Cultural Tour in Kathmandu, Kathmandu (Self Guided)

Kathmandu valley has been traditionally considered one of the greatest treasure houses of art. Its culture can be discovered by visiting the numerous stupas, temples and shrines. But there is much more to Kathmandu than just that. Listening to a Newari music performance or learning about Nepal by visiting a museum, will give you a cultural insight into the destination. Take this self-guided tour to understand and appreciate the cultural life of Kathmandu.
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Cultural Tour in Kathmandu Map

Guide Name: Cultural Tour in Kathmandu
Guide Location: Nepal » Kathmandu (See other walking tours in Kathmandu)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.2 km
Author: helenp
National Museum of Nepal

1) National Museum of Nepal (must see)

The National Museum of Nepal (Rashtriya Sangrahalaya) is a popular attraction of the capital city of Kathmandu. Being about a century old, the museum stands both as a tourist destination and historical symbol for Nepal. The main attractions are collection of historical artworks (sculpture and paintings) and a historical display of weapons used in the wars in 18-19th century. The museum has separate galleries dedicated to statues, paintings, murals, coins and weapons. It has three buildings - Juddha Jayatia Kala Shala, Buddha Art Gallery and the main historical building which consists of natural historical section (collection of different species of animals, butterflies and plants), cultural section and philatelic section.

The museum was established in 1928 and was then known as Chhauni Silkhana, literally meaning "arsenal museum". It was originally used to display firearms and weapons used in the glorious past of the war history of Nepal. It was opened to the public in February 1939. Until then only foreign scholars/dignitaries and invitees or guests could have a glimpse of the collection. The Art Gallery was opened in 1943. In 1967 museum was named as Rashtriya Sangrahalaya (literally "National Museum of Nepal").

Operation hours: April - October: Monday: 10:30 am - 2:30 pm; Wednesday - Sunday: 10:30 am - 4:30 pm;
November - March: Monday: 10:30 am - 2 pm; Wednesday - Sunday: 10:30 am - 3:30 pm

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Natural History Museum of Tribhuvan University

2) Natural History Museum of Tribhuvan University

The Natural History Museum of Tribhuvan University has a rather extensive collection of stuffed animals, birds and fish. The exhibition hall has low ceiling and side rooms. The air is rather heavy with dampness and a chemical smell. Almost all the creatures are set in an aggressive attack or defense pose - baring their fangs, raising their wings.

Operation hours: Sunday - Friday: 10 am - 5 pm; In winter: 10 am - 4 pm

3) Swayambhunath (must see)

Swayambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the north-west. For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it second only to Boudhanath.

The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. The stupa consists of a dome at the base, above which is a cubical structure painted with eyes of Buddha looking in all four directions with the word "unity" in the main Nepali dialect between them. There are pentagonal Toran present above each of the four sides with statues engraved in them. Behind and above the torana there are thirteen tiers. Above all the tiers there is a small space above which the Gajur is present.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Kalamandapa Institute of Classical Nepalese Performing Arts

4) Kalamandapa Institute of Classical Nepalese Performing Arts

Kalamandapa Institute of Classical Nepalese Performing Arts is situated at the Hotel Vajra, Dallu, Kathmandu. Every Tuesday, at 7 PM, you can admire traditional Nepali dances and theater. Every Sunday (and sometimes Friday) authentic Newari music shows and masked dances are performed. The admission ticket includes tea.
Asa Archives

5) Asa Archives

The Asa Archives are located in Kulumbbhula, Kathmandu. The historical importance of this archive is high because it preserves a large collection of old manuscripts. The oldest manuscript was written in 1464. Also not only handwritten books can be seen here, but also palm-leaf manuscripts, which are a delight for history lovers. The whole collection has over 7000 items.
Dharmapala Thangka Center

6) Dharmapala Thangka Center

Dharmapala Thangka Center is situated on Durbar Marg, near the south gate of the Royal palace. This is not only a shop, but also a showroom where you can admire the thangkas being painted. Thangka is a Tibetan art form. A thangka is a colorful image covered with a silk fabric that depicts a Buddhist deity, or a scene from the life of Buddha.
Indigo Gallery

7) Indigo Gallery

Indigo Gallery was founded about twenty three years ago. Its main purpose was to favor the national arts of Nepal, especially the Newari school of painting - "paubha". Later the gallery expanded into the field of stone and bronze sculpture. Nowadays, Indigo hosts exhibitions of modern paintings, photos and Wangden carpets. In the evening, slide shows and lectures about Himalayan art are presented.

Operation hours: 8:30 am - 5 pm
NAFA Gallery

8) NAFA Gallery

The NAFA Gallery is situated in the Sita Bhavan house, a neo-classical old Rana palace in the Naxal District. The building is adjacent to the Bal Mandir School. The gallery is operated by the Arts and Crafts Department of the Royal Nepal Academy. NAFA is divided into two galleries: the permanent Birendra Art Gallery, situated nearby, and a temporary gallery. The temporary gallery, situated in Sita Bhavan house, displays works of contemporary Nepalese artists.

Walking Tours in Kathmandu, Nepal

Create Your Own Walk in Kathmandu

Create Your Own Walk in Kathmandu

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kathmandu is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Nightlife in Kathmandu Self-Guided Tour

Nightlife in Kathmandu Self-Guided Tour

The clubs and discos in Kathmandu are concentrated in the Thamel distict, on Thamel street. Though, in the last few years, new entertainment places opened around Pulchowk in Patan, a nearby city, Thamel still remains a fun place to spend the night. Legally, all music has to be turned off by 10 PM, but many clubs manage to stay open until 12 PM or later. Take this self-guided tour to discover the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 km
Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu Self-Guided Tour

Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu Self-Guided Tour

Pashupatinath Temple is situated near the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmnadu. The area in which it is located is truly picturesque - surrounded by virgin jungle. Though you may not be allowed to enter Pashupatinath, you can admire it from the other bank of the river, or you can visit some famous temples situated in this region. We encourage you to take the Pashupatinath temple...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Kathmandu's Daily Life Tour

Kathmandu's Daily Life Tour

Kathmandu is an exotic destination with a rich history and culture, but underneath all this is a busy Nepalese life. If you want to understand how a local inhabitant lives, we encourage you to take this "Daily Life" self-guided tour of Kathmandu.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour

Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour

Kathmandu is a true heaven for shoppers, especially for the ones who are ready to explore street markets. In this city, markets are the place where you can buy quality products without wasting all your money - Monk's robes, soft silks, woolen garments, artifacts, etc. The list is truly endless. Unfortunately, in Kathmandu you are not allowed to buy authentic antiques, but you can purchase...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Temples in Kathmandu Self-Guided Tour

Temples in Kathmandu Self-Guided Tour

The main religions in Kathmandu, as in the rest of Nepal, are Hinduism and Buddhism, although there are minorities of Kirats, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, Bahaais, and Christians. Many Hindu temples in Kathmandu are centuries old and of great importance to Hindus. The Pashupatinath, Changu Narayan and the Kasthamandap temples are of particular importance for the capital of Nepal. We encourage you to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Specilaty Shops of Kathmandu Tour

Specilaty Shops of Kathmandu Tour

If you choose to do some upmarket shopping in Kathmandu, then specialty shops are the answer. Though the prices are slightly higher, service and quality is better. Of course, even here, you can't buy authentic antiques, but you can acquire some representative items: Newari items in bronze, brass and copper, Tibetan woolen garments, etc. Take this walking tour through Kathmandu's...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Kathmandu for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Kathmandu has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Kathmandu, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.