to make lifelong friends and make memories that will last forever.
Head down to Thamel to explore the hundreds of street stalls. Start off with some bargaining for souvenirs or fresh and tasty fruit. If you haven’t already struck up conversation with some friendly locals or fellow travellers then head to one of the cute cafes on the main street. They are filled with home baked cakes and fresh smoothies where you are sure to see more backpackers filling in their journals or tapping away updating their blogs. Nepal seemed to be the easiest place in the world to meet other travellers so just start a conversation and before you know it you will be off on an expedition to Chitwan National Park with new friends in the morning.
When night is falling there are tonnes of bars offering tasty cocktails before you head onwards to some of the small clubs in the area. Expect nothing but cheesy music and a whole lot of crazy dancing.
Nepal is a gorgeous country. The magnificent mountains would be enough to keep anyone entertained but there is so much more to see and do. But by far my favourite thing about Nepal is the people. They are some of the happiest, friendliest and most genuine people I have ever met and I can guarantee they will make you feel very welcome in beautiful Nepal.
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Jen is a freelance blogger and social media expert. She is always looking for the next adventure and her favourite thing to do in any city is wander the streets, stopping at little cafes and chatting to the locals. Jen spent a month in Nepal, trekking to Everest Base Camp, volunteering and enjoying the amazing places to see across this country like no other.
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