Kathmandu Valley, the capital city of Nepal, is a wonderland of culture, history, and tourism. For every Nepalese people, it is a city of dreams to prosper, and to every tourist, it is a city to explore. The richness of art, culture, traditions, rituals, and beliefs in Kathmandu makes it a perfect hub for a day outing. The gentle climate of Kathmandu Valley all around the year makes the day trip around the city one of the ten best things to do in Kathmandu in one day.
The best thing about Kathmandu is that you, being a tourist, can select one out of thousands of places for day outings. If you are a history fan, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square is a proper location. If you want to enjoy nature, Chandragiri Hills and Shivapuri National Park are perfect for hiking. For souvenirs, you can buy things from Thamel, the most happening tourist hub in the city. Kathmandu has international standard restaurants and pubs where you can sip a glass of beer and listen to music from Beetles to Eagles.
With all the different options for an outing in the city, here is a complete travel guide for the ten beautiful places to visit in Kathmandu in one day.
1. Visit Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath Temple, a sacred Hindu pilgrimage, sits in the heart of Kathmandu. With the compelling religious belief among Hindus, this UNESCO World Heritage site draws millions of visitors every year. Locals and tourists visit Pashupatinath Temple to worship the Hindu God, Shiva. For tourists, the temple is one of the best places to visit in Kathmandu in one day.
By the orders of King Bhupendra Malla, the construction of Pashupatinath Temple began in 1696. It sits on the bank of the holy Bagmati River. Plated in gold, the Gajur (the pinnacle of the temple) and four doors plated in silver surrounding the temple, carved with images of deities, make the temple stunning. The statue of a bull, Nandi, a vehicle animal of Shiva, is colossal that amazes every tourist when they first see it. Another thing to watch in Pashupatinath is the Sadhus, one who has left the materialistic world to be a saint.
As a foreigner, you have to pay NPR 1000 as an entrance fee to enter the temple. If you don't want to pay for the ticket, you can still get a clear view of the temple from the nearby places. But to the Indian people, there is no entry fee. The thing to keep in mind, the temple doesn't allow non-Hindus inside the sanctum sanctorum but permits them to tour around the periphery. Foreigners are also required to submit their passports to get an entry ticket.
You can tour the temple anytime you want, but the best time to visit it is in the early morning and evening. During the early morning, you will get to witness a large number of worshippers. In the evening, thousands of people gather in the bank of Bagmati to watch Aarti (worship of Lord Shiva with fire), which is one of the best things to do in Kathmandu. The mega worship of Lord Shiva, Maha Shivaratri, comes every year in March. Thousands of Nepalese and Sadhus from the Indian subcontinent come to Pashupatinath to honour this day. This day marks a holy event in the Hindu community. Besides this, this temple also hosts several major Hindu festivals.
You may be surprised as you walk down the temple because of a mass cremation. Hindu people wish their cremation to be on the periphery of Pashupatinath, carrying a belief that they will get Nirvana. The cremation of the dead and the tears of relatives make you realise the actual boundary of life and death. For some, this event changes the way they look at life and the things they do. You'll certainly find a change in yourself after you visit Pashupatinath Temple.
2. Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour
Imagine how exciting a tour it will be while flying over the highest altitude in the world. It's a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Capturing the scenic terrains on camera and witnessing it from a close range is a sublime experience. It is a dream for many to reach the Everest Base Camp. There are several ways by which you can go to the base camp, and the best available option is Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour.
As a tourist, you might wonder why to chose Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour in the first place. There are countless reasons why tourists these days select this trip. First, this tour is short, around 5 hours, back and forth to Everest Base Camp. The second reason is that this tour comes with the utmost luxury. All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic flight to the gorgeous place on Earth. The rough land of Everest Base Camp is the most beautiful landscape of the Himalayas.
People prefer the Everest Base Camp by doing a two-week-long trek. But in recent times, tourists fancy the Everest Helicopter Tour because of its unique travel experience. The forty-minute scenic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla gives a stunning view of the giant peaks of Khumbu. Most tourists want to bring their children on the tour if possible. To address such issues, a helicopter tour to Everest base camp fits the best. There are no age restrictions for this tour, and thus, more and more tourists favour this style of outing.
Safety comes in the first place, no matter what you do. To make your Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour safer, tour companies in Nepal offer sophisticated helicopters with veteran pilots. These companies also provide ground photo and video services in Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp. The trip also covers a fantastic breakfast at Everest View Hotel, known as the viewpoint of Mt. Everest.
3. Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the most visited places by tourists in Kathmandu. Often termed Basantapur Durbar Square, it is a 30-minute walk from Thamel. This area has a long history that ranges from the powerful rulers of Nepal to the hippie era at Freak Street. The name of the city Kathmandu came from the word Kasthamandap, an ancient building that lies in Kathmandu Durbar Square.
For tourists, this place has enormous things to offer. For the history fan and architecture admirer, this place is a must-visit. Historians believe that the foundation of this marvel began in the third century. However, the construction of temples, squares, and palaces took place between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. Malla and Shah kings were actual rulers to lived in this palace until the Shah dynasty shifted to Narayanhiti Royal Palace in 1896.
The entrance fee for foreign nationals is NPR 1000. But for tourists from SAARC countries, the entry fee is NPR 150. There are many places inside the Kathmandu Durbar Square premise that you can visit to make your day trip memorable. The major attractions for tourists in this place are The Kumari Ghar, Taleju Bhawani Temple, Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum, Basantapur Square, Freak Street, and many more. You can witness the artefacts, royal belongings, and personal belongings of Late King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah in the Tribhuvan Museum at Durbar Square.
The major earthquake in Nepal in 2015 destroyed this structure, making it a terrible place. But to keep this marvel of history alive, the reconstruction work has put tremendous efforts into bringing back the figures to life. After the successful reconstruction of this structure in 2019 A.D., this place has become the busiest tourist hub in the city.
After your day outing here, you can hop into the cafes around Basantapur to grab a drink or taste some authentic local Newari dishes. The rooftop cafes around Basantapur are also the best choice for viewing Durbar Square during the evening which itself is one of the best things to do in Kathmandu in one day.
4. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
To get out of the congested Thamel and nearby stay, you can take a bus from Ratnapark to Bhaktapur Durbar Square. This comfortable access tourist hub sits in the heart of Bhaktapur, a place wealthy with ancient Newari culture, traditions, and livelihood of people. It is a less crowded tourist hub with the most offerings in the city.
Built with the amalgamation of Pagoda and Shikhara styles, the construction of Bhaktapur Durbar Square began in 1427 A.D. When you walk around the locale of this place, you'll get to witness the open museum of ancient history. This unique style of architecture has earned this place on the UNESCO heritage site list. The beauty of this place never fails to lure tourists.
55 Window Palace, also called Pachpanna Jhyale Durbar, is the most visited site in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Moreover, the tall statue of Bhupatindra Malla, the creator of Durbar Square, is also a thing to witness. Other prime attractions include Potters Square, Siddha Pokhari (Pond), Sculpture of Ugrachandi, Char Dham Temples, and many more.
As a foreign national, you have to pay NPR 1500 as an entrance fee to the Bhaktapur Durbar Square premises. For the SAARC nationals, the entry fee is around NPR 500. While outing in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, it is also recommended to visit the National Art Museum in Bhaktapur, which charges NPR 150 for an entry ticket. This price allows you to roam the Wood Craving and Bass & Bronze Museum for free. If you wish to take your photography camera to capture inside the museum, you'll have to pay an extra NPR 100. You have to pay the fee of NPR 200 for video recordings if you wish to. To remind you, the museum remains closed every Tuesday.
The well-known temple, Nyatapola ( Five Roofed Temple), from 1427 A.D. stood tall even during the devastating earthquake of 2015 in Nepal. However, the effect of an earthquake on other structures was devastating. The reconstruction work has positioned the temples and palaces in place as they used to. The serene pedestals of Bhaktapur await you.
Cafes in Bhaktapur serve authentic Newari food. To give your tongue a new taste, try some Newari food items. If you visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square in near time, don't forget to taste the JUJU, the famous curd from the city.
5. Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most pristine shrines of Buddhism. As a tourist, you can consider the tour to Boudhanath as a spiritual outing because it is one of the best places to go in Kathmandu in one day.
To reach Boudhanath Stupa, you can catch a bus from Ratnapark to Boudha for 30 minutes. This place has remained a primary hub since the ancient trade route to Tibet. In recent decades, the flourishing of Buddhist practice has made this place more well-known.
In recent years, the introduction of Tibetan cuisine in the Boudhanath has attracted thousands of visitors each day. Youths and teens, in particular, visit this place often for foods like Laphing, Keema Noodles, Tibetan Dumplings, and many more. Khapsa, a flour-made snack, is a popular purchase at Boudhanath. If you visit Boudhanath Stupa anytime, try some mouth-watering Laphing and Keema noodles.
As a foreign national, you have to buy an entry ticket for NPR 400. Once you get in, you can roam wherever you want to. For a souvenir, you can buy things you like from vendors around. If you can afford Thangka paintings, it would be the best choice for a souvenir. Other items include prayer flags, jewellery, handicrafts, portrait paintings, Buddha statues, and many more. For affordable rates, you can bargain with any vendor.
The waving of prayer flags by the day breeze is a joy to watch. If you plan your visit on the full moon day, you will witness the mass presence of monks praying and enchanting. Monk's enchanting "Om Mani Padme Hum" itself is enough to calm your mind and body. A large volume of Buddhist people light the candles at Boudhanath Stupa in the evening honouring their deceased loved ones.
Evening in Boudhanath is the most favourable time for an outing. Rooftop cafes around the Boudhanath Stupa offer an unmatched view of Boudhanath Stupa and the surrounding locale. Imagine you are on the rooftop cafe, sipping a cup of warm coffee with your favourite person, listening to the holy chant, and watching the illuminating candlelight around the stupa. Don't you want to experience this vibe while you are in Nepal?
6. Patan Durbar Square
Patan is the oldest city in Kathmandu Valley and the oldest city practising Buddhism. To make your outing one of the best, make a trip to the city of culture, art, and a true marvel of architecture, Patan Durbar Square. You can catch a bus from Ratnapark to Lagankhel to reach Patan Durbar Square.
A single stone-carved temple in the heart of Patan Durbar Square is a true marvel of architecture. The pagoda style of architecture all over the place makes it stand tall from the rest. Often considered the best museum in Asia, the Patan Museum is home to centuries-old bronze statues and objects. A golden window, specially built for King Siddhi Narsingha Malla, is a sublime piece from history to witness. Being the world's oldest Buddhist city, Patan Durbar Square hosts a golden temple of Lord Buddha. Krishna Temple, built in the seventeenth century, is a prominent piece of the square. On the periphery of Durbar Square, you can sit on pedestals and talk with the locals for hours.
The people of Patan celebrate two major festivals in a year. Rato Machindranath to honour the rain god and Krishna Janmashtami (birth date of Lord Krishna). Plan your visit to Patan during this time because it will be a unique cultural experience for you. You can also witness the living Goddess Kumari during these festivals.
As a foreign national, you have to pay NPR 400 as an entry fee. For Chinese and SAARC nationals, the entry fee is NPR 250. This fee allows you to enter the museum and non-restricted areas. If you wish to stroll around the temples and pedestals, you don't have to pay any fee. Some sensitive areas inside Patan Durbar Square prohibit you from capturing photographs.
The rooftop restaurants around Patan Durbar Square offer 360 views of the Durbar Square area. You can also try some authentic local Newari food items like Bara, Chatamari, Choila, and more. If you want to witness the evening gatherings of locals, it would be the best choice to end the day outing.
7. Chandragiri Hills tour via Cable Car
A recent tourist hotspot, Chandragiri Hills, is becoming a popular destination for people to escape the bustle of the city. Nearby location, easy access, quality service, and calm environment of Chandragiri Hills are what pull thousands of locals and tourists each day.
A 12 km bus ride from Ratnapark takes you to Thankot, from where you have options to reach Chandragiri Hills. You can either hike a 12 km trail to the top or take a 2.5 km cable car ride for ten minutes. But for Nepalese, Chandragiri Hill hiking is a popular one-day outing. For foreign nationals, the cost of a round trip in a cable car is $22. If you wish to make a single trip to the hilltop and hike down on return, you can pay $13 for a one-way ticket.
For the tourist, Chandragiri Hills gives a unique outing experience. Alone or with family, you can enjoy the natural vibe all day long. All age groups can enjoy recreation at this place. The zip-line in Chandragiri Hills chills your spine. The arresting view of mountains like Langtang, Lakpa Dorje, and Manaslu gives an exquisite experience. For tourists who follow Hinduism, Chandragiri Hills is a place to worship Lord Shiva. Bhaleshwor Mahadev Temple is a prime attraction of this hilltop. If you visit this place in mid-January, you will experience significant snowfall. During the snowfall, you'll hardly get a cable car ticket because of the crowd, expecting to enjoy the snow on top of the hill.
The cafes and restaurants at Chandragiri Hills are tourist standards. They serve you foods of your choice, from local to foreign dishes. To cherish the heavenly vibe from the hilltop, grab a can of chilled beer and enjoy the beautiful sunset in the evening. Chandragiri Hills is one of the best places to visit around Kathmandu.
8. Swayambhunath Stupa
Built around 250 BC, the giant Stupa of Swayambhunath is the oldest Buddhist Stupa. Situated in a small area on the top of the hill, Swyambhu Nath Stupa is a true wonder of architecture and Buddhism. Plan a visit to this spiritual place and experience what it feels like to be in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For most people living in the city, a short morning walk to Swayambhunath is a routine escape. If you are in Thamel any day, make sure to wake up early and hike up to Swayambhunath. The 365 steps of the stairs will certainly catch your breath. You will also get a chance to witness the Kathmandu Valley from the top. But to be aware, there are many monkeys all over the place in the Swayambhunath premises. They often steal things from tourists.
Every day at Swayambhunath Stupa is joyous, but some special days in the Buddhist calendar make the outing to this place even more exciting. The celebration of various Buddhist festivals and events such as Buddha Purnima( The birth date of Gautam Buddha) in April, Kojagrath Purnima in September, and Samyak Day in January attracts Nepalese and foreigners.
As a foreign national, you have to pay NPR 200 for an entry ticket to Swayambhunath Stupa. For the SAARC nationals, the entry fee is NPR 50. The Swayambhunath area also has many Hindu temples like Shova Bhagwati and Bijeshwari. If you want to tour further, the National Museum and Military Museum of Chauni are the best places to visit. You have to pay NPR 100 for the entrance ticket to the museum. If you want to take the camera inside the museum, you must pay another NPR 100. These museums are houses to the centuries-old artefacts, vehicles, and attires used by the deceased kings of Nepal.
9. Thamel: Shopping hub for Nepali souvenir
Don’t you want to take a souvenir from Nepal to your family back to your country? To make your trip exciting and unforgettable, buying things around Thamel and nearby places would be one of the best things to do in Kathmandu in one day. It gives you a close view of the Nepali community, the standard of arts and crafts, the hospitality to the tourists, and so on.
Nepali local items such as handicrafts, Thangka paintings, stone jewellery, premium quality Pashmina, and Nepali hand-woven clothes are the favourites among tourists. Almost all the shutters in Thamel have vendors who sell these items. So the competition among the vendors would be an advantage for you to make decent bargaining. You can get the things you want to buy at the most affordable prices.
You can shop your tour gear in Thamel if you wish to go on a tour during your stay in Nepal. You can get these gears at the most affordable prices. At some vendors, you can also hire quality gear at lower prices. Thamel is also a hub for mountaineers where they buy premium climbing gear. If you wish to buy from international brands, you can find outlets around Thamel.
Shopping in Thamel lets you bargain the price with the vendors as much as you can. You can find these items in every nook and corner of Thamel. But it is crucial to be aware of scammers because you never know what quality product you buy from them. Many foreign brands offer their high-end products. To suggest, you must visit authorised distributors to pick up high-end products.
Tourists love being in Thamel, and the locals are happy to serve them with quality service. For tourists, Thamel is a perfect place for refreshment after the tour. The various offerings of Thamel let you enjoy the things of your choice. The choice is yours whether you want to sip a premium Nepali coffee or a glass of chilled beer from a local pub. You will never get enough of Thamel on your first visit.
10. Food Exploration
Can you imagine the cravings for Nepali ethnic cuisine with a blend of Himalayan herbs? If you have tasted it before, you will dive into a plate full of Nepali foods again. If not, you are missing a piece of a puzzle. Your trip to Nepal is incomplete without tasting the local foods in Kathmandu. To make your day worthy, food exploration in Kathmandu would be one of the best things to do in Kathmandu in one day.
With great taste, Tibetan-origin foods have been a routine snack in Kathmandu. Dumplings in Kathmandu are the most preferred fast food item. Over time, Nepal has produced its own style of dumplings. They come in different flavours of chicken, mutton, and many more. Laughing, Keema Noodles, and Thukpa at Boudhanath are the favourites among teens. Matka Tea, Tandoori Tea, and several local franchises are deep-rooted in the Nepalese tongue. If you love drinking tea, you should go for some cups of tea from these franchised outlets. You can go for it if you wander as a food explorer.
Kathmandu is home to Newari people and locals of the city. Their ethnic food is so popular that you can find chains of Newari food franchises all over the city. Most of these food comprises meat products, but they also serve non-meat products to vegans. These foods are affordable and worth giving a taste.
You can sit in a cafe in Kathmandu and eat some pizza. But to give a new taste to your tongue, you should continue your food exploration. Visit Bhaktapur for the famous JUJU, the king of curd. This curd is so premium that it remains intact even if the bowl breaks into pieces. It comes at an affordable price and is a mandatory food in Kathmandu.
Final Thoughts: What's Now?
Based on the realities of what tourists want to explore in Kathmandu for one day, this article is a piece of concise information for tourists. Kathmandu has many things to offer, and as a tourist, you cannot explore the valley in a single day. You can select your type of outing on what you admire the most. Different tourists prefer different types of outings. Boudhanath Stupa and Swyabmbhu Nath Stupa are for spiritual devotees. To spend one day with pure adventure, you can go on an Everest Base Camp helicopter tour. This one-day helicopter tour is the best way to make your trip to the Himalayas memorable.
History and architecture lovers usually visit Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The pagoda style and Shikhara style architecture here are the true wonders of craft.
Sublime Trails has always been there to direct tourists on where to spend the day to make it worth it. If you are in Kathmandu and don't know where to start the trip, feel free to reach us. Our expert team will provide the relevant information to make your day outing joyous.