Visiting Kathmandu in One day

Posted on Jan 9, 2018 by NepalTravel under Tour

Tags: Kathmandu, Visiting, Tour, One day

Most of the tourists come to Nepal by air and stay in Kathmandu atleast for a day, as the only international airport is in the Kathmandu Valley. Being the capital city, Kathmandu has a lot of touristic things to offer and is always on the list for every traveler in Nepal.

There are many beautiful places that you can visit within Kathmandu. It is now the federal capital as well as the biggest metropolitan city. It is crowded, yet is a world of its own. From UNESCO world heritage sites, temples, hiking trails, museums, shopping malls, farmers markets to local eateries, traditional villages and agricultural farmlands, it’s a perfect place to understand and enjoy the Nepalese way of life.


For one who has no idea on what to do or where to go in Kathmandu, for a day’s trip, here’s a compilation of travel tips and ideas to experience Kathmandu. To visit these places of Kathmandu in one day we recommend to book a private taxi instead of traveling a Kathmandu by Local buses.

Places you can visit in Kathmandu in one day


It is the Kathmandu Downtown and almost every foreigner visiting Nepal stays/goes around this place. It has star hotels, hostels, travel agencies, bars, pubs, souvenir shops to branded outlets for trekking/mountaineering gears. You will find people from every country in the world in Thamel as it is the most happening places in Kathmandu.

Things to do in Thamel

Take a walk around Thamel. It is the place where Hippies stayed in 1960s. With narrow gullies, stone paved roads, prayer flags, smell of local incent sticks and traditional folk music playing in the background, makes it a very enriching experience. It has many restaurants offering delicacies from all over the world, many live music places, bars, pubs, money exchangers and travel agencies. Its recently been vehicle free. Buy or rent trekking/mountaineering gears at Thamel. Buy souvenir/gifts for your friends and family back home.

Basantapur Durbar Square

It is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Kathmandu and has some of the uniquely built ancient temples and palaces. A visit to the area requires a permit costing NRs.1000 for a day. It is just 15mins walking distance away from Thamel.

Things to do in Basantapur Durbar Square

Visit the Ancient Palace, Museum and Temples within the Basantapur Durbar Square. Go see Kumari (the living goddess). Check out the gift/curio shops. There are different rituals performed throughout the year at the Durbar Square such as in Dashain, Fagu Purnima, Local Jatras. Freak street is right next to the Durbar Square. There are 100s of local restaurants serving authentic Newari/Nepali food. A walk in the evening is highly recommended.

Swyambhunath Stupa

It is also known as Monkey Temple and a UNESCO world heritage site. From the Stupa, one can see the entire Kathmandu valley and surroundings, as it is on a hill top. This place is filled with a lot of Buddhist monks as it is a sacred place from them. It is one of the largest dome shaped stupas in the world and has other temples in the area to learn about Gautam Buddha. Lights and prayer flags make the stupa shine in the evening. Foreigners are required a permit to enter the premises. Swayambhunath is on the Kathmandu Ringroad to the west.

Pashupatinath temple

Pashupatinath temple is mainly famous for Indian tourists who follows Hindu religion. This is the holiest temple for lord Shiva in Hinduism. It lies on the banks of holy Bagmati river. This is also a very sacred place for cremation as it is believed that getting cremated at Pashupatinath Aarya Ghat purifies your soul and you get a place in Heaven. The funeral ritual by burning body on a stack of wood is a very enriching scene. There are monkeys in the temple area too. Everyday around 5:30pm, the holy Pashupatinath Sandhya Aarati (evening worship of the deity) along with Bagmati Aarati is held. Hundreds of people gather inside the temple and on the banks of Bagmati river to witness the sacred Aarati in the evening, chanting holy mantras and dancing to the music. Pashupatinath lies on the Ringroad very near the Kathmandu International Airport to the North East. Pashupatinath temple is crowded during the famous festival Maha Shivaratri, Teej Festival and most of the tourists also visit pashupatinath to see the  Baba ji or Sahdus.

Boudhanath Stupa

Kathmandu city has many stupas and temples as it is also known as the City of Temples. Boudhanath stupa, some 2kms out of Ringroad from Chahabil has recently been renovated and is another holy sites for Buddhists. It is also listed as UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to a lot of Buddhist monks chanting holy mantras with prayer wheels. Try Tibetan momos and Laphing in the restaurants nearby.

If you just have a day in Kathmandu, we have a simplified itinerary for you to get around and see the most of Kathmandu

Patan Durbar Square

This is another square with ancient palaces from the Malla Regime. This UNESCO world heritage site has the very famous Krishna Mandir with finest stone architecture and stories carved on these stone pillars. There are museums and other temples in the area. Try some local Newari sweets (Lakhamari) in the nearby outlets.

Early Morning Kathmandu Visit

Lets assume you are living around Thamel Area. Thamel Area (Thamel, Lainchour, Lazimpat, Samakhusi, Sorakhutte, Dhobichaur, Baluwatar). These are the localities with embassies, star hotels, government offices and most of the travel agencies. Here’s what you can do. 

7:00 AM wake up and visit Pashupatinath from Thamel. A taxi would take around NRs. 250-300 for a 20-25 minute drive

7:30 Am Reach Pashupatinath and visit the entire Pashupati surrounding. Walk around the ghats and see the funeral procession on the Bagmati ghats.

8:30 AM Complete the Pashupatinath visit and go to Bouddhanath by taxi. Bouddhanath is very close to Pashupatinath. You can either take a bus to Chabahil from Gaushala (Pashupatinath) and then get another bus/microbus to Bouddha, or take a taxi from Pashupatinath. Each bus ride costs around NRs. 20 per person.

9:00 AM Reach Boudhanath and visit the stupas, see the surroundings.

You can have your breakfast either at Boudhanath Area or at Thamel area.

10:45 AM Finish your breakfast and take some rest. Complete the breakfast at Bouddhanath

Afternoon in Kathmandu to Patan and Back to Kathmandu

12:00 PM Leave for Patan via Taxi/Microbus from RatnaPark (5minute walk from Thamel).

12:30 PM Reach Patan and start visiting temples and museums.

2:00 PM Finish lunch and take a taxi/Microbus to Basantapur/Kathmandu Durbar Square.

2:45 PM Complete the lunch and start visiting Basnatapur Durbar Square.

4:00 PM Walk around the Durbar Square, Kumari Ghar and Museums.

4:30 PM Take a rest or try few local Newari food around Basantapur 

5:00 PM Drive to Swyambhunath

5:30 PM Reach Swyambhunath and visit the stupa and temples.

6:30 PM Get back to Thamel

7:00 PM Go around Thamel, try some Nepali coffee, Get gifts and Souvenirs for Friends and Family.

8:00 PM Have a perfect Nepali dinner (Thakali/Nepali Thali Set- a combination of Rice, Lentils, and Vegetable Curry

9:00 PM Walk around Thamel, go to some bars/clubs/pubs if you are interested and then get back to Hotel.  There are few great Night Clubs,Bars in Kathmandu you can try.

Visiting Kathmandu and outskirts in two days:

One of the famous outskirts of Kathmandu city is Bhaktapur, which is 20 km away and is also famous for its ancient architecture, temples, scenic landscapes and cuisine. It has two of the UNESCO world heritage sites, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Changunarayan Temple.

In Day 1: You can visit, Boudhanath, Pashupatinath and Bhaktapur and come back to Hotel.

In Day 2: Visit Patan Durbar Square, Basantapur, Thamel and then do some shopping.

Some other attractions around Kathmandu are listed below. It takes a day to get around these places so you can plan your schedule accordingly.

Nagarkot: This hill top is very popular for amazing views of Sunrise and Sunset. Also, you can enjoy the scenic views of Kathmandu valley from the hill top.

Dhulikhel: This small town is known for the amazing views of Himalayan Range. Its some 30kms from Kathmandu and is used as base for different hiking trails in Kathmandu.

Nagarkot and Dhulikhel are perfect weekend/holiday getaways for people from Kathmandu, especially during the New Year Eve.

Khokna/Bungmati/Panauti/Sankhu: These are traditional Newari villages in the outskirts of Kathmandu. A day walk to one of these villages is a must for a typical Newari life experience.

Chandragiri Cable Car: Located to the west of Kathmandu, this Chandra giri cable car is the newest attraction in Kathmandu. The 10minute ride itself is quite an amazing experience, let alone the 360 views of gigantic Himalayas.

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