It’s sunrise in Nepal. I step out onto the balcony as the sky warms to a golden glow, the chirping of birds welcoming a new day. It’s as still as I’ll ever feel this buzzing city, and it’s the perfect start to my 24 hours in Kathmandu.
24 Hours in Kathmandu
I arrived in Nepal yesterday evening, excited to reach my 104th country and explore a destination everyone speaks so highly of. I’m here to track red pandas in the east, but like most visitors I have a day in Kathmandu before my official trip begins. I’m looking forward to exploring the highlights of the capital.
But back to the sunrise. I’m on the balcony of my room at Dwarika’s Hotel, a peaceful hideaway in the heaving city.
Full of heritage details and traditional Nepalese design, it’s one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever stayed in. Being here is the perfect introduction to Kathmandu.
Garden of Dreams
As is the next stop on my itinerary, the Garden of Dreams. This walled green space in the city center is bursting with flowers and is a great place to ease into a day of sightseeing.
Originally built as a private garden in the 1920s, it was restored in recent years for locals and visitors to enjoy. My boyfriend and I luxuriate in the grounds before having a thali lunch at Kaiser Cafe within its walls, soaking up the views as we do the flavors.
After lunch we browse the colorful shops outside the garden before meeting a guide from the Red Panda Network, with whom we’ll be traveling to Ilam the following day. He has organized a sightseeing tour of Kathmandu for us, and our first stop is the Boudhanath Stupa.
One of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world, it dominates the square around it as its eyes look down upon us. We walk around the stupa and watch the prayer wheels spin, then get a better view from one of the many surrounding rooftop restaurants.
Patan Durbar Square
From the Boudhanath Stupa we head to Patan Durbar Square, another of Kathmandu’s cultural highlights. Surrounded by historic palaces and temples, the square gives way to a labyrinth of courtyards with treasures aplenty.
Despite extensive earthquake damage in 2015, Patan Durbar Square maintains its legendary atmosphere. We’re amazed by the carved wooden details on the buildings and the intricate designs of the temples.
Back at Dwarika’s Hotel, our 24 hours in Kathmandu wind down with a traditional dinner at the Krishnarpan restaurant. Six courses of regional cuisine fill us with the flavors of Nepal as everything from chickpea curry to spiced pumpkin sets us up for our journey ahead.
And what a journey it will be. Stay tuned…
Have you been here? How would you spend 24 hours in Kathmandu?