15 Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu Valley
Are you looking for the best places to visit in the Kathmandu Valley? If yes, then you are in the right place. This blog helps you learn about the 15 best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley.
Nepal is world-famous for trekking, so thousands of tourists visit annually. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city in Nepal. The city of Kathmandu stands as a testament to Nepal’s rich history, vibrant culture, and enduring spirituality. So, it’s worth spending a few days exploring the city before or after the trip.
You can visit Kathmandu before embarking on your Nepal adventure or after your trek. This city promises an immersive cultural and historical journey that complements the trip. Including Kathmandu in the itinerary is not only an option; this is the perfect step to understand fully and appreciate Nepal’s beauty.
This is one of the most popular places in Nepal to access the Himalayas and all other outdoor activities. You need more than a day to navigate and explore this city, so add at least two days.
Here are some compelling reasons to include Kathmandu Valley in your itinerary:
Historical and cultural heritage sites:
Kathmandu is home to seven of Nepal’s 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites have ancient temples, stupas, and palaces.
Vibrant markets and street life:
In the heart of Kathmandu, Thamel is a tourist hub full of hustle and bustle. It is famous for its vibrant atmosphere, lively streets, and many shops. It is an excellent market for souvenirs, traditional crafts, clothing, and local cuisine.
Arts and Crafts:
Kathmandu is famous for its intricate arts and crafts. This city has many traditional Newari wood carvings, thangka paintings, and handmade jewelry.
Kathmandu offers a variety of food experiences. You can find it in this city, from street food stalls to high-end restaurants serving traditional Nepali dishes. Exploring local cuisine is a delicious way to connect with culture.
Gateway to Adventure:
Kathmandu serves as the gateway to trekking routes. Many treks and adventure activities start in Kathmandu, making it a good starting point for exploring the Himalayas.
Nepalis are famous worldwide for their warm hospitality. Engaging with locals can give you valuable cultural, traditional, and lifestyle insights.
Festivals and Celebrations:
Kathmandu hosts various lively festivals throughout the year. If your visit coincides with the festivals, you will get a chance to witness cultural celebrations.
Although Kathmandu is a busy and bustling city, you will never get bored with the many tourist spots. So, if you are ready to explore Kathmandu, here are the 15 best places to visit.
1. Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. It is a historical and cultural complex located in the heart of Kathmandu. Durbar Square is a fascinating testament to Nepal’s rich history and artistic heritage. It attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world.
Another name for Kathmandu Durbar Square is Hanumandhoka Durbar Square. It is one of the 7 World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu Valley. This place is a must-visit for tourists who want to explore the rich heritage of Nepal. The site has a fascinating history of the Malla and Shah dynasties that ruled from the 12th to the 18th centuries.
It is an important historical site in Nepal, as it was the center of power for the Malla and Shah kings. Over the centuries, it has played an important role in political, economic, social, and cultural development.
The square was the site of the royal palace of the Malla dynasty. There are old palaces, temples, shrines, and courtyards. The most notable structures in the square are Hanumandhoka Darbar, Kumari Ghar, Taleju Temple, and Kaal Bhairava Temple. With intricate carvings, stunning courtyards, and ornate doors, this palace is an excellent example of traditional Nepalese architecture.
Durbar Square is still a living cultural center in Nepal. Many traditional artisans sell their wares in the surrounding streets. Various festivals and cultural events are organized at this place, which gives a glimpse of the vibrant cultural heritage of Nepal.
Entry Fee: For SAARC nationals, Rs. 150, and other tourists, Rs. 1000.
2. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. It is one of Nepal’s important World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO in Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is an ancient city about 13 kilometers east of Kathmandu’s capital.
Bhaktapur is also known as Bhadgaon, which means “city of devotees”. Founded in the 12th century, Bhaktapur was one of the three major kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley. Durbar Square was the city’s cultural, political, and economic center at that time. This city was once the capital of the Malla Empire.
The site is a group of palaces, temples, and courtyards that were once the center of Bhaktapur city. This site is famous for its rich history, architecture, and cultural significance. It has four distinct sections: Durbar Square, Toumdhi Square, Dattatreya Square, and Pottery Square.
The Palace of 55 Windows, the Golden Gate, the Nytapola Temple, etc., are notable landmarks of the square. The palace with 55 windows was built in the 15th century during the reign of the Malla kings. Nyatapola Temple is a five-story pagoda-style temple. The temple is famous for its intricate woodwork and stone carvings. Dedicated to Goddess Siddhi Lakshmi, this temple is the tallest building in Durbar Square.
Tourists come to admire Bhaktapur Durbar Square’s historical architecture and cultural heritage. This is a must-visit site for anyone interested in Nepal’s history and culture.
Entry Fee: For SAARC nationals and Chinese citizens, Rs. 500, and for other tourists, Rs. 1800.
3. Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. It is in Lalitpur, a city in the Kathmandu Valley. This city is also known as Patan. Patan Durbar Square is home to important buildings and temples from Nepal’s religious and cultural history. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an excellent example of Newari architecture.
This heritage site developed and expanded during the Malla dynasty, from the 12th to the 18th centuries. At that time, Patan became a center of art, architecture, and religion. The palace was the site of many important ceremonies and rituals during the reign of the Malla kings. Its structures are important for their religious and historical significance and unique architecture. It is a must-visit place for those interested in Nepal’s history, culture, and traditional Newari architecture.
The Krishna temple inside the complex is one of the most famous and attractive. Built in the 17th century, the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is one of the major deities in Hinduism. It is a Shikhar-style temple where you can see a masterpiece of Newari architecture. Sundari Chowk, Bhimsen Temple, Taleju Temple, Patan Museum, Golden Temple, etc. are also notable landmarks of this place.
Entry Fee: For SAARC countries, Rs. 250, and other tourists, Rs. 1000.
4. Bouddhanath stupa
Bouddhnath Stupa is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. It is one of the most important and iconic landmarks in Nepal. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the largest stupas in the world. This stupa was built by the Lichchavi dynasty, which ruled Nepal in the 5th century AD. Yet the exact date of its construction is still unknown.
The Boudhanath Stupa is an important symbol of Nepal’s Buddhist culture and heritage. It has been a religious site for over 1,500 years. It is worth visiting with its vibrant atmosphere, unique architecture, and historical significance.
The stupa is a magnificent structure with a height of 36 meters and a diameter of over 100 meters. It is a sacred religious place for Buddhists and a cultural and social center. The beautiful architecture and peaceful atmosphere make this place a popular tourist destination.
Every day, hundreds of people come to walk clockwise around the stupa, spin prayer wheels, and chant mantras. The stupa is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it lively and bustling. Visitors can enjoy local cuisine and shopping while admiring the beauty of the stupa. It is an ideal place to learn about Buddhist stupas’ rich history and culture.
Entry Fee: For SAARC countries, Rs. 100, and other tourists, Rs. 400.
Visit Also:- Best Treks in Nepal for Beginners
5. Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath Temple is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. It is one of the most important and iconic landmarks in Nepal. The temple is a Hindu temple complex located on the banks of the Bagmati River. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Shiva is one of the major deities in Hinduism.
This temple complex has over 500 temples, shrines, and other structures. The structure of the main temple is in pagoda style. This temple was built in the 5th century, though the current structure dates back to the 17th century. Apart from the main temple, the complex has other important temples and structures dedicated to various Hindu deities.
Many important festivals and events take place in the temple complex throughout the year. Mahashivratri is the most important festival celebrated at this place. Celebrated in February or March, this festival attracts thousands of pilgrims. The Bagmati River behind the temple is sacred to Hindus for ritual bathing and funerals.
As a World Heritage Site and an important Hindu cultural center, the temple attracts thousands of visitors and pilgrims. Although the 2015 earthquake caused some damage, the temple has been restored and is open to visitors.
Entry Fee: Free for Indian citizens and other tourists Rs. 1000.
6. Swayambhunath Stupa
Swayambhunath Stupa is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. This stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nepal located on a small hill. It is one of the oldest and most important stupas in Nepal. This place has many monkeys; hence, it is also known as the Monkey Temple. It is a sacred religious pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
The structure dates back to the 14th century, but the stupa is believed to have been built in the 5th century. A stupa is a huge, dome-shaped structure. It looks beautiful, with colorful prayer flags, wheels, and intricate carvings. It is a remarkable place that reflects Nepal’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
This place of religious importance for Buddhists and Hindus is located in a peaceful location. Its architecture, art, and natural beauty make it a must-visit destination in Kathmandu. You can climb a steep staircase leading up to the stupa at the top of the hill. From the top, you can see the panoramic views of Kathmandu city and the surrounding mountains.
Entry Fee: For SAARC countries, Rs. 50, and other tourists, Rs. 200.
7. Garden of Dreams
The Garden of Dreams is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. This place is known as ‘Swapna Bagaicha’ and the Garden of Six Seasons.’ It is a historic and charming neo-classical garden near Thamel’s bustling area. Due to its central location, it is accessible to both locals and tourists.
The garden was built by Kishore Narasimha in 1920. It is also home to many classical concerts, corporate functions, and cultural events. If you want to relax in a beautiful and peaceful garden, this is the perfect place. There is also a library inside where you can read books. Enjoy delicious snacks and piping-hot beverages at the cafe. You can also visit the gallery for unique artwork.
The garden has enthralled all the tourists visiting this place. It is a place that soothes your body, mind, and soul with its charm. The garden offers a calm and peaceful escape from the bustling urban environment. The garden’s center has a stunning fountain to relax and soak in the peaceful atmosphere. Whether looking for a moment of solitude or dreaming of a romantic stroll, the garden is a must-visit destination.
Timing: 9:00 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Entry Fee: Adult: NPR 320, Child: NPR 160
8. Ason Bazar
Ason Bazaar is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. It is a famous local market street in Ason, Kathmandu. The main square of Asan Bazaar is always crowded with people buying and selling goods. You can find everything in this market, from vegetables and fish to clothes, jewelry, and spices. Interacting with local merchants provides insight into the stories behind their products.
Ason is a pleasant market frequented by locals for daily essentials. It is the best place in Kathmandu to buy groceries, clothes, and religious items. Vendors bring in fresh produce every morning, and the market is busy until sunset. Apart from the market, you can visit some Asan Tol sites. It has the famous Annapurna Ajima, Ganesh, and Narayan Temple.
This ancient trading center is the lifeline of Kathmandu and local traders. Ason is a must-visit destination for those who want to see the unique side of Nepal’s local markets. Its fascinating handicrafts and rich history offer an enchanting and memorable experience. If you want to combine an authentic piece of Nepali culture with the local lifestyle, Asan Bazaar is the perfect destination.
Thamel is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. It is one of Kathmandu’s most popular and crowded commercial centers. It is also a tourist hub with many trekking companies, travel agencies, and hotels. The streets are always crowded with pedestrians, cycle rickshaws, taxis, bicycles, and two-wheelers.
Art galleries and handicraft shops showcase the work of local artisans. Thamel is also home to many restaurants that offer delicious and varied cuisine. It is a major entertainment destination where you can find bars, clubs, and casinos, most of which are open 24 hours a day. Casinos are the focal point of the nightlife happening in the area. Narrow alleys, colorful shops, and diverse cuisine make Thamel a must-visit place.
10. Kopan Monastery
Kopan Monastery is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. Perched on a hilltop, the Kopan Monastery is a peaceful haven of spirituality, education, and self-discovery. This place offers panoramic views of the valley and the surrounding mountain peaks. Kopan Monastery is a holistic learning, meditation, and personal transformation center. The serene surroundings make it an ideal place for contemplation and meditation.
One of the main attractions that attracts tourists is its meditation retreats. Anyone can explore Buddhist principles and engage in spiritual practices. The monastery offers a variety of meditation retreats and programs.
The architecture and artwork of the monastery are a combination of traditional Tibetan aesthetics and contemporary design. Intricate murals, thangka paintings, and sculptures adorn the monastery’s halls. The monastery presents itself as a hidden gem that transcends the boundaries of religious and spiritual exploration.
11. Narayanhiti Palace Museum
Narayanhiti Palace Museum is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. Among the historical treasures of Nepal, it is located in the bustling city of Kathmandu. The Narayanhiti Palace Museum is located east of the famous Kaiser Mahal near Thamel. This museum was once a royal palace. It provides cultural heritage and a unique opportunity to learn about the transition from monarchy to democracy.
Narayanhiti Palace stands as a testament to Nepal’s architectural grandeur. Built in the mid-20th century, the palace served as the residence of the Shah monarchy. The dynasty dominated the political and social landscape of Nepal for generations. This building is proof of Nepal’s history, cultural heritage, and capacity for transformation.
It is significant because of the ‘Royal Family Massacre’ in 2001. On June 1, 2001, King Birendra, his wife, and family members were massacred by Prince Dipendra. Dipendra shot himself in the head after injuring his family members. The mystery of the murder has never been revealed. However, it is said that Dipendra killed them because of his girlfriend.
In 2008, Nepal was declared a democratic and secular state. After democracy, Narayanhiti was converted into a museum in 2009 and opened to the public. Spread over 3794 square meters, it was built in the late Victorian style of architecture. Once a royal residence and now a museum, this building stands as a bridge between Nepal’s royal past and its vibrant present. It is a must-visit place for anyone who wants to know the history of Nepal’s royal family.
Timings: 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. and closed on Tuesday
Nepali Nationals: NPR 100
Students: NPR 20
SAARC Nationals: NPR 250
Other foreign nationals: NPR 500
12. Shivapuri National Park
Shivapuri National Park is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. Located on the northern outskirts of Kathmandu, this park is famous for day hikes. Spread over about 159 square kilometers, it provides shelter for wildlife and birds. The park encompasses diverse ecosystems ranging from subtropical forests to alpine meadows.
This route is popular for bird watching, hiking, and cycling. It is also the closest national park to Kathmandu Valley. The hilltop offers an eagle’s-eye view of the Kathmandu Valley and its surroundings. The hike takes you to villages, where you can learn about the customs and traditions of the local people.
It is a top destination for nature and wildlife lovers close to Kathmandu. The most popular route for trekkers is the Nagi Gompa trek. Nagi Gompa is a beautiful Buddhist monastery inside the park. Located in a peaceful and beautiful place, this monastery is sacred to Buddhists. The park offers an opportunity to explore the beauty of nature and soak in the tranquility.
At a height of 2,732 meters, Shivpuri Peak is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. There are ancient shrines and stupas on the top of the hill, which attract pilgrims and devotees. This hike suits people of all ages, as it is a short and pleasant trip near Kathmandu. From the top of the hill, you can view Langtang, Rowling, Ganesh Himal, Dorje Lakpa, etc.
For Foreigners: Nepal Currency Rupees 1000
SAARC countries nationalities: Nepal Currency: Rupees 600
Nepali Citizens: Nepal Currency Rupees 100
13. Changu Narayan Temple
Changu Narayan Temple is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley. This temple is located in Bhaktapur, a city in the Kathmandu Valley. This historic UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered the oldest temple in Nepal.
Changu Narayan Temple has a deep spiritual significance for Nepali people. It is one of the most important temples for Hindus in Nepal. It is also a popular tourist destination where thousands of tourists visit.
This temple, believed to have been built in the 4th century, is dedicated to the Lord. However, the current structure dates back to the 17th century.
Its name, ‘Changu, is derived from the local deity ‘Changunarayan.’ It is often called a living museum of Nepali art due to its exquisite sculptures and carvings. These intricate carvings provide invaluable insight into ancient Nepal’s artistic, cultural, and religious practices.
Intricate woodwork and well-crafted stone carvings showcase the finest examples of Newari architecture. One of the most notable features of the temple is the Garuda pillar. A stone pillar erected in front of this temple is an amazing sculpture of the mythical half-man, half-bird creature Garuda.
Devotees flock to the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu and immerse themselves in the serene surroundings. Situated on the top of a small hill, this temple offers a peaceful atmosphere to its visitors.
Visitors enjoy its architectural marvels and the panoramic views of the surrounding valley. This ancient spiritual site offers an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Nepal. It is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Nepal’s rich traditions.
Entry Fee: For SAARC nationals, Rs. 100, and other tourists, Rs. 300.
14. National Museum of Nepal
The National Museum of Nepal is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. This national museum is the custodian of the nation’s rich cultural heritage. It exhibits various artifacts that glimpse the country’s history, art, and traditions. Established in 1928 as the Chauni Museum, it was later renamed the National Museum.
The museum reflects Nepal’s journey from the establishment of the monarchy to the transition to a democratic nation. This museum has been established to preserve Nepal’s cultural artifacts and historical heritage. It has become an important institution for locals and tourists seeking to explore the diverse heritage of Nepal.
It offers a comprehensive view of the country’s past and present, from ancient to contemporary artifacts. The museum shows many archaeological artifacts, including sculptures, inscriptions, and ceramics. The museum also exhibits intricate religious artifacts representing Hinduism and Buddhism. Carved wooden statues and religious objects reflect the spiritual aspects of Nepal’s history.
It attracts tourists, scholars, and researchers who want to know the heritage of Nepal. A visit to the National Museum of Nepal is a journey through time that provides a vivid picture of Nepal’s past, present, and future.
15. Chandragiri Hill Cable Car
Chandragiri Hill Cable Car in Nepal is another one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu. It offers a unique opportunity to embark on a breathtaking journey up the hills via the cable car system. You can get stunning panoramic Kathmandu Valley views from Chandragiri Hill.
It has historical and religious significance as well as natural beauty. This hill is believed to have been the meditation place of the great emperor Ashoka in ancient times. People believe this hill was the meditation place of the great emperor Ashoka in ancient times. Hence, this place is an excellent destination for peace and adventure seekers. The cable car offers visitors a safe, efficient, and exciting mode of transportation. The cable car journey ascends through lush, green forests and steep terrain.
Its cabins offer large windows that reveal the beauty of the landscape. As the cable car goes up, it offers passengers a breathtaking view of the Kathmandu Valley. After reaching the hilltop station, you enter an area where history, spirituality, and modernity converge. The Bhaleshwar Mahadev Temple on the top of the hill is a religious site and a testament to Nepal’s spiritual heritage.
The view tower of the place is one of the major highlights. It offers 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, including the Langtang and Annapurna ranges. The Chandragiri Hill complex has restaurants serving both local and international cuisines. You can enjoy traditional Nepali food while looking at the picturesque landscape below.