Kathmandu, the country’s capital, largest city and political and cultural hub, is usually the first stop for those visiting Nepal. And what an impression it makes. It is simultaneously stuck in a time capsule and hurtling head-first into the 21st century, making it a fascinating place to explore.
A trip to Kathmandu promises to ignite the senses. Picture prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, the powerful scent of incense permeating the air, the buzz of traffic and flocks of birds taking to the skies as their feathers are ruffled by a passing cow. The city is multi-layered, with beautiful Newari architecture and sacred Hindu and Buddhist sites. At the heart of the old city is Durbar Square. Several of its temples were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake, and while the restoration is a long and ongoing process, it is still a beautiful place to explore.
There is much to discover outside the centre, including the Swayambhunath Stupa which sits on a small hill to the west and offers wonderful panoramic views of the city. Pashupatinath temple, dedicated to the god Shive, is the largest temple complex in Nepal, while the Boudhanath stupa is the largest in the Kathmandu Valley.
Yes Kathmandu can seem chaotic at times, but its riches are well worth seeking out and its energy is undeniably contagious.
A few days in Kathmandu is a totally exhilarating experience. Embrace the colour and chaos that drives this captivating city. It is much more than just a hikers base, with many great experiences to unearth.
What to do
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Durbar Square
- Explore the Pashupatinath temple complex
- Visit the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple
- Wander down the backstreets that teem with life