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Best Time: September - November Read More

Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Nearest Airport: Kathmandu Check Flights

"The City of Peace"

Kathmandu Tourism

Kathmandu, the city of peace, lives true to this description. The city is charming, busy, bustling, serene, alive and asleep - all at once. The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is the most accessible city in the country - it is Nepal's only metropolitan city as well. From buying trekking equipment in Thamel or taking a rickshaw ride through traffic-packed alleys of the old part of the city or simply visiting the fascinating buildings in Durbar Squares, Kathmandu is truly a place filled with warmth.

Kathmandu is home to more than 1.5 million people. The city is at an altitude of a whopping 1400 metres or 4600 feet, which assures a blissful climate, all year long. Kathmandu, which is derived from the Pahari word for 'wood shelter', is an abode of serenity and tranquillity, with its monasteries, temples and spiritual melting pots. While the natural beauty of the city is more than enough for travellers to throng Kathmandu year after year, what sets it apart from other tourist destinations is the variety it offers - from spiritual awakening to adventure sports.

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Shopping in Kathmandu

Shopping in Kathmandu is an absolute must. The things you can shop for are limitless. Thamel is the centre for all things shopping. You'll find everything, from handicrafts to metal works, from paper works to clothes here. You can even shop at a mall. The local handicrafts and antiques are world-famous, and the handwoven cloths of the region are intricate and beautiful. Do buy Pashmina and Cashmere shawls while you're here, they are absolutely exquisite and a must-have!

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Nightlife in Kathmandu

Kathmandu isn't extensively known for its array of options when it comes to nightlife. That said, it does have a few options if you're looking for a place to hang out at and have a few drinks. A huge variety of cocktails and drinks, DJs and live performances, and an elaborate ambience make this a must-visit if it's a party you're looking for.

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Currency in Kathmandu

Visas and MasterCard are accepted in Kathmandu, however not every place has the option of paying via card so it's imperative that you always carry cash in NPR with yourself. No other currency is formally accepted, however, guides may sometimes accept tips in USD to exchange for NPR, usually resulting in getting higher tips.

Read more about the currency, exchange rates and more in Kathmandu.

Exchanging Money in Kathmandu

  • ATMs are easily available in the city and cash is dispensed in NPR only.
  • Major currencies such as GBP, USD, Euro, Yen or INR can be exchanged at the money changers.
  • ATMs of most banks levy a fee of NPR 750 per transaction and limit withdrawals to NPR 25000, so it's better to withdraw a fair bit of cash in one transaction.
  • Be careful of pickpockets and also be careful while using your cards.

Daily Budget for Kathmandu

Low Budget traveller: NPR 1300-1500 per head.
Medium Budget traveller: NPR 2300-2600
Luxury traveller: NPR 6000.

History of Kathmandu

Kathmandu was the centre of the Kingdom of Nepal. The Narayanhiti Royal Palace was the home and the workplace for the Monarch of Nepal and his family. The rule of different dynasties in Nepal has existed for centuries, with the Malla Dynasty being the first proper rulers of the land back in 1200. The 18th century saw the rise of the Gorkhas, who conquered a massive amount of land in the region and even Tibet, an action which saw severe retaliation by the Chinese and consequent defeat of the Gorkhas who had to retreat and relinquish control of Tibet and many trading centres. The Gorkhas were then replaced by the Shahs and the Ranas who had most of the influence and power.

(Source) Chariot procession in

Kathmandu in the late 19th century 

Throughout the 20th century, we have seen several changes in power, culminating finally in the first parliamentary elections in 1991 under the new constitution. One extremely horrifying incident that has occurred in the history of the city was the massacre of the royal family in 2001, in which the Crown Prince Dipendra shot and killed his father and King, Birendra, his mother, his brother and sister, and 5 other relatives in the Narayanhiti Royal Palace, and then killing himself 2 days later. The reason for this was suspected to be the family's rejection of his love interest, a Rana girl.

Kathmandu and Nepal, in general, are pestered with constant political unrest, protests, and Maoist insurgencies. In modern times, however, the city is growing exponentially with the construction of many luxury and residential building complexes and so on.

Language of Kathmandu

Nepali is the official language of the land and is spoken everywhere in the country. However, there is a significant population which can understand a fair bit of Hindi. Those dealing with tourists often have picked up a few English words as well. You can use words such as 'Namaste' for hello and 'Dhanyabaad' for thank you.

Kathmandu Customs

  • Dress Modest: Dressing in Nepal doesn't confine to strict or absolute norms for tourists. However, it is preferred that one does not dress scantily since it is not very fondly looked upon by the locals.
  • Be Vary of Scams: The locals, in general, are very welcoming to foreigners, but like any city, one must be careful of touts and cheats.
  • Greetings: Saying Namaste as a form of greeting is a common practice. Shaking of hands as a greeting is practised too, however, a man should not offer his hand to a woman unless he is offered it first.
  • Tipping Customs: Tips are often given in Nepal. In restaurants and hotels, 5 - 10% of the bill is sufficient. You can tip your guide anywhere between NPR 300 - 500 per day.

Restaurants and Local Food in Kathmandu

Undoubtedly the most famous food you'll find here is momos, a local dumpling. It can be steamed or fried, stuffed with chicken or veggies. The cuisines on offer are a mix of Tibetan and Indian, with a decent amount of variety available for both. Thamel hosts several restaurants of many different cuisines, ranging from local to Indian to oriental to even European. Some of these are local and some are for tourists, the latter being comparatively expensive.

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How To Reach Kathmandu

Kathmandu, being the capital, is fairly well connected. You can take buses from all around the country itself, and also from a wide option of cities in India. Kathmandu has an international airport as well, the only one in the country.

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