Nepal’s capital city is also the departure point for treks into the Himalayas, including Mount Everest and Annapurna, and as a result is a major travel hub. The streets of the Thamel neighborhood are lined with the likes of climb outfitters and hostels for backpackers, but also feature hole in the wall shops selling the softest wool scarves. Unless you’re gearing up for a Base Camp trek, focus your time instead on the stunning architecture and religious significance of the city’s several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Don’t miss a visit to the sacred Boudhanath Stupa, the ancient tree-swathed site of Swayambhunath, or Kathmandu’s Durbar Square with its awe-inspiring temples; a testament to Nepal’s monarchical past. Featuring a mix of temples, palaces, monasteries and shrines, the structures each evoke myths and legends passed down through generations.
Explore beyond the guidebook highlights and let us arrange extraordinary experiences like meeting an Ex-Kumari (Living Goddess of Nepal) or a lecture on Everest by an Everest Summiteer, learning to make traditional Newari dishes, or making pottery with a specialist potter in Bhaktapur.
We recommend a minimum of three nights in Kathmandu to fully experience the city. If you aren’t doing a full trek to Everest in your itinerary but want to make sure to see the hallowed mountain, remember that scenic flights and helicopter landings are weather dependent. Allow yourself some flexibility to move around your days to accommodate the wind and clouds.