How to spend two days in Kathmandu
Some fun ways to spend 48 hours in Kathmandu, Nepal
Adventurers come to Nepal from all over the world. Almost all Nepal trips involve spending time in Kathmandu before your adventures. You can spend time exploring ancient monuments, Royal Palaces, and the maze of streets. Kathmandu is known for being overcrowded with heavy traffic, dust, and pollution. Yet, there is grace beyond all the madness. Kathmandu is home to some of the most charismatic shrines in the narrow streets, ancient temples, along Buddhist Stupas that have earned World Heritage Site status.
Get your bearings
Kathmandu Durbar Square, the old city, is in the heart of Kathmandu. Thamel, the central tourist district’s maze of shops, hotels, restaurants, and trekking agencies, is north of Kathmandu Durbar Square. The Bagmati River borders Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts to the south. Lalitpur means the city of fine arts, great for great artwork, wood carvings, paintings, and handmade statues. The up-market shopping centres and foreign embassies lie in the city’s eastern part. Bhaktapur Durbar Square, a living museum, lies 13 km east. It is an exciting place where you can easily spend half a day wandering around the maze of ancient streets. You can get around by walking, hiring a bike, taxis, rickshaws, feeling adventurous, and going on a local bus.
Walking tour of Swayambhunath Stupa and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
You can take a taxi to the bottom of the stupa and walk up the 400 steps to Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey temple, because of the Rhesus’ sheer presence of macaques. You can get a great view of the sprawling Kathmandu valley. The climb up the stairs makes it a worthwhile trip to this 5th-century monument. The entrance is approximate $3.00.
You can walk down the steps and head towards the Kathmandu Durbar square via the back streets of Kathmandu, which can quickly take you back a couple of centuries. This world heritage site has palaces, shrines, and temples built between the 12th and 18th centuries. You can mingle with the flower sellers, hawkers peddling souvenirs, other tourists, and orange-clad Sadhus or hermits. The entrance ticket is about $10. Next, you can walk towards Thamel via Ason, the old spice market on the crowded narrow streets with numerous shops, and have lunch at Thamel. Try out the local cuisine of momo – steamed or fried dumplings with meat or vegetable fillings.
There is a lot of shopping in Kathmandu; it is a shopper’s paradise. You can buy anything from prayer flags and singing bowls to wooden sculptures to hand-painted Thangkas. Thamel has many shops selling cheap locally manufactured or international brands of trekking gear. It is also great for buying music or movie DVDs and books.
Dinner with Cultural Shows
There is Thamel house for an evening of cultural show and Nepalese meal, or you can take a short 15-minute walk towards Jai Nepal movie hall to Utsav Restaurant. They hold daily cultural performances, and you can have a set Nepalese dinner for around $15. The cultural show presents dances from various ethnic groups of Nepal. The meal is quite an elaborate spread.
The one-hour mountain flight in a turboprop aircraft is considered one of the world’s best scenic flights. Buddha Air and Yeti airlines operate this early morning from the domestic terminal of Tribhuvan international airport. The current airfare is US$190. If money is no object, you can charter a helicopter and fly above Everest base camp, stop for a few minutes at Kalapathar 5400meters to take photos, and pass down to Kongde ridge for a champagne breakfast at the highest resort in the world for an experience of a lifetime. This costs $8000 to be shared by up to 6 persons.
Great breakfast option.
You can take a taxi to the legendary Mike’s breakfast. It is an institution and is very well known in Kathmandu. There is a great variety of American and Mexican breakfasts on the menu. Don’t forget to try the ultra-delicious Eggs Benedict and their great pancakes.
Boudhanath Stupa used to be the world’s largest stupa and is still one of the biggest. You can witness pilgrims and tourists going around the stupa in a clockwise direction. You can also hear the Buddhist chant of Om Mane Padme Hung being played by the numerous music shops. Thus, you can enjoy peacefulness just a few meters away from the chaos of the city. The entrance fee is $2.
Now is the time to go crazy shopping for gifts and souvenirs you have been eyeing since your arrival. Shop till you drop and help the local economy!
Pubs and Bars
Thamel is a great place for bar hopping in the numerous pubs, and the nightlife there is vibrant. You can try Sam’s bar, or if you happen to be there on Tuesdays or Fridays, visit the House of Music behind Hotel Malla. HOM holds open mike on Tuesdays, and they have live cover bands on Fridays. Sometimes they also host touring international bands.
Dining with the locals
There are so many dining options in Kathmandu. Try the pizza at Fire and Ice or Italian at the Alchemy, Korean, or Japanese, or if you feel lazy, you can order takeaway from Foodmandu.com. You can also experience fine dining at the Chimney Restaurant.
You will wonder where the 48 hours flew and made you ready for a more extended visit to Nepal soon.