5 Things To Do in Kathmandu: Visiting the KTM Valley in Nepal

Weekdays are filled with stress and weekends with laughter and joy. When the weekend arrives, we’re always looking for things to do in Kathmandu.

Nepal is one of the most visited tourist destinations in South Asia, and it is easy to see why. The breathtaking Himalayan range, stunning heritage sites, growing vibrant cities like Patan, Thamel, and Durbarmarg, and a multicultural population makes your trip here rich in heritage and nature.

If you’re in Kathmandu and not sure what to do or where to start, we have compiled a list of things to eat, and places to shop, or visit when you’re in the city. Here is a list of five things to do around in Kathmandu Valley:

1. Go to the Farmer’s Market at Le Sherpa

Farmers market in Kathmandu
PC: Le Sherpa

The Farmers Market is quite a treat and the perfect place to relax in the sunny garden! The farmers market community itself is so refreshing to observe. Different communities of people come together and set up stalls to sell the finest and freshest produce from across the country. The market offers organic vegetables and fruits, a variety of locally produced cheese, artisanal bread and pastries, organic honey, and artisanal delicacies for your mouth.

From the spicy and phenomenal da-pao (big steamed bun) to the mind-blowing artistry cheesecakes to the brilliant baras (Newari pizza) they have it all! This market is perfect to indulge in the finer delicacies and produce of life! The market has some of the yummiest street food in the valley. However, if you are looking for some more great street food options, have a look at our roundup of the best street food items you must try!

2. Visit Panauti

Panauti in KTM valley
Panauti has a deep and rich heritage. Small and quiet compared to KTM, but has much to offer tourists

Filled with lush greenery and fresh hair, Panauti will offer you an entirely different experience of Nepal after merely an hour’s drive from Kathmandu. Panauti is an oasis of the azure sky from where you can enjoy stunning sunrise and sunset views.

Many Nepalis regard the city dating back to the 13th century, as one of the most important religious sites in Nepal. As you walk around the city, you will realize that you are in one of the most ancient Newari towns in the country and get to see all the venerable monuments come close. The Newari community in this town has kept their lifestyle and traditions very much alive. All throughout the city you will find burning incense, historic temples, and religious devotees signaling the gods by ringing the bells around them.

Additionally, depending on what time of the year you visit Panauti, you will be able to see some of the most famous Newari festivals in Nepal.

Namo Buddha Monastery in Panauti
Namo Buddha Monastery in Panauti

One of the most sacred pilgrimage sites to visit in Panauti is the Namo Buddha Monastery. The monastery is around an hour away from the center of Panauti city. The top view enables you to see the gorgeous view of nature and the landscape glistens like a crystal. Moreover, you will be able to find a sense of peace at the monastery while engaging in meditation, or studying the various words of Buddha. Namo Buddha is one of many important Buddhism sites in Nepal, along with Lumbini, where the Lord Buddha was born.

Staying in Panauti will slow down time and the phenomenal lush scenery makes you forget the hustle and bustle of a stressful world. If you are longing to find a place to relax, then Panauti should be your choice.

3. Mountain Biking

Mountain biking on Shivapuri trail
Mountain biking on Shivapuri trail is a great adventure sport to take advantage of while visiting KTM

Surrounded by tall mountains and hills, Nepal is well known for its thrilling and adventurous activities that are enjoyable alongside the natural beauty of the country. If you’re into adventure sports and want to escape a busy life, mountain biking is a rejuvenating yet action-packed getaway!

While the city might be a bit too crowded, there are many exciting and adventurous trails for mountain biking on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley. If you’re not experienced, it’s always a good idea to hire a guide, as many of the trails are old walkways and can’t be found on the maps.

One of the popular biking trails is in the Shivapuri National Park. The trip will take you on a monumental journey of nature with stunning temple views as well. Moreover, the trails are connected through remote countryside and villages with a fair share of descents and climbs and sure enough to challenge your strength and stamina!

You can rent cycles from anywhere in the city, but if you want proper mountain bikes, Thamel and Jhamsikhel is one of the best places to rent a good quality mountain bike.

Shivapuri National Park also makes it on our list of The best Hikes in Kathmandu: Day hiking trails in the KTM Valley.

4. Wander Around Ason Bazaar

Ason Bazaar at New Road in Kathmandu
Ason bazaar is a chaotic and fun bazaar to visit and do some shopping

Kathmandu has six different Bazaars in the heart of the capital: Bhotahiti, Balkumari, Teuda, Nhai: kata, and Makhan Galli. All these streets meet at a large and super crowded square or chowk known as Ason Bazaar.

It is one of the oldest commercial centers of the valley and is a cultural stronghold of the Newar community – the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley.

Undoubtedly one of the busiest bazaars in the city, it is surrounded by small shops on all possible sides and everything imaginable. Besides the numerous shops showcasing a wide variety of goods, from farm produces spices to utensils and fabrics, you will also find an ancient pagoda-style temple on the corner of the street. It is said that the temple is dedicated to Annapurna Ajima (Goddess of Abundance). People who come to the bazaar ensure that they pay their respects to the temple before leaving the bazaar.

It is one of the most historical locations in the city. Moreover, the bazaar is home to many of the major festivals and processions in the city. It is definitely a hot spot for tourists due to its cultural ambiance, architectural sights, and abundance of tasty treats and food on every corner!

5. Go to Ratnakar Mahavihar

Ratnakar Mahavihar temple in Patan
Ratnakar Mahavihar temple in Patan

Located in Gabahal, Patan, the Ratnakar Mahavihar is a three-storied temple with lovely pagoda-style architecture and a spacious courtyard filled with stunning monuments like mandalas, deity and guardian animal figures, bells, vajras, etc.

However, this mahavihar is extra special as it is the home of Kumari, also known as the goddess of virginity, the country’s Living Goddess. It is important to note that many towns and cities in the valley have their own living goddesses. Most visitors come to pay homage to the Kumari who lives on the first floor of the temple.

The Kumari sits on a high pedestal chair, her hair neatly coiled up in a bun, kohl-lined eyes, and dressed in red and gold brocade. This will give you an unforgettable experience, being up close to a living goddess. Additionally, she will put a tika on your forehead and bestow her blessings. Could well be the highlight of your visit to Nepal!

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