6 Reasons to Visit Kathmandu With Kids

Kathmandu, Nepal is one of the most magical and visually stunning cities on the planet and is a jewel for cultural and outdoor enthusiasts. There’s only one international airport in the whole of Nepal, so Kathmandu is the first destination for international travelers. Kathmandu is considered the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas and Nepalese tourism. We visited Kathmandu with kids, then travelled to Chitwan National Park then to Pokara, Nepal before flying into Paro, Bhutan.

Amazing views flying into Kathmandu, Nepal with kids

The flight into Kathmandu is simply breathtaking with panoramic views of the Himalayas from both sides of the plane. Kathmandu boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage sites! But, sadly, many of the historic sites were damaged or destroyed by the 2015 earthquake.

Aside from the magnificent culture, the main feature of Nepal is its people. Nepalese people are incredibly welcoming, humble and gentle, and very friendly.

Arriving in Kathmandu with traditional saffron scarves

Here are 6 reasons to visit Kathmandu with kids!

1. Explore the Tourist Neighborhood of Thamel

After a 24-hour journey from Los Angeles, we were ready to rest and freshen up. It was lunchtime, we were all starving. But, instead of dining in a local restaurant, we decided to avoid ‘Hangry’ (stop looking at me!) family members and eat lunch in the hotel (which is usually a no-no for us). We wanted to hydrate and begin our afternoon adventure with full tummies. We devoured our first curry, naan bread, Everest local beer and milkshakes. That was a great call… we were fed, and ready to explore Kathmandu.

Street life in Kathmandu with kids

We immediately realized that the stifling heat and poor air quality might be a problem. In fact most people wear medical masks in Kathmandu to avoid inhaling dust from the busy city, earthquake rebuilding (there is construction) and the dense population.

traveling to Nepal with kids - Kathmandu street life

After we wandered around the neighborhood, we found our bearings. We window shopped, battled street vendors, and stopped for more cold beer (hey don’t judge, we were on vacay), we headed back to our hotel to try and reset our body clocks.

traveling to Nepal with kids - kathmandu walking around

traveling to Nepal with kids in Kathmandu

2. Swayambhunath Monkey Temple

After an amazing breakfast of fresh fruits and curry, we headed to our first stop, Swayambhunath Monkey Temple. This incredible Stupa high in the hills overlooks the whole Kathmandu Valley and is a 5 minute taxi ride from Thamel, where you will be dropped at the bottom of the hill.

Kathmandu Monkey Temple monkeys

You can probably guess based on the name, that there were literally hundreds of wild monkeys roaming the temple. We were breathless and sweating as we climbed the steep steps to the temple peak, and were rewarded with panoramic views of the valley, peaceful prayer flags, and the mystical ancient Stupa.

Monkey Temple, Kathmandu

This was our first introduction to prayer wheels. These spinning cylinders are found all over Nepal and Bhutan. We learned how local devotees create a daily prayer ritual circumnavigating the Stupa and spinning the prayer wheels that are set into the base.

Prayer flags decorate most hills in Nepal and are such a beautiful compliment to the already stunning scenery.

View from the Monkey Temple over Kathmandu
View from the Monkey Temple over the city of Kathmandu

3. Kathmandu’s Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is the largest palace square in Nepal and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the epicenter of Kathmandu’s cultural and tourist attractions. Durbar Square, with its old temples, palaces, and street vendors, is bustling with life and culture. We did find particularly aggressive vendors here, but we also found some treasures in this area, and it’s a great place to shop and explore.

traveling to Nepal with kids - Kathmandu rain

Many of the historic buildings in Kathmandu were damaged or destroyed in the 2015 earthquake, and Nepal is recovering very slowly. Due to government and economic challenges, many of the old buildings are still precariously held up with wooden poles and large piles of rubble.

resting near construction in Durbar Square

This historic plaza was once the royal Nepalese residence and the seat of the kingdom’s monarchs, serving as a stunning showcase of Newari architectural excellence. The square is dotted with temples, shrines, and palaces adorned with intricately carved wooden windows and panels, which have witnessed centuries of religious and cultural festivities.

 Kathmandu Nepal: Durbar square

Despite the damage inflicted by the 2015 earthquake, the resilience of the Nepalese people shines through in the ongoing restoration efforts, ensuring that Durbar Square remains a vibrant hub of activity, history, and artistry. It was great to visit this part of Kathmandu with kids – there’s so much to see and so many different people from different walks of life in the square.

traveling to Nepal with kids - Kathmandu Durbar square

The government’s reconstruction plans seem to be constantly challenged by local organisations fighting to save Nepal’s heritage, so rebuilding Kathmandu is taking much longer than anticipated.

Visitors to the square can immerse themselves in its ancient atmosphere, exploring the legacy of Nepal’s kings, and experiencing the lively spirit that characterizes Kathmandu today.

4. Kumari Ghar Temple

Perhaps the most interesting temple in this area was our private visit to the Kumari Ghar Temple to see if the Kumari living goddess would make an appearance. Both boys were fascinated to learn more, yet quite skeptical too. The Kumari is a young girl believed to be the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga. She is chosen from girls aged three to five in the Buddhist Shakya clan, is worshipped by many, lives an isolated and secretive existence inside the temple and her feet NEVER touch the ground during her tenure!

Kumari Ghar Temple, Kathmandu
Kumari Ghar Temple

5. Visit The Garden of Dreams With Kids

The Garden of Dreams is a peaceful oasis, located in the heart of Kathmandu. It’s filled with neo-classical pavilions, well-manicured gardens, and expansive lawns. This garden is a lovely place to spend a few hours to escape the madness of the city. Entrance is 200 rupees for foreigners, and it’s worth every rupee to escape into this version of heaven.

Visit the Garden of Dreams with kids

6. Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal, and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It’s the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and you can see and more importantly feel the Buddhist symbolism all around.
traveling to Nepal with kids - Kathmandu Boudhanath Stupa
Surrounding Boudhanath Stupa are winding streets and alleys lined with colorful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and street vendors.

old Nepalese lady walking around the Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa

Spending an afternoon here is good for the heart and soul. It’s the perfect place to sit with a cup of local coffee and watch old ladies with prayer beads spin prayer wheels, Buddhist monks chant, and just soak in the culture.

Swayambhunath Monkey Temple

Spending a few days in Kathmandu will give you a feel for the beautiful culture, but more importantly, the beautiful people. We embraced the humble and gentle people, the magnificent temples, and we especially loved the food.

old Nepalese ladies walking around the Stupa

No matter how old you are, it's good to walk around the Stupa

7. Bonus: Nepalese Food

One of the reasons we travel to developing countries is to encourage our kids to be good global citizens. And one of our family travel rules is that we must try the local food whenever we are. Most of the time, we really enjoy it. We were pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed  almost all of the Asian and Indian-influenced food we were served in Kathmandu.

Everyone agreed that Nepalese momos (filled dumplings) served steamed or fried are delicious. They are ‘the bomb’ according to the boys. We ate our way through Kathmandu with dal, rice, chow mein, momos, curry, and plenty of Gorkha and Everest beer to wash it down. Kathmandu is good for your soul, and the locals need your tourism dollars more than ever.


If Kathmandu is on your bucket list I hope this inspires you to begin to plan your next adventure. If you are looking for a reputable day tour company in Kathmandu, I’d recommend this private full-day tour.

Kathmandu, Nepal is a captivating city with rich culture and welcoming people. Despite the challenges faced after the 2015 earthquake, the city remains a vibrant hub of history and artistry, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic experience.

What are your favorite things to see in Kathmandu with kids?

Let me know in the comments below, and join me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

2 COMMENTS

  1. EBC | 19th Aug 23

    There are many temples situated in the heart of Kathmandu, and all of them contain tremendous religious significance. The markets of Kathmandu are also trendy and offer a variety of kinds of stuff for buying. The place contains many World Heritage sites, which are very unusual to see.

    • Samantha | 20th Aug 23

      The temples and World Heritage sites are simply exquisite.Truly lovely and I hope everyone gets to experience them one day!

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