One Day In Kathmandu Itinerary – Top things to do in Kathmandu, Nepal

Since top sights of Kathmandu are scattered throughout Nepal’s capital, so many travelers end up missing many major attractions. That’s a big shame because this incredible place has so much to offer. UNESCO World Heritage Sites abound, the culture here is unique, and there certainly are plenty of places where you can stop and grab a bite. The city was built on a unique combination of Hinduism and Buddhism religion, which is another thing that sets it apart from any other destination in the world. In short, your one day in Kathmandu will be filled out with amazing things to see and places to visit, so here’s an itinerary to help you organize everything in the best possible manner.

One day in Kathmandu itinerary

What’s the best time to visit Kathmandu Valley?

In general, September to November is the best time to visit Kathmandu because at this time of the year the weather will be dry, skies will be clear, and there will be plenty of cultural events. But in general, there’s no bad time to visit the city.

The average annual temperature in Kathmandu is a pleasant 18°C. The coldest month in Kathmandu is January (average 9°C), the hottest month is June (average 23°C), and the wettest month is July with more than 15 days of rain in the month. November is the best month if you want to avoid rainy weather.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Kathmandu
Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Author: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Source: Flickr

Monsoon rains do not affect Kathmandu Valley as much as other parts of the country, and although some flooding may occur here and there, it shouldn’t affect your sightseeing plans. Keep in mind that monsoon rains only last a few hours. Travelers should plan their activities around this, so you should have no problem visiting Kathmandu during the rainy season.

A few facts about Kathmandu Valley

The old name of Kathmandu was Kasthamandap, which was built in the 15th century. Kathmandu is considered as the city of magnificence, and its diverse religions and ancient cultures are the things that make this place so special. Kathmandu is predominantly inhabited by the Newar community who are the oldest inhabitants of the city.

Kathmandu Valley is full of culture and heritage sites, which is proven by the fact that it has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Interestingly, the area was never ruled by any other country. Even though Nepal lies between India and China, with the former being under British rule for quite some time, the country was never touched by a foreigner’s invasion.

One Day in Kathmandu Itinerary

Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour provides a great opportunity for you to visit the most important heritage sights here. There are numerous sanctuaries, monasteries and shrines to visit, and it is considered that the city’s history begins with the Buddhist saint Manju Shree who carved out a passage through which the primordial waters of Kathmandu Valley were drained and the whole area made suitable for habitation. Today, this is a place where a unique civilization has developed and still thrives.

Traveler pickup is offered by the travel agency. Travelers should provide their hotel name for pick up location. The departure time for the one-day tour is 7:00 AM sharp.

Pass By: Swyambhunath Stupa

On the top of the hill of Kathmandu is Swyambhunath Stupa AKA “The Monkey Temple”. You should climb the stone stairs to reach the top, and from there, you will have an exceptional view of the whole city. You can check out many small shrines and souvenir shops along the way, with monkeys roaming here and there freely. You can take picture on the way, and some monkeys may even pose for a photo. At the top, you will see an intriguing monument, a gold-plated thunderbolt (Vajra). Likewise, close to it is a huge white dome with a cubical top. After the earthquake of 2015, the temple did not fall even though many other temples around the area cracked. Oh, and you will get to see numerous prayers wheels of extraordinary sizes almost in each part around the Swayambhunath.

Swyambhunath Temple, Kathmandu
Swyambhunath Temple, Author: cattan2011, Source: Flickr

Stop At: Swayambhunath Stupa

You can see many Hindu temples and deities that co-exist on this Buddhist site. You can go around the stupa spinning the prayer wheels. On the way, travelers can observe many other shrines, stupas, gravestones, and offering places. Next, you will head in the direction of the western boundary of the Swayambhunath. You will see a sacred pond stuffed with coins and numerous people attempting to toss the coins there. Local sellers are found around the location with stunning souvenirs and many Thanka arts. When you approach the western side, you will see huge statues of Buddha towering over you.

Swyambhunath Temple, Kathmandu
Monkeys, Author: valcker, Source: Flickr

Duration: 15 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: Amideva Buddha Park

At the end of the Swayambhunath tour, you will find yourself at the top of the hill. Immediately, three big statues of Buddha will mesmerize you. At Buddha Park, there will be a more chance to take a see the sparkling brilliant sculptures of Shakyamuni Buddha. After spending some in the Park, you will head towards to your next destination, which is Patan Durbar Square.

Swyambhunath Temple Buddhas, Kathmandu
Swyambhunath Temple Buddhas, Author: PeterBriz, Source: Flickr

Duration: 10 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Pass By: Kathmandu Durbar Square

In Durbar Square, you will explore many other historical and religious sites. It’s architectural constructions are in the process of reconstruction because they were destroyed by earthquake in 2015. You will see a figure of “Hanuman”, a massive statue of Kaal Bhairav at Hanuman Dhoka, and a miniature model of the Pashupatinath temple. You can explore the Kumari Ghar where the living goddesses of Nepal reside. You will find shops selling inventive items and Thanka substances here, too.

Durbar Square, Kathmandu
Kathmandu Durbar Square, Author: Aleksandr Zykov, Source: Flickr

Stop At: Kumari Chowk

Kumari Chowk, a courtyard inside a red-brick, three-level building that was once home to the goddess Kumari. Kumari is a girl selected to be the town’s living goddess. And after she reaches puberty, she becomes a mere mortal.

Duration: 10 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Pass By: Patan Durbar Square

The Patan Durbar Square is situated in Lalitpur, which is the courtyard of the old Malla Palace. Patan is full  of Newari architecture and belongs to the Newar community. You will visit the three courtyards here, and the square is layered with red bricks on the floor. The first one, Sundari Chowk, is filled with stone architecture and various statues. Then comes Mul Chowk, one of the most guarded places because of theft of many sculptures and statues that happened in Patan Durbar Square. Finally, the third and closing courtyard houses the museum of Durbar Square, which is Keshav Narayan Chowk. Travelers can see many matters related to historical eastern civilization and an awful lot of works of art.

Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu
Patan Durbar Square, Author: Petr Meissner, Source: Flickr

Stop At: Krishna Temple

You will be amazed by the sight of the beautiful stone artistry of Krishna Temple at Durbar Square. This edifice was built using nothing but stone. Travelers can see twenty one shrines in the temple and carvings associated with Ramayana and Mahabharat. There is a massive bell near the part of the Durbar Square, in the equal lane of Krishna Temple. The other intriguing feature of this region are the statues of kneeling elephants. Travelers can discover large sculptures of animals like lions on both sides of entrance gates. The other incredibly integral structure are Mahaboudha, Rudravarna Mahavir and Machhendranath Temple in the south.

Duration: 25 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: Golden Temple (Hiranya Varna Mahavir)

Hiranya Varna Mahavir, which is also known as the Golden Temple, is a 12th-century temple designed in pagoda style. The temple is covered with bronze statues and silver and gold decorations. In the higher layer of the temple, there is a golden image of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.

Duration: 10 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: Patan Museum

After you moving forward, you will enter Keshav Narayan Chowk, which was made into the Patan Museum. Traveler will get to take a look at many facts about Nepalese tradition and history and see many interior architecture and get to know the comfortable surroundings inside the museum. Patan Museum is a beautiful, peaceful place where you can unwind and a number of Tantric, Buddhists, and Hindu artifacts.

Patan Museum, Kathmandu
Patan Museum, Author: Allie_Caulfield, Source: Flickr

Duration: 15 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Pass By: Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur City is also known as “the city of Devotees”. Travelers can find many thrilling and inventive buildings from the entrance all the way up to the exit point. This is a beautiful metropolis that nonetheless has many old-style houses. In the central Royal Square of Bhaktapur there are many creative pillars with statues of kings, ornamental gates at entrance, a fifty-five window palace, and the  Nyatapola Temple. Lastly, be sure to try out regional delicacies and curd in the region before heading to another destination.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Kathmandu
Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Author: Keith Roper, Source: Flickr

Stop At: Nyatapola Temple

Nyatapola Temple is designed in a pagoda-style and it is a five-leveled roofed temple. This beautifully sculptured edifice is recognizes as one of the tallest pagodas and is a beautiful example of the high artistry that went into buildings of this type. This five-storey temple with a five tier roof is about thirty meters tall. To reach the top of a temple you have to take the stairs. As you stroll up the terraces, you will see statues both sides that will follow your each step.

Duration: 10 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: Dattatreya Temple


The temple of Dattatreya is believed to have been built with  a single stem of a single tree and it is standing proudly on the premises of Dattatreya Square in Bhaktapur. Here you can see three icons of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and a colossal tree remains in the rear of those icons.

Dattatreya Temple, Kathmandu
Dattatreya Temple, Author: Jean-Marie Hullot, Source: Flickr

Duration: 10 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: 55 Window Palace

One of the gorgeous structure of Durbar Square is the Palace of Fifty Five Windows. It is named after as there are fifty five windows carved in its architectural beauty. This palace is constructed around a number of internal courtyards that are linked together. It is believed that there used to be ninety nine courtyards at the beginning of time. However, only nine of them are cutting-edge today. Another features of this palace is the entrance gate, referred to as “The Golden Gate.”

55 Window Palace, Kathmandu
55 Window Palace, Author: Keith Roper, Source: Flickr

Duration: 10 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: Siddha Pokhari

Siddha Pokhari is located close to the first town gate in Bhaktapur and is a lovely man-made pond which is 171 meters long and three meters deep. It is a favorite area for many people where they hang out and chat.

Duration: 5 minutes

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: Changu Narayan

One of the oldest temples that date back to the Licchavi Period is the temple of Changunarayan. It is designed in the usual Nepali fashion which is made up of lovely stone and wooden carvings. On the top of the Changunarayan Temple, you will see yourself surrounded by Champak trees. The sanctuary is encircled by sculptures of Lord Vishnu and travelers can see that the four entrances to the temple have a pair of life-sized beasts guarding them. There are wonderful carvings in windows and doors that reflect the art and architectural capabilities of historical Nepal. On the western gate, you can see stone pillars with inscription in Sanskrit. When you visit the temple from the east entrance, you will observe many monuments like historical pillars, Garuda, Chanda Narayan, Sridhar Vishnu, and many more. Leaving behind these monuments, you can additionally see many Tantric sculptures and carvings close to the Changunarayan.

Changu Narayan Temple, Kathmandu
Changu Narayan Temple, Author: Allie_Caulfield, Source: Flickr

Duration: 1 hour

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At:  Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Sanctuary is one of the biggest sanctuary buildings of Nepal, which has more than 500 sanctuaries and holy places  in total. The Pashupatinath Temple covers 0.64 hectares of lan, is devoted mostly to Lord Shiva, “the destroyer.” It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is designed in pagoda fashion with lovely wood carvings and gold-covered two levels of roofs. Additionally, there is a big bronze statue of a bull facing the entrance of the complex. Apart from the temple, you can check out Sadhus performing day-by-day rites on the river. You can learn about  the technique of Hindu cremation on the banks, and there are structures created on the Holy River Bagmati for the cremation ceremony.

Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu
Pashupatinath Temple, Author: Richard Mortel, Source: Flickr

Duration: 1 hour

Admission Ticket Required

Stop At: Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa is the greatest mandala of Nepal – 36 meters tall with over 50 gompas built around it. It is one of the famous and most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Nepal. It is listed as  a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you will see a full size dome shaped structure with fluttering prayer flags, as you enter the premises. There are numerous depictions of Buddhas around the stupa, and furthermore the petition wheels encompass the whole thing. Beside these components of Boudhanath Stupa, you will find numerous restaurants and gift shops around there.

Boudhanath, Kathmandu
Boudhanath, Author: neiljs, Source: Flickr

Where to stay in Kathmandu?

Kathmandu Marriott Hotel, Kathmandu

Kathmandu Marriott Hotel

Manakamana Marg, Naxal, 44600 Kathmandu

When it comes to luxury in Nepal, Kathmandu Marriott Hotel is really hard to beat. This five-star hotel features a bar, an outdoor pool, a fitness centre and wonderfully bright and comfortable rooms. You will definitely get your money’s worth here, so if you’re looking for a top-class hotel in Kathmandu, this is the perfect choice.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Nepali Ghar Hotel, Kathmandu

Nepali Ghar Hotel

Amrit Marg, Thamel, 44600 Kathmandu

Nepali Ghar Hotel is a great stay in Kathmandu, primarily because it has some fantastically equipped rooms with excellent interior design. The surroundings of the hotel are quite calm and quiet, so you can expect to get plenty of rest, and the staff working here very kind and always at your service. Everything a great hotel should have.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Kumari Boutique Hotel, Kathmandu

Kumari Boutique Hotel

Chhusya Galli Jayatha 27, Thamel, Thamel, 44600 Kathmandu

If you’re looking for an affordable stay in Kathmandu that will wow you with what it has to offer, Kumari Boutique Hotel is the place. The terrace here has an amazing view of the city, plus you can enjoy a great restaurant and very comfortable rooms. The service is impeccable as well, so you will definitely get great value for your money.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Yog Hostel, Kathmandu

Yog Hostel

Kaldhara Marg, 44600 Kathmandu

Kathmandu has a lot of hostels, but Yog Hostel is really hard to beat. Not only does it look good and offer a spectacular view, but it also has its own fitness centre! You can even get your clothes ironed if you have a need for that. In short, everything a weary traveler could want from a hostel and much more.

BOOK A ROOM HERE

Day trips from Kathmandu

Should you have a few days to spend in this amazing place, you may want to go on a day trip from Kathmandu to explore Nepal a bit better. There are a few great choices, so let’s take a look at your potential destinations.

Shivapuri National Park  

A 3000m peak overlooking the whole Kathmandu Valley, Shivapuri is immensely beautiful and a dream come true for all hikers. You can get to the top with a bike, but a taxi can also take you there if you just want to relax on the way there.

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur was once the most important city in the Newari kingdom, and today it has an amazing number of temples, art shops and souvenirs. It’s really not far from Kathmandu, just a few kilometeres, which makes it a great day trip destination.

Neydo Monastery

If you would like to just sit down and meditate a bit, Neydo Monastery is the perfect place for that. The nature around it is incredibly soothing, so you’ll get in the mood right away. A great chance to relax completely.

Extra tips for visiting Kathmandu

– Food safety – Avoid water that is not bottled or boiled. Avoid crude vegetables and pre-cut natural product as much as possible.

– Do not give money to beggars that you see on the streets. 

– Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave

– Do not touch someone’s head or sit showing the bottom of your feet towards them. It is considered rude.

– Always have some tissue paper and hand sanitizer with you at all times – and note that some of the toilets may require squatting.

– Insist for a Running Meter in the Taxi. After 10 PM you do pay twofold of the meter toll however – that is the regularly acknowledged standard.

Logistical Tips and Tricks

Organize your trip in five easy steps!

BOOK A FLIGHT!

Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!

BOOK A ROOM!

To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.

GET A CAR!

If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.

INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!

Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.

FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!

Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.

Keren Vered
Keren Vered
Writer at

Luxury Fashion Veteran, published writer, photographer, community builder and Finally Home founder Keren Vered (@KerenVered), has built a brand synonymous with finding a true sense of place and home, not just in your abode but with your neighborhood as a whole. Created, compiled and crafter with the knowledge that perhaps the most significant benefit of community is the opportunity to give back and to learn from others; others that have different experiences, backgrounds and perspectives than your own.

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