A Travellerspoint blog

Kathmandu & Bhaktapur, Nepal

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We had dreamt of exploring Nepal for years, so it was pretty surreal when our adventure was about to begin. From the moment we landed, Kathmandu's unique energy enveloped us. It was an unforgettable journey through its ancient history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes.

As we wandered through the bustling streets of Kathmandu, the locals greeted us with warm smiles and genuine hospitality. The city's vibrant culture was apparent in every nook and cranny. The blend of ancient traditions with modern influences was fascinating, and it was great to immerse ourselves into their culture.

Temples that Whisper Ancient Stories

One of our first stops was Durbar Square, which is full of history with intricately carved temples, pagodas, and courtyards. The architecture and artistry that went into creating them was very impressive. We were also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the living goddess, Kumari, peering through a window of the Kumari Ghar. Kumaris are living Goddesses of Nepal. They are believed to be the reincarnation of Hindu Goddess Durga or Goddess Taleju.

The Buddha Stupa, a massive dome-topped Buddhist temple was great to see, as was the Pashupatinath Temple, which is one of the largest temples in the world. The Pashupatinath Temple was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1979 and is a sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions that have been created over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river. It is built on an area of 246 hectares and includes 518 mini-temples.

Swayambhunath - A Peaceful Abode

The climb to Swayambhunath, the "Monkey Temple," was an adventure in itself. As we ascended the steep steps, we were accompanied by mischievous monkeys leaping from tree to tree. The views at the top of Kathmandu were impressive, as was checking out the golden stupa against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

Thamel - A Shopper's Paradise

Thamel is a shopping district, with a vibrant atmosphere and colourful shops. We explored the narrow alleys filled with handicrafts, souvenirs, and exquisite artworks. Bargaining is part of the game, which we left for others!

A Gastronomic Delight

Nepalese cuisine offers a whole mix of options. We savoured momos with dips, had loads of the traditional dal bhat, and enjoyed trying the local Newari dishes. The blend of spices and fresh ingredients were totally unique. We couldn't seem to get enough kati rolls, momo's and the local lassi.

Mountain Biking Adventure to Nagarkot

We decided to take a day trip mountain biking to Nagarkot, a hill station located just 25 kilometres from Kathmandu. The scenic journey took us through picturesque countryside and charming rural villages, giving us a glimpse of authentic Nepalese life outside the city.

As we ascended the winding trails through the pine forest, there were a bunch of panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and terraced farmlands. The journey was great fun and also challenging(!) (some trails were more extreme than we anticipated).

We had lunch in Nagarkot which is perched at an altitude of 2,175 meters, with views of the Himalayas in the distance. After some delicious dal baht for lunch, we tackled some more trails before heading back to Kathmandu.


Bhaktapur - An Ancient Living Museum

After exploring Kathmandu, we spent a few days in Bhaktapur, a captivating city located about 13 kilometres east of the capital. Bhaktapur is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We wandered through the narrow cobblestone streets, taking in the city's well-preserved palaces, courtyards, and temples. The 55-Window Palace, Vatsala Temple, and Nyatapola Temple were just a few of the stunning buildings we checked out.

One of the highlights was Bhaktapur's Durbar Square, an open museum of intricate wood carvings and historic monuments. The square has a vibrant atmosphere during the day and well into the night. Bhaktapur is not only rich in architecture but also boasts a vibrant Newari culture. We had the opportunity to witness traditional Newari dance performances and tasted some of the local cuisine. The famous "juju dhau" (Nepali yogurt) was delicious.

Namobuddha Monastery, Khopasi & Balthali

We took a day trip to Namobuddha Monastery, Khopasi, and Balthali. A short drive from Bhaktapur led us to the sacred site of Namobuddha, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal.

The legend surrounding Namobuddha tells the story of a compassionate prince who encountered a starving tigress and her cubs. He offered his own flesh to feed them, displaying the ultimate act of selflessness, which is believed to have led to his rebirth as Lord Buddha.

Namobuddha Monastery was peaceful and is surrounded by colourful prayer flags. We were lucky enough to spend time inside as the monks chanted. It's also perched on a mountain, so there were some great views.

Leaving Namobuddha, we continued our day trip to the quaint village of Khopasi and the picturesque hill station of Balthali. These off-the-beaten-path destinations offered a unique opportunity to experience the unhurried pace of rural life in Nepal. The traditional Newari houses and terraced fields in Khopasi showed the simplicity and authenticity of rural living.

Balthali, on the other hand, had stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Verdant hills, lush forests, and meandering rivers. We enjoyed a traditional Nepali lunch and checked out a nearby swing bridge and returned to Bhaktapur.


Our journey to Kathmandu and Bhaktapur was an amazing experience and a great way to complement our trek. From the temples of Kathmandu, the mountain biking in Nagarkot and the time-travel-like exploration of Bhaktapur, not to mention the landscapes, Nepal offered us a bunch of unforgettable moments.

Posted by TheNomadWay.com 00:00 Archived in Nepal

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