First Time in Kathmandu! How to Prepare & What To Expect in Your First Time Visit


We forewarn you: exploring Kathmandu with a backpack is unique in the world. 2,000 years of history live between collapsed walls and standing temples.

Kathmandu is sandy, dirty, extensive and a bit rough at the edges, but it is also full of beauty and many great things to do if you know where to look. Kathmandu is just one of those cities that you love so much or from which you book a bus directly, without looking back. I fall into the first category myself.

Any backpacker who comes to Nepal by plane and is certainly in Kathmandu for a few days. I will tell you right away that it is a mistake to leave Kathmandu immediately in the mountains.

Kathmandu is a collection of important religious shrines, temples, history relics and places to eat and sleep at a good price. Not to mention the district of Thamel, perhaps the biggest fake (and not fake) outdoor bazaar in the world.

For backpackers with limited budgets, Kathmandu is a strange “paradise” with countless cheap outings, fascinating culture, crazy traffic and all the fake Gore-Tex rain jackets you can handle. While preparing for a great Himalayan adventure in the mountains of Nepal, Kathmandu is the perfect place to prepare for departure.

Kathmandu Nepal Highway Road
Highway Road To Nagarkot From Kathmandu

Get up-to-date information on accommodation in Kathmandu, the main activities, your daily budget in Kathmandu, the main free attractions, the recommended travel routes, cheap restaurants in Kathmandu and much more.


How to Prepare & What To Expect in Your First Time Visit in Kathmandu Nepal

  1. Fair budget tour:

Nepal is one of the cheapest countries you can visit. Also, Kathmandu is perhaps one of the five cheapest capitals in the world. While Kathmandu can sometimes be ridiculously cheap, it is 100% possible to visit Kathmandu on a budget of $ 10 per day. Basically, at ten dollars, you can do nothing but eat street food, sleep in a bedroom and explore the city on foot.

With an ultra-luxurious budget of $ 30- $ 40 per day, you can get a decent hotel room, eat 3 times a day in restaurants / street food stalls, visit important cultural sites, rent a rickshaw and some cold beers with What I mean, leave at the end of the day that remains.

Exception: the most expensive tourist areas (especially the Thamel) often reflect a place that has been invested by western visitors. Things like accommodation and food in Kathmandu can be much more expensive than in other parts of Nepal.

Again, the highest prices are actually only for the Thamel and the surrounding area. If you go beyond the purely tourist economy of Thamel, you will find much cheaper prices.

Affordable charges money girl showing cash
girl showing cash

You will hear us repeat several times in this guide: For almost EVERYTHING, which has to do with money in Kathmandu, you must pay it. This applies to accommodation, transportation and, above all, to the souvenirs that interest you.

While most of the restaurants (in Thamel) have fixed prices for a menu, in some places where there is a hole in the wall, the owner tries to overload because you are not Nepali. A Daal Bhat should never cost you $ 5 off of Thamel. Put on your bargain face and get ready to dive into the crowd.

Here is an Average Kathmandu Daily Budget:

Dorm bed in a hostel: $3-8


Small basic room for two: $7-15

Airbnb room/entire apartment: $10-45+

10-minute rickshaw ride : $2

Taxi from Kathmandu Airport – Thamel: $6-10

Taxi from the Thamel to Money Temple: $3-5

Monkey Temple entrance fee: >$2

Durbar Square entrance fee: $10

Meal in a budget Thamel restaurant: $3-6

Momos (Nepalese Dumplings): $1-3 (for 10+)

Daal Bhat outside of the Thamel Area: $1-2.50


Bottle of Everest Beer: $2-3

Sweet chai from a street vendor: >¢50

Stomach bug anti-biotics: $3-5/box

  1. Budget tips for Kathmandu

Good news for you is that traveling with a backpack in Kathmandu is much cheaper than in most major cities. It is not very expensive to enjoy Kathmandu with a reasonable budget.

One thing is for sure: there are always ways to exceed the budget. Booking a fake panoramic flight, sitting in an expensive tourist restaurant and paying too much for a North Face Down jacket (possibly fake) is a great example of how your budget can suddenly overwhelm in Kathmandu. With a little common sense and patience to negotiate prices, you should have no trouble planning a budget trip to Kathmandu.

think twice a little boy
think twice – a little boy

Here are some tips for you that could help you in your pocket.

* Never accept the first prize: if you do not order food in a restaurant with the prices shown on the menu, you will never accept the first price someone offers you … for anything! Bargain! Then haggle! Then negotiate is more! The negotiation becomes exhausting after a while, but it is a necessary means to save yourself from opportunistic looks in order to take advantage of you.

* Avoid eating in elegant restaurants clearly aimed at tourists: Kathmandu has many small restaurants that offer food for mom and dad, food trucks, food stalls and a variety of other places that sell cheap food. If the menu is displayed in five different languages, it is better to continue.

healthy life man-eating drinking beer
drinking beer and eating meat

* Find trekking equipment: Thamel has dozens of stores that sell equipment for outdoor activities. You can appear naked in Kathmandu and find everything you need to climb Everest in less than an hour (if you have the money). The prices and the quality of the equipment are consistent. Browse, compare prices,

* Look for beers for happy hour: beer in Kathmandu is not cheap, since most locals don’t drink it regularly. The places that sell beer do it for tourists or Nepalese with disposable income. Many Thamel bars / clubs / music venues offer happy hour specials in the early evenings / evenings. At the best prices, have a beer.

* Do not buy imported food: in the neighborhood of Thamel you will find elegant grocery stores that offer everything from Toblerone to Nutella, to gourmet Italian coffee. These stores have ridiculously high prices, even for things like bottled water. If you want to go hiking in Nepal, remember to take your hiking snacks home (if you can) or shop in small wineries.

* Walking: Although sometimes it may be necessary to rent a rickshaw or a taxi, you can go to many attractions in Kathmandu from Thamel. If you want to book a trip, try to divide the costs among the other backpackers.

* Pack a bottle of water and save money every day!

  1. Don’t miss the surroundings of Thamel.

Meanwhile, you may wonder what the hell is this place in Thamel. The district of Thamel, in the center of Kathmandu, is essentially the culmination of decades of Western visitors who come to Nepal for backpacking, trekking and mountaineering adventures. The locals saw the need to take care of Westerners, and seized the opportunity.

There is no other place in Nepal like the Thamel. In earlier times, “Weird Street” was named after all hippie backpackers who went in search of cheap hashish and eastern lighting. But make sure things have changed a lot since Weird Street began in the sixties and seventies.

In many ways, Thamel is the biggest tourist trap in South Asia. It is also its focal point for outdoor equipment, bells and whistles, bars, wineries, pharmacies, comfortable accommodation, hashish, good food (although expensive) and the community of backpackers constantly changing. Daily the streets of Thamel.

Most backpackers (including myself) choose to stay in or near the Thamel area (in my opinion, the outskirts are the best). There is an infinite accommodation option.

Backpackers will find simple bedrooms for approximately $ 2 to $ 3, and nice private rooms for $ 10 to $ 25. Whatever your budget for accommodation in Kathmandu, we guarantee you will find a fantastic place to stay in or near Thamel .

  1. The best hostel in Kathmandu.

A Google search immediately shows how many places to stay in Kathmandu. Next, I present my three best hostels in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is a city with many hostels. If you are looking for an authentic hostel experience, we have gathered some of the best hotels in Kathmandu for you.

  • Alobar1000: Alobar1000 is definitely where it is. The rooftop bar of Alobar1000 is a great place to meet potential trekking partners or relax after a busy day in the city. Alobar1000 wins in atmosphere, price and location. You may not get a complimentary breakfast here, but the atmosphere and overall experience make Alobar the best hostel in Kathmandu.
  • Monkey Temple backpackers hostel: there are not the same hostels for wild parties in Kathmandu as in Thailand. Kathmandu is simply not such a city. Still, the Monkey Temple Backpacker Hostel is a great place to retire. The hostel accommodation is bare and has the associated price (cheap as hell!).
  • Affordable prices at Monkey Temple Hostel attract backpackers who prefer to spend their money on beer instead of elegant accommodation. If you want to have fun, Monkey Temple Backpackers Hostel is for you. How to smoke hashish? There is a lot of that …
  • Zostel Kathmandu: Zostel Kathmandu is one of the best hostels in Nepal in 2018. In terms of atmosphere, positive mood and, more importantly, cleanliness, Zostel Kathmandu is without doubt one of the best hostels in Nepal Kathmandu.
  • Most backpackers staying here are on the rooftop and share a beer with one of their new colleagues. Zostel Kathmandu is not the cheapest game in the city, but for a solid hostel experience and a good social scene. You can enjoy this if you have a heavy bag and want it worth it.

There are many other hotels in Kathmandu and there are tourist hotels mainly in the Thamel area. Take one that meets your expectations and explore the Nepalese street.

Jitendra Sahayogee

I am Jitendra Sahayogee, a writer of 12 Nepali literature books, film director of Maithili film & Nepali short movies, photographer, founder of the media house, designer of some websites and writer & editor of some blogs, has expert knowledge & experiences of Nepalese society, culture, tourist places, travels, business, literature, movies, festivals, celebrations.

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