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10 Important Tips for Visiting Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu - Nepal

Kathmandu – Nepal

10 Important Tips for Visiting Kathmandu, Nepal

 If you’re heading to Nepal, this post provides some very useful information for your arrival in Kathmandu, the nation’s capital.

 For my recent trip to Nepal, despite reading up and preparing beforehand as I usually do, I didn’t find any guidebooks or online sources that mentioned these super-useful facts for staying healthy, cutting costs and keeping connected online in Kathmandu.

I wish I had known these things so that I’d been better prepared and potentially have avoided respiratory distress, stomach aliments and a temporary inability to do my work online.

 Hopefully, this post will help out other travelers heading to Kathmandu to avoid the pitfalls I encountered there as well as some other useful information.

 Here’s what you should know if you’re heading to Nepal:

Kathmandu - Nepal

Kathmandu’s perpetual smoggy haze

 Kathmandu is full of dry, dusty, polluted air

 Nepal’s climate is quite dry, certainly much drier than SE Asia. In addition, Kathmandu & the surrounding Kathmandu Valley are usually very dusty (unless muddy in rainy season) and apparently quite polluted as well.

 If your respiratory system is sensitive to dry air, dust or pollution, then you might need a few days or a week to adjust to the less-than-ideal air when you arrive in Kathmandu. During that time you might find yourself unexpectedly sprouting allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, stuffed up sinuses, mild headaches, dry mouth & lips and/or exhaustion.

When your respiratory system is under strain, it taxes your entire body, especially your energy & power.

 In my case, I first thought I had a cold. Then I concluded I was allergic to the air. Eventually I realized the dusty, polluted air was attacking my respiratory system. One day after cycling two hours around the city, I wound up feeling sick the entire day, all the way until I went to bed. I didn’t feel better until the following morning.

Come to think of it, I’d had the same problem when I visited Kathmandu 12 years ago. Then I thought I’d just contracted my usual bronchitis. But now I finally know it was the city’s super bad air, not me per se.

wearing a face mask or bandana will help protect your respiratory system in Kahtmandu

 After I mentioned my own respiratory distress to other travelers I met and online, I suddenly found many other people who knew exactly what I was talking about and had suffered similar problems in Kathmandu.

Now you’re forewarned about Kathmandu’s bad air before you arrive, so you will know what’s up when you suddenly sprout the symptoms. To protect yourself, you might want to buy & use a face mask or take allergy tablets. Even so, you might end up feeling really exhausted and have to take it easy for a few days before you recover or start any serious walking, cycling and exploring.

 Oddly, I’ve never read any warnings about Kathmandu’s poor air quality in any guidebooks or from any other travelers. So I’m happy to start spreading the news.

electrical lines in Kathmandu

with typical electrical line clusters like this, it’s no wonder there are daily power cuts!

 Daily Power cuts

 Kathmandu has power cuts every day. They happen randomly, at different times of the day, and for different lengths of time. They usually occur in the afternoon and early evening and last anywhere from 30 minutes to 7 hours! Luckily, electricity always seems to be on (one way or other) after dark, so functioning normally at night is not much of an issue.

 However, the power cuts do cause two important issues that you should be aware of.

 One. When the power is cut, off go refrigerators. And that means foods that must stay cold such as meat and dairy products cannot be kept cold consistently. Guest houses, tourist restaurants and hotels all have back-up power and staff understand the importance of keeping meat & dairy constantly cold. So eating at such places should be no problem.

 However, small local shops & restaurants probably don’t have back up power. They probably don’t understand the importance of keeping meat & dairy products cold either. So it’s wise to avoid eating meat at local shops. Other foods such as vegetable dishes, rice, breads and so on should be fine.

 Two. Internet access. Plenty of internet shops are scattered all around Kathmandu. In addition, most guest houses, hotels, tourist restaurants, cafes and bars offer wifi. But when the power is cut off, so is the wifi. Upscale hotels and larger tourist restaurants with powerful back up generators might still have wifi access. However, smaller guest houses probably don’t have back up power strong enough to keep wifi running.

 That brings me to two other important tips about visiting Kathmandu:

fresh meat on sale - Kathmandu

fresh slabs of meat are on sale roadside

Eat meat & fresh drinks at hotels, guest houses or tourist restaurants, not local shops

 Silly me, within just two days of arriving in Kathmandu I already got myself sick from something I ate or drank at a local restaurant. Luckily, it only knocked me out for about 24 hours with diarrhea and tiredness. But it gave me a very quick reminder to be careful about eating in local shops. (like when I head to India next week)

 Although the food & drinks at small local restaurants are very tasty, authentic and super cheap, there are two health issues about eating/drinking in those places. One is the daily power cuts I mentioned above. In addition, many of the local restaurants aren’t very clean, so their sanitation is questionable.

 Once I realized the implications of the power cut issue, I stopped eating meat at local shops. I also stopped ordering drinks. Although hot tea & coffee should theoretically be safe because the water is boiled, the shops do use tap water and who knows how thoroughly it’s boiled? What’s more, most tea is often served with milk and I seriously question its sanitation and storage.

 After I stopped eating meat & drinks at local shops, I had no more stomach issues.

 I still recommend eating at local shops, but stick to vegetable dishes, breads (naan, chapatis, etc) and bottled & canned drinks.

 If you want to eat any meat dishes, go to a tourist restaurant or hotel where they’re bound to understand the necessity of keeping meat refrigerated and, equally important, have adequate back up power for the daily electrical cuts.

usb modem for laptop

usb modem for laptop

 Internet Access

 Although wifi access and internet shops are found all over Kathmandu, the city’s daily power cuts quickly bring internet access to a halt. Since the power cuts occur at random times and for different lengths of time, you really can’t count on having internet access at specific or consistent times of the day.

 If you work online or have other crucial reasons to access the internet reliably, it might well be worthwhile to use a usb modem with your laptop. In Nepal, I’ve found that NCell usb modem internet access is generally much faster than many wifi ports and it is completely independent of the frequent power cuts.

 So if you find yourself in Kathmandu with a three hour power cut right when you need to work online, no problem! Just plug in your usb and access the web. You can keep going as long as your computer battery holds out. Then you’ll have to wait to recharge your computer.

 To get hooked up with Ncell usb internet, visit the main NCell Office on Durbar Marg Road, about two blocks south of the Imperial palace grounds and just east of Thamel.

 If you already have an international usb modem (especially with Huawei software) it should work with NCell’s sim and internet system. (NCell’s usb modem is also a Huawei stick) If not, you’ll need to buy an NCell modem, which costs 3500 rp / $35 US.

 But the sim card costs a mere 100 rp / $1 US!

 Monthly pre-paid internet packages are priced by how much MB or GB data you need to use. Some sample rates are 500 MB for 450 rp, 1 GB for 700 rp or 5 GB o 2300 rp. You can also buy much less or more than these amounts. A reasonable monthly amount if you’re online several hours per day is 1 GB for 700 rp / $7 US.

 If you already have your own international usb modem, it’s really very inexpensive to use this system in Nepal. Most importantly, it’s faster than wifi and is independent of daily power cuts.

Kathmandu streets

Walking around Kathmandu is quite safe. No need to worry about theft, muggings or personal safety.

 Nepal is safe – don’t worry about theft or personal safety

 Quite happily, theft doesn’t seem to be part of Nepali culture. You really don’t have to keep an eagle eye on your bags, wallets or possessions. Not when you’re walking down the streets or browsing in shops or eating at a restaurant or hanging out in your guest house.

 You also don’t have to worry about your things in your room, assuming you’ve locked the door and windows, of course. You probably wouldn’t even need to lock your door when you’re sleeping at night, truth be told. 

guest houses at Paknajol - Kathmandu

guest houses at Paknajol – Kathmandu

Avoid staying in Thamel – tourist ghetto with masses of touts

 Thamel is the Khao San Road of Nepal. It consists of several roads jam-packed with nothing but souvenir shops, outdoor gear, tourist restaurants & cafes, book stores, guest houses & hotels. Lots of persistent, wandering touts try to persuade every passing tourist to buy something – a tour, a bag, hashish, a hotel room. In short, Thamel is a noisy, chaotic tourist ghetto.

 If you prefer a quieter, more authentic Nepali experience and want to avoid heaps of touts, then simply don’t say in Thamel. There are several other nearby areas in the city center which have more low-key guest houses & hotels.

 Paknajol district lies just a 5-minute walk NW of Thamel on a little nob of a hill. About one dozen guest houses with gardens and rooftop balconies are clustered around the hill, most run by families and a few young staff.

 Just south of Durbar Square is the Freak Street area, the main hang out spot for hippies back in the 1960-70s. Now the area has lost it’s fame and glory, but a few guest houses still remain. It’s very low-key.

 Several guest houses & hotels are located near famous Boudhnath Tibetan Stupa, just NE of the main city. It’s a great area, though you’d need transportation to get into town and to see any other sites.

Kathmandu - Nepal

typical narrow crowded road in Kathmandu – good for walking

Getting Around

 Although Kathmandu is a fairly large, sprawling city, most of the main sights and attractions are all within the city center, within walking distance of each other and from Thamel, the main ‘tourist ghetto’ district.

From Thamel you can reach Durbar Square within 10 minutes or Swayambunath hill top temple in about 30 minutes. All the narrow streets between Thamel & Durbar are full of interesting shops, temples & Nepali daily life.

 Several main attractions, though, are not really within easy walking distance. They include Patan, Boudhanath Tibetan Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple. To reach those sites, you’ll need some sort of transportation. But…

Kathmandu bad roads

typical Kathmandu bad road in the central city – notice pedestrians, bicycle, motorcycle and rickshaw all vying for space

 Terrible road conditions

 Amazingly, only a small percentage of Kathmandu’s streets are even paved! Most are simply compacted dirt or extremely old stone tiling. All the roads, whether paved, dirt or stone are chock full of potholes, loose stones and dirt piles.

 No sidewalks exist along most roads, so the streets are full of pedestrians as well as motorbikes, bicycles, cars, buses, dogs, rickshaws and various deliver vehicles & carts. It’s chaos.

 I bring this up simply so you won’t be utterly shocked when you arrive.

 Considering Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and a major tourist destination, the horrendous road conditions are a really appalling statement about the Nepalese government.

 Just sayin.

bicycle rental shop - Kathmandu

bicycle rental shops on Paknajol Road

Renting a bicycle

 If you’re confident cycling on Kathmandu’s poor roads and hectic traffic (it’s very slow moving) then renting a bicycle is the way to go. All the bike rental shops have mountain bikes with wide knobby tires.

 Rates in central Thamel are outrageously expensive: $15 US per day. That’s insane for Asia! In comparison, I can generally rent a bike in Malaysia for $3 per day, in Bali for $1-2 per day.

 Luckily, there are much cheaper alternatives in Kathmandu. Simply head 1-2 streets west of Thamel to Paknajol Road, which runs north-south parallel to the main Thamel roads.

 On Paknajol Street you’ll find several shops renting bikes for 300-500 rp per day ($3-5 US) they usually have different grades of bikes for different rates, but all are mountain bikes with wide knobby tires. The shop owners are willing to negotiate on the rates, too, especially if you’re going to rent for a few days or a week. 

Durbar Square - Kathmandu

Durbar Square – Kathmandu

Avoiding entry fees at main temples & attractions

 Kathmandu’s main attractions: Durbar Square, Patan, Boudhnath Temple, Swyambunath Temple and Baktipur Town all charge entry fees to foreigners. The typical rate is 750 rp / $7.50 US. Baktipur currently costs 1100 rp or $15US.

 Depending on your budget that may or may not seem like a hefty fee. Regardless, if you visit several of these sites, the fees quickly add up. Three destinations will already tally over $20.

 Swyambunath Temple fee is a much more reasonable 200 rp / $2 US. The ticket booths are at the top of the stairs at each entry to the hilltop temple. You probably can’t beat this entry, but it’s not so expensive.

Swayambhanath Temple - kathmandu

Swayambhanath Temple

 Durbar Square

On the main north entrance, there’s a strict ticket gate. But at the 2-3 south gates and the eastern gate, the guards don’t seem to pay much attention to people entering. I cycled into the plaza on several different days and was never even stopped about a ticket. At one south entrance gate there’s a low pole barrier across the road. I had to dismount my bike and carry it over the pole. Even there I wasn’t asked about at ticket.

 Boudanath

 The main entrance has a big wood gateway you must walk through. The ticket office is right inside. However, just 50 M to the east there are two smaller alleys lined by shops, leading into the temple plaza. Just walk in those alleys instead.

 Also on the north side, several alleys lead into the plaza. They may or may not be watched carefully by ticket officials.

 Once you’re inside the plaza, you might want to avoid directly meeting up with a ticket vendor. But then again, don’t ask suspicious by suddenly changing directions when you see one of them. Just act as if you belong there.

 Baktipur Town

 Apparently this is one place where guards watch all entryways meticulously. It might not be possible to beat this fee. In addition, guards also wander around the town and randomly ask to see tickets, which they actually examine carefully for dates and passport numbers! I was asked to show my ticket 3 or 4 times while I was there less than 24 hours.

QUESTIONS: 

If you’ve visited Kathmandu, did you run into any of these issues?

Do you have any other useful tips to add? 

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You might also enjoy: 

My First Impressions of Kathmandu

Photo Gallery: Kathmandu

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48 comments

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  1. Forrest walker

    I go to Kathmandu at least once a year. I love the vibe. I stay at the Kathmandu Guest House in the heart of the Thamel. I have never had any type of respiratory distress. I have never gotten sick. Yeah, the daily power outages happen, but I am not obsessed with wifi access 24/7. I eat in local joints as well as the more touristy places. I can tell you where the best momos are. I use the local pedal carts if I do not walk, but I love walking in the Thamel.
    I am sorry you did not like it.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      hi Forrest,

      Wow, I must have given an entirely wrong vibe with this post if you got the message that I don’t like Kathmandu! In fact, I like it very much!

      I love Kathmandu Guest House, for one. In fact, I plan to spend my whole afternoon there in the garden and other relaxing spots. (though I can’t really afford to stay there)

      I also love eating at the local restaurants, especially on Paknajol Road. I just am careful not to eat the meat cause I got sick within 2 days of arriving from eating at local spots. I can tell you where to eat great palak paneer, Newari thali meals and the best thukpa, all at local shops.

      I don’t like STAYING in Thamel or spending too much time there, though. It’s just way too touristy and crowded and hassle-y for me.

      But I do like the city overall.

      Thanks for stopping by and adding your views. :)) cheers, Lash

  2. Malthus

    I guess we haven’t crossed paths here in Nepal. I’ve a few things to add.

    1. Kathmandu power outages are planned. That’s south Asia’s ‘planned’. It’s happens less when there’s more rain as the electricty is produced by running water.

    2. Food Safety is the major concern for everyone living in Asia. Poor health follows poor hygiene that follows belief in illness from bad spirits. Some western educated even believe this too when they fall in love with South Asia. The Hindu caste system somewhat addresses the issue of disease in a primitive way. (Don’t wash in the Baghmati but!). The people who prepare your food are not western educated. This goes for street vendors and hotel kitchen staff in Nepal. You may be less likely to get sick eating from a restaurant, but you will. Refrigerated delivery vans do not exist and so the food you find in fridges may easily have spent a day in the sun somewhere between the factory and the shelf!

    3. and so don’t eat food you haven’t prepared yourself. Simple! Or if you do want to go on a food-tour in China/Cambodia/Nepal/India and the like, prepare for serious illness. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when?’.

    4. Pollution of food sources by human waste and over and unregulated application of pesticides and antibiotics in animals is a serious concern for long-term travellers in this region. Guidebooks can’t sell these facts, but they can sell you insurance, accomodations and flights. Lonely Planet ought to be found in the Fiction section of bookshops!

    Some Lessons Learned from my several years in SE Asia.

    Keep blogging!

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Malthus,

      thanks very much for your additional information, perspectives and tips.

      I do have to disagree with you about lumping ALL of Asia into this category. Japan and Singapore are exceptionally hygenic, clean and sanitary. And most other countries in SE Asia do not have the daily power cuts that occur in Nepal, thus refrigeration, meats & dairy prodcuts are much safer to eat. I rarely have to worry about eating meat in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam.

      In fact, the only other Asian country I’ve had this same kind of trouble in is Myanmar. And, ta da.. they have daily power cuts too. That seems to be the main problem.

      So I’d say your comments apply more to South Asian countries – Nepal, India and Myanmar – and not so much to SE Asia or East Asia. At least from my experience traveling in the region for 15 years.

      Would be cool to meet up sometime!

      haha… love your comment about Lonely planet!

      thanks for stopping by!

      cheers, Lash

  3. Charlie Rana

    Wow you wrote everything we face in daily basis
    but there is a good news
    -Kathmandu’s road is being widened with footpath and also cycle lane in main roads( but until the construction is over some places will be more dusty)
    and the construction is almost over
    -Also the power lines were being re arranged but it is same in many places
    and one problem I see with most tourist is that
    – if you guys ride a public transport vehicle then if you ask the conductor the price that guy will charge you a lot (sometimes double or triple), so it is better to ask a local people about the fare rates, and taking taxi is a bad idea , do bargain with them for cheap price if they don’t agree take another taxi there are a lot of taxis

    From Nepali Citizen
    Thank you
    Visit Nepal
    Once is not enough :)

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi there,

      Welcome!

      wow, thanks for the great update and tips! That’s awesome!

      Yep, I would like to return to Nepal for some other trekking.

      thanks for stopping by.

      cheers, Lash

  4. Nursa

    Hello,
    it is an owerview for westernes, there are different lifes in different parts of the world. Being only critical does not unite the people and the world.
    culture lifestly is different, we do love living in asia

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hello Nursa,

      Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and contributing your views.

      YOu are so right about different lifestyles around the world.

      However, if you read my article more carefully, you will see that I am not ONLY critical of Kathmandu! In fact, I say that I really like the city.

      More over, if you look at the posts on this site, you will see that I am almost overwhelmingly positive about places I visit and things I do around the world. I’m most known for being super positive and upbeat.

      I only add my personal criticisms when I believe they are warranted. Not every single place in the world is 100% fabulous. I’m just being honest with my opinions and experiences, which my readers appreciate.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      cheers, Lash

  5. Samsee

    Hallo Lash, i like to read your travel in kathmandu, Nepal. I found it a very use full informations and will guide me for my next travel to this country. Tqvm.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Samsee,

      Welcome!

      Great, thanks for letting me know it was useful. :))

      What is ‘Tqvm’ ?

      cheers, Lash

      1. Procash

        TQVM LOL , I guess it means Thank You Very Much. Nice article with great tips about Nepal. I don’t know why they charge extra for foreigner there, i never like this idea of Nepalese Government. Next time Try visiting remote places like Humla, Jumla and near by mountainous villages and not end up around Thamel, im pretty sure that you will have one of the best adventure in your life.

  6. Yusry

    Hello Lash,

    I read your blog with great interest and frankly speaking I really like your balanced view on Kathmandu in your blog. I am going to visit Nepal this coming March and planning to stay at a friend’s place in Kathmandu for 1-2 days before travelling to the other parts of Nepal. It is much appreciated if you can tell me whether there is any difficulty to find a decent hotel or guest houses should I choose to find one at the last minute ie. on the day I arrive to Kathmandu or anywhere in Nepal.

    Thanks

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Yusry,

      Welcome!

      THanks, mate. I’m glad you found my article well-balanced and useful.

      Wow, off to Nepal eh? Exciting! I hope you love it there.

      I’m sure that in March you won’t have any trouble finding rooms in great guest houses and hotels in Kathmandu or other parts of Nepal by just showing up and looking around. March is not the high season there, so it will be easy to find accommodation.

      Enjoy your trip!

      cheers, Lash

  7. Andy Shrestha

    Hi,

    I am originally from Nepal, now in USA. And I must say, I completely agree with what you have written; everything from air pollution to power cuts to internet to personal safety to renting a bike to fees.

    But I have to disagree with the food. Fact is, I have seen people getting sick with same kinda food even served in 5 star hotels like Yak and Yeti and Dwarikas there. (Yes, you can order few of those found in the streets in 5 star rated ones too) It has more to do with what your body is used to. i.e, my body was used to such food back in Nepal, so when I came to USA, I wasn’t able to digest the food here (esp. loads of cheese, even the regular milk here). But now I am used to eating the food here, which means if I go back I am sure I won’t be able to digest the food there.

    And yes I do agree, cheap priced local restaurants aren’t clean there.

    just my two cents :)

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Andy,

      Welcome!

      Thanks for taking time to add your two cents. It must be very interesting to return to Nepal from time to time with a new perspective after living in the USA! Such different countries.

      I do agree with you that to some extent a person’s reaction to foods in new countries has to do with what their digestive system/body is accustomed to. And that’s certainly a factor for visitors to Nepal. But I don’t think that’s the end of the story…

      I’ve been traveling continually since 1998, eating locals foods in dozens of developing countries, and I rarely get sick from eating the meats. A big problem in Nepal with eating meat is the lack of refrigeration/continuous electricity. And that’s a different situation than in most other countries. So as far as my experience goes, I’d have to say that both issues contribute to food illnesses for travelers in Nepal.

      In any event, thanks much for stopping by and taking time to comment. Much appreciated.

      cheers, Lash

  8. Rick

    Hi
    Thanks for the great info ,I am going to Kathmandu in March for the first time on my own, I travel through Asian countries often and I know how it can be ,I do enjoy living like a local, i wanted to ask you where you would recommend staying when I first arrive, nice and central clean cheap and lots of atmosphere, after seeing local sites, I then want to find out where I can go to book somewhere trustworthy and genuine to go trekking in The Annapurna region ,on a easy scale trekking and getting to know the local villages and culture. I would rather book in Kathmandu with someone who knows more than just over the Internet.
    Any info or recommendations you can offer would be appreciated or blogs websites.
    Regards

    Rick

  9. Tajirul Haque

    Hello there,

    I am from Bangladesh and planning to visit Nepal.
    I did not know much about Nepal but this post sums up what I need to do to be safe and have best out of my Nepal Trip….

    I will keep every of your tips in my mind.

    Thanks

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hello there,

      Welcome!

      Great, I hope my tips help you in Kathmandu.

      thanks for stopping by.

      cheers, Lash

  10. Kilian

    As a committed freeloader I’m loving the sneak-into-durba-squares-for free bit :D

    If possible for one’s budget I personally think though that it is a good idea to pay at least once for the squares to support the local economy and the upkeep of the sites, especially now after the quake.

    Best wishes from KTM!

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Kilian,

      Welcome!

      Thanks for adding your views here.

      Yeah, I often pay too. It just depends on 1. how expensive it is and if I think that’s fair or they’re price gouging tourists 2. If I can afford it. 3 If I’ve been there and paid before.

      In the case of Durbar Square, I’ve been there several times before, so I didn’t really feel the desire to pay.

      As you’ve pointed out, there are good reasons to pay. And each person has to decide for themselves.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      cheers, Lash

  11. Emma

    Hi,

    I’m planning on travelling to Nepal with my boyfriend, ive been doing a lot of research about it, and I have one question that is bothering me – clothing???
    I have read in a few different spots that women are not to wear shorts because it is considered to revealing? Please help me with this, because I would love to go there when it is more warm, but not being able to wear shorts is turning me off?

    Thank you!
    – Emma

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Emma,

      My take on clothing is a bit different from other ‘sensitive’ westerners. I always dress according to the weather, not according to other peoples’ religious/cultural values. Even in my home country. I’m not Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim nor Christian.. so why should I be controlled by those religious beliefs?

      Something to consider for yourself. In any event, you won’t have any problems in Nepal if you wear shorts – in terms of getting dirty looks or insulting people. Nepalis in tourist areas are well accustomed to westerners not dressing or behaving the same as they do. I never had any problems wearing short dresses in hot weather there.

      I guess you need to decide on your own stance about how to dress while traveling. :)

      Have fun in Nepal!

      cheers, Lash

  12. Liam

    Hi Lash, really interesting blog post. Thanks for your insight!

    I was wondering how much currency you’d suggest for staying a month (USD is fine)?
    Also, what do you think of Nepal as a destination for first time travelers?

    I would quite like to visit for around a month, however I have never traveled and the friend I would go with has only been in America for two weeks. Also, how difficult would you say the language barrier to get through for English speakers?

    Thanks!

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Liam,

      Welcome!

      Great, I’m glad this post has been useful to you. That’s my main mission.

      In Kathmandu, not speaking English is no barrier at all. Plenty of locals speak English since tourism is such a big industry there.

      As for how much money YOU’ll need for 1 month, that’s really impossible for me to say. It depends on so many factors: what kind of accommodation, restaurants, activities, etc etc you need. The only thing I can tell you is that I myself need under $600 US for 1 month in Nepal, staying at budget hotels, eating mostly at local restaurants (NOT tourist restaurants) and doing some bus travel, not drinking, not joining tours.

      If you want to calculate how much YOU’ll need, I recommend researching hotels & all the stuff you want to see/do to find specific costs ,then make a budget. That’s what I do!

      I hope that’s helpful to you.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      cheers, Lash

  13. John

    Hi Lash

    Loved your blog. I am getting set to go to India (Pune) for the first time. One of my bucket list items is to visit Katmandu, however, I only have a weekend. Any recommendations? Is it worth visiting for 3 days?

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi John,

      Welcome!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Kathmandu is definitely worth visiting in my opinion. there are many fantastic places to visit there so If you only have a weekend, my recommendation is to read through a guidebook on Kathmandu and pick out the spots that sound most interesting to you. It really depends on your personal interests.

      Enjoy!

      best regards, Lash

  14. Omar

    Hi everyone,

    A friend and I are going to Nepal on the 25th of March’ 2016. We are staying there till 31st March’ 2016. I wanted to know some specific must-try that i should not miss when i am there. Can anyone share? i will be in Kathmandu for 2 nights, Pokhara for 2 nights, Chitan for 1 night and Nagarkot for 1 night.

  15. Ben

    Thanks for the great article.

    Planning a trip in October and varied points of view from real people are always appreciated.

    I am curious about doing business or general shopping in Nepal. In other Asian countries I’ve visited, haggling has played a large role in making sure you don’t get ripped off. Do you find most places are reputable about pricing? Would you recommend only using cash and not worry about carrying cards around?

    On an unrelated note, how is the language barrier? Nepali does not seem a simple language to pick up on for a native English speaker. I’d imagine the heavy touristed areas have a decent grasp of English, but how do the small shop owners and street vendors communicate?

    In regards to wi-fi check out a product called SkyRoam. It uses cell signal to create a wi-fi hotspot and works most places across the world. I’ve had great experiences with it and even was able to use my phone GPS and check out TripAdvisor on the go.

    Thanks again,
    -Ben

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Ben,

      Welcome!

      Great, glad this article was useful. HOpe you love Kathmandu and Nepal!

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

      cheers, Lash

  16. Nirajan Chaulagain

    Really Helpful Tips!! Nepal is for for all, Breath, Jump, Fly and Experience.

  17. Inge

    Great post!

    My husband is Nepali and we visit Bhaktapur about every 1 to 2 years (my time in Nepal adds up to about 2 years total). Thamel has power full time as it is now a designated tourist area but it is so much more expensive than anywhere else.

    There are smartphone apps that show when load shedding will occur that day. You just have to know what group you’re in. For example, I am currently living in Sanepa, Lalitpur in Kathmandu and my group is 4. Just search for kathmandu load shedding in your app store.

    Nepal is one of the safest places I’ve ever been. For the most part, people leave you alone unless they’re curious about your travels to Nepal (this is especially true in Bhaktapur). Keep the normal safety procedures in mind, don’t tell strangers where you are staying and if they ask if you are alone say no, and be cautious when you go out at night. I would also say keep an eye on your bags. And there is crime here that is kept from tourism (prostitution in Thamel for example). Theft is an issue.

    Restaurants! Fire and Ice Pizzeria, this Thakali shop near Hot Breads (it is always fresh), Sandwich Point, and if you’re looking for a close to authentic American breakfast go to Pumpernickel in Thamel. If you like Middle Eastern food, Taza in Sanepa. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Pokhara or Bhaktapur so I can’t speak for restaurants there.

    If you want to go into a convenience store, Big Mart is usually cheaper than Bhat Bhateni.

  18. Mai

    Hi,
    I’m so glad I came across this site. I will be traveling to Nepal in a few days and I was looking for information to get around Kathmandu when I came across your site. Very useful tips! Thank you!

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi MAi,

      Welcome!

      Great, so glad my article was helpful to you. I hope you have a fab time in KAthmandu!

      cheers, Lash

  19. Fahimeh

    Hello, thanks for your article.

    I plane to go to Nepal from 8-16 Oct. I am going to stay in Lazimpat area. do you think it is good?

    Would you recommend some good restaurants to me?

    Thanks
    Fahimeh

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Fahimeh,

      Welcome!

      So you’re heading to Kathmandu eh? Great, hope you enjoy it!

      I’m sorry I can’t really help you further than what I’ve written in this article. I don’t know the Lazimpat area. As for restaurants, I usually eat at local shops, not upscale restaurants. I suggest you consult at Lonely Planet Guide.

      Have a great time!

      best regards, Lash

  20. Cristian

    I’m going to Nepal for a week, Kathmandu to be accurate.
    How much in US dollars the average travel spend ?
    Planning to visit temples , trekking , meditation.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Cristian,

      Welcome! I hope my Kathmandu article was useful to you.

      Sorry, mate, but the answer to your question depends on a huge range of factors. There is no ‘average’ traveler. They range from super budget to mid-range to luxury travelers. It all depends on what kind of accommodation you want/require, what kind of restaurants & foods you want to eat, what kind of transporation you’ll use, etc etc etc.

      I suggest you first determine your travel needs/requirements on those points. Then research the costs of the kinds of hotels, restaurants, tours, etc you want to use. Then, based on that, figure out your own personal costs per day.

      That’s what I do! Everyone has to figure it out for themselves, really.

      Best luck and enjoy Kathmandu!

      cheers, Lash

  21. Tom Lindsey

    Hi Lash,

    All very good and accurate.

    Wish I read yours before, because I had not idea about the pollution. Electricity now in ’17 is okay. And damage from the earthquake is quite severe at Durbar. But otherwise everything is as you say.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Tom,

      Welcome!

      Thanks for the 2017 update on Kathmandu. Good to know!

      cheers, Lash

  22. Nancy Ross

    Hi Lash,

    Thank you for your interesting and helpful blog! I’m planning to go to Nepal for 3 weeks of yoga teacher training later this year … can you tell me do we need to take cash for shopping/touristy activities/ taxis? or do most places accept credit card?

    Cheers

    Nancy

    1. Lash WorldTour

      HI Nancy,

      Welcome!

      Thanks for reading.

      Wow, I’m so sorry – I don’t use credit cards, so I have no idea! I suspect hotels, restaurants, tour operators, etc that regularly deal with foreign tourists in teh major places like Kathmandu and Pokhara do accept cards. But in other places and smaller shops, probably not. Try calling a few major hotels in Kathmandu and asking them. They should know!

      Enjoy your time there!

      cheers, Lash

  23. Wendy

    Hi Lash,

    My husband and I plan to visit Kathmandu in late December. We are in our late 60’s. Is the place suitable for seniors like us?

    Wendy

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi WEndy,

      Welcome!

      Sure, KAthmandu is great for visitors your age! (of course, depending on what you like to see and do)… There are lots of cool little shops to check out, very interesting busy streets, great Tibetan and Hindu culture, wonderful places to eat and drink a coffee…

      You guys might really appreciate the long-standing KAthmandu Guesthouse, right in the heart of things. Great traditional architecture, gardens and courtyards, amazing food, evening live traditional Nepali musicians…

      HAve a great time! Stop back to let me know how you like it.

      cheers, Lash

  24. Michael

    Hi Lash, I think your post is great! it contains lots of information that I didn’t know before about Kathmandu and it is very motivation and I think I am going to plan it in my this year’s trip. I was actually searching for Kathmandu’s itinerary and just want to learn more about the place and do some research. Also how is the safety in Nepel? Is it ok to travel alone? Thanks for your time.

  25. NICOLE JORDAN

    Hello love reading these posts, I’m planning a trip to Kathmandu in November, and would love tips on where to saty, visit, and places to eat, etc. I will be traveling alone.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      HEllo and welcome!

      I’m glad you found my article useful. Great!

      Wow, ummm…It’s been a couple years since I visited Kathmandu, so I really don’t remember the name of the little guest house I stayed at. Sorry about that.

      As for what to see and do in Kathmandu, I recommend doing what I do before I visit a new town/country: Read guidebooks on the destination and pick the places/attractions/guest houses that sound best to me.

      As for my personal suggestions in Kathmandu, I highly recommend visiting the Tibetan Stupa and just wandering around the streets in central KAthmandu. You can also read the rest of my articles on Kathmandu here on the blog.

      Enjoy your visit!

      cheers, Lash

  26. jorijn

    Dear Lash,
    How would you say it is to visit attractions or wander the city alone (in the daytime, normally dressed, common sense) as a female? I felt safe in countries like Thailand, Laos; but for instance not in Sri Lanka.
    I would like your view on or insight in this. Best, jorijn

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hi Jorjin,

      Welcome!

      Thanks for your inquiry. I think Kathmandu is quite safe for solo females visiting the attractions and wandering around.

      One thing I always do in a new city/country if I”m not sure about the safety is to simply ask the staff at my hotel/hostel/guest house. They won’t tell you wrong. They don’t want their guests getting in trouble! If they say it’s safe, you can trust them. If there are any dangers, they’ll be sure to let you know.

      Enjoy Kathmandu and Nepal!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      cheers, Lash

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