2 Nights In Kathmandu

Old Sep 7th, 2018, 05:31 PM
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2 Nights In Kathmandu

Is 2 nights (1 full day + 2 half days) feasible for getting a general overview of Kathmandu? We'd arrive by flight on day 1 at 12:30pm, and depart by flight on day 3 at 4:50pm.

How would you use this time? Thinking day 1 to see the Boudhanath Stupa in the afternoon, day 2 to do a daytrip with a driver to Bhaktapur and Patan, and day 3 to see the Pashupatinath Temple and cremation ghats in the morning and then the monkey temple.

Our main interests are people, culture, history, photography and food.

It's hard to get good info online about what's worth seeing post-quake. From my research, KTM Durbar Square seems like a waste, and I don't think we need to see all 3 Durbar Squares. Makes sense to see Bhaktapur and Patan and skip the one in KTM.

We were considering staying a day longer and going to Nagarkot, but the things I'm reading make it seem like a tourist trap with often-cloudy views. It's disappointing to not be able to see the mountains and we'd like to, but there don't seem to be any good options for a short trip. Pokhara seems like it needs an extra couple days just to see a viewpoint, and we'd significantly longer if we wanted to do serious trekking on this trip and we don't have the time.

Thanks so much!

Last edited by LAX_Esq; Sep 7th, 2018 at 05:37 PM.
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Old Sep 8th, 2018, 02:05 AM
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It really isn't enough time to get an overview of the Kathmandu Valley, but if it is all the time you have, use it as best you can. If you can add a day, that would help.

Where are you flying in from? I'm assuming you'll already be in Asia, so jet lag won't be an issue. Where are you staying? What time of year are you traveling?

Bouodhanath and Pashupatinath are in the same general area, indeed, walkable from each other, so I'd put those on the same day. Swayambhunath (which is what I assume you mean by the monkey temple) is on the opposite side of Kathmandu.

I haven't been to KTM since the quake, but a photographer friend documented the damage from the quake and some of the post-quake restoration. While I do think the Durbar Square in KTM is worthwhile, even post-quake, you really don't have the time. While the three Durbar Squares are quite different in atmosphere, it does make sense to just visit the two given your limited time.

In the best of circumstances, I think Nagarkot is not worth one's time. When I was last in KTM, we were able to the the Himalayas from KTM. If you really want to see the mountains, take a flight-seeing trip in a small plane. You would have time for this if you added a day. The flight is only an hour, but my experience is that you may well spend half a day waiting to be able to fly, so you really need to clear the time for it.
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Old Sep 8th, 2018, 08:14 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Kathie. This would be in late October, and yes we will be in South Asia already so no jet lag and we should be able to.

Not sure what area to stay in. Seems like most tourists stay in Thamel, but the idea of being in tourist central isn't appealing. Is there a better place to stay that's central to the sites and has good, convenient food options?

What would one do with a full extra day, assuming the same flight schedule but just shifting in one extra day?

The scenic flight doesn't appeal to me at all. Different strokes, I guess.
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Old Sep 8th, 2018, 08:29 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't stay in Thamel - very crowded and noisy. I would either stay in "downtown" near the old Palace, on the Durbar Marg or in Boudha.

My first stay in KTM was many years ago and we stayed at the Yak and Yeti, a Grande Dame of a hotel. It has the advantage of being close to a number of restaurants and you can go out and wander the area which has lots of little shops. You can also walk to Thamel from there. My second stay, we stayed at the Hyatt near Boudhanath. That was a fine location for visiting Boudhanath at different times of the day. We were able to walk to Boudhanath and Pashupatinath from there. Unfortunately, there are not restaurants in the area, other than at Dwarika's, which is another place to consider.

If you had another day there are all kinds of things you might do. The KTM Valley is simply packed with world heritage sites. Take a look at our photos at www.marlandc.com for ideas.
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Old Sep 9th, 2018, 04:17 AM
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Best time for visiting Boudhanath is at dawn or dusk. It's very very atmospheric, you won't regret the timing. During the day from about 0900 to 1700 it'll be mobbed with tourists.

There's loads of small shops, and plenty of restaurants that ring the outer perimeter of the Stupa. Some of the restaurants are very good too.

You can also stay at one of the Guest Houses attached to one of the monasteries inside Boudhanath. We stayed at the Shechen Guest House attached to the monastery of the same name for 3 nights. Beautiful gardens, rooms are fairly plain but very clean and comfortable. Attached to it is the Rabsel Garden Cafe, which dishes up lovely vfm meals. Great low key atmosphere at the Shechen, lots of people start or end their Retreats there.

If you walk to Pashupatinath, allow about 45 minutes or so from Boudhanath, but it'll probably be a hot walk along dusty streets. Tbh I found the Pashupatinath experience a bit like a morbid themepark. Far too many intrusive camera clicking tourists poking their noses into what should be very private family rituals. Unless they've cleaned their act up since we went, the year before the Quake, then the sacred river where all the action goes on was absolutely filthy. But I suppose I'm glad we went.

Lots of wild monkeys at Pashupatinath too, so be careful with your belongings.

Bhaktapur is great, but again, it's best seen from dusk onwards. The camera clickers will have disappeared by then. We stayed in Bhaktapur for a week during Bisket Jatra [Nepalese New Year], and the place rocked all week.

Imo Thamel is alright to stay, just pick the right place. Loads and loads of places to eat and drink. Well worth a wander round even if you decide not to stay there.

For our first week in Kathmandu we stayed with the most wonderful 3 generations of an Hindu family just outside the Kathmandu Ring Road, booked on Airbnb. Very weternized, so no problem with language. We were completely immersed in their way of life, but I was glad to get away from eating Dhal Baat by the end of it.

Swayambhu is great. A couple of ways to get in, either hundres of steep steps, or the easy way by taxi or an easy winding path. Again watch out for monkeys.

Nargakot is really spread out. We went there by public bus from Bhaktapur, but the 'curtains' were drawn and we didn't get any views to speak of.

Patan Square is worth a visit, but it'll eat into your time, so I'd stick with Bhaktapur.

The Garden of Dreams is alo worth an hour or so, to escape the chaos outside. V.close to Thamel.

We travelled round either by public bus or tiny taxi, you know the sort, you feel you should be pedalling. The public buses are very difficult to work out, and probably no worth it for a very short visit. With taxis, try and find out a fair price first if you can.

Face mask is essential, as is medicated hand gel, use it often.

Last edited by LancasterLad; Sep 9th, 2018 at 04:20 AM.
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Old Sep 9th, 2018, 10:00 AM
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If you are there during a festival, Bhaktapur is lively. We were there during Tihar so enjoyed seeing the potters make the little oil lamps people put in their windows. But if you are there during a non-festival time, even during the day, it feels a bit like a city preserved in amber.

The old palace in Patan has been turned into a museum with some of the finest objects in the country. Many people say it is the best museum on the subcontinent.

But, of course, how many places to visit and how long to stay depends on your level of interest.
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Old Sep 9th, 2018, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Kathie View Post
If you are there during a festival, Bhaktapur is lively. We were there during Tihar so enjoyed seeing the potters make the little oil lamps people put in their windows. But if you are there during a non-festival time, even during the day, it feels a bit like a city preserved in amber.

The old palace in Patan has been turned into a museum with some of the finest objects in the country. Many people say it is the best museum on the subcontinent.

But, of course, how many places to visit and how long to stay depends on your level of interest.
Gosh, it'd take half a dozen lifetimes in order to make an accurate assessment. of what and where is best. Even then, it's all down to personal taste.
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Old Sep 12th, 2018, 07:36 PM
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Thanks to both of you for the advice. No, we won't be there for any festivals. I read kathie's TR and browsed her photos, and it seems like Changu Narayan is the only thing we'd really be able to do with an extra day in Kathmandu Valley that we weren't planning on doing already. Are there other sites that I may be missing?
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Old Sep 13th, 2018, 10:03 PM
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Any other mid-range hotel recs? The top-rated hotels on TA are insanely littered with fake reviews: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g...on-Hotels.html

All these hotels have hundreds of 5* hotels by people with 1 total review. I plugged several of them into fakespot.com , and they all get D's and F's. I've traveled a lot, and never seen anything like this
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Old Sep 14th, 2018, 12:25 AM
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I recommend the Guest House at Boudhanath I mentioned earlier in the thread. But it's not got the Stars you want, but it is confortable, and only a couple of minutes walk from the Stupa, ideal for sunrise or sunset.

Or have a look on the Nepal forum on TA. You'll soon recognise who to trust, and see where they usually stay.

Personally, unless you intend to use all the facilities you're paying for I'd lower my bar a bit.
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Old Sep 14th, 2018, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by LancasterLad View Post
I recommend the Guest House at Boudhanath I mentioned earlier in the thread. But it's not got the Stars you want, but it is confortable, and only a couple of minutes walk from the Stupa, ideal for sunrise or sunset.

Or have a look on the Nepal forum on TA. You'll soon recognise who to trust, and see where they usually stay.

Personally, unless you intend to use all the facilities you're paying for I'd lower my bar a bit.
Looking in the 3* range -- clean by third world standards, and nothing fancy. Your guesthouse has some awful reviews on TA ( https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...al_Region.html )-- 2 different travelers complain of bed bugs. I appreciate the suggestion, but I wouldn't stay there.

The TA Nepal forum is pretty plagued with touts, but I'll see what I can find there.
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Old Sep 14th, 2018, 06:48 AM
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False reviews made by jealous competitors no doubt. Lots of westerners stop there pre and post going on Monastery Retreats, but it's your call.

Yes there are touts on the TA Nepal Forum, but the good guys are easy enough to spot.
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Old Sep 14th, 2018, 07:01 AM
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I don't know how helpful I can be about lodging, since the only two places I've stayed in KTM are the Hyatt and the Yak and Yeti. A place in Thamel that comes well-recommended (by dogster and others) is the Courtyard, And a place on the Durbar Marg that is worth looking into is The Everest Hotel. The Everest Hotel has the esteemed Ghar-E- Kebab in its lobby. It has often been called the best Indian restaurant outside of Delhi. We ate there often during our first stay in KTM so many years ago. I have no idea what the prices at the Everest are and I have not seen the rooms, but it's a place I would check if I weren't going to stay at one of the places I've stayed at previously. I would suggest that you expand your search range up to 4-star places.

If you do stay an extra day and go out to Changu Narayan you will see some lovely countryside.

Last edited by Kathie; Sep 14th, 2018 at 07:05 AM.
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Old Sep 14th, 2018, 06:51 PM
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Thanks to both. Emailed the Courtyard. Kathmandu Guesthouse gave me a rate of $60 for a double including tax and airport pickup; is this place historic and interesting to stay at, or overrated and living on its laurels?
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Old Sep 14th, 2018, 08:00 PM
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Both people I know who have stayed there really liked it.
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Old Sep 14th, 2018, 11:31 PM
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As time isn't going to be on your side you really should be staying within easy striking distance of the airport and one of the main places you want to visit. Boudhanth fits both criteria.
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Old Sep 15th, 2018, 07:09 AM
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My info is extremely dated, so ignore if you want but I felt like chiming in, based on five Nepal trips many years ago. It looks like The Everest Hotel mentioned by Kathie is now sadly closed. The note on the webpage is dated May 2015. It says it may reopen. The Katmandu Guesthouse was certainly the in place to stay or hang out decades ago, but I agree that staying in Thamel seems to be too far out of your way for a short visit.

There are a couple of other nice old hotels around the Yak n Yeti. Perhaps they are out of your budget range but, for example, have a look at the Hotel Annapurna. I never stayed there but used their restaurant and bar with happy memories, (same can be said for the Yak n Yeti!). The Hotel Malla is another possibility, I stayed there 30+ years ago and it was fine then. Anyway, that area is worth looking at if you don't want to stay at Boudhanth, and I think better than Thamel for your short visit.

It may no longer be possible, but on clear days there was a nice view from Changu Narayan out to the Langtang Himal. Maybe that will never happen any more, but who knows?

Anyway, good luck!
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 06:37 AM
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I enjoyed my stay at the Courtyard, although I am somewhat horrified to realize it was eight years ago! If the same people are running it though, it should still be fine. Don't know how historic the building is, but it is a peaceful oasis in the middle of Thamel and can attract interesting people.

See second part of this: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...culture-shock/
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
I enjoyed my stay at the Courtyard, although I am somewhat horrified to realize it was eight years ago! If the same people are running it though, it should still be fine. Don't know how historic the building is, but it is a peaceful oasis in the middle of Thamel and can attract interesting people.

See second part of this: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...culture-shock/
But if it attracts tour groups, I'd be tempted to give it a wide berth.
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Old Sep 16th, 2018, 08:04 AM
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But if it attracts tour groups, I'd be tempted to give it a wide berth.
Who said it attracted tour groups? I would be very surprised.
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