Great destinations to visit around Kathmandu Valley
The very first impression of Kathmandu City was densely populated city with a charismatic Himalayan backdrop. The Capital city of Nepal is the gateway to the Himalayan country.
The tagline “Once is not enough” by the NTB (Nepal Tourism Board) makes a perfect sense as you can’t observe everything on your first visit. With so many impeccable tourist places in Kathmandu, you could never be bored here.
What is the best time to Visit Kathmandu?
Kathmandu is the best tourist destinations for all year around. If we want to go for trekking, then October-December is a good time for you.
If you want to reach the Mount Everest, the highest peaks of the world, then April-May is the best time for you.
The Best Places to visit in Kathmandu.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan, the oldest of all three cities in the Kathmandu Valley. It is popular for its artistic heritage. Another name of the Patan is Lalitpur. It separated Kathmandu by Bagmati River. The most prominent monument is the Golden Temple (built around 1400), the octagonal Krishna temple (built in 1647) and the Shankar Narayan temple with two elephants at its entrance.
The Major attraction of Patan Durbar Square
- Krishna Temple
- Patan Museum
- Golden Window
- Hiranya Varna Mahavihar
- Mahabouddha Temple
- Golden Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the most important religious sites in the entire world for the devotee of Shiva. Built in the 5th century by Licchavi King, Supuspa Deva, and later renovated by Malla Kings.
TThe temple is of pagoda style and has a gilded roof, four sides covered in silver, and wood carvings in the finest quality.
Next to the temple of Guheswari dedicated to Shiv’s consort, Sati Devi. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gate of the main temple. There are around hundreds of Shivlingam within the compound.
Located 2 km away of Tribhuvan International Airport on the banks of Bagmati River, the temple includes Deupatan, Jaya Bageswari, Gaurighat, Gaushala, Pingalsthan. There are 492 temples, 15 Shivalays, and 12 Jyotirlinga (phallic shrines) to explore.
Pashupatinath Temple is also inscribed by the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979. It is also the cremation site where the last rites of Hindus are performed.
Swayambhunath is situated at the Northwest of Kathmandu valley. It is also known as the monkey temple. It is the best place to catch panoramic views of the city.
The name “Swayambhu” means “Self-Created” and it says the religious site came into existence more than 2,000 years ago when the valley was created out of a primeval lake. The temple was built by the King Manadeva in the 13th century and since then it is the important center of Buddhism.
Some important attractions and monuments of the in the Swayambhunath area
- The huge gold plated Vajra ‘thunderbolt’ situated in the east side of Stupa
- Statue of Buddha on the west side of Swayambhu
- The Sleeping Buddha
- The temple dedicated to Harati, the goddess of all children
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Basantapur Darbar Kshetra is one of the prominent places to visit in Kathmandu. It is one of the Durbar (royal palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Nepal, which are enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This palace was badly hit by the disastrous earthquake of 2015. It is the palace where Kings of Malla and Shah Dynasty ruled over the city. According to sources, this palace was constructed by the Licchavi King in the 3rd century.
This lies in the center of the city. The local of Kathmandu call it Hanuman Dhoka, named after the Monkey God, Hanuman. It is easy to spend hours wondering around Kathmandu durbar square.
It includes the historic building of Kings, the ferocious Kal Bhairav, and the red monkey god.
Majority of the monuments, the building is built by the Malla rulers.
Kasthamandap is the major attraction of this site.
If you are planning hiking around Kathmandu, then Kakani will be the best destination for you. It is a Gaunpalika and former village development committee in Nuwakot, lying 26 km away northeast to Kathmandu Valley.
This place offers you an incredible view of mountains along with Lush hills and valleys. From here, you can get outstanding views of mountains like Langtang range, Shisa Pangma range, Annapurna range, Gaurishanker Himal, Manaslu.
Kakani is also the favorite destinations near Kathmandu valley for picnic and outing programs. Your Kakani tour starts with a drive for around 2 hrs from Kathmandu to Kakani.
Hiking in Kakani
- Kakani to Budhanilkantha Hiking (hiking time 5-6 hrs)
- Kakani to Gujre Bhanjyang Hiking (45 minutes)
- Panchmane to Kakani via Bicharithok (4-5 hrs)
Kailasnath Mahadev Statue
Kailashnath Mahadev Statue is the world’s tallest statue of Lord Shiva (143 feet) is situated 20 km away from Kathmandu Valley in Sanga, the border of Bhaktapur and Kavrepalanchok districts in Nepal.
This 143/144 ft Lord Shiva statue was built between 2003 to2010. It is the second tallest Hindu deity after the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue in Bali, Indonesia.
The statue height was made using zinc, concrete, copper, and steel. This statue is constructed by Kamal Jain, an owner of Hilltake Company.
More than 5000 visitors come to the statue on a weekday, and a larger number of visitors on weekends, national holidays, and Hindu festivals.
Thamel is one of the most happening places of Kathmandu. It is a Kathmandu’s tourist hot spot, filled with international restaurants, souvenir shops, hiking stores, street foods, and Bars and Clubs.
Ultimately, Thamel is the best place to chill out in the city, and people from abroad gets here what they are seeking in Kathmandu.
Best things to do in Thamel
- Trekking Stores
- Bars and Clubs
- Natural Therapy
- Street Foods
- Souvenir Stores (Pashminas, Prayer Flags, Singing Bowls)
- Heritage Walk in Thamel
- Visit Thamel for Shopping
- Catch a glimpse of bookstores
- Spend a night in Thamel
It can be one of the best places for hikers because it leads gradually up toward north ridge and through pine forest.
On the way of Dakshinkali there are two caves one called Asura Cave and another called Yangleshö, and a pathway nearby place lead way to Mata Temple on the hilltop, where you can sight some great view of the forest.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar is the UNESCO World Heritage’s site. This place is located in front of the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur kingdom, previously known as Bhadgaon. It is comprised of four distinct square- Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, and Pottery Square.
There are some historically significant places to visit in Bhaktapur Durbar Square
- The Lion Gate
- The Golden Gate (Sun Dhoka)
- The Art Gallery
- The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla
- Bhairavnath Temple
- Mini Pashupatinath Temple
If you are in a hurry and planning for Kathmandu day city tour/sightseeing tour, then your tour includes with fascinating and historical cultural monuments listed in World Heritage sites by UNESCO.
The Kathmandu day tour includes:
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Boudhanath Stupa
The above four monuments and temple Bouddhanath Temple is my favorite one. Boudhanath means “The Lord of Wisdom” and it is one of the biggest Stupas in the Asian subcontinent.
It is built in the 14th century, it is considered as one of the most sacred places for Buddhists.
The Buddha eyes on the top of the stupa and the colorful prayer flags make it one eye-catching frame. The stupa was devasted by the earthquake in 2015 but was later restored and opened to visitors just eighteen months after the earthquake.
A Day Trek to Phulchoki Station
Phulchoki Hiking Day Tour is one of the exciting hike tours in the nearest hill station of Phulchoki.
Phulchoki hiking is not only famous among international tourists but also famous among internal tourists. Many people landed their steps to Phulchoki during the winter season to enjoy the icefall.
It is located at the 29 km south-east of Kathmandu. It is 2780 meters above from the sea level. This is one of the most beautiful hiking in terms of vegetation in the Kathmandu valley.
You can start your trekking with a 14 km drive towards south reaching Kathmandu. Upon reaching the Godavari, begin climbing slowly-steadily through the sub-tropical woodlands.
The scenery of the of the Annapurna range to Gaurishanker in the east, this trek will offer you the outstanding view. At that point, climb downhill following the same path to the Godavari and returned back to Kathmandu. Everything can be finished within dusk.
Also published on Medium.