Cinnamon, sandalwood and Buddhist influences in a medieval city
Kathmandu’s history stretches back nearly 2000 years. In some quarters of Nepal’s capital city you get a feeling that its medieval past is very much alive, with hidden temples, small chaotic back-street shops, the smell of sandlewood and other spices in the air. Most travellers head to Thamel, where hotels and hostels line the bustling streets next to cafes, restaurants and colourful stalls. Tourists mingle comfortably as they browse Guide Books for neighbouring attractions such as Everest Base Camp, Pokhora or Chitwan National Park. It’s easiest to explore this absorbing city by foot and most head to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Durbar Square, where the city's kings were once crowned. Kathmandu is a delightful place, offering a mixture of laid-back Nepalese hospitality, medieval architecture and glorious vistas.
Beautiful scenery, relaxed atmosphere, good weather, warm people, medieval architecture, interesting Buddhist sights appeal to visitors to Kathmandu. Travel outside of the capital to explore the Himalayas or see elephants, rhinos and tigers in the Chitwan National Park. As the Nepalese say, ‘Opportunity comes but does not linger.’
When to Go?
October- November heralds the start of the dry season and this is a great time to visit when it’s warm, the air is fresh and visibility is good. In December and January, days are warm but evenings get cold. February to April is also a good time to travel. It’s probably best to avoid May and early June, which are muggy and dusty. Monsoons run from mid-June to September.
How to get there
Flights from London and Manchester to Kathmandu take around 12 hours, with stopovers in Doha or Delhi. Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) is the only international airport in Nepal and is located four miles from the city. Many hotels offer a free transfer from the airport, but taxis are also available. You’ll be bombarded with offers from taxi drivers as you leave the terminal, so negotiate before jumping in and don’t pay more than about 300 NPR to Thamel.
Visit Pashupatinath in the morning, to see the sacred Buddhist temple and Stupa. Tour the vegetable and spice markets of Asan Tole, south of Yatkha Bahal. Walk along Freak Street, Kathmadu’s most famous street from the hippy days of the 1960’s. Unwind with a beer or a tea on one of the many hotel or restaurant roof terraces.