I arrived after a 35 hour long journey. Two stopovers, one in China and another 12 hour long layover in Bangladesh. My advice to you is try to find the most direct flight as possible. I wish I would have paid the extra $200 to get me there in good time. Customs was simple as pie and you collect your visa on arrival. Just go to the machines, type in all of your information and then head to the visa service fee desk to pay for your visa. As I mentioned in my “Travel tips for Nepal” entry a 30 day visa for Nepal is $40. They accept USD and other currencies to pay for your visa and just like that you enter Nepal.
CAUTION: If you plan to bring snacks and nutrition bars to Nepal be sure to carry them on. Mine were stolen betweeen California and Nepal, absolutely gut wrenching.
We booked a guest house on AirBnb before arriving to Kathmandu. I recommend staying in the Thamel district. This is the most developed area of Kathmandu with many shops, restaurants, live shows, and much more all walking distance. We stayed at Om Tara Guesthouse. It offers a lovely view from the roof terrace, great staff and was only about $11 a person for four nights. Through the AirBnb we organized a pickup from the airport for $7 to Thamel.
We enjoyed some beers on the roof for sunset and met a couple fellow travelers from Israel before heading out on the streets. Kathmandu is city of cobblestone dusty streets with shops lining both sides and heaps of cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and people everywhere. It's a very busy area, alive and rich in culture.
We ventured to Monkey Temple one day. I've never seen so many monkeys in my life. They even had a swimming pool for the monkeys to jump off the ledge. Watch out for your belongings and water bottles because they will come up and steal them from you. My friend Gino learned first hand. We found a few local joints for delicious food and took advantage of the delicious samosas offered on the street. Below you will find a list of delicious local restaurants to try.
Kathmandu is a big bustling city. If you want to get out for a day I recommend taking a day trip to Nagarkot. It’s a small town on the top of a mountain. You can walk along the panoramic hiking trail for fabulous views of the rice fields and mountains... Depending on where you start and finish your trek it can last 2-5 hours. We took a cab for $10 each for the ride from Kathmandu and back. It takes two hours each way to get there, but the ride is fascinating and beautiful.
If you aren’t too templed out from visiting parts of Asia already there are countless temples, stupas and religious sites to visit around Kathmandu. The Pashuputibath Temple is one of the most well known temples and is located on the river.
We spent most of our time venturing around the local markets and doing as the locals did.
If you are planning on trekking be sure to get your Tim’s Card and other permits at the Department of Tourism office in Kathmandu. This is the cheapest place to get permits. I recommend going early as the office closes at 4pm and gets jam packed later in the day.
I recommend only spending a few days in Kathmandu. Once you leave the city you’ll see that Nepal is full of small and beautiful towns and villages much more appealing than the big city of Kathmandu.
Things to do:
- Monkey Temple
- Day trip to Nagarkot
- Pashupatinath Temple- sacred Hindu temple with cremation center
- Bargain around the shops
- Prepare for your trek, shop around the local markets for cheaper gear
- Garden of Dreams
- Cable Car in Chandragiri
- Boudanhath Stupa
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Kopan Monastery
Where to eat:
- Lumbini Lok Priya Tandoori Restaurant
- Fresh samosas stand on the street
- Kung Fu Noodle
- Phat Kath - Western more pricey restaurant.
- Cafe Nirvana - On the way to monkey temple. Offers a beautiful view of Kathmandu
- New Star Cafe Special Hukka and Restaurant
- Western Tandoori - amazing local Indian joint! Great curries and dhal bat.
- Gupta Bhojanalya- Delicious local vegetarian restaurant. Amazing curries!
Where to stay:
- Om Tara Guesthouse - $15 per night
- Hotel Horizon - $15 per night
Don’t forget to look for the small restaurants that are popping with locals. You’ll find the best food and get the true experience of Nepal! Enjoy your time in Kathmandu!