Being Tourist in Kathmandu

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Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is an ancient city - its always vibrant and culturally rich. I grew up here and have spent the majority of my life in Kathmandu yet, I always appreciate it's beautiful architecture - temples, palaces, statues and other landmarks which are evident at every corner of Kathmandu.

At Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of three Durbar Squares (Bhaktapur & Patan are other two) in the capital city. These Squares serve as plazas which are sprinkled with historic temples, fountains, and smaller courtyards, along its grand procession to the entryway of each palace.

As a famous tourist attraction spot, you will find hundreds of small local souvenir shops and many restaurants/coffee shops. Most people in this area will speak basic English and if you plan on shopping - be sure to bargain, walk away, and compare prices.

Caffeine fix at Himalayan Java-Basantapur

Most restaurants in Kathmandu serve food with Nepali, Chinese, & Continental influence; I had American Chopsuey at Durbar Square Cafe.

fried noodles, chicken cooked in sort of heavenly sauce topped with fried eggs

Not only tourists but locals also hangout in this area mainly in the evening. One of the sacred destination "Kumari Ghar" built in 1757 is housed in the square. Kumari is a living goddess, a young girl believed to be the incarnation of the demon-slaying Hindu goddess Durga. For details on Kumari click here.

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If you are a Kathmandu native, it's easy to figure your way around around here otherwise it's pretty complicated because most streets are not labeled and they all can look the same..Also, if you ask for directions, people will most likely tell you to take left from this temple, walk to that store, and look for green building (aka you will most likely be lost).

My cousin and I walked the streets from Kathmandu Durbar Square to another tourist mecca Thamel (about 20 minutes walk). Along the way, you will notice tall narrow houses, many renovated, few old ones but most of them displaying beautiful wooden carvings on the windows, roofs, and doors.

Thamel

has been tourist heaven since the hippie movement; the narrow streets are lined with vendors/cafes

/bars/clubs, 

shops selling everything like travel packages, tour guides, clothes, DVDs, handicrafts, currency exchange, souvenirs, and hotels - you name it, they have it.

I bought some loose leave tea (didn't buy butter tea though) for a very reasonable price.

This other time I met with my friend for dinner again at

Thamel

and we rode a rickshaw. We grabbed coffee at

Himalayan Java

; one of our oldest hangout spots.

 If you are in the mood for some local tea, you will find that too on the street-side.

There are 100s of restaurants offering various cuisines here; we chose Roadhouse Cafe, known for its wood-fired pizza, great ambiance, and clean restroom.

Due to poor lights, I was not able to capture our pizza Jardiniera (grilled veggies),

but it was very good. I had an amazing time here and for once it didn't even feel like we were in Kathmandu.

I met another friend in Jhamel, aka new Thamel lined with tons of restaurants and bars. We met at Le-Trio, a cozy restaurant with an excellent service and great food. Their

jhol mo:mo

(soup dumplings) were one of the best I have had so far. 

My time in Kathmandu was fabulous - I enjoyed every moment here and tried my best to ignore the frustrating aspects (traffic, pollution, trash, dirty bathrooms etc).

If you haven't already, check out my post on

Life in Kathmandu.