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A 48 hour guide to Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a place that I had to learn to love. My first trip, I didn’t have such a great time in Kathmandu. After visiting this city NINE times, I can confidently say that I LOVE Kathmandu. Here’s a 48-hour guide to the city so you can love it as much as I do.

Kathmandu is one of my favourite cities. I’ll admit, it took quite a few visits for me to see the absolute beauty and charm of the city, but it’s now a place I long to return to! 7 times in Kathmandu later, and I’ve definitely found the highlights of the city.

I understand that the main draw to Nepal is the trekking, and I know that a lot of you guys have limited time frames. You can definitely see the majority of the best parts of Kathmandu in 48 hours, then get trekking! Or you could split this up so you have a day before the trek and a day after your trek to dedicate to Kathmandu.

How to get there

By Plane: the easiest way to get to Kathmandu from any other part of the world is by air.

By Bus: There are buses to Kathmandu from loads of places in Nepal, and even some in India.

Where to stay

Budget: Hotel Silver Home is one of my favourites! Rooms are about $10 USD per night. It’s in a GREAT location, right in Thamel! The staff really makes the hotel- they’re delightful!

If you want to stay in a hostel, my old trekking partners stayed at The Sparkling Turtle Hostel and LOVED it. It’s a little further away from Thamel, but right next to Swayambhunath.

Mid Range: Kathmandu Home is about $25 a night for a great room and nice breakfast. It’s comfortable and clean, and in the heart of Thamel.

Luxury: There’s a Radisson here if you’re looking to spend hotel points and have a nice stay, but there’s also a boutique hotel called Baber Mahal Vilas, which people rave about. These will be in a less busy area than Thamel.

What to See

Swayambunath is one of my favourite places in Kathmandu. It’s a gorgeous temple with monkeys running around. I like to grab a masala chai at the top and sip that whilst looking at the view over Kathmandu.

Thamel is the “backpacker” area of Kathmandu, but everyone should visit it! I love shopping for trekking things here. This is where the nightlife is in Kathmandu as well. There are loads of fun bars around. I like Purple Haze Rock Bar and Paddy Foley’s Irish Pub.

If you have time, in Thamel, look for Old Freak Street. This refers to “Freak Street,” part of the hippie trail back in the 60s and 70s.

Durbar Square was affected by the 2015 earthquake, but efforts are being made to restore this historic square. I went straight after the earthquake and it was still beautiful. I’ve also been the last two years and it’s still a must-see!

Where to Eat

One of my favourite must eat restaurants typically have two locations, Kathmandu and Pokhara. Read my Pokhara Restaurant Guide to hear more about Or2k.

Himalayan Java Cafe is a great place to grab a coffee and a light snack, and to get some work done if needed.

My favourite restaurant in Kathmandu is Places– they serve amazing food that has unexpected twists to it, like pumpkin momos with a chocolate chili dip, or pesto momos. Yum! And their dessert? A must.

Western Tandoori is a place that both locals and tourists love and flock to. It’s absolutely delicious and definitely one of my favourite places to grab a bite. It’s super cheap and sooooo good.

While those restaurants definitely are some staples, I love exploring little alleyways and finding a hole in the wall to eat at. It’s my favourite way of exploring.

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A 48 Hour Guide to Kathmandu, Nepal | Got some time in Kathmandu before trekking in the Himalayas? I've got you covered! Here's an (almost) local's guide to the most vibrant city

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