Kathmandu at a Glance

Kathmandu- Nepal

Kathmandu at a Glance

Kathmandu, Nepal

Not knowing what to expect from a trip is often the best way to fully arrive with an open mind, and that’s exactly what you are going to need to bring when you land in this extraordinary city. Normally we would have both been pretty overwhelmed with the whole hustle and bustle of the city, but as I’ve spent a lot of time in Ghana, and we’ve both been to Morocco and Cambodia a couple times, it wasn’t completely new to us. After a knackering 20 hours travelling from London Gatwick, stopping at Istanbul and Dehli, we got a much needed wake up on our taxi ride to the hostel. The roads are basically a free for all, but in the absence of traffic lights, they have ‘traffic police’ standing in the middle of the crossroads to direct the traffic, not that the motorbikes take any notice!

This city won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy discovering tiny family ran restaurants, exploring cobbled alleyways to amazing hidden temples and don’t mind getting your clothes dusty, then you will absolutely love it!

Swayambhunath Stupa

This is a monkey temple which is one of the most definitive and historical experiences of Kathmandu! Swayambthunath is exhilarating experience, with an intoxicating smell of butter lamps and incense. This is then magnified if you can catch the sunrise or sunset as you will be joined by many local devotees during their ritual lap of the stupa, spinning the prayer wheels and laying out flower offerings and lighting candles as they go. This estimated 2000 year old temple homes a fantastic view of Kathmandu and the sun peaking out from the horizon. Have a look around, maybe even buy and light a candle. (Make sure you cover your legs and shoulders girls, and walk clockwise around the stupa, don’t offend the locals!)

Swayambhunath Stupa's third eye is watching you 👁

A photo posted by Mark Shirran ╳ (@markshirran) on

Durbur Square

One of the main attractions of Kathmandu is the historical Durbur Square, located a 20min drive from Swayambthunath and 10 mins from Thammel. This square was quite badly damaged in the 2015 earthquake, which is evident in the square still today, with some areas being cut off and with piles of bricks where temples once were. The are many entrances to the square and at one of them, some guarded will try to charge you to get in, they seemed to pick and choose who they wanted to charge. This happened to us and we just turned around and went in a different entrance. There are so many cool places to eat, western and traditional food, so make sure you go in time for lunch or dinner!


Thamel is the heart of Kathmandu, with nightlife, restaurants and bars a plenty, you will be spoiled for choice. The shops supply anything you can think of, although they can sometimes be more expensive than other areas in Nepal. Kathmandu is built up around 3 main roads so it’s not that hard to get lost. The roads are narrow and dusty but with the shop signs and prayer flags the roads look very cute and characteristic.

Kathmandu- Nepal

Our hostel had a really nice restaurant on the roof so we didn’t try as many different places to eat as we maybe should have. But the two best places we went to were: Fire and Ice, for amazing pizzas and deserts (it’s right next to the Garden of Dreams). The second place was New Orleans which had amazing burgers and was in the centre of Thamel down one of the narrow roads. We would also recommend you to a bakery for breakfast called Hot Breads which will make you feel as though you have just stepped straight into Austria!

Kathmandu Burger

Welcome to my crib 📍

A photo posted by Around The Orbis 🌍 (@em_holm) on

Boudhanath Stupa

Claiming the title as the largest stupa in Asia, this 14th century build is a must see if you have the time. Located in the eastern surrounding towns of Kathmandu, its roughly a 20min taxi ride from Thamel. It costs 200NRP to enter, which seems alot considering you walk around it a few times and then leave, but then you remember thats only £1.50! Ladies, you don’t have to cover up shoulders but legs would be appropriate. Cute market like shops surround the Stupa, selling scarves, trousers prayer flags, the usual. There are also many rooftop restaurants to grab some food and a drink, but annoyingly they were all closed when we went due to a festival going on. Remember to walk clockwise around the Stupa!

Nepal Stupa - Kathmandu

Stupa definition-  A dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine.

Kathmandu - Nepal

To check out where we stayed, head to our accommodation list.

Emily Holm

Emily Holm


  • Blair Villanueva

    This places looks very interesting, based on your descriptions and photos (except the part that the place smells with incense as I’m not so into it.. it makes me dizzy). It would be nice to always carry a huge scarf to cover your head for heat, or legs when visiting temples. 🙂

    3rd January 2017 at 11:17 am
    • Emily Holm
      Emily Holm

      Incense gets to me too sometimes! Its nice but not when its too strong i agree. Its also good to stop getting too tanned/burnt which i am guilty for haha!

      3rd January 2017 at 11:30 am
  • Hang Around The World

    We are travel bloggers too so we love to read post like yours. One of our favorite part is to visit the center of a city and Thamel is what we always looking for. You can learn lots about a culture of a place!

    3rd January 2017 at 5:50 pm
    • Mark Shirran
      Mark Shirran

      Oh hey! Are you anywhere interesting in the world right now?

      3rd January 2017 at 7:32 pm
  • Pospi O Otuson

    I’m not really a travel blogger, but i enjoy reading travel post from travellers. Its really good to know you both had a good time. Thanks for sharing

    3rd January 2017 at 6:12 pm
  • Ree love30

    I’ve read up quiet a bit on Durbur Square from the 2015 earthquakes but have never been. I would love to go to Nepal. And how amazing that your hostel had a restaurant on the roof! I’d eat there all the time too. Ree love30

    3rd January 2017 at 11:00 pm
    • Emily Holm
      Emily Holm

      Unfortunately the square is still quite disrupted, they are working on getting all the temples back up i think but its a slow process!

      4th January 2017 at 9:19 am
  • Carola

    The monkey temple looks so impressive. I would love to visit it. Thamel looks so interesting as well. So nice to see so many restaurants and such a lively street. It’s a pity the square still quite disrupted. It will take a long time probably. Would you want to return when it’s done?

    4th January 2017 at 5:59 pm
    • Emily Holm
      Emily Holm

      I have never seen so many monkeys in one place! I would love to return to Nepal, to do some trekking, but then would definitely return to the square when in Kathmandu!

      5th January 2017 at 10:15 am
  • Laveena Sengar

    The temple looks very interesting and beautiful. I love temples as I belong to India. I must say that your pictures are outstanding. I have been following you guys for a while now and you are doing a great job. All the best.

    6th January 2017 at 9:35 am
    • Emily Holm
      Emily Holm

      Thanks Laveena! Congrats on your recent share from the Brash Magazine!

      6th January 2017 at 10:46 am

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