Top 10 places to visit around Kathmandu
As a country that highlights natural and cultural harmony, Nepal is a developing tourism industry. When people think of Nepal the first thing that pops up is Mount Everest and trekking in snowcapped mountains, walking through steamy jungles and white-water rafting. But to their surprise, there are still too many exotic places within easy reach of Kathmandu which are not too hard on the pocket as well.
The very first impression of Kathmandu remains as a crowded city with arresting Himalayan backdrop. The city is crowded and chaotic yet delightful. With so many interesting places to visit around Kathmandu, you could never be bored here and should ensure to spend at least a few days here in Kathmandu on your visit to Nepal.
Within the Kathmandu valley and just 30 minutes drive from Thamel, you will find the beautiful city of Bhaktapur. The ancient city of Bhaktapur lies in the Eastern part of Kathmandu Valley which is also known as Bhadgaon or Khwopa. The ancient Newari city, Bhaktapur was renowned as the city of temples, craftworks, cultures, and tradition which holds still true in the present day.
The key diversion of Bhaktapur is the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, which is the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom. Listed in the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE, the Bhaktapur durbar square consists of four distinct squares: Durbar Square, Pottery Square, Taumadhi Square, and Dattatreya Square. Being influenced by the traditional Newari architecture the durbar square vividly showcases the skills of the Newari artists and craftsmen.
The major attraction of Bhaktapur durbar square includes the 55 windows palace, Nyatapola temple, Golden gate, and the Bhairav Nath Temple. The durbar square proper houses the 55 window palace which was home to the Royalty until 1769. The royal palace was originally situated at the Dattatreya square and was later moved to the current Durbar Square Location.
Entry Fee for Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
For Nepali: free
For foreign Nationals: NRs 1500
For SAARC Nationals: Nrs 500
Once a fiercely independent city-state, Patan is currently a suburb of Kathmandu separated by the Bagmati river. Patan is merely 5 km away from Kathmandu but it’s preserved ancestral uniqueness distinguished Patan as a different environment. Confusingly, it is also known as Lalitpur “city of beauty”.
Patan also boasts a Durbar Square all-encompassing temples, statues, palaces, and museums. Patan is a city of 55 utmost temples, 136 Buddhist monasteries, fine metal works, and uncountable festivals.Patan, being a traditional center of handicrafts is a great place to purchase jewelry, Buddha statues and sculptures.
Situated at the center of the wonderful city Lalitpur, Patan Durbar square is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided. The Durbar square holds Krishna Mandir in its premises which were built by Sidhhi Narsingh Malla. Take some time to wander around the Patan Museum to view over 1000 artifacts about Buddhist and Hindu divinities.
Entry Fee for Patan Durbar Square:
For Nepali: free
For foreign Nationals: NRs 1000
For SAARC Nationals: NRS 250
3. Kathmandu Durbar Square
The Kathmandu Durbar square is a landmark historic attraction located in the heart of the capital city of Kathmandu. The durbar premise is so intriguing that it never fails to impress visitors with complex wood carvings and rich history.The complex held the palaces of the kings who ruled over the city during the Malla period.
The preference for the construction of the palaces in the premise dates back to the Lichhavi period. Durbar Square is made of two sub-areas. The outer complex is renowned for numerous interesting temples as Kumari Ghar, Kasthamandap, Shiv-Parbati Temple, Jagannath Temple,l, etc, while the inner complex comprises the old palace area, Hanuman-Dhoka, and its courtyards as Nasal Chowk, Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, Basantapur Durbar and others.
Entry Fee for Kathmandu Durbar Square:
For Nepali: free
For foreign Nationals: NRs 1000
For SAARC Nationals: Nrs 150
Located 30km to the east of Kathmandu Valley, Dhulikhel is a major part of Kathmandu valley cultural trekking trail. Dhulikhel is undoubtedly one f the best places to observe the high Himalayas. More than 20 Himalayan Peaks, including Mt. Annapurna (8,091m), Mt. Ganesh Himal (7,429m), Mt. Langtang (7,234m), Mt. Phuribichyachu (6,637m), Mt. Gaurishanker (7,134m), Mt. Lhotse (8,516m) can be observed from different points of the city.
Because of the expansion of the community forest around Dhulikehl, Forest walking and bird watching are major attraction points for the visitors. Besides that, Dhulikhel being the melting pot of a variety of communities such as the Newars, Brahmins, Chhetris, Tamangs makes the place rich in diversified culture, social customs, and traditions.
There are numerous Temples in the town outlining traditional Newari craftsmanship. Along with the temples, there is the oldest area of the town on the southern end that assembles the old Newari community.
Just 32km from the capital city, Nagarkot has a reputation as the top spot for enjoying Himalayan views. Nagarkot at an elevation of 2,186 m is the site of an ancient fort built to monitor the external activities of the Kingdom. Today, rather than a fort for watching invading troops, Nagarkot can be summoned as a summer retreat that provides you with breathtaking views of the mountains.
Nagarkot offers hiking and adventure activities for active nature lovers. Several locals and foreign tourists also regard the area as a picnic spot of choice because of the beautiful landscapes, breezy places, and not as congested as Kathmandu.
Chisapani offers the perfect litter trek along with flora and fauna, and spectacular panoramas of the mountains and view of beautiful Nepali villages with green terraces. The easiest and the most popular route to Chisapani is to start from Sundarijal, at the foot of the Shivapuri forest in the northeast corner of the valley. Sure, it is possible to drive there but it is the walk up and down the stairs of Sundarijal that makes the endpoint worth the sore muscles.
The trail passes through the Shivapuri national park and a large Tamang village of Mulkharka through the peaceful forest of brown oak and rhododendron. Chisapani trek offers an incredible opportunity to experience trekking in Nepal in a shorter time with a striking view of mountains.
7. Nama Buddha
Nama Buddha is a beautiful place located at Kavre district and about 40km southeast of the Kathmandu valley. Located on the slightly elevated land, it is pleasant and an outlying place. The quietness of the surroundings and the clean and fresh environment makes this place ideal for meditation.
From the Buddhist point of view, Namobuddha is one of the most important religious sites in Nepal. In brief, Namo Buddha is a pilgrimage highly esteemed by people from all over the world.
Also known as the ‘Monkey Temple’, Swayambhunath is one of the definitive experience of Kathmandu. The compound is centered on the gleaming white stupa, topped by a gilded spire painted with the eyes of the buddha. The stupa is built on the top of the hill which makes it ideal to enjoy the great view of the capital city of Kathmandu.
The best time to visit the stupa is the early morning when the skies are calm. The hanging colorful player flags over the stupas make for a stunning sight.
Kulekhani is a beautiful and panoramic site situated in the Makwanpur district. It is best known for the hydropower dam which provides visitors with a lake like an environment and opportunity for boating. The breathtaking scenery, landscapes, waterfalls, and flora are well worth the visit.
Kulekhani, mainly famous for fishing, hiking, trekking, and boating has a great outlook on adventure tourism. Kulekhani can be reached from Kathmandu in a few ways but two of the ways are usually used. First, by driving on a vehicle through the Dakshinkali- Hetauda highway and the second one is by hiking about 19-20 km from Naubise.
The method used to reach Kulekhani simply does not matter as many travelers would already have had once in a lifetime moment on one’s route to Kulekhani. The simplicity of this place makes it one of the best nearest places from Kathmandu to hangout.
10. Lakuri Bhanjyang
Lakuri Bhanjyang is a small hill station located on the south-east corner of the Kathmandu valley. This hill area is just 15 km from Kathmandu and is very popular among the locals for picnics. Lakuri Bhanjyang is well known for it's spectacular sunrise view, the snow-capped mountains and the life experience to explore typical Nepali village.
The Lakuri Bhanjyag offers a scenic view of the three cities of Kathmandu valley i.e Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur. The environment offers fresh air, cool water, forest, views and the cooperative local people which adds a plus point to visit this place.
And those were 10 places around Kathmandu that are worth a visit. So if you find yourself in Kathmandu, make sure to give these places a fair visit. Namaste!