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A Memorable Ramen Encounter


On a cold winter evening in Kyoto, I coincidentally found a minuscule ramen shop concealed in a tranquil rear entryway. Sitting at the counter, I watched the talented culinary specialist fastidiously... Read more

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  • What to eat
  • How to burn it off
  • Where to Stay

Kathmandu caters to all budgets, from basic to opulent. The vast majority of budget and midrange options are located in or around the central Thamel neighborhood, with Patan and Boudha being alternative areas to find good midrange and boutique hotels.

You don’t have to sacrifice much style or comfort to find an affordable bed in Kathmandu. Hotel Ganesh Himal (Ikhapokhari Marg, Chettrapati, Thamel, map; doubles from $25) in Thamel, and Hotel Vajra (Bijeswari, Swayambhu, Kathmandu, map; doubles from $38) on the way out towards Swayambhunath both offer lovely gardens and decent rooms for low prices. Some of the more expensive rooms at both places fall within the midrange category in terms of quality.

Kathmandu really shines with its midrange and boutique hotel options. In the central city, the Kathmandu Guest House (Thamel, Kathmandu, map; doubles from $49) is an iconic and very convenient choice. It’s right in the heart of Thamel yet set far enough back from the road that it’s not too noisy. There are pleasant gardens to hang out in, and the pick of Thamel’s restaurants just a couple of minutes away. If you’d rather a peaceful retreat outside the central city but still close enough to make easy day trips into town, the delightful Shivapuri Heights Cottages (Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu, map; doubles from $85) can’t be beaten. These homely cottages lie at the foot of the Shivapuri National Park, with miles of hiking trails, and the nighttime views across the Kathmandu Valley are particularly special. The home-cooked food is noteworthy, too—a good place to try many of the dishes mentioned in the guide.

A hotel bed and TV from a room in Dwarika's Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Dwarika's Hotel. Photo by Elen Turner.

Most high-end hotels in Kathmandu are located on their own, away from other accommodation and service hubs. Dwarika’s Hotel (Battisputali Rd, Kathmandu, map; doubles from $285), near the Pashupatinath Hindu temple, is possibly the finest hotel in the whole of Nepal, and unlike many luxury hotels, it’s completely local. It was founded in the 1960s by the namesake Dwarika Das Shrestha, who was on a mission to preserve Kathmandu’s craft heritage, particularly Newari carving. The present-day Dwarika’s Hotel is a living museum, with each room full of antiques and works of art. One of the onsite restaurants, Krishnarpan, serves elaborate multi-course Nepali banquets, which are a wonderful way to become acquainted with the cuisine.

Alternatively, for a slightly cheaper but no less charming option, the Baber Mahal Vilas (Baber Mahal Revisited, Tanka Prasad Sadak, Kathmandu, map; doubles from $135) boutique hotel is located in a renovated Rana-era (early 20th century) palace. It’s somewhat out of the way, in the Singha Durbar area that’s full of government departments. But the luxury shopping and dining of the Baber Mahal Revisited complex surrounding the hotel makes up for this. (If you’re in the mood for French food while visiting Kathmandu, French embassy staff rave about Chez Caroline, steps away from the Baber Mahal Vilas—there’s no higher praise than that!)


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