Driving in Kathmandu is only recommended for the very experienced. The roads are narrow, steep and winding, and traffic in the city center is notoriously heavy.
Luckily, public transport is cheap and plentiful when you live in Kathmandu. Lookout for the three-wheeled Tuk Tuk taxis, which tend to loop around the major sights and destinations of the city. Cycle rickshaws are a cheap and quick way of travelling over short distances, while heavily decorated buses depart regularly from the central Ratna Park Bus Station to various locations in the suburbs and surrounding villages.
However, if you are travelling longer distances, for instance, it may be worth considering air travel. Due to the extreme elevation and difficult roads, it can take several hours to travel a relatively short distance by road, and there are a lot of smaller airfields offering short commuter flights for a reasonable price.
The culture of Kathmandu dates back thousands of years, and a lot of the art and architecture is still beautifully preserved. You can visit the National Museum of Nepal and the Natural History Museum of Nepal to get an overview of the country’s extraordinary history and art, but you don’t have to go out of your way to see some of the finest art in Kathmandu.
Buddhist and Hindu sculptures and stone carvings appear in almost every public space, and every private garden – some of them are many hundreds of years old. The city’s temples are lavishly decorated in extraordinary detail, and paint a picture of the city’s unique history.
Religion plays a huge role in the culture and leisure of Kathmandu, and festivals frequently fill the streets with music and dancing. Don’t be afraid to join in and experience Nepali culture first hand!
Kathmandu is a relatively safe city, but as with any tourist-heavy destinations, it is worth taking some precautions.
Pickpockets do operate in the city center, particularly around crowded tourist attractions such as Durbar Square and the big temples. Don’t carry much cash with you, and keep your belongings secure at all times.
Expats quickly learn the importance of knowing the ‘local’ prices, to avoid being ripped off by opportunistic businessmen. Haggle for everything, and use a few words of Nepali or Nepal Bhasa if possible.
In an emergency, you can contact the police by dialing 100.
Due to the catastrophic damage caused by the Nepal earthquake in April 2015, which might take years to rebuild, we cannot ensure that the factual information in this article series is up-to-date for the entire country. It is yet unclear for how long, or in which way, issues like health and safety, transport, or the national economy will be affected. Thank you for your understanding!
InterNations Content & Communications Team