How to Spend 4 Days in Kathmandu

Travel Itinerary
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Sunny Shrestha
Itinerary by: Sunny Shrestha
a month ago
Photographer
Duration: 4 days

Itinerary Introduction

Home to about 1.4 million Nepali population, Kathmandu is the capital city of the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. Spread over an area of 49.45 sq. km. at an elevation of 1400m from sea level, Kathmandu is not a very big city, but once you spend a couple of days here, you will quickly realize the diversity you can come across in this confined place. Being the capital city of the nation, you can easily find any kind of basic necessities you may require. You can easily find top-class five-star hotels, guest houses, restaurants, pubs, hospitals, clinics, and countless local eateries to keep your taste buds happy. Cover images by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz, Raimond Klavins, and Shaouraav Shrestha on Unsplash

Useful information about Kathmandu

Best times to visit Kathmandu

It is safe to say that any time is a good time to visit Kathmandu. The city experiences winter from September through February, summer from March through June, and monsoon from July to August. While the highest temperature can reach around 34 degrees celsius during April-May, the lowest can drop to 0 degrees during December. The city also experiences substantial rainfall during the monsoon and since the city still has a primitive drainage system, you can often see the streets being flooded. However, if you want to get the most out of your visit to Kathmandu, aim for a slot between October and December. The city is cool, the sky gets clear, and you'll just love the feeling of the warm sun on your face.

Getting around in Kathmandu

Kathmandu has a decent network of roads and you can easily find taxis to take you anywhere within the city. Be sure to bargain a bit and settle on a price before you start your ride though. It is not uncommon for taxis not to do metered trips. Public buses, micro vans, and electric rickshaws are available too but since they run on a fixed route, you may need to change them frequently making it confusing for you. You can even use apps like Tootle and Pathoa (the equivalent of Uber) to summon bikes and taxis to your service. Since the rates are fixed, you won't need to bargain here. When traveling around Kathmandu, you can find the city to be a bit dusty because of the construction and repair work that never finishes. So, be sure to have some mask handy COVID or no COVID. Also, traffic jam is very common here so be sure to head out as early as possible to avoid getting stuck.

Local customs in Kathmandu

During your four time in Kathmandu, you will find yourself walking through narrow streets, all hustling and bustling with energy and positive vibes. You will come across interesting and important temples and monuments in every block, and every other day there is some sort of festivities going on. Moreover, the people over here are some of the nicest in the world and will welcome you with open arms to be a part of their celebration. If you get a chance, I highly recommend that you be a part of such a celebration. And don't be shy to ask as things can feel "strange" at times; the people will be happy to guide you through.

Drinking water in Kathmandu

Keep bottled water handy when traveling through the city as the local water here may not be suited for foreigners.

Kathmandu - Travel Itinerary

Day 1

10:00 - 14:00

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Hanuman Dhoka, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
Kathmandu Durbar Square is where the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Nepal lies. Located centrally in Kathmandu, the Durbar Square is a historical gem amidst the concrete jungle. Here you can visit the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar - the ancient residence of the royal family, with countless temples that date from the 15th to the 18th century. Just beside the palace, look out for the Kumari residence. This is where the living Goddess Kumari resides. Visitors are not allowed to go meet her but if you're lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the Kumari whenever she shows her presence on the balcony. Some other notable temples and structures that you must not miss out to visit in and around Kathmandu Durbar Square include Kasthamandap - a three-storeyed public shelter made entirely of wood, the shrine of the mighty Swet Bhairab just outside the entrance of the Hanumandhoka palace, Kal Bhairab, Basantapur Square, and the beautiful Taleju temple. If you are really into getting to know the ins and outs of the history behind this place, we highly recommend that you hire a local licensed guide. You can spend a good 2-3 hours walking around the place. You can also find amazing restaurants serving food from all around the world and even local delicacies in case you get hungry from the walking. Image credit: Diwash Budhathoki from Pixabay
Article By: Sunny Shrestha
Price covers: Entry
Prices for Kathmandu Durbar Square
Category Price Restrictions
Standard 10.00 USD

Notes

Look out for check posts at the entrance. You'll need to get yourself an entrance ticket there.

Getting there

Take a cab from where you're staying.

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
14:40 - 17:00

Swoyambhunath - The Monkey Temple

Swayambhu, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
The stupa of Swoyambhunath lies on the top of a hill and is about 3kms west of core Kathmandu. You can take your vehicle to the top of the hill and walk a few minutes to reach the stupa. If you feel a bit adventurous, you can even choose to walk the entire steps to the top. It's not that difficult really. Once you reach the top you will be welcomed by the majestic hemispherical structure that is further surrounded by many little chaityas (shrines). In the courtyard, just beside the Buddhist stupa, you will get to see a Hindu temple of Harati - another beautiful example of religious tolerance in Nepal. You can also visit a Tibetan monastery, museum, and library in the vicinity of the stupa. Besides the temples, shrines, and statues in the area, there's one more thing you can enjoy at Swoyambhunath. The elevated landscape gives a fantastic view of the Kathmandu valley. Depending on the weather conditions, you can witness a fantastic sunset from here. Also, keep in mind that this place is called the Monkey Temple for a reason. There are hundreds of monkeys that reside here and they're known to be notorious. Be careful with food and keep your small handbags with you all the time. Image credit: Sulav Loktam from Pexels
Article By: Sunny Shrestha
Price covers: Entry
Prices for Swoyambhunath - The Monkey Temple
Category Price Restrictions
Standard 2.00 USD

Notes

Get off at Bhagwan Pau if you want to walk all the way up. Otherwise get off at the top of the hill.

Getting there

Taking a cab will be the most convenient

Travel time
0 hours 40 minutes

Day 2

10:00 - 12:00

Bouddhanath Stupa

Stupa, Boudhanath Sadak, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
The Bouddhanath Stupa is another gem that gives you a sense of calmness from the bustling city of Kathmandu. As soon as you enter the Bouddhanath gate, you will quickly realize how grand and divine this stupa is. It is said that this stupa was built right after the passing of Gautam Buddha and it is also believed that this monument houses the relics and remains of the Buddha. You can go round the stupa by climbing up to the base of the dome. Getting up close to the dome-shaped structure is an experience worth gathering. Standing at 36 meters high, Bouddha stupa is truly magical. The energy and tranquility in the area are worth enjoying. Just beside the Bouddha stupa, you can visit a monastery too. It houses a gigantic Buddha statue and has a very peaceful vibe around it. Another specialty of Bouddha is the variety of food you can get. While there are local restaurants that serve dishes from all over the world, we highly recommend that you give the Tibetan dishes a try. Image credit: Meghraj Neupane from Unsplash
Article By: Sunny Shrestha
Price covers: Entry
Prices for Bouddhanath Stupa
Category Price Restrictions
Standard 4.00 USD

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
12:45 - 15:45

Patan Durbar Square

Lalitpur, Nepal
Patan, also known as Lalitpur or Yala: is another important city within Kathmandu valley. Historically, Patan is well-known for producing monuments and woodwork carved with intricacies that are simply of another level. A fascinating thing about the city of Patan is how you can witness the co-existence of Hindu and Buddhist deities on a common court which signifies the religious harmony that Nepal is known for. In Patan Durbar Square, you can visit the ancient Royal palace which was the residence of the Malla Kings of Patan. The Durbar Square encloses three main courtyards viz. Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, and the Keshav Narayan Chowk. When you're in Sundari Chowk, don't forget to observe the Royal bath made of stone and gold called the Tushahity (not that you can afford to miss it anyways). Besides the palaces, there are a ton of other temples, monuments, and vihars right around the Patan Durbar Square all of which are within walking distance. The Patan Museum inside the Durbar Square is a heaven if you're into historical bronze statues and religious monuments. Right outside the main palace, you can see the Krishna Temple which is entirely made up of stone. It is an architectural masterpiece in itself. Some other important and fascinating points of attraction around the Patan Durbar Square include the Hiranya Varna Mahavihar aka "The Golden Temple", Rudra Varna Mahavihar, and Mahabuddha Temple aka "the temple of a thousand Buddhas". The former two are historic Buddhist monasteries featuring bedazzling architectures and craftsmanship. Mahabuddha on the other hand is a temple dedicated to Gautam Buddha where you can see a Buddha image engraved on every brick used in the temple. Image credit: Ashlesh Kshatri on Pixabay
Article By: Sunny Shrestha
Price covers: Entry
Prices for Patan Durbar Square
Category Price Restrictions
Standard 10.00 USD

Travel time
0 hours 45 minutes
16:15 - 17:45

Garden of Dreams

Garden of Dreams, Tridevi Sadak, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
If you're looking for a respite from the bustles of Kathmandu city, we highly recommend that you visit the Garden of Dreams in Thamel. The garden was built in 1920 and its design was very much influenced by the European gardens of that period. The garden features European-inspired features such as verandas, pavilions, ponds, an amphitheater, birdhouses, and urns, and was considered to be one of the most sophisticated private gardens of its time. Whether you just want to lay down, stroll around, read a book, or enjoy the food from the restaurant there, the Garden of Dreams is the perfect place. Spending some 3-4 hours here will surely rejuvenate you. Image credit: Kamal Raj Joshi on Flickr
Article By: Sunny Shrestha
Price covers: Entry
Prices for Garden of Dreams
Category Price Restrictions
Standard 4.00 EUR

Travel time
0 hours 30 minutes
17:00 - 22:00

Thamel

Thamel, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
The streets of Thamel in Kathmandu are the city's heartthrob and a must-visit place for tourists and travelers of all sorts. Thamel is one of the commercial centers in Kathmandu and can be reached conveniently from anywhere in Kathmandu. Whether it's shopping that you're looking to do, looking for an affordable place to stay, getting some souvenirs for friends and family back home, chilling out to some live music, getting a massage, or enjoying some great food - Thamel has it all. It is also worth noting that the nightlife in Thamel is the best in Kathmandu. Also, if you're looking to head out of Kathmandu for some adventure tours in Nepal, you can easily find tour agents and adventure gear stores in Thamel. It's quite an easy walk if you want to go to Kathmandu Durbar square from Thamel. And if you're not feeling like walking, be sure to hire a rickshaw for an authentic experience. Image credit: Raimond Klaviers on Unsplash
Article By: Sunny Shrestha

Notes

Enjoy the night life at Thamel and buy any souvenirs if you like

Getting there

Walking

Day 3

10:00 - 13:00

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Durbar square, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal
Bhaktapur Durbar Square lies in the small city of Bhaktapur some 13kms east of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur is the smallest of the three cities in Kathmandu Valley and is important as the ancient culture, traditions, and architecture appear to be better conserved by the local residents here. The Bhaktapur Durbar is where the ancient royal family used to reside but that's not the only thing that you can observe here. Some other important sights to see in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square include The Palace of Fifty-Windows, the Vatsala Temple, Golden Gate, the magnificent Statue of Bhupatindra Malla, and the Siddhi Laxmi Temple. The architecture and the intricate carvings on these structures are sure to blow you away. As soon as you're past Durbar Square, a short walk through the narrow alley will take you to Taumadhi Square. Here you can witness the biggest and the highest pagoda in Nepal called the Nyatapola temple. It is a 5 storeyed tall temple which took three generations to complete. Just beside the Nyatapola temple, you can visit the Bharirabnath temple dedicated to Bhairabh - the most fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva. Towards the south of Bhaktapur Durbar Square and quite close to the Taumadhi square is another important square called the Pottery Square. Here you can witness the making of genuine Newari potteries and can even make your own pots for souvenirs. A twenty minutes walk to the east from Pottery Square will take you to the Dattatraya Square which features the beautiful Dattatraya temple from the 1400s. It is believed that the wood that was used to make this temple came from a single tree. And while you're here, also look for the gorgeous Peacock Window located nearby. Made in the 15th century, this window is also referred to as the Mona Lisa of Nepal. Image credit: Aaditya Shah on Unsplash
Article By: Sunny Shrestha
Price covers: Entry
Prices for Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Category Price Restrictions
Standard 15.00 USD

Travel time
1 hour 0 minutes
14:00 - 23:00

Nagarkot

Nagarkot, Nepal
Tucked away 32kms east of Kathmandu in Bhaktapur district lies one of the most scenic spots - Nagarkot. If you love nature, want to have a gorgeous view of the Himalayan range, and witness an epic sunrise, then Nagarkot is the place to be. You can have one of the broadest views of the Himalayas from here. Out of the 13 Himalayan ranges of Nepal, 8 are visible from Nagarkot on a clear day. For active and energetic souls, Nagarkot also offers many short hiking opportunities, Nagarkot eco-trail and Nagarkot panoramic hiking trail leading the chart. Be sure to grab a spot at the Nagarkot view tower early in the morning to witness the glorious sunrise. It's magical to see the sun-kissed mountains early in the morning. Image credit: Krishan Shah on Flickr
Article By: Sunny Shrestha

Notes

Book a hotel at Nagarkot beforehand.

Getting there

A cab or a local bus if you want some adventure. The way to Nagarkot is winding uphill.

Travel time
1 hour 0 minutes

Day 4

09:00 - 12:00

Kirtipur

Kirtipur 44600, Nepal
Kirtipur is yet another culturally rich small town tucked in the southwestern part of Kathmandu some 10kms away. It is mostly inhabited by the Newar community and features many temples, chaityas, and a sweeping view of the valley. Some notable places you can visit while in Kirtpur include Bagh Bhairav temple, Chilancho Bahal, and the Uma Maheshwar temple at the top of the hill. Furthermore, the Newari cuisines of Kirtipur are quite famous among the resident of Kathmandu so make sure that you schedule your lunch in one of the Newari outlets there. Before you enter the town of Kirtipur, during the morning hours we suggest that you take a quick detour to Taudaha lake. During the winter season, we can see many species of migratory birds even from Siberia visiting this lake. Image credit: Sumit Bam Shrestha on Flickr
Article By: Sunny Shrestha

Travel time
30 hours 0 minutes
13:00 - 23:00

Chandragiri Hill

Kulekhani - Phakhel - Matatirtha Rd, Chandragiri, Nepal
One of the beautiful hills surrounding Kathmandu is Chandragiri on the Western side. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the Kathmandu valley and get to see the beautiful Himalayan range on a clear day from the top of Chandragiri. You can reach atop Chandragiri via a 2.5 kms long cable car route. The base station is in Thankot and it takes about nine minutes to reach the top. Besides the beautiful view and fresh air, there's also a temple dedicated to Bhaleshwor Mahadev. And if you're looking to treat yourself, you can even spend the night at Chandragiri Hills Resort and invigorate yourself. Photo by me, Rojan Maharjan from Unsplash
Article By: Sunny Shrestha
Price covers: Entry
Prices for Chandragiri Hill
Category Price Restrictions
Standard 22.00 USD

Notes

Make a prior reservation at the Chandragiri Hills resort

Travel time
0 hours 40 minutes
Privacy: public

About the author

A photography enthusiast who walks around the cities, the hills, and the mountains of this beautiful country Nepal. I love to take up every opportunity that I can to travel across this beautiful country.

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