Episode 4: 48 hours in Nepal
48 hours in Nepal: Video Guide to Kathmandu
We’re just back from our 48 hours in Nepal trip, and what a beautiful surprise! It was my first time ever while Jeff has been several times, and I absolutely fell in love with the colours, the smells, the people and even the incessant horn honking noises.
A beautiful country located only a 5 hour flight from Dubai, Nepal is usually visited for more than a short weekend, but what can you do when you work full-time! Home of the beautiful Himalayas and iconic Everest and Anapurna, Nepal is also worth the visit for less adventurous people, and Kathmandu is really one to see.
Hiking, white water rafting, yoga retreats and trekking are also possible closer to the capital, so depending on your taste, you can make your 48 hours in Nepal more cultural, adventurous or relaxed.
We decided to try and pack as much as possible in 48 hours in Nepal to show you what can be done in Kathmandu and around, even when you don’t have the time to come for 2 weeks+.
Here’s our 48 hours in Nepal guide!
How to travel to Nepal
We took our flights with FlyDubai, as they offer unbeatable deals with direct flights from DXB to Kathmandu, and with ideal timings for people working office hours. We took off on a Thursday night and arrived at 6am on a Friday, ready to start our holiday! Compare prices and book yours now!
They've just started three flights a week starting August 18th.
Where to stay in Kathmandu
We stayed at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu, which was absolutely gorgeous, from the entrance architecture to the room, and we couldn’t recommend it more. We've never seen such an impressive courtyard, as it is made up of nine different stupa's from all over the Kathmandu valley and makes you feel much more in a museum than a hotel lobby.
The hotel itself is a beautiful, spacious and quiet oasis in the midst of the bustling city, close to everything and the perfect place the center yourself for a stay in Kathmandu.
The beds were so comfortable it was tough to get out of them, but the breakfast did make it a bit easier! (BACON.) Free instant wifi and an extremely helpful staff make the Hyatt Regency our top pick for the best hotel in Kathmandu.
If you’re looking for a budget option, there are many hostels in Kathmandu as it’s a major passing point for any backpacker going to Nepal.
Getting Around Nepal
To get around in Kathmandu, you can take a taxi. The taxis are tiny and fit 4 if you squeeze in, but you’ll soon learn that the smaller, the better as cars, people and animals just dodge each other on the road rather than drive. Make sure to negotiate a fair price for you and for the driver before you get in.
Remember than the rate is about 100 Nepalese Rupees for $1, so usually you won’t spend more than $5 to $10 to get anywhere in the city.
What to do in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is a bustling city, and everything is noisy, polluted and messy. It is just about the opposite of the UAE, which is extremely enjoyable when you come straight from Dubai. Greenery is omnipresent and it’s guarantee to rain almost every day during the raining season between June and August, although we went early September and the weather was glorious.
Here are a list of things we did during our 48 hours in Nepal:
White water rafting
White water rafting in Nepal is an absolute must. Although we thought we were going to die that day, we had an incredible time and truly recommend it. The guide is experienced and keeps you safe, it’s super legit and you won’t regret having done it. The guide will even film your trip with their Go Pro, but if you have yours, they will also fix it to your helmet so you can record yourself. We each paid about $100 for the day, with hotel pick up and drtop and to and from Kathmandu (2 hours each way) including lunch.
On the second day, we went a little bit away from the city center to visit KRMEF. Jeff had visited this incredible place years ago, so we decided to go back and see how it evolved. The Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco-Foundation (KRMEF) is an NGO established in 2008 in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Their aim is to create a healthy, sustainable environment that embodies eco-friendly practices for the well-being of local communities.
You can volunteer at KRMEF, or just visit and be amazed at how wonderful some humans can be. KRMEF is doing truly amazing things in the world of biodynamic farming, education and green architecture, not only in Nepal, but on a global scale.
Body cremation ceremony
This one isn't for the faint of heart. You get to witness a religious body cremation ceremony, that takes place at the Pashupatinath Temple, before the ashes are then put in the Bagmati river. This happens 24/7 as part of a Hindu tradition where family and friends are reunited around the deceased to say their final goodbyes. This is very intense and emotional, so be prepared and respectful when going there.
From there, you can walk around and visit the Temple surroundings (beware, loads of food stealing monkeys!!) before heading back into the city through the small lively pedestrian streets.
- Durbar Square
Classified by UNESCO as the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property, Durbar Square is filled with gorgeous temples. Many of them have been damaged during the earthquake, but all are being rebuilt. Have a stroll around and be amazed by the beauty, the colors and the life that exhales from this place. Many rooftops offer a stunning view over the temples, so make sure to stop to admire it!
- Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa (or Bodnath Stupa) is a stunning little part of town revolving around the largest “Stupa”, a Bhuddist structure used for meditation. It is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. The place is surrounded by little shops, cafes, hostels and rooftop bars, and is always filled with people, making it a very happy and lively place.
Have a stroll around and make sure to visit one of the rooftop bars for an Everest beer and some momos!
- Visit Thamel
The Thamel area is the commercial and touristic area of Kathmandu filled with bars, clubs, souvenirs shops and tattoo parlors. Truly backpacker paradise, it is always busy at night until late. Our personal favorite is a place called Funky Buddha, which is both a bar in a garden courtyard - sitting on the floor vibe - and a tattoo parlor. You can go for brunch or drinks later in the day. It doesn’t get better than drinking a beer sitting on the floor with pouring rain outside!
What to eat and drink in Nepal
We basically only ate chicken and vegetable momos and drank Everest during our 48 hours in Nepal, so we’re not the best to recommend here, but these are a no brainer! Momos are steamed dumpling filled with either vegetables or chicken, and served with a dipping sauce. That’s basically all you need in life. We’ll have to go back to sample the other delicious Nepalese food, but let us know what are YOUR favorites in the comments!
Note: Don't drink water other than in a sealed bottle, and be careful to ice cubes!
Random tips for Nepal
Greetings: “Namaste” with jointed hands is the greeting in Nepal. Knowing just that made me fall in love with the country!
Currency: The Nepali currency is the Nepalese Rupee.
As of Sept 26th, 2016:
- AED 1 = 29 Nepalese Rupees
- $1 = 106.75 Nepalese Rupees
- 1 Euro = 120 Nepalese Rupees
- 1 GBP = 138.04 Nepalese Rupees
Clothing: Be respectful in what you’re wearing. While short are accepted, try and cover shoulders and not wear too revealing or short clothing. Stay practical and don’t bring heels or expensive items - you won’t wear them.
Bring shoes that you can easily remove when walking around. Most places will require you to remove shoes before entering, as a sign of respect. A pair of flip flops/open shoes and a pair of trainers are usually enough for a short trip with no intense hiking/trekking.
How much to plan for a 48 hours in Nepal trip?
Including flights, hotel, food, drinks, taxis and activities, we spent a total of about, for two people:
- Flights: AED 3500 (through FlyDubai, make sure you check regularly as they have interesting offers!)
- Hotels: AED 100 (hostel) or AED 1000 (hotel)
- Activities, taxis and extras: AED 1000
- Total: About AED 5,000 for two people.
These fees are likely to change depending on the flights you take, the hotels you stay at, the activities you choose to do, and the amount of momos you can fit in. This is just an estimation for the both of us for a long weekend.
We hope this has inspired you and remember, we might have some long weekends ahead… Get out of Dubai and explore, there is so much to see.
Enjoy and leave us your comments, tips and suggestions on what we forgot to do in Kathmandu and Nepal for our next trip!