Things to Do in Kathmandu and Pokhara

  • Upendra Dawadi
  • Last Updated on Apr 28, 2023

As two of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, Kathmandu and Pokhara offer visitors an abundance of unique experiences and attractions. Whether you're looking to explore ancient temples, hike through stunning landscapes, or simply immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Nepal, both Kathmandu and Pokhara have something for everyone. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the top things to do in Kathmandu and Pokhara for travelers.

Kathmandu is the vibrant capital city of Nepal, situated in the central part of the country. The city is a melting pot of cultures, with a rich history and a diverse population that includes people from all over Nepal and beyond. Known for its ancient temples, stunning architecture, and bustling markets, Kathmandu is a place that captures the essence of Nepal.

The city is surrounded by towering mountains and verdant hills, with the majestic Himalayas visible in the distance. The streets are a riot of color and activity, with locals and tourists mingling in the busy markets and streets. The architecture of the city is a blend of traditional Nepali and modern styles, with ancient temples and palaces standing alongside modern buildings and shopping malls. Here are some of the top things to do in Kathmandu:

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Visit The Ancient Temples and Shrines

The temples in Kathmandu are known for their intricate carvings, stunning architecture, and spiritual significance. They are a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of the Nepali people, and many of them date back several centuries. The temples are an integral part of the city's landscape, with their towering spires and ornate facades visible from almost every corner of the city.

One of the most famous temples in Kathmandu is the Pashupatinath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 5th century. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered one of the holiest temples in Nepal. The temple complex is spread over a large area and includes several smaller temples and shrines, as well as a cremation site on the banks of the Bagmati River.

Another popular temple in Kathmandu is the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple. This ancient temple dates back to the 5th century and is located on a hilltop, offering stunning views of the city. The temple is surrounded by hundreds of prayer flags, and the site is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists.

Other notable temples in Kathmandu include the Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest stupas in the world, and the Kathmandu Durbar Square, a complex of temples and palaces that served as the royal palace until the 19th century.

Explore The Old City

The old city of Kathmandu is a maze of narrow alleys, vibrant markets, and ancient temples that offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Nepal. Known as the heart of the city, this area is a treasure trove of architectural and cultural heritage that has stood the test of time.

The old city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is a complex of palaces, temples, and courtyards that dates back to the 12th century. The square was once the centre of the Nepali monarchy and is a testament to the rich architectural and cultural heritage of Nepal. Walking through the old city, visitors can see the intricate carvings and artwork that adorn the temples and buildings, including the famous erotic carvings on the walls of the Pashupatinath Temple. The streets are lined with colourful shops selling traditional Nepali handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs.

One of the most charming aspects of the old city is its narrow alleys and courtyards, where locals gather to chat, drink tea, and relax. Visitors can also sample traditional Nepali cuisine in the many street-side eateries that dot the area.
Take a cooking class: Nepal is known for its delicious cuisine, and Kathmandu offers visitors the chance to learn how to cook traditional Nepalese dishes. Several cooking schools offer classes that teach visitors how to prepare momos (dumplings), dal bhat (lentil soup and rice), and other popular dishes.

Go on a Day Hike

Kathmandu is the gateway to several of Nepal's famous hiking routes. One of the most popular day hikes in Kathmandu is the hike to Nagarkot, a hill station located about 32 kilometers east of the city. The hike takes you through beautiful forests and offers stunning views of the Himalayan range, including Mount Everest on a clear day.
Another popular hike is the one to Champadevi, a hill located to the south of the city. The hike takes you through beautiful forests and offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding hills. It is a moderate hike that takes around 3-4 hours to complete.
For those seeking a more challenging hike, the hike to Shivapuri National Park is a great option. The hike takes you through dense forests and offers stunning views of the Kathmandu Valley.
Another beautiful hike is the one to Chandragiri Hill, located to the southwest of Kathmandu. The hike takes you through dense forests and offers panoramic views of the Himalayan range and the city. The hike is moderate and takes around 4-5 hours to complete. Attend a cultural performance: Kathmandu is home to several cultural centers that offer traditional music and dance performances. Visitors can attend a show and experience the vibrant culture of Nepal firsthand. There are numerous restaurants and ethnic eateries that you can go to in order to immerse yourself in the ethnics cultural dances in and around the capital city of Kathmandu.

Pokhara is a picturesque city located in western Nepal, nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. Often referred to as the "Gateway to the Himalayas," it is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. Known for its stunning lakes, majestic mountains, and serene natural beauty, Pokhara is a place where visitors can relax, unwind, and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Nepal.The city has a laid-back and relaxed vibe, with a plethora of cafes, restaurants, and shops selling traditional Nepali handicrafts, souvenirs, and clothing. Here are some of the top things to do in Pokhara:

Visit the lakes: Pokhara is home to several lakes, including Phewa Lake, Begnas Lake, and Rupa Lake.Phewa Lake, the largest and most famous lake in Pokhara, is a popular tourist destination and a hub for various water activities, including boating and kayaking. The lake is surrounded by lush green forests and hills, making it an ideal spot for hiking and trekking.

Begnas and Rupa lakes are more secluded and provide a peaceful and serene environment for visitors. The lakes are surrounded by lush green forests and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can relax by the lakeside, go boating or fishing, or take a stroll along the peaceful trails surrounding the lakes.

Day Hikes: One popular day hikes in Pokhara is the hike to the World Peace Pagoda, also known as the Shanti Stupa. The hike takes you through beautiful forests and offers stunning views of the Himalayan range and the city below. The pagoda itself is a breathtaking structure and provides a peaceful environment for meditation and reflection.

Another great hike is the hike to Sarangkot, a hill located on the northern side of the city. The hike takes you through picturesque villages and terraced fields, offering panoramic views of the Annapurna range and the Pokhara Valley.

Pokhara Sightseeing and Exploration: Pokhara is home to several fascinating caves that are popular attractions for visitors. The most famous of these is the Mahendra Cave, named after the former king of Nepal. The cave is a natural wonder, featuring incredible rock formations and underground waterfalls.

Another popular cave is the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, which is located near Davis Falls. The cave is home to a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and visitors can explore its many chambers and passageways. For those interested in history, the Bat Cave is a must-visit destination. The cave was used by ancient humans thousands of years ago and is home to many interesting rock carvings and fossils. Apart from these, Pokhara offers various historically significant monuments like the International Mountain Museum, Gorkha Museum and many other centuries-old temples that you can wander off to.

Adventure Alternatives: From paragliding and zip-lining to bungee jumping and white-water rafting, there is no shortage of excitement in this city. Paragliding is a popular activity in Pokhara, offering breathtaking views of the Himalayan range and the stunning landscape below. The experience of soaring through the sky is exhilarating and unforgettable.

Zip-lining is another thrilling adventure activity that allows visitors to fly above the treetops, taking in the breathtaking views of the city and the mountains.

For those seeking an even more intense adventure, bungee jumping and white-water rafting are also available.
Explore the Lakeside: Exploring the Lakeside in Pokhara is an essential experience for anyone visiting this beautiful city. Lakeside is a popular tourist area located on the banks of Phewa Lake, offering stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Visitors can stroll along the lakeshore and admire the colourful boats and watercraft, or take a boat ride across the lake to visit the picturesque Tal Barahi Temple. There are also many restaurants, cafes, and shops in Lakeside, providing plenty of opportunities to sample local cuisine and shop for souvenirs.
In the evenings, Lakeside comes alive with live music performances and cultural shows, making it the perfect place to unwind and relax after a day of sightseeing.


Upendra Dawadi

Upendra Dawadi

Mr. Dawadi is in the field of Nepalese Tourism for more than a decade. He is an expert travel planner and a good listener. Also, he is considered as a best suggestion provider amongst various routes in the destination and many more other visiting.

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