So, you have arrived into Kathmandu early in the morning, either from New Delhi or Doha, and depart the next day late at night on the many late night flights out. Or you’ve just arrived by the overnight bus from Sunauli, and need a quick run in Kathmandu before heading to trek. Or well, you’ve just got 36 hours in Kathmandu. If so, this is what I’d do.

First stop – laze around Thamel, get your bearings. Start your day with tea or coffee at the Kathmandu Guest House. Then wander over to the New Orleans cafe for a proper breakfast. Kathmandu has some of the best bakery on the sub continent, so get some before you head back to the hotel. Wander around, and on the way back drop by the used book shop to find your own gems. Nearby local areas of Chettrapati, Pakanajol, Shrokhuttee should engage your senses.

Morning Band

It’s midday and now time to head over to the Patan Durbar Square for some real action. We first have lunch at Lakpa’s Chulo. Take a cab, to this slightly hidden restaurant in Jhamsikhel. This local eatery has a good take on fusion of some local dishes – like the cheese momo. The mains are excellent as well. Along with the ambience, they have real coffee and tea.

Once your senses and stomach are filled, explore Patan. You can start by walking out from Lakpa Chulos’, through the narrow lane towards the Ugrachandi Temple. After that continue towards the left. Cross the main streets towards the durbar square. There are plenty of nooks and corners to stop by, and getting hold of a map for the walking tour of Patan is helpful.

Patan Durbar Square requires a stop at Patan Museum, and then at one of the local eateries for a tea and to watch the world go by. More adventurous would go get some snack at Honocha’. From the Durbar Square, walk towards the Bagalamukhi and Khumbeshor temple and then walk back to ¬†Patan Dhoka. Walk the alleys, look for ancient houses in between modern concrete buildings. And don’t be afraid to walk through small doors into courtyards, you might be surprised. When you get tired, just take a cab back to your hotel.

Tripureshwor

It’s evening, and the Kathmandu night life is coming into Action. Head to Rum Doodle, not just a pub, but an institutions in itself. In there, write your own memories on the foot of the yeti at the 40000 1/2 feet bar. Order the hot rum punch, and say hello to Yog, the manager and bar tender who has meet all Everest summiteers. Buy the book, but make sure you’ve read ‘Annapurna’ by Maurice Herzog.

Though Rum Doodle has good grub, head over to the Thakali Bhancha, now behind the old royal palace, for some Thakali action. Eat buckwheat roti, and gulp down some jwhai khatte. If it’s the weekend, you can indulge in some late night clubbing at the Attic next door or just go back and sleep.

Its morning again, and you go on the requisite Mountain Flight. Your hotel or any of the numerous travel agents would be able to sell you a ticket. Mountain flights take you amazingly close to four (out of eight) 8000m peaks in Nepal in the Everest Region. It’s worth the money, specially if you are not trekking.

Depending on the weather and time of year, you’ll be back in your hotel for breakfast after the flight. Skip the hotel breakfast and walk over to Asan/Indrachowk through Teuda, Bhedasingh, and Akash Bhairab temples. Enjoy your breakfast of hot jeri swari and halwa. Add the milk tea to the mix, and you’d have enough sugar rush for the entire day.

Asan is full of Life, Always

After breakfast, continue exploring the Kathmandu Durbar Square area, it’s various alleys including the famous ‘hash street’ from the 60s hippy era. Try to bargain for trinkets in the big open square and visit the museum which chronicles the 250 years of Shah Kings in Nepal.

Kathmandu Valley is made up of three ancient districts, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. You have now done the first two, time to cab it to Bhaktapur. The drive will take you through the core of Kathmandu commercial markets and new developments. Once in Bhaktapur, make a bee line to the Nyatapol Caf√©. It’s the view of the entire square with some hot tea that makes you feel that you’ve left the rush of the valley behind and are just content letting time pass.

Alley in Bhaktapur

Once your feet are rested and you are energized, explore Bhaktapur. If you don’t already have a guide, many of the friendly guides loitering around will offer their services. It helps to have a navigator in Bhaktapur.

After your afternoon at Bhaktapur, try to beat the rush hour traffic and head to Boudha. A clever cab driver will avoid the main roads and take you through the back roads, and let you enjoy the villages and vegetable fields in the heart of the valley.

Boudha is rich with Tibetan heritage, and your place to understand Thankas and have a afternoon snack of Tibetan momos. It’s also your place to buy Tibetan music and prayer beads. Go around the Stupa for a good measure and have salted tea on the teashop around the stupa. Wait until it gets dark for the candle lightings and light a few yourself. You can then take a short cab ride or even walk down to the Pashupati temple and immerse in the evenings pooja sounds.

It’s your last few hours in Kathmandu, and so you want a nice dinner after all that hard walk. So indulge by going for dinner at Krishnarpan, a restaurant at the exquisite Dwarika Hotel. Over a course of 22 course dinner, you’ll get served with various staples of Nepali food and entertained with cultural dances from different parts of Nepal.

Open Fields in Kathmandu Valley

Now that your time is nearly over, time to head over to the Airport, happy that your time has been well spent, and you’ll sleep well on the plane. I’d grab a beer at the Radisson run Airport Restaurant before boarding. Bon Voyage.

Transport: Recommended to hire a full day cab or car to save on time, money, and hassles.
Internet: Most tourist areas have password protected Wifi, just ask.