It’s the tourist Hub of Kathmandu, make no doubts about that. Thamel is where the travellers come before or after their mountain trek to enjoy the big city life for a few days, before dispersing in their direction, whichever way that may be.
There are many things to do in Thamel that can keep you entertained for hours on end, from enjoying a few drinks in a bar to having a relaxing massage. Alternatively, from taking advantage of the low prices in the retail outlets, to dining out on an affordable meal in a classy restaurant.
Moreover, once you get past the hagglers on the streets, you’ll find your time in the tourist hub to quite pleasant indeed, as you get lost in a world of the fast-paced lifestyle and enjoy chatting chat to the locals, dodging the motorbikes and making the most of your days in the Thamel District.
Let’s get into the swing of it and discuss what’s going on in the Thamel area of Kathmandu, to help get your Nepal vacation off to the right start from the moment you arrive in the chaotic city of Nepal.
Things to Do in Thamel – Kathmandu – Nepal
Enjoy hot coffee, WIFI and relax in a Café
Enjoy a cappuccino or a refreshing tea in Thamel Café and don’t forget to order a delicious chocolate muffin to go with it, you’ll eventually walk off those added calories.
The one thing about Thamel is there are many café’s in the area, and you’ll have ample opportunities to sit back and take advantage of the complimentary WIFI while browsing through your smartphone or laptop and keeping tabs on events back home.
Best Café’s in Thamel:
- Roadhouse Café Thamel
- Himalayan Java Coffee
- Full Moon Café
- New Orleans Café
Indulge in a range of fantastic restaurants in Thamel
Whether you’re seeking Western Food, Indian Food or local Nepalese food, including the famous Momos, a nearby Kathmandu restaurant will have the food you are craving.
You can’t go wrong indulging in amazing cuisines at a variety of cheap restaurants in Thamel, and they are affordable places to eat. Therefore, order a glass of your favourite beer or wine, research the dinner menu, and soon enough, you’ll be enjoying your selected meal and mingling with others long into the night.
Best Restaurants in Kathmandu:
- Helena’s Restaurant
- Baardali Café
- KC’s Restaurant & Bar
- The Temple Restaurant & Bar
- Green Organic Cafe
See Kathmandu Valley from greats heights at a Rooftop Bar
You’ll find a couple of nice Rooftop Bars during your stay in Kathmandu, but none will beat the views from Helena’s Restaurant that also serve delicious meals and ice-cold beer.
You can dine at the Helena’s anytime you want, but make sure you arrive during the sunset hours on a clear day and fully utilise one of the best views in Thamel for some great Nepal sightseeing during your vacation. By the way, Helena’s Restaurant serves the best Buffalo Momo’s in Thamel.
Enjoy the Thamel Nightlife in a local Bar
Whether you desire a laidback bar, or a night club where the music is buzzing, and alcohol is always pouring. You can dance your way into the night and enjoy the best of the Kathmandu nightlife, the choice is yours, and either way will suffice.
It’s a great way to let your hair down, after discovering the best Nepal tourist attractions during the day, by mingling with friends and having a few drinks. At least when finished, you don’t have to worry about driving home, because the hotels in Thamel are sure to be nearby.
Best Bars in Thamel:
- Tom & Jerry’s
- Sam’s Bar
- Arena Sports Lounge
View the Best Tourist Places in Kathmandu with a Day Tour
At times, on your trip in Kathmandu, you’ll want to make things less complicated by not having to bargain prices with a taxi driver or fending off locals who want to be your guide once you pay your admission fee at the Kathmandu temple you are visiting.
The best scenario is to book a day city tour to visit the tourist places in Kathmandu and get a helpful guide to assist you in your travels by giving you a detailed history lesson on the attraction. You can do this by organising a tour at a travel agency in Thamel, or by booking a day tour online with Klook.
Organise a Trek and see the best of Nepal
You are probably not going to trust a local offering you treks while walking the streets of Thamel Kathmandu, because you’ll be asked a dozen times while out and about.
You can, however, trust the number of licensed travel agencies in Thamel who can help you to organise a day trek or longer multiple-day treks for a chance to enjoy the stunning mountains in Nepal.
Therefore, when looking for things to do in Nepal, whether it’s a short three-day Chisapani Nagarkot trek, or wishing to brave the conditions to Everest Base Camp, wander into a trusted travel agency and find the right trek for you.
Relax with a Nepalese Massage
Never fear, in Kathmandu, many reputable massage parlours in Thamel can give you a relaxing massage for an hour or two in a range of styles, including, Deep Tissue Massage, Thai Massage, Shiatsu Massage and Trekkers’ recovery Massage, for those who have just returned from the wilderness.
Of course, there are massage parlours that are less than reputable, but the best way to find the most professional salons and avoid the dodgy ones in town is to google the specific massage parlour, check the reviews for what is legit or not and make your decision from there. There are many suitable Massage Parlours that have a rating or 4 out of 5 or even better.
When in doubt, choose the Samsara Spa which you can book through Klook.
Best Massage Places to visit in Kathmandu:
- Mount Heaven Spa
- The Zen Spa
- Astha Spa & Massage
- Samsara Spa
Enjoy Nature at its best in the Garden of Dreams
When you want to escape the chaos, The Garden of Dreams is the place to be for relaxation in the big city. The Gardens are only a five-minute walk Central Thamel and the ridiculously low cost to enter will persuade you to grab a book, pay the entrance fee and relax for an hour or two in the fresh air.
Inside the Garden of Dreams, there is a small art museum, a café to enjoy coffee or a sit-down meal, incredible architecture structures and stunning water features that you can admire from a park bench.
Make this dream garden a priority in your visit to Kathmandu.
Purchase local souvenirs by shopping in Thamel
It’s not hard to wander into a Kathmandu shop and purchase a local memory, be it, the domestic cashmere merchandise, a Singing Bowl, a Mandela Painting, hiking gear or a range of smaller items such as a fridge magnet to bring home with you.
There are many shopping places in Kathmandu where you can get all the above items, particularly in Thamel, where such things are always in your sights and offered to you almost endlessly. So, go ahead, take home a little bit of Nepal with you and have cherished memories back on your mantlepiece.
Take Rickshaw Ride in the Streets of Thamel
You’ll be offered a rickshaw ride about 50-times during any given day in the Thamel area, that is a given. It’s easy to wander around the Thamel street without handing out money for a quick rickshaw ride, but at times, you may feel like “what the heck, why not.”
The process of having a ride on the rickshaw is about bartering once again, which is the life of a tourist in Nepal. Barter about half the price and go from there, even if you fill you are getting ripped off, it’ll only be by a dollar or two, so don’t threat, enjoy the ride and take many pictures.
Walk to Nearby Kathmandu Attractions
There are a few attractions that are a 15-20-minute walk by foot to the Thamel area, although the trail is not always easy, as you dodge traffic and walk along unstable paths, it’s still safe enough, and the locals are always helpful n pointing out directions.
A couple of the places to visit in Kathmandu that is close to Thamel by foot is the Durbar Square Kathmandu, the Swayanbunath Stupa (Monkey Temple) and the Kathmandu Royal Palace. You could spread your wings even further, depending on how daring or fit you are to walk through the busy Kathmandu area.
That’s a wrap of things to do in Thamel, a highly entertaining precinct where all the tourist converge in Kathmandu for a good time. At times, it may seem a little in your face, but don’t fear, Thamel is a beautiful area that will truly entertain you for hours on end, and you’ll even make a few friends in the process.