For most visitors to Nepal, the Kathmandu Valley is the arrival point and the focus of the visit. The valley is the historical centre of Nepal, palaces and temples were built and rebuilt and Nepali art and culture was developed and refined. Rivers and streams interlace the landscape, with brick-red villages clinging to ridges to preserve precious land. Even from the bustling centres of the cities, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of the majestic Himalayas against the intense blue skies.
Shopping in Kathmandu is an experience in itself. Out of many places to visit in Kathmandu, Nepal; Thamel, a tourist hotspot is where shoppers can find Nepalese and Tibetan artefacts, woodcarvings, handicrafts, and an assortment of unique clothing and apparel. There also are several malls where you can find clothing and grocery stores where you can get everything from wine to cereals.
Kathmandu offers activities such as visiting numerous Stupas, temples, National Parks, white-water rafting and mountain flights. Within the hotel, guests are offered, a spa.
The hotel can work out an itinerary or recommend you with both on-or-offsite activities. When you are in Kathmandu, you can go shopping, sightseeing, on a mountain flight or adventure activities such as mountain biking, hiking, jungle safaris, trekking, bungee-jumping and white-water rafting.
Witness the beauty of rich architecture and culture of Kathmandu. Contact the Travel Desk at the lobby for a personalized sightseeing itinerary.
Nepal is a land-locked sovereign state in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People’s Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Kathmandu is the nation's capital, and the country's largest metropolis. The city is the urban core of the Kathmandu Valley in the Himalayas. The Kathmandu Valley is situated at an altitude of 1,350 m (4,400 ft) above sea level, and covers an area of 218 sq m (2,346 sq ft) surrounded by four major mountains, namely Shivapuri, Phulchowki, Nagarjun and Chandragiri. Neighbouring cities include Patan or Lalitpur towards the southeast (an ancient city of fine arts and crafts) and Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon to the east (City of Devotees). Kathmandu is the headquarters of the country’s Central Region. Kathmandu is easily accessible by road and air. The famous observation platform with its breathtaking views of the city is at the Swayambhunath Stupa in the Swayambhu area of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also known as Monkey Temple.
Here are the famous tourist attractions & places to visit in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Thamel is a popular tourist destination in Kathmandu and is the pre-base camp for mountaineers. The area is home to a wide range of mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, pubs, clubs and nightlife, along with numerous travel agents and guest houses. Visitors can buy local handicraft, pashminas, garments, gems and jewellery. There is no entry fee, and shops are open until 10:00pm.
Thamel is a commercial neighbourhood in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Thamel has been the center of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks in Thamel. Even though Thamel has been referred to as a "ghetto" by some, many low-budget travellers consider it a hotspot for tourism.
Thamel is distinguished by its narrow alleys crowded with various shops and vendors. Commonly sold goods include food, fresh vegetables/fruits, pastries, trekking gear, walking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woollens, clothes. Travel agencies, small grocery stores, budget hotels and restaurants also line the streets. Cars, cycles rickshaws, two-wheelers and taxis ply these narrow streets alongside hundreds of pedestrians.
There are many restaurants in Thamel that serve traditional and continental cuisine, although prices are significantly higher than in non-tourist areas. Thamel also acts as the pre-base camp for mountaineers. It boasts a wide range of mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, mobile phone shops, pubs, clubs, and nightlife along with the numerous travel agents and guest houses. Thamel is home to a wide range of the Nepalese population, and serves both entertainment and employment purposes.
On Wednesday, 28 September 2011, Thamel was declared a full Wi-fi zone. It is the first Wi-fi zone of Nepal.
The word “Thamel” derived from Newari language of ethnic Kathmandu inhabitants, represents a budding commercial hub of greater Kathmandu region. Over the time, the small hipster town changed dramatically in terms of lifestyle and socio-economic stature. Today, it is one of the most visited place in the whole of Nepal by the tourists.
Also known as Hippie’s Den, Tourist trap or Tourists’ Mecca, Thamel boasts a lifestyle different from the rest of greater Kathmandu. The dingy bars, loud western music, trance parties and posh diners give the real impression of the city.
A famous flea-market for adventure travelers, here, you can buy or rent stuffs particular to trekking, hiking and climbing.
Most of the companies from the Nepalese tourism scene are found in here. Located side by side, sometimes in a single building, these entities -catering clienteles from around the globe, represent the local tourism industry of Nepal. Despite their tiny Brick & Mortar offices, the services provided are larger than life and fairer (mainly because of regulatory bodies, like Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), TAAN and Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), inspecting these organizations).
Originally, the home of ethnic tribe of Kathmandu –“Newar,” the place received international recognition for its popularity among incoming tourists, mainly Hippies during early 70s’ and 80s’. Thamel saw a large influx of western tourists; those looking for peace, eastern spiritual music and drugs. This place assimilated with the cultures of “Flower Generation” and became a known hipster town. One could easily find Hashish and Ganja (Marijuana) selling on these streets. Later, the evolution of small trade, with establishment of bars and restaurants, made this place an epicenter of commerce in Kathmandu.
Despite it cultural transitions, it never lost its roots and charm of yeste-years. You can still find buildings made up of mud and brick among new concrete building, Temples dedicated to ancient Hindu Gods and Goddesses in various corners, inhabitants clad in ethnic Newari couture roaming the streets, and many local festivals celebrated inside the premise of Thamel.
An Urban legend is popular among the inhabitants of Kathmandu, which suggests that Rock Stars like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison ventured Thamel during their hey day. Today, many stars of the international scene are seldom seen wandering the Thamel streets, like Bruce Springsteen and Sting.
Diners and Bars are the prestige of Thamel. A bar called “Rum Doodle” and decorated with pictures from the book “The Ascent of Rum Doodle” has become a popular staging point for expeditions to Mt. Everest, and a joint for mountaineers. It serves free meal for the lifetime to those climbers who have made it to Everest summit. Messner, Lowe, Anker and the like have often ventured here.
Other popular joints known to mankind are; Sheesha Bar, Purple Haze -Rock Bar, Reggae Bar, New Orleans Restaurant, Himalayan Java and Sandwich Point.
Many fine establishments have resided in here (excluding 4 or 5 Stars). Finding a niche hotel won’t be a difficult task, and most of them come at reasonable cost.
Outdoor agencies are found to be in huge numbers in Kathmandu. From oldest to some of the newest establishments, all of them have settled their nest in Thamel. It is recommended to choose company for its experience and diversity of clienteles it has served.
Narayanhiti Palace Museum
About 4 minute walk from the hotel by car, the Narayanhiti Palace opened as a museum in February 2009; nine months after the abolition of the monarchy. The museum currently showcases the belongings of former kings and other royals who lived at the palace. Visitors can also see the diamond-studded crown, and the wardrobes of the former members of the Royal family. An entry fee NPR 500 (approximately USD $7) for foreign nationals and NPR 250 (approx USD $3) for SAARC nationals is applicable.
About 15 minutes from the hotel by car and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Swayambhunath is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. According to translations from an inscription dating back to 460 AD, it was built by King Manadeva and, by the thirteenth century, Swayambhunath had developed into an important centre of Buddhism. It is also known as the Monkey Temple. The stupa sits atop the hill and steep stone steps lead up to the shrine. An entry fee of NPR 200 (approx USD $3) applies for foreign nationals and NPR 50 (approx USD $0.5) for SAARC nationals, and the area is open 24 hours a day.
Boudhanath Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 36 m (118 ft) high stupa is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. With countless monasteries surrounding it, Bouddhanath is the centre of Buddhism in Nepal. The stupa was renovated by Licchavi rulers in the eighth Century. An entry fee of NPR 250 (approximately USD $3) applies for foreign nationals and NPR 150 for SAARC nationals. The area is open 24 hours, and shops close at 7:00pm.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around 45 minutes from the hotel by car, this square is in the centre of Bhaktapur city. Showcasing architecture that dates back to the Malla period, the square is particularly charming with wide open spaces that are off limits to vehicular traffic. In Bhaktapur you will see some of the finest medieval art in Nepal. Of particular interest are: the Golden Gate, the Fifty Five Window Palace and the beautiful statue of King Bhupatindra Malla mounted on a giant stone pillar. The Golden Gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla as the entrance to the main courtyard of the Fifty Five Window Palace, which was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in 1427 AD and re-modelled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. The Art Gallery has a fascinating collection of ancient manuscripts, thankas, centuries old stone sculptures and antique paintings that belong to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods. This gallery is open daily except on Tuesdays. An entry fee USD $15 for foreign nationals and NPR 500 (approx. USD $6) is applicable.
About an hour from the hotel by car, Changunarayan temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it was built in the fourth century. A fifth century stone inscription in the temple proclaims it as one of the oldest shrines in Kathmandu Valley. The temple is a showcase for Newari art and the architecture of the early century, and the stone, wood, and metal craft found here is exemplary. On the struts of the two-tiered Changu Narayan Temple are ten incarnations of Narayan. A sixth century stone statue shows the cosmic form of Vishnu. Garuda - half man and half bird - is the vehicle of Vishnu, and his life-size statue kneels before the temple. An entry fee NPR 100 (approximately USD $2) for foreign nationals and NPR 50 (approx. USD $0.5) for SAARC nationals is applicable.
About 10 minutes from the hotel by car, the National Museum of Nepal is located in Chauni, near Swayambhu. The museum was initially known as Chhauni Silkhana, which literally means “the stone house of arms and ammunitions”. Here, one can see Napoleon’s sword of command which was presented to Jung Bahadur, the Prime Minister and virtual ruler of Nepal from 1846 to 1877, who established the powerful Rana dynasty. An entry fee NPR 200 (approx. USD $3) for foreign nationals and NPR 25 (approx. USD $0.5) is applicable, and the Museum is closed on Tuesdays.
About 90 minutes from the hotel by car, Nagarkot is renowned for its sunrise view of the Himalayas (including Mount Everest) as well as other snow-capped peaks of the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley.
About 20 minutes from the hotel by car, this temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. Built in the fifth century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered in the forest. The main pagoda-style temple has a gilded roof, four sides covered in silver and wood carvings of the finest quality. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gates of the main temple. An entry fee NPR 1000 (approx. USD $11) applies to foreign nationals, and the temple is open from 6:00am until 7:00 pm.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
About 20 minutes from the hotel by car, Kathmandu Durbar Square is in the heart of old Kathmandu city in Basantapur. It was once the residence of Nepal's Royal family, and all coronation ceremonies were held here. The palace is an amalgamation of Eastern and Western architecture, with additions by Rana and Shah rulers over the centuries. An unbelievable fifty temples lie within the vicinity, including the temple of the titular deity, Taleju Bhawani. The Durbar is divided into two courtyards, the outer Kasthamandap, Kumari Ghar: home of the Living Goddess and Shiva-Parvati Temple, and the inner section consisting of Hanuman Dhoka and the main palace. Some floors have been converted to museums dedicated to three generations of Shah kings. Most parts of the palace premises are open to tourists throughout the week. An entry fee NPR 750 (approx. USD $8) for foreign nationals and NPR 150 (approx. USD $2) for SAARC nationals is applicable.
Patan Durbar Square
About 25 minutes from the hotel by car and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Patan Durbar Square is located in the heart of Patan city and was once the palace of the kings of Patan. The square is a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of Malla kings; who were great builders and patrons of the arts. The palace has three main courtyards, the most central (and the oldest) is Mul Chowk. To the west of the complex are a dozen free-standing temples of various sizes, built in different styles. A masterpiece in stone, the Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple, the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna Mahavira and Sundari Chowk mark the artistic brilliance of the Newari craftsmen of that era. The Sundari Chowk - with the sunken bath of Tusha Hiti - showcases exquisite woodcarvings, stone and metal sculptures. Like the other palaces, Patan Durbar Square also houses a temple dedicated to Taleju Bhawani. An entry fee NPR 500 (approx. USD $5.5) for foreign nationals and NPR 100 (approx. USD $1.5) is applicable.
Patan Museum is housed in a courtyard within the Northernmost building complex of the Durbar area. The most picturesque setting of the palace that has been created in so small a place by piety and pride is known now to the people as Keshav Narayan Chowk after a temple standing at the center of the courtyard dedicated to Keshavnarayan- a form of Lord Vishnu.This part is recorded in the history as Chaukot Durbar or four-cornered-fort-palace.
In an International Campaign by UNESCO for safeguarding the monuments of Kathmandu valley, the Austrian Government joined hands with Nepal Government to preserve Patan Darbar Square. The ensuing project began in 1982 with the repair of Keshav Narayan Chowk that led finally to the transformation of a teaching museum to dessimination of knowldge on Buddhism prevailed in Patan- city of Art and Architecture.
This is the first public museum in Nepal that has been created as an autonomous institution of this type managed by its own Board of Directors. The museum has been acclaimed, by the visitors, as one of the finest museums in South Asia. The popularity is growing day after day and is economically self sustained now.
The collaborative effort of Austrian Government with Nepalese counterpart did not only restore the historical palace to its original grandeuer but also created a Model Cultural Institution in Nepal.
Entry Fee: NPR 250 (approx. USD $3) for foreign nationals and NPR 25 (approx. USD $0.5) for SAARC nationals.
Patan Golden Temple
Located in north Patan the Golden temple (Hiranyavarna Mahavihara) is perhaps the second most popular attraction here after Durbar Square. The temple was built in 1409 and is in fact a Newari Buddhist monastery. The nickname "golden temple" came about through tourism more than it actually being made of pure gold. Most of the temple is actually polished brass. Never the less it still remains a stunning special to visit for many reason.
At the main entrance there was once a duel fought between a Brahman and Vajracharya Buddhist priest. The Vajracharya priest won when his wife threw here sari over the Brahmans head which led to the priest decapitating him. It’s said the severed head is still used in ceremonies today. Inside the main courtyard there are probably enough artifacts to keep most historians happy for a full day. Do keep note that leather items are not permitted inside.
Entry Fee: NPR 50 (approx. USD $1) for foreign nationals and NPR 20 (approx. USD $0.5) for SAARC nationals
Patan Mahabouddha Temple
Mahabuddha temple is a Buddhist temple made up of terracotta, situated in the heart of kathmandu valley. This 500 year old temple can be taken as the treasury of Nepalese art and craft. The Mahabuddha temple is a great pilgrim for the Buddhist practitioners. Buddhists from all over the world come, worship the Buddha and feel eternal peace and satisfaction. The temple has proven to be a wonder to the cultural and archeological tourists.
This ancient historical temple is constructed under a typical architectural style called "Shikhar saili". The temple is build up of terracotta, each consisting Buddha images and other arts. Such terracotta is made up of very special material composing extracted clay, herbs and others to make the terracotta strong and pure, These terracotta are rather attached to each other with norma mud or cement but with a special mixture of different herbs etc. called "vajra". The temple composes of thousand Buddha statues. So it is even called "sangetongu" in Tibetan language meaning "temple of thousand Buddha". The temple is probably the best and first temple built up of terracotta in the country. The temple is surmounted by Usnish Cudamani suvarna chaitya the total height of the temple is about 60 feet.
Entry Fee: NPR 50 (approx. USD $1) for foreign nationals and NPR 30 (approx. USD $0.5) for SAARC nationals
Shopping in Kathmandu
Shopping in Kathmandu is a real fun. The Himalayan Region of Nepal is a shopping destination and offers a wide range of products to the discerning traveller to carry back home as souvenirs. Our concierge team can assist you on the shopping areas. The main shopping areas are:
About 10 minute walk from the hotel, Durbar Marg is home to brand name stores and outlets. The Narayanhiti Palace Museum is also located here. There is no entry fee, and shops close at 8:00pm.
About 20 minutes from the hotel, New Road is one of the most frequented marketplaces in Kathmandu. From clothing and jewellery to electronics... you name it, you get it at New Road. If you want to understand the Kathmandu lifestyle, New Road is a must see. There is no entry fee, and shops close at 8:00pm.
About 25 minutes from the hotel, Kupondole is on the way to Patan Durbar Square and is home to a few shops selling local handicrafts. There is no entry fee, and shops close at 6:00pm.
About 25 minutes from the hotel, this courtyard was named after the ancient Vedic deity, Indra. Here, one can find Nepali shawls, bead necklaces, local goods and spices, and the area is also famous for the various surrounding temples. There is no entry fee, and shops close at 8:00pm.
Patan Durbar Square (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) Patan Museum (a famous Lord Krishna temple) and the Taleju Temples are all located around 45 minutes from the hotel. Patan is famous for its woodcarvings and sculptures of stone and metal. An entry fee of NPR 200 (approximately USD $3) applies for foreign nationals to enter the Patan area.
About 25 minutes drive away from the hotel, Boudhanath Stupa - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is located in Boudha and is a religious centre for Buddhists. Surrounding the Stupa are many different monasteries belonging to different Buddhist sects. Most visitors go to the Stupa for sightseeing and shopping, picking up such items as Tibetans handicraft, gems, jewellery and Thankas. An entry fee of NPR 150 (approximately USD $2) applies for foreign nationals. The area is open 24 hours a day, and shops close at 7:00pm.
City Centre Shopping Mall
About 10 minutes from the hotel by car is the City Centre Shopping Mall, which is of international standard and has showrooms and retail outlets of popular international brand name commodities, as well as restaurants, a multiplex cinema, a supermarket and separate play areas for children. No entry fee is required, and the mall is open from 10:00am until 8:00pm.
About 25 minutes from the hotel by car is the Civil Mall, which is home to a range of stores selling everything from clothing and home appliances to electronic appliances and mobiles phones. It also has a multiplex cinema. No entry fee is required, and the mall is open from 10:00am until 8:00pm.
Golf in Kathmandu
Golfing in Nepal combines challenging courses with breathtaking scenery, making it more than just another leisure activity. Complimented by the pleasant climate, Nepal offers nearly perfect golfing conditions all year round.
Golf Clubs in Kathmandu near Hotel Norbulinka
Golfing in Nepal combines challenging courses with breathtaking scenery, making it more than just another leisure activity. Complimented by the pleasant climate, Nepal offers nearly perfect golfing conditions all year round. There are two golf clubs near Hotel Norbulinka.
Royal Nepal Golf Club
Royal Nepal Golf Club is 6 km from the hotel, on the way to Tribhuvan International Airport and is a nine hole course. The Club offers the latest golfing equipment, apparel from various companies, all of which are available at reasonable prices.
- Hours of Operation: 7:00 am until 6:00 pm daily
- Green Fee: NPR 2000 on weekdays and NPR 2400 on weekends
- Caddy Fee: NPR 600
- Club Rent: NPR 650
Gokarna Golf Club
Gokarna Golf Club is 9 km from the hotel. Spread over 140 acres at 1,386 m (4,550 ft) above sea level, the 6,755 yard par 72 course is the only place to find bent grass greens on an 18 hole course in south and southeast Asia.
- Hours of Operation: 6:00am to 6:00pm daily
- Green Fee: NPR 5000 (weekdays) and NPR 7000 (weekends and public holidays)
- Caddy Fee: NPR 500 (for 18 hole) and NPR 300 (for 9 hole)
- Club Rent: NPR 1500
- Both the golf clubs require a dress code of polo t-shirt and jeans are not allowed. Players can either wear golf shoe or sport shoe.
- Quoted prices are subject to change
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