10 Best Places to visit in Kathmandu in 2024
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is a beautiful bowl-shaped valley. Surrounded by beautiful hilltops from all sides, with panoramic mountain views, the city has “the best weather in the world“. Termed as “City of Temples“, it is a haven of ancient Indian Subcontinent civilization, monuments, and World Heritage Sites. For tourists, the city has so much to offer. The mythology, geography, ethnicity, architecture, culture, and traditions make Kathmandu a must-visit place in Nepal. Recently, the World Index ranked Kathmandu Valley as the number 1 most popular Nature Destination Worldwide in 2024. Hence, to help you better plan your Kathmandu Valley Tour, we’ve listed the 10 best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley in 2024.
To make our 10 best places to visit in Kathmandu in 2024 blog more diverse, we’ve covered topics like the best place to visit in Kathmandu for couples, families, and friends. We’ve also included some of the best natural places to visit in Kathmandu, especially for day tours and hikes. Furthermore, we’ve included photo guides, getting into the sites, visitor permits you’ll need, and other valuable information.
Best Historical and Cultural Places to visit in Kathmandu
1. Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Bashantapur Durbar Square, is one of the three mediaeval places inside Kathmandu Valley. History, culture, and architectural mastery associated with every monument here make it a popular place in Kathmandu. Hence, if you adore history, culture, and architecture, this place is the best place to visit in Kathmandu in 2024.
The early construction of this place began in the third century. However, most structures, temples, and palaces were built in the 16th century. Hence, every structure you visit here holds significant cultural and historical values.
Located in the city’s heart and near Thamel, this place has easy access for everyone.
“Durbar Square” translates to Royal Palace. Hence, this place was once the Royal Palace of Malla and Shah Kings. The most prominent structure, Nau Talle Durbar (Nine Story Palace), then Royal Palace, represents the epitome of Nepali architecture. Moreover, it also signifies the unification of Nepal as a whole nation. Other popular tourist attractions are Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Bahal, Taleju Bhawani Temple, and Kal Vairab.
An earthquake in 2015 destroyed many historic temples and palaces around Kathmandu Durbar Square. However, the reconstruction has brought back the life of these monuments again.
As this place became a tourist hub, many rooftop cafeterias opened up in recent years. You can enjoy the coffee and pizzas at the local rooftop cafes with a serene view of the artistic aesthetics of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
The entry fee for foreign nationals is Rs. 1000, which also includes the Tribhuvan Museum visit. For SAARC nationals, the entry fee is Rs. 500. However, if you’re less than ten years old, it’s free. Furthermore, it remains open throughout the year.
2. Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square in Patan is a must-visit historical place in Kathmandu Valley. Although it sits in the Lalitpur district, it is an integral part of Kathmandu Valley. And among three Durbar Squares in the valley, it’s the best and most crowded. If this is your first time coming here, tick off your bucket list by visiting Patan, one of the most beautiful and among the 10 best places to visit in Kathmandu in 2024.
Malla Kings were the rulers of Patan who lived in the medieval royal palaces in Patan Durbar Square. The palace’s architecture, design, and orientation symbolize the epitome of Newari architecture.
All significant temples in the area sit opposite the west face of the royal palace. While entering these temples, their entrance is from the east, towards the palace’s entrance. Moreover, each significant temple has properly placed bells. Hence, the place’s well-structured details make it a wonderland of ancient architecture.
There are 55 temples and 136 bahals (courtyards) in and around Patan Durbar Square. The most famous temple is Krishna Mandir, a stone-carved, three-storied Shikahra-style temple. Other famous temples are Bhimsen Temple, Vishwanath Temple, and Taleju Bhawani. A visit to the royal palace, its three significant courtyards, and its museum is a popular activity among visitors in Patan.
The rooftop cafes around the site are must-visit places for lunch/brunch with a panoramic view of the entire Durbar Square vicinity. Also, you can buy a cup of tea at the local vendors, sit in the courtyard of temples, and enjoy the serene vibes here during the evening.
Foreigners, including Chinese, must pay 1000 Nepalese rupees as an entry permit fee and a visit to the Patan Museum. For SAARC nationals, the entry fee is Rs. 250. However, for Nepali, the heritage site entry is free, but you must pay the museum’s entry fee if you wish to visit.
3. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
A quaint, open, less-crowded, peaceful Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley in 2024. Centuries-old arts, crafts, architecture, and monuments within the tranquillity and harmony here leave you in awe.
As the Malla Kings ruled Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur Durbar Square was also a palace for the Malla kings of Bhaktapur till the 15th century. After Malla, the Kings of Bhaktapur used Durbar Square as their palace. And now, it’s one of the most decorated historical places in Kathmandu Valley.
The 55-windowed palace, Nyatapola, Vatsala Temple, and Lun Dhwākhā (Golden Gate) are famous nearby structures. Other popular places here are Krishna Temple, the Statue of Ugrachandi, and the museum. Potters Square is also renowned to visit and even play with clay.
Paved by red bricks, strolling on the alleys and roads in the square area makes the heritage tour the best. Also, filled with the monuments of gods and goddesses, you will find this place more spacious.
After visiting the square, you must try the famous local yogurt called “JuJu Dhau”. It’s a typical Newari cultural product that makes your tongue fall in love with it. You can also savour the local Newari dishes with exquisite taste and experience.
Best Cultural and Pilgrimage Places to Visit in Kathmandu
In our 10 best places to visit in Kathmandu in 2024, we’ve listed only the three most-visited and worthwhile cultural places in Kathmandu.
4. Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa is undoubtedly among the 10 best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley in 2024. This place is so inclusive that you can plan your visit with your family, friends, and loved ones. A rooftop cafe at Boudhanath during serene evenings in recent years has evolved as the best place to visit in Kathmandu for couples.
Boudhanath is one among the largest Buddhist stupas in the world. The dome of this stupa is the large and iconic. The prayer flags tied from the Spire to the dome’s edge from all sides make it beautiful. Moreover, the hymns of Buddhist Prayers and rituals make the vicinity serene and peaceful.
The history of the Boudhanath Stupa dates back to 400 A.D. when Licchavi king Vrisadeva founded it as one of the four different stupas. Moreover, its history has been associated with other Kings like Mandeva and Shivadeva during 400-500 A.D.
More than a spiritual or pilgrimage visit, the Boudha tour can also be an ideal outing for a Tibetan food hunt. Laughing, Dumplings, Keema Noodles, Tibetan noodles, and other spicy foods are popular, which you should also try! There are multiple spots where you can buy and light up the candles. Also, the local handicrafts, pashmina, and Thangka painting shops are best for purchasing souvenirs.
There are two entrances in Boudhanath where you can get the visitor and entry permit. For foreign nationals, the entry fee is Rs. 400. For SAARC nationals, the entry fee is Rs. 100. And for Nepalese, it’s free to enter. Please note that children aged ten or below don’t need to purchase an entry permit.
5. Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest and most prominent Hindu pilgrimage site in Kathmandu. Being a Hindu pilgrimage site, it is equally popular among non-Hindus. Hence, for tourists, it is one among the 10 best places to visit in Kathmandu.
Pashupatinath is the home of Lord Shiva, the supreme Hindu God. It’s a two-storied pagoda-style temple built in 1692 CE by Prachanda Deva, a Lichhavi King. It has four silver gate entrances and a gold pinnacle.
Regarding who can enter the temple, Nepali, South Asian Hindus, and Tibetan Buddhists are the only ones who can enter the temple premises. However, western Hindu practitioners are only allowed to enter as far as non-Hindu visitors are. Precisely speaking, you, as a foreigner, can’t enter the main temple premises and can’t see the main idol of the temple.
However, almost-all outer regions of Pashupati are open to all visitors. The open cremation site visit, Bagmati river bank, and Pashupati Aarti are popular tourist activities. Moreover, tourists can view the main temple from the adjacent side of the Bagmati River and nearby premises.
The entry fee for foreigners at Pashupatinath temple is Rs. 1000. Similarly, SAARC nationals must pay Rs—1000 as an entry fee. However, for Nepali and Indians, the entry is free.
6. Swayambhunath Stupa
Swayambhunath Stupa undoubtedly is one of the 10 best places to visit in Kathmandu Valley in 2024. It is the oldest and most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site, built in the fifth century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is among the famous places in Kathmandu to visit.
It sits on a hilltop west of Kathmandu Valley. “Swayambhu” translates to “self-sprung or self-evolved” in Newari. Also, this word translates to “Sublime Trees” due to thick forests with various tree species in the area.
Foreigners often use “Monkey Temple” to refer to Swayambhu for easy remembrance. It’s because there are many monkeys in the nearby jungle of Swayambhu. While on a tour here, be careful with monkeys, who often steal your food and even bags.
Clockwise circumambulation around the dome, lighting the candles for peace, feeding monkeys, and buying beautiful souvenirs are popular activities tourists do in Swayambhu. Also, there are many beautiful photographic spots near where you can capture beautiful pictures of the stupa and the entire Kathmandu Valley.
The entry fee at Swayambhu is just Rs. 200 for foreign nationals. For SAARC nationals, the entry fee is just Rs. 50. And for Nepalese, the entry fee is free. Further, children aged ten or under can access the stupa entry for free.
Best places to visit in Kathmandu for Couples
7. Chandragiri Hills Resort
This 5-star hotel offers an exquisite experience by blending nature’s serenity and luxurious comfort. It provides state-of-the-art Deluxe, Executive Suite, and Presidential Suites for visitors. Whether with family, friends, or couples, you’ll have a wonderful stay here.
One good reason why it’s the best place to visit in Kathmandu for couples is that it’s far away from the hustling and bustling Kathmandu city. Hence, a serene place filled with utmost luxury adds a more romantic touch to the overnight stay experience.
If you want the Chandragiri Hills Day Tour, a cable car ride from Thankot to Chandragiri Hills is most convenient. At the top, you can visit Bhaleshowor Templeand Amusement Park and see elegant mountains and the panoramic Kathmandu Valley.
8. The Garden of Dreams
While in Thamel, you’re just a wall behind a serene and elegant 74,220 sq. ft. 104-year-old garden. You’ll get blown away with the serenity once you step in from the bustling street of Thamel to The Garden of Dreams.
Often termed “The Garden of Six Seasons“, this once private property of Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana is now open for visitors. This piece of art, once nearly demolished, has genuinely become a garden of dreams among Nepali and foreign visitors.
Inside this garden are three pavilions, an amphitheatre, ponds, and pergolas. Visitors can sit anywhere in the garden area and spend the entire day on a single ticket.
Being serene and aesthetic, this is a fantastic place for couples to visit in Kathmandu. Mostly, couples are the ones who see this place for dating. Other than couples, avid readers also visit this place frequently.
Kaiser Cafe in the garden serves international standard Nepali and Continental breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. Thus, you can plan and spend your entire day at this beautiful location.
For non-Nepali, the entry fee is Rs. 400. For Nepali, the entry fee is Rs. 150. You can get the entry ticket at the entrance.
Best natural places to visit in Kathmandu
9. Shivapuri Peak
Shivapuri Peak is a beautiful hilltop on the northern outskirts of Kathmandu Valley. To reach the top, the Shivapuri Day Hike is a popular day activity among hikers. And from the top, you’ll get a panoramic view of Langtang and Annapurna mountains. Hence, it is a popular natural place and one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu in 2024.
It is the highest hilltop around Kathmandu Valley at 2,732 meters. Reaching to its top from Budhanilakantha and back takes approximately 7-8 hours. Thus, it can be an ideal natural outing for an entire day.
The few popular places that are worth the visit on Shivapuri Day Hikes are Baghdwar, Bishnudwar, Nagi Gumba, and Budhanilakantha Temple. Also, the entire hiking route is serene and beautiful to walk all day.
In spring, rhododendron blossoms decorate the entire forest, including Shivapuri Peak. Also, on clear weather days in Autumn, you’ll get the best panorama of mountains and the whole of Kathmandu Valley from the top. Furthermore, the occasional snowfall at the top of the peak makes it beautiful in winter. Thus, if you’re planning a natural walk in Kathmandu, these are the best times to consider the most popular Shivapuri Peak Hike.
If you’re a foreign national other than South Asian countries, you must pay Rs. 1000 as an entrance fee for the day hike. However, for SAARC nationals, the entry fee is just Rs. 600. Similarly, for Nepalis, the national park entry permit fee is Rs. 100 only.
10. Godawari Botanical Garden
Godawari Botanical Garden is among the best natural places to visit in Kathmandu Valley in 2024. It is serene, aesthetic, and far from the city area, an ideal place to visit in Kathmandu for couples, families, and friends. Sitting 12 km South of Kathmandu Valley, this garden is for recreation, plant conservation, education, and plant-based research. Hence, it fits all sorts of visitors.
Godawari Botanical Garden is the perfect location for post-wedding and baby shower photography. It has thematic landscapes, gardens with vibrant flowers, and beautiful forests inside. As this garden is quite significant to explore, it’ll take three hours to complete a tour. Also, several water fountains, mini-waterfalls, and wooden bridges make it a complete place for short sightseeing with a very natural touch.
With friends and family, you can enjoy a dry picnic here. If couples, you’ll find plenty of dating spots around. And if you’re an avid reader, we recommend carrying a book and a mat where you can sit in the sun and enjoy reading all day.
The entry fee for foreigners is Rs. 500. For SAARC nationals, the entry fee is Rs. 200. For Nepali citizens, the entry fee is Rs. 50.
Want to tour to these 10 best places in Kathmandu in 2024?
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