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Best things to do in Kathmandu

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Where in the world: Asia  /  Nepal  /  Central Region  /  Bagmati Zone  /  Kathmandu Valley  /  Kathmandu

Top 15 things to do in Kathmandu

1. Walking tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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2. Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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3. Helicopter Tours

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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4. Climbing Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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5. Nature & Wildlife Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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6. River Rafting & Tubing

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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7. Swayambhunath Temple

Watching over the capital from its hilltop vantage point, Swayambhunath Temple stands proudly as one of the nation's most popular tourist and religious sites. Featuring a white dome topped with an iconic golden spire, the World Heritage-listed temple likely dates back to before the 5th century, when it was already a vital pilgrimage destination. The structure endured the devastation of the 2015 earthquake, its prayer flags continuing to flutter in the breeze. Step inside to see a fusion of Hindu and Buddhist iconography, or try spinning the prayer wheels yourself.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Boudhanath Stupa

One of the largest and most important structures of its kind in the country, Boudhanath Stupa holds a spot on the World Heritage List and serves as an icon of the city. Pay a visit to this holy site and you'll find it an epicenter of Tibetan Buddhism in the region, as the complex features a number of monasteries around it. Marvel at the stupa's massive base, topped with a sizable dome and a towering manadala, the golden triangular spire at the top. You can also admire the colorful statues around the dome and the tower's mysterious painted-on eyes. Rumor has it that circling the stupa can help to free you from your sins. The devastating earthquake in April of 2015 severely damaged the structure, causing the removal of the entire top portion and calling for a massive reconstruction project.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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9. Photography Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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10. Thamel

A warren of high-rises and streets packed with eateries, shops, and accommodations, Thamel serves as a haven for backpackers and Western tourists visiting the capital. Use this bustling neighborhood as a base for venturing out into the rest of the capital, but don't leave without indulging in some shopping for locally made souvenirs. After wandering the markets and streets full of vendors, kick back with a drink or a bite to eat at one of the restaurants and bars in the area. Keep your wits about you while exploring, however, as the area does attract pickpockets and scammers.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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11. Garden of Dreams

Escape the city hubbub and retreat to Garden of Dreams, a peaceful garden complex renowned for its scenic pavilions. Also known as the “Garden of Six Seasons," it was built in 1920 for Field Marshall Kaiser Sumsher Rana and was abandoned after his death in the 1960s. Today, restored with help of the Austrian government, it remains a landmark of Kathmandu and a popular spot for a relaxing stroll. Roaming the lush gardens, you can admire Edwardian-style inspired fountains, birdhouses, gazebos, and other picturesque decorations.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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12. Kathmandu Durbar Square

When in Kathmandu, don’t forget to pay a visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square, a World Heritage Site surrounded by historic buildings. Although the square has suffered extensive damage in the 2015 earthquake, many of the buildings remain standing and some will undergo refurbishments. Enjoy the traditional Nepalese architecture of the spacious square and get a feel for the Kathmandu city atmosphere. Admire the house of the Kumari, left unscathed in the earthquake, where the virgin goddess lives until reaching puberty. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of her passing by a window.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Pashupatinath Temple

Pay a visit to the oldest temple in Kathmandu, and one of the most sacred Hindu shrines. Dedicated to Pashupati, an incarnation of Shiva and patron of animals, the numerous temples and shrines of the complex straddle both sides of the Bagmati River. While the main temple and courtyard can only be accessed by Hindu devotees, visitors can explore the rest of the grounds. On a tour of the famous temple, you might encounter meditating sadhus, deer, and monkeys, or even witness a funeral pyre, as the temple attracts the elderly who come here to die and be cremated in the sacred river.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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14. Spas

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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