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Wandering the Streets of Kathmandu

Updated on September 13, 2018

No destination, just the journey.

Some of the best memories I have from abroad include the unexpected ones. These precious moments cannot be scripted or planned. You don't find them, they find you. The philosophy is simple: wandering can lead to incredible opportunity for a complete cultural education. I took this into consideration as I boarded the plane from Delhi to Kathmandu.


Congested streets awaited my arrival in the capital. As the Nepal Airline airbus gingerly touched wheels to tarmac, I looked around. Dark, craggy, mountainous shapes shifted outside of the smudged window. Sunlight timidly broke through the horizon as night turned to morning. After a fantastic meal and much needed rest, I woke the next day with renewed energy.

I grabbed my Tevas and hit the dirt path. From a low,cobbled wall, I could hear gleeful shouts and contagious laughter. School children in maroon uniforms ran at breakneck speed across the basketball court and an intense game of soccer was taking place. Within minutes, I was invited into the school to watch the game.

After an afternoon of pure fun, the principal approached and extended another invitation. An invitation to attend a student run music competition at the school. The next day, the festivities began.

A fruit vendor offers fresh produce on the streets of Kathmandu.
A fruit vendor offers fresh produce on the streets of Kathmandu.
Surrounded by students and proudly marked with the tika.  The tika is a red dot made from the sindoor tree. When a guest enters a home or attends an event, the forehead is marked with the bright red pulp of the tree.
Surrounded by students and proudly marked with the tika. The tika is a red dot made from the sindoor tree. When a guest enters a home or attends an event, the forehead is marked with the bright red pulp of the tree.
Performing for students.
Performing for students.
Three confident women strolling around Kathmandu.
Three confident women strolling around Kathmandu.

Spots you cannot miss in Kathmandu.

  • Thamel Square A great place for shopping. You can find loads of hiking gear if you are scaling Mt Everest. If you want souvenirs or gifts for people back home, this is the place to go.
  • Boudhanath A gorgeous Buddhist stupa, or shrine reaching 36 meters.
  • Swayambhunath Found in the Kathmandu valley, this stupa is a roaming ground for monkeys. The way up the the shrine is bordered by mammoth trees. Thus, the name for the temple translates to sublime trees.
  • Ratna Park In the center of Kathmandu, this picturesque park is great for an afternoon picnic.
  • Durbar Marg Stroll this historical street that leads to the formal royal palace. Treat yourself to a fancy meal at any of the upscale restaurants along the street.

Food you have to try in Kathmandu.

Nepal is a dream come true for vegetarians. Lentils and beans are huge protein sources in Nepali cooking. Since it is illegal to kill a cow, beef dishes are not available. Chicken, goat, water buffalo, mutton and pig are all acceptable forms of protein. While staying in Kathmandu, try these delicious dishes.

  • Jwanu chicken Marinated chicken with spices.
  • Phagshapa Pork with chili and radishes.
  • Thupka Chicken soup.
  • Alu dum Fried potatoes in gravy.
  • Dal bhat Lentils cooked with spices and love.

If you have a sweet tooth, try satisfying it with these sugary desserts.

  • Bufri A diamond shaped rice cake.
  • Rasbari A sweetened milk ball with rose water syrup.

Drinks to try in Kathmandu.

Chyang Made of fermented rice, this drink has a slightly sour taste.

Tongba Alcoholic beverage that is millet based.

Aila Clear but potent, this drink is made from distilled millet.

Before you go.

  • Enroll in the STEP program (smart travel enrollment program). This program is run through the embassy and will give you notifications of any unrest in the country you are traveling to.
  • Check visa requirements. There is a fabulous website I go to before traveling. There are profiles that provides background, visa requirements, safety and security issues and customs of each country. Go to the travel website for the US Department of State and start clicking away.
  • Learn a few words in Nepali.
  • Get vaccines if you need them.


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