What to do when you have free time in Kathmandu Valley?
Whether you are a solo traveler or in a group or you have just finished your trek in mountains and wondering what to do when your travel agent/guides give you free time in Kathmandu valley then we’re addressing that here.
There are numerous options that you can choose from in the hustling-bustling town of Kathmandu and it would be your wonderful experience.
Being an ancient capital of the Himalayan Republic, Kathmandu, an ancient city provides a lot of interesting activities that you can perform in one or two days. Once known for the city of temples, Kathmandu valley is rich in its famous Temples, Stupas, and World Heritage Sites. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in this ancient city.
Walk along the ancient path of Ason Tole:
Ason Tole is an ancient marketplace of in Kathmandu city. It is located in the middle of the old city on the way to Kathmandu Durbar Square. Ason Tole Streets are hot and happening from early morning to night. It is well-known ancient and traditional market to find every possible thing for people daily needs. There are some famous temples at Ason, the main one is Annapurna Temple- the temple of the goddess that provided food or Anna-Food and meaning Purna-Plenty- the name of the famous mountain Annapurna. Furthermore, Ganesha temple, Bishnu Temple, Balkumari Temple are other attractions.
The vegetables, flowers, and fruit market are also in this place. Being a famous marketplace, people pass this way frequently to move around the city and to go to Bus Park located at Ratnapark. The main attraction for the tourists in this marketplace is the Nepalese and Indian natural herbs used for medicinal and for the cooking purpose. There are few shops that sold such herbs.
There is a popular Nepali saying “you can find and sole anything and everything in Ason Tol”. The most interesting part is that Ason Tole is the center hub of seven different ancient streets of Kathmandu. After the earthquake of 2015, some ancient houses of this place were destroyed and it is not yet renovated. It is a good way to discover the Nepalese lifestyle if you walk early in the morning to discover this street that also leads you to the ancient Kathmandu Durbar Square (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE).
Visit Patan Royal Palace:
Patan or Yala or Lalitpur means the beautiful city also known as Lalitpur located six kilometers away from Thamel or Kathmandu. Lalitpur district is divided by Bagmati River and the city is renowned for the metal arts and crafts and rich Hindu and Buddha cultural heritages. It is well known as Buddhist city as it contains ancient Newar Monastries (Biharas), ancient temples, royal palaces and a museum which contains the best collection of Wood, Metal, and Stone artifacts from 14th to the 19th century.
The courtyard inside the Royal Palace and mesmerizing water spout are also the major attraction for the visitors. Lalitpur city is also famous for the longest festival days of the rain god known as Rato Macchindranath which held from April-June every year. The Royal Palace of Patan is also famous for Lord Krishna temple built in 17th century by the Malla King and well-known ancient market Mangal Bazar is just two minutes away from the Patan Royal Palace.
Roam around Bouddhnath Stupa
The giant and the ancient Buddhist Stupa of the Kathmandu located in Bouddhanath located at North Eastern corner of Thamel. Forty-five minutes of a ride from Taxi and an hour drive from Ratna Park in a local bus it is situated 20 minutes’ walk from the famous Hindu Temple Pashupatinath.
It is one of the largest stupas in Kathmandu Valley and the spherical dome was partially destroyed by the earthquake measuring 7.6 rector-scale in magnitude, which is now renovated. The surrounding of the stupa is vibrant and lively whole day because of the pilgrimage chanting “Om Mane Padme Hum” carrying prayer beads in their hands or the strong music of the same mantra from CD shops as you entered in its premises. The Stupa remains always white and decorated with flowers and five colors prayers flag. It is also the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in 50 different Buddhist monasteries as a retreat, school, and meditation center. If you are shopping lover or want to buy small gifts from Nepal, then the Stupa surrounding is a great place to have the best shopping experiences.
Walk to South-West of the Kathmandu to reach Monkey Temple/Swayambhunath Stupa
Monkey Temple or Swayambhunath Stupa is an ancient Buddhist Stupa which lies at the center of the Kathmandu Valley on the top of the hill. Among tourists, it is popularly known as Monkey Temple as it is a resident of many Rhesus macaque for a long time.
It is an ancient holy site for both Hindus and Buddhists residing in Kathmandu Valley and a major holy site for the followers of Tibetan and Newari Buddhism. It is situated in the South-West part of Kathmandu and it is 40 minutes’ walk away from the main Thamel Street. Walking through this path people can able to see some part of the ancient Kathmandu city. The Swayambhunath Stupa is hills is rich with ancient forest and the trees as well as the base of the hill is surrounding by modern Mani walls built by ( Resident of Manang district- Managi’s of Annapurna Region and three giant statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Manjushree in Buddha Park on the western base.
The small hill complex of the Stupa contains several small Stupas, Hindu God and Goddess temples, Monastery, and a 360-degree view of Kathmandu Valley from the hilltop. It is one of the busiest religious sites in Kathmandu as there are regular flows of devotees from early morning to night and especially it is busy during full moon day, Saturday, and major festival season in Kathmandu Valley. Do not miss a chance to see different religious aspects of Kathmandu Valley in the premises of the great Swayambhunath Stupa.
Walk in the Thamel Street to enjoy delicious food and for Shopping
Thamel is the renowned place for the backpackers and tourists who have already been to Nepal and for the first time visitors, it is a place where many hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars, discotheques, shopping areas, trekking agencies exist in one small place. The area became popular after 1970’s by the Hippies who searched the new place to pass their time in the narrow street of Kathmandu. Thamel is now the most visited place for shopping and more than 80% of foreign travelers stay overnight in this place for various purposes. Many infrastructures especially Hotels have been built in this area aftermath of 2015 earthquake and travelers can able to find most cheaper to high prices Hotels in this area.
To enjoy Shopping, to hang out, or to buy or hire mountain equipment’s Thamel is a major marketplace. Since October of 2017, some area of the Thamel became vehicle free zones so that travelers can enjoy the shopping in a less noisy area without any disturbance. Do not forget to bargain your price while shopping, and it is a good place for the people who love to negotiate the price and enjoy it.
An ancient city Kathmandu offers different colors, tastes, and experiences. Hence do not forget to gain these experieces if you are in the city or planning to visit it soon.