The centuries-old gateway to the Himalayas and Nepal – Kathmandu is a dream destination for travellers from all over the world. It is also one of the most colourful and happening cities on Earth.
In the last few years, Kathmandu has become a top tourist destination for Bangladeshi tourists. Especially on weekends, Thamel – the most popular tourist area within the Nepalese capital can be seen full of them.
Till now, Nepal is not an expensive place for travelling, apart from the usual cost of hotel, transport, and food.
But activities like mountain climbing, taking a helicopter flight, and paragliding can be expensive.
So far, Nepal has been chosen as the safest country for solo female travellers in South Asia, except for Bhutan, which is also popular among Bangladeshi travellers.
I have been to Kathmandu several times and will surely visit as many times as I can. It is like a second home to me; a place where I find comfort even in a crowded café while sipping masala tea.
If history and architecture interests you, Kathmandu has several world heritage sights to please you. The Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square is a must visit to enjoy a lazy afternoon walk.
You can wander through several ancient temples and deities, especially, the Kal Bhairab - a temple mentioned by Satyajit Ray in his books and movies.
In the open square, historical buildings still carry scars from the last earthquake. Among them, there are some structures that are four to five centuries old.
I usually visit the square to see and take pictures of all kinds of people; Hindu Sadhus in full attires, hippies, tourists from all over the world, locals, and worshippers who gather in huge crowds in front of temples.
It seems as if the square itself is a small planet full of different human beings.
Kathmandu is a very rare city which has 1500-year-old temples like the Pashupatinath Temple and the Swayambhunath Temple. Both structures are World Heritage Sites.
I fell in love with Swayambhunath Temple the first time I visited Nepal. From each side on the top, you can see a pair of eyes which belonged to Lord Buddha as it is believed. It is as if the large, beautiful eyes keep a watch over Kathmandu valley.
Swayambhunath Temple is popularly known as the Monkey Temple, due to the abundance of monkeys on its premises. You would have to climb many stairs to reach the temple.
I always buy some Nepalese hats for my friends; they are the cheapest souvenirs and the easiest to carry. But you have to bargain hard to get good discounts.
Tourists also prefer to buy "thangka" (Tibetian art) and "kukri" (Nepalese dagger). Singing bowls and prayer wheels also have a high demand. Not to mention, everyone wants the world famous Pashmina shawls.
You can consider buying t-shirts with countless designs of Nepalese symbols or paintings. The locals usually like Bangladeshis, so whenever you enter a shop, first say that you are from Bangladesh, it might make bargaining easier for you.
Among all the Nepalese food, I always prefer momo, especially the steamed ones. Evening or morning snacks in Kathmandu remains incomplete without these traditional dumplings.
In restaurants, you can always choose your own "thali" – a well-decorated dish with rice, lentils, vegetable, and meat of your choice.
Nagarkot is famous for the sunrise view of Mount Everest but you have to be there very early in the morning. If you are lucky and the sky is clear, you can see the highest mountain of our planet from Kathmandu.
Patan, which is now known as Lalitpur, is eight kilometres from Kathmandu. Visiting it is like entering a world of ancient temples, statues, stupas, and columns.
You could take a taxi to Bhaktapur, spend couple of hours there, and then take a taxi to the airport if you have an afternoon or evening flight. This city has the tallest temple in Nepal and colourful local markets.
If you are a bookworm, you could visit Pilgrims Book House, the famous book shop in Thamel. It has a rich collection of books on the Himalayas.
Tourist visas can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and designated entry points in Nepal. Multiple entries tourist visa is available for 15, 30 and 90 days.
Kathmandu is not a city that can be covered in one trip, you will have to visit it more than once and take time to explore it. However, keep the weather condition in mind before planning the trip.