Wanderlist Discover: Kathmandu, Nepal
Once believed to be a real life Shangri-La, the mystical Utopia described in James Hilton’s novel, Lost Horizon, Kathmandu has emerged as a bustling modern metro, where tradition and technology co-exist peacefully. A fascinating mix of ethnic diversity, rising urbanism and vibrant culture, the city frequently comes alive with ceremonial processions which are a spectacle to watch. Take a stroll through the back alleys and UNESCO-listed Durbar Squares (place of palaces) to marvel at the timeless cultural and artistic heritage of this living cultural museum. Whether you are using Kathmandu as a starting point for a Himalayan expedition, or are just visiting as part of an extended tour of the sub-continent, do yourself a favour and spend at least a few days in this friendly city.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
- View Mount Everest from a plane : Mount Everest is Nepal’s biggest claim to fame, and it would be a crime to pass up on an opportunity to view the peak from up close. For those who find the thought of a ten day trek to Everest Base Camp too tiring, there is a one hour flight from Kathmandu that will take you up and give you a perfect view of the snow-capped peak of Everest in style and comfort.
- Catch a glimpse of the world’s only living Goddess : Kathmandu is home to the one of the few living Goddesses in Nepal, popularly known as Kumari. The Kumari is a young girl chosen to be worshipped as a deity, till she comes of age, when the deity is believed to leave the body of the Kumari. The Kumari lives in a special palace, and even a glimpse of her from a palace window is believed to bring good luck.
- World Heritage Sites : Kathmandu has the most number of UNESCO listed World Heritage sites, of any capital cities in the world. Within a radius of 15 kms, you can visit the heritage sites of Pashupatinath, Swayambhu (aka Monkey Temple), Boudhnath, the Durbar squares (place of palaces) and many others.
Best Time To Go:
SEptember to November
Early winter, between September to November, is the best time to visit Kathmandu. The weather is neither too hot nor too cold, making it perfect for trekking around the rugged mountainous landscape. Around this time, Nepal also celebrates Dashain (known as Dusshera in India), one of the biggest Hindu festivals which celebrates the victory of good over evil, making the city even more energetic and beautiful.
Where in the world:
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal, the central Himalayan country land-locked between India and China.
Fun Fact: Despite modernisation, traditional artisan skills are valued in Nepal even today. Visitors to Kathmandu can learn skills such as woodcarving, pottery or even the traditional Thangka painting, from master craftsmen who have practiced their skills for generations.
- Language : Nepali is spoken by almost half the population. Many people will also speak English, especially the educated class.
- Currency : Nepalese Rupee (NPR); 1 USD roughly equals 102 NPR.
- How to Get Around : Kathmandu has a number of travel options you can choose from, starting from taxis and cycle-rickshaws. However, you will need to be prepared to haggle with them since there is normally no fixed fare for most short distances, within the city. You can also rent motorcycles from one of the several rental operators located in Thamel. You will have to leave your passport as a security, but for less than 20 USD, you can hire a motorcycle for the entire day.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.