Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, never sleeps. The bustling streets are in constant movement and there is no way to stop. Go with the flow and let yourself be a part of this mixture of colors, sounds and scents. Dedicate a little more time to it and don’t be just a passenger. There are many reasons why you should spend more than one day in Kathmandu, but the following ten might convince you.But first, we ask for a second of your time: click here and like our Facebook page! Thank you!
1. You get to see Durbar Square properly
You haven’t been to Kathmandu unless you’ve seen Durbar Square. The earthquake in 2015 was merciless to many of its monuments and damaged or totally destroyed some of them. Durbar Square, a complex of temples and shrines and a world heritage site, was not an exception. However, you still need at least half a day to see it properly. The city actually offers a ticket that you can prolong in case you want to come another day. All you need is your passport and two passport pictures.
The buildings that you can still admire are for example the Kumari-ghar, where the living goddess Kumari resides. You can sit on the stairs of the Shiva-Parbati temple and absorb the atmosphere around you. The area around the Jagannath Temple is so beautiful and fascinating that you will want to spend time just observing all that movement. The Hanuman Dhoka Palace will bring a lot of interesting historical facts. One of the most popular temples of the complex is the stunning Mahendreshwor Temple dedicated to Shiva. If you want to find out as much as possible about Durbar Square there are a lot of local guides. They will be more than happy to accompany you on your tour.
2. You have a better chance to spot Kumari
As we’ve mentioned already, Kumari is a living goddess, the incarnation of Taleju. She resides in Kumari-ghar, Durbar Square, together with her family and priestess. Her story is both enchanting and sad. She has to go through a strict process of selection and her life as a goddess only lasts until her bleeding starts. Afterwards it is difficult for her to lead a normal life. The Nepali also believe it brings bad luck to . Once in a while (the locals claim around 9-10pm) Kumari shows herself in one of the windows of the courtyard together with her priestess. It is strictly forbidden to take pictures of her. We were not lucky enough to spot her in two days, maybe you will!
3. You can take a spiritual journey around Kathmandu
One day in Kathmandu is just not enough to see all the sacred places as the city is literally packed with them. Temples, burial sites, shrines… Just name it. It would be a pity not to take things slow. One of our favorite activities was to find a nice spot and just watch.
Start with Swayambhunath at sunrise. You will not only have a great view of the city but you will get to see the Nepali doing their religious rituals with the breathtaking stupa (a Buddhist monument used to store relics or meditate) in the middle. To understand Hinduism more proceed to Pashupatinath. This temple is also used for Hinduist burial ceremonies, which are truly impressive. The last stop on your spiritual journey could be the stupa Boudhanath. Located in a picturesque square, it is a little bigger than Swayambhunath and you can actually climb on it and walk around clockwise. Afterwards visit the Buddhist monastery in the square. You might get to talk to one of the monks.
4. You can explore more of the hidden temples
It would take you weeks to count all the temples and shrines in Kathmandu. Many of them are not included in any tourist guides. You don’t really need one to find them. Just get lost in the tiny streets. You’ll be amazed at the quantity of hidden courtyards, shrines and stupas. Most probably there will be nobody around so you can enjoy the peace and contemplate.
5. You can see more religious ceremonies
The Nepali always celebrate something, usually right in the street. Even if you spend just one day in Kathmandu the probability of coming across a religious ceremony is very high. In five days we saw around four of them. Unless you understand a little about Buddhism or Hinduism, you will have no idea what they are about. It doesn’t really matter as they are so beautiful and colourful that they will make you stop and watch. You can ask one of the bystanders for some details if you get curious.
6. You get to try more Nepali dishes
Kathmandu is like one huge hive of shops, workshops, bistros and restaurants. Most of them are very cheap and offer traditional Nepali dishes such as momos (dumplings filled with vegetables, cheese or meat) or dal bhat (rice, lentil soup, curry, spinach and pickles). However, if you decide to spend more than one day in Kathmandu you can explore more of them. We also recommend trying some typical street food. We fell in love with samosas, which is fried dish filled mostly with potatoes and beans.
7. You can take a cooking class
The previous point leads to the next one: How about learning to cook all those great dishes? You can watch different recipes or tutorials on the internet but it’s not the same as a live cooking class. We simply love to watch people cooking and the local kitchen masters will show you how to work with ingredients and spices properly. In just half a day you can prepare a complete Nepali lunch/ dinner. The best part of it is that you get to eat it all afterwards! To see what to expect from a Nepali cooking class check the following link.
8. You have time to relax in the Garden of the Dreams
A traveler’s life is not always rainbows and butterflies. Walking all day long and sightseeing, especially in hot weather, can make you exhausted. Sometimes all you need is to slow down and take a deep breath. Dedicate some time to yourself and spend an afternoon doing nothing. We found a perfect place, where you can lie in the shadow and read or take a nap. The Garden of Dreams is not big but it offers a perfect hideaway far from the madding crowd. A good idea is to bring some food with you and make a picnic. There will be tiny squirrels running all around you!
9. You can go on a shopping spree
The first thing that most tourists and travelers buy in Nepal are the popular large colourful and patterned pants (we are no exceptions to the rule). Kathmandu is full of different kinds of shops…and the majority of them are super cheap. You just have to bargain a little to reduce the exaggerated price sellers tell you at the beginning. Even if you are not a souvenir type of person, it is hard to leave empty-handed. Sports equipment, jewelry, clothes, books or shoes: You can buy anything. There is a market place called Asan Tole, where they offer you all the spices of the world.
10. You can visit Patan
And finally the cherry on top. If you stay more than one day in Kathmandu, you can take a nice day trip to Patan. It is a nice historical town around 20 minutes from Thamel. For the adventurers we recommend taking a local bus rather than a taxi. Lalitpur, which is the ancient name of Patan, has its own Durbar Square. Just like the one Kathmandu, not even this one was spared from the ravaging of the earthquake. Several temples and buildings are damaged and you can only admire them from behind the fence. This however doesn’t diminish the beauty of the place.
What fascinated us even more was the breathtaking Golden Temple in one of the streets close to Durbar Square. If you are lucky you get to see a religious ceremony inside the temple. Patan is culturally rich in general since it has a long tradition of ancient arts and crafts. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site and many diplomats and ambassadors choose to live there.
What other things could be included in the list? Let us know in the comments and share the post with your friends!