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Kathmandu Off the Beaten Path

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There are tourist attractions, there are local spots, and then there are some special places where locals and tourists come to share common interests. Kathmandu has plenty of options for each, and this list will help you get the most out of your time in the city.

Good for
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

9 Places

4 City Tips

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Map

9 Places

kar.ma COFFEE

Restaurants

Jazz upstairs

Restaurants

Bhaktapur

Destinations

Patan Museum

Art Museums

Back Streets of Kathmandu

Sightseeing Tours

Mustang Thakali Chulo

Restaurants

The Crematoria

Sacred & Religious Sites

Global Link Bungmati – Khokana Private Day Excursion

Private Tours

Bhojan Griha

Restaurants

Vincent M's City Tips

  • Bear in mind that after the April 2015 earthquake certain parts of the old city complexes in Kathmandu Valley suffered damage and may still be being cleared or reconstructed at the time of your visit. A large part of the city was not affected by the earthquake however — including Thamel — and it's a good idea to use a local guide to show you these parts.
  • Taxis are generally always available, and micro buses are an efficient and budget-friendly form of public transport.
  • "Namaste" is the traditional word for "hello," but its literal translation is something along the lines of "The god in me sees the god in you." Try it!
  • Tipping is not part of the local culture. At some of the more touristic restaurants, there may be a 10% service charge and/or a 13% VAT automatically added to the bill.
  • Save
    kar.ma COFFEE
    Restaurants (Cafe)
    See more photos
    Vincent M Says:

    If you are visiting the Patan Museum, then this 'coffee boutique' should be your definite resting point — either to start the day or to end it. Regular coffee is served up on a donation basis here (you pay what you like), while other specialty coffees are still the most competitively priced in all of Kathmandu. Located below a Jazz Conservatory, kar.ma COFFEE always has a great crowd of people, and you'll likely hear some great live music being played upstairs.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • They have delicious cookies for sale!
    • Free WiFi is available.
    • They also make massage oils, paper, and even soap from coffee, so look around, ask a few questions, and you'll find yourself leaving with a little bit of coffee education!
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 109 restaurants in Patan (Lalitpur)
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice spot 29/08/2017
    • A Cool Place to Chill 08/08/2017
    • kar.ma COFFEE
    Address:
    Jhamsikhel
    Moksh Complex, Gyan Mandala Level 2
    Patan (Lalitpur)
    Nepal
    Phone:
    +977 984-1864962
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    08:00 - 19:00
  • Save
    Jazz upstairs
    Restaurants (Bar, Pub, Nepalese)
    Vincent M Says:

    Jazz Upstairs is a great place to meet interesting locals as well as expats. I especially recommend coming here on Wednesday or Saturday to see the house jazz band, a group of seriously talented Nepali musicians. There is a cover charge on nights when the band is playing, and while it's expensive by Nepalese standards, it's still great value for the show you will see.

    Good for
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Like a Local
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Jazz Upstairs is about a 20-30 minute walk (or a short cab ride) outside of Thamel.
    • Don't forget to check out the rooftop — it's got foosball!
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #98 of 655 restaurants in Kathmandu
    • Mmmm, momos and beer 18/10/2017
    • Great place with good food and music! 19/07/2017
    • Jazz upstairs
    Address:
    Lazimpat
    Kathmandu 44600
    Nepal
    Phone:
    +977 1-4416983
    Other:
  • Save
    Bhaktapur
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Vincent M Says:

    Spend a day outside the capital in Bhaktapur, an old Newari Kingdom that lies just 30 minutes from the center of Kathmandu. It's not a touristic place, and you'll see plenty of beautiful traditional-style buildings here. In fact, the whole village is an attraction in itself, being a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you like yogurt, stop at a local shop for a cup — it is exceptional.
    • Buses run here regularly, and there are guesthouses around if you'd like to spend the night.
    • While a big brunt of the devastation from the April 2015 earthquake was on the old houses in Bhaktapur, in fact only 13% of them suffered damage. A large part of the area's heritage still stands, and it's amazing to see the ongoing reconstruction efforts with the help of a local guide.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    • Bhaktapur
  • Save
    Patan Museum
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Vincent M Says:

    Located inside the Patan's central Durbar (Palace) Square, Patan Museum contains art dating back to the 7th century. It's a Kathmandu must-see, yet the first time I walked through Durbar Square, I had no idea that it was even there! A combination of three museums, it offers sections specifically devoted to art relating to Hinduism, Buddhism, and historical architecture — all set in one of the nicest museum environments I have seen in Asia.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Block out at least an hour or two to make the most of the experience.
    • There is an entrance fee, but it's worth it for the breadth of art you can see inside.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 46 things to do in Patan (Lalitpur)
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Meh 11/10/2017
    • Newly constructed museum 10/10/2017
    • Patan Museum
    Address:
    Royal Palace Complex
    Durbar Marg
    Patan (Lalitpur)
    Nepal
    Phone:
    01-521492
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:30 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Back Streets of Kathmandu
    Sightseeing Tours
    Vincent M Says:

    Kathmandu's back streets are perfect for finding restaurants that look too small to be restaurants, and it's at these gems that you'll quite possibly get the most authentic look at this quickly developing country. Stop in for a meal, or even just a tea, and get the local low-down. This is where I have met some of the more interesting people in the city.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    Tips
    • Recommended breakfast order: Aloo Chana (sauted potato and chickpeas).
    • Recommended lunch order: Momo. Some local places will only serve meat momo (usually chicken or buffalo), but vegetarian momo may also be available.
    • Recommended dinner order: Dahl Baht. Dahl is like a lentil soup, and Baht is rice. The dish will also come with vegetables, and seconds or even thirds are always offered!
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #586 of 737 Tours in Kathmandu
    • Amaizing market of Himalaya! 09/06/2017
    • Back Streets of Kathmandu
    Address:
    Kapan 3
    Kathmandu N/A
    Nepal
    Phone:
    +977 984-1061765
  • Save
    Mustang Thakali Chulo
    Restaurants (Asian, Nepalese)
    See more photos
    Vincent M Says:

    Mustang is the region of Nepal by the Tibetan border; it's an incredibly beautiful area, and one in which the Nepali government enforces many regulations for entering. This restaurant, on the other hand, will let anyone in — despite its name! Located in the heart of Thamel, Mustang Thakali Chulo is one of the few places where you can get a good Dahl Baht at a Nepalese price (as opposed to paying two to three times that at some of the more touristic eateries). You will find mostly locals here, with the occasional traveler/tourist who has been lucky enough to stumble upon it (or read this recommendation!)

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Like a Local
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Lots of tasty items are available, but go for the Dahl Baht — and try to eat with your right hand if you feel adventurous!
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #150 of 655 restaurants in Kathmandu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Yummy thali sets 27/09/2017
    • Just Lovely 16/09/2017
    • Mustang Thakali Chulo
    Address:
    29 2nd Floor, Chibahal
    Thamal Chowk
    Kathmandu 44600
    Nepal
    Phone:
    +977 1-4248083
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 22:00
  • Save
    The Crematoria
    Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    Vincent M Says:

    The Crematoria is off the beaten path for sure — and it's definitely not for everyone. However, if you're open, then this can be an incredible experience. In many western cultures, death is a dark concept; but for Hindus, who believe in reincarnation, it offers a new start. Here at the Crematoria, the bodies of the deceased are burned at the priers and their ashes returned to the Bagmati River.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Photos are allowed, but this is a holy place for the locals, so please be respectful and keep your distance.
    • There are plenty of places to eat and shop in the surrounding areas.
    • It can get more than a little smoky, but this only adds to the experience.
    • Hire a guide or explore on your own and learn from the locals — either way, you're in for a unique experience.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 182 things to do in Kathmandu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Really interesting to see cremations and the Hindu and Buddhist rituals 20/10/2017
    • Intriguing experience of death 18/10/2017
    • The Crematoria
    Address:
    Bagmati River
    Kathmandu 44600
    Nepal
    Phone:
    +977 982-3778339
  • Save
    Global Link Bungmati – Khokana Private Day Excursion
    Private Tours
    See more photos
    Vincent M Says:

    Bungmati and Khokana are two of the oldest settlements in the Kathmandu valley. Walking down the streets here feels like you’ve stepped back in time to a simpler era — you'll be strolling side by side with goats, chickens, and cows. You'll also pass local residents making their handicrafts, a terrific opportunity to buy wooden masks and jewelry directly from the folks making them!

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • By bicycle or on foot, head down through the rice paddies for some great views. You'll surely bump into locals who are interested in speaking with you.
    • The area is best accessed by bike from Patan (or from Thamel, but that is a longer ride through some congested areas), and by taxi or bus from most other parts of the city.
    • Note that although the Khokana area was damaged by the April 2015 earthquake, there's never been a better time to support this small village cooperative, and support the local population's efforts to rebuild their lives with strength and dignity.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #381 of 737 Tours in Kathmandu
    • Nagarkot Hike with Sunrise 04/07/2017
    • Bhutan and Nepal (Kathmandu, Chitwan, Pokhara) 12/12/2016
    • Global Link Bungmati – Khokana Private Day Excursion
    Address:
    Thamel
    Amrit Marg
    Kathmandu 44600
    Nepal
    Phone:
    +977 1-4440560
    Other:
  • Save
    Bhojan Griha
    Restaurants (Asian, Nepalese)
    See more photos
    Vincent M Says:

    The name 'Bhojan Griha' translates to 'house of food,' but this spot is much more than a house! The restaurant occupies an impressive building, which dates back more than 150 years and once belonged to Nepali royalty. Here, you can absorb the culture through more than just the food. You'll get to witness cultural performances while you dine, and there are beautiful grounds to explore — all in a setting of traditional art and architecture.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • If you are going for dinner, factor in a 30-minute ride to get here, as there will likely be traffic.
    • Bear in mind that Bhojan Griha suffered some damage during the April 2015 earthquake and parts of the venue may still be undergoing reconstruction efforts at the time of your visit.
    From the community
    Ranked #78 of 655 restaurants in Kathmandu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not an ideal cultural experience 16/10/2017
    • Delicious food in fine surroundings. 15/10/2017
    • Bhojan Griha
    Address:
    Dilli Bazar
    Kathmandu 44600
    Nepal
    Phone:
    +977 1-4416423
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 22:00
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