Nepal is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Travelers, mostly adventure enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, visit this small landlocked country to immerse in nature. Most of these people head to the mountains for adventure sports, but those who want easy breaks with comforts prefer to stay in Kathmandu.
They can visit many fascinating towns and villages in the city, including Dhulikhel, Nagarkot, and Chobhar. As a cultural capital, Kathmandu has many religious sites and temples, which visitors can explore on any day.
From the bustling city of Kathmandu to the lofty hills of Chandragiri, there are lots of places you won’t regret visiting. Here is our pick for the 16 best tourist places in Kathmandu.
The Best Tourist Visiting Places in Kathmandu
Swyamabhunath is a well-known holy Tibetan Buddhist shrine in the west of Kathmandu. It’s one of Nepal’s best and most iconic cultural landmarks, featuring beautiful architecture and design. There are more than 300-stairs and lots of monkeys on the way to the stupa, which can be a new experience for many.
This giant white dome stupa is atop a hill, providing a breathtaking view of Kathmandu Valley. Most visitors come here in the afternoon to view the sunset, with mountains on the horizon.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
If there’s any place that manifests the Nepalese history and culture as it is, then it’s Kathmandu Durbar Square. Located in the city’s heart, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a typical Newari-style historical center, where much Nepalese art and sculpture is inducted.
It was built during the Lichhavi period and extensively developed in the Malla regime. Its stunning series of former royal palaces and temples have been well-preserved from the time. Visitors can find beautiful courtyards, surrounding quadrangles, and ponds in the area.
Patan Durbar Square
One of three durbar squares in the town, Patan is a work of art. It’s remarkable and unique in the best way possible. This historical monument screams the history of Nepal with painted arts and crafts against the walls of royal palaces.
Some of its main attraction is Krishna Mandir and Patan Museum, which holds medieval treasure and traditional crafts from Nepal. Most of the temples and religious shrines in Patan Durbar Square are a wonder of Newari architecture. There are hundreds of courtyards and residential buildings around durbar square.
Not far away from the main city, Patan Durbar Square is easily accessible. Since it lies at the center of Lalitpur, you can easily get here. Upon arrival, you can witness old Newari buildings with fine architecture and lattice windows.
Kathmandu is the perfect place for travelers to probe the rich Nepalese culture and heritage. They can see many spiritual sites in the city, including Pashupatinath, the oldest Hindu temple. Established in the 5th century, Pashupati is a five-storeyed pagoda-style temple with multi-tiered roofs and a gold pinnacle.
Its main temple has four silver-coated doors and an idol of Lord Shiva, where Hindu pilgrims offer prayers. Visitors also worship other small temples and religious shrines on the external premises of the complex.
Pashupatinath temple is only for Hindus, so foreigners are prohibited from going inside. However, they can explore the shrine from out and around. Visitors can look at the colorful artwork, architecture, and statues during their visit to the temple.
Boudhanath, a 14th-century massive Buddhist stupa, is another major tourist attraction in Kathmandu. It’s one of Nepal’s oldest and finest Buddhist pilgrimages with Tibetan architecture.
Designed in a spherical structure, Boudhanath has a white-washed dome with the seeing-eye of Buddha. The main stupa is decorated with colorful prayer flags and mani walls, which the pilgrims spin on their way around the monastery. There are more than 50 small gompas in Bouddha constructed by Tibetan refugees.
Clock Tower (Ghantaghar)
Clock Tower (Ghantaghar) is a famous cultural symbol in the bustling city of Kathmandu. It was the first public clock tower built at the heart of the city during the Rana regime. The architecture and design of Ghantaghar were influenced by the Big Ben of London.
The old clock tower was destroyed in the 1990s devastating earthquake, after which it had major repairs. The restoration process began shortly after the natural disaster in the same place as before.
Narayanhiti Royal Palace
Once the home of the Nepalese monarch, Narayanhiti Royal Palance is now open to the public. It lets the visitors explore the palace and walk into a few selected rooms that have late Victorian style interiors.
The palace has a Hindu temple spire at the front and an impressive set of courtyards, fountains, and buildings. It’s fenced with a boundary wall on all sides to prevent the intruder from entering the palace.
Constructed in 1963 by Late King Mahendra, Naraynhiti has a structural system of architecture with brick and mortar. The former royal palace exhibits Nepalese art and architecture used to create the national symbol.
Located 13km away from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur is the former capital of Nepal. It was the Newari Kingdom in the 12th century when Malla Kings ruled the city. While Bhaktapur has lost that title now, it still remains to be a place of importance.
The city serves as a significant historical site with ancient temples, pagodas, and former royal palaces. It has many well-preserved arts and artifacts from 1400 to 1800s, creating a beautiful set of structures.
There’s a lot to see in Bhaktapur, including National Art Gallery, Nyatapola Temple, Vatsala Devi Temple, and Kasthamandap. However, the real beauty of this city is its beautiful Newari art and architecture, which they can witness in the nearby old buildings and temples.
Up at the hill in the eastern end of Kathmandu Valley lies another sacred Hindu Temple known as Changunaran. Constructed in the 4th century, Changunarayan is one of the oldest temples in the valley. It’s a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is named after him.
Pilgrims visit the temple to pay their respect to Lord Vishnu and enjoy the breathtaking view seen from the cliff. Meanwhile, most travelers stop by Changunaryan to watch its scenic landscapes and terrace fields.
They also come to explore the stone inscriptions and statues found in the temple, many of which date back to the Lichhavi period. The rich art and architecture of the temple inspired by the Newari culture is also something that amazes travelers.
Only 42.1 km apart from Kathmandu, Namobouddha is an increasingly popular attraction for visitors interested in Buddhist culture. Not to say the monastery is less famous among other travelers. Flocks of people visit Namobouddha to experience enriching traditions and customs in the natural surrounding.
Thrangu Tashi Yangste monastery is the biggest draw in Namobuddha, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. This Buddhist pilgrim is home to more than 250 monks who perform rituals and participate in mass prayers.
Dhulikhel is the go-to place for every adventure enthusiast who can’t trip to far-off places like Pokhara. Located 30 km southeast of Kathmandu, this village has a lot of adventure sports to offer visitors, including ziplining and mountain biking.
Visitors can explore many historical and cultural landmarks during their stay in the town. Dhulikhel is also known for its serenity and breathtaking view that can be seen from the hilltop.
It’s fair to say that Nagarkot is the travelers’ favorite place to visit in Bhaktapur. Anyone who admires scenic drives enjoys visiting this Himalayan mountain village and exploring its unspoiled beauty. A considerable number of visitors also travel to the place to go on a hike and to discover its scenic spots.
Standing at an elevation of 2,195 meters, Nagarkot is seen as the best viewing point for sunset and sunrise. It also provides the visitors an unobstructed view of the Annapurna range, Manaslu, Langtang, and Rolwaling.
While the visitors are there, they can paraglide and enjoy the majestic view of Everest. They can even take a peaceful walk through the village or spend a day out in nature amidst the lofty hills and lush green forests
Dakshinkali Temple is a Hindu religious pilgrim where visitors come for a spiritual experience and to understand the Nepalese culture better. Besides that, people are infatuated by its natural charm and panoramic view of rolling hills and verdant meadows.
Located 22 km outside Kathmandu, Daksinkali is a temple of the goddess Kali. It holds the same religious value as Manakamana Temple and Pashupatinath. Pilgrims from all across the country visit Dakshinkali to offer prayers and do some sightseeing.
With Pharping village located just around a corner, Dakshinkali is looked upon as the best trek destination. Both locals and outsiders visit the temple as well as take a stroll in and around the village to sight its natural landscapes
Kathmandu’s most scenic Newari town, Bungmati Khokana, makes an ideal place for a day out. It’s relatively the best and nearby option for anyone looking to escape the hustle in Kathmandu. Sited on the outskirts of Patan in Lalitpur, Khokana is a village with a work of art.
Its ancient building and temple embraces the Newari art and architecture, while the modern ones have a touch of it. Nominated for the world heritage site, Khokana epitomizes its mustard-oil seed industrial heritage.
It provides visitors with a marvelous view of lush green farms and dense forests. Travelers can find a lot of places to explore in Khokana, including Rudrayani Temple, De Pukhu, Jitapur Mandap, and Sikhli Temple.
In the southwest of Kathmandu, 5.9 miles away from the central city, Chobhar is another charming Nepalese village displaying the finest Newari arts and crafts. Nestled on a hilltop, it’s a common holiday spot for travelers hoping to spend some time in nature.
A part of Kritipur, Chobhar has many cultural and religious sites tourists can visit. Jal Binayak Temple, Adinath Lokeshwor, and Lake Taudaha are some of the best places of interest in Chobhar. Those who are avid trekkers ascend the steep hill to watch the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and lofty hills.
Most travelers who have a day to spend their time in Nepal prefer visiting Chandragiri Hill. It lies in the southwest of Kathmandu Valley, only 7 km from Thankot. Standing 2,551 meters, Chandragiri Hill provides a lovely view of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan ranges, including Everest and Annapurna.
Most travelers visit Baleshwor Mahadev via cable car, which makes travel easy and convenient. It also offers them impressive vistas of surrounding hills and traditional villages in the valley.
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