Amidst the chaotic city life and the serene world heritage sites, there are many things you can do in Kathmandu, and if you’re alone and on your own for a day, there’s no less. A first in Nepal Traveller’s series of Things To Do, spend a day with Saaid Koirala as he takes you on a solo adventure in the city of gods; in his own words.
Walking in Search of Gwaramari
I woke up at 7 in the morning in a hotel in Thamel where I was staying for an event I was a part of. After freshening up, I headed towards Basantapur at 7:30.
Mornings are probably the best time to go out for walks in this city—without the crowded streets, the incessant high pollution levels or the scorching sunlight, if we are talking about summer.
Walking from Thamel to Basantapur is a really fun experience, especially in the mornings, not just because of the general pre-modern aesthetic of the locale but also because you get to witness the life of the local people—men gathered around the local tea shops seated in bamboo seats in unison asking the owner to hurry up with their order, local vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, middle-aged men and women going on morning walks and devouts on their way to temples.
The best part of the walk for me was the Gwaramari–a local round bread famous for breakfast in the Newari community. You can find many local vendors selling Gwaramari beside the street in the mornings, and if you do not, you can ask the locals where the nearest gwaramari store is, and they will direct you towards it. I bought Rs. 35 worth of gwaramari that lasted for almost the entire day.
I also had Juju Dhau–a type of Newari sweet yoghurt that I bought for Rs 40 at Basantapur. After the walk, I sat down to rest on a bench in Basantapur and enjoyed the view for a bit with my earphones plugged in, blasting music at full volume.
Next stop? Pimbahal’s Food Hub
After a somewhat tiresome walk around Basantapur, I returned to the hotel to get my scooter and headed towards Patan.
Patan’s Pimbahal is probably one of the best places in the city to just hang around at. You can grab a packet of chips from the famed Pimbahal Fresh Chips Corner and just walk around or sit by the pond and enjoy the view or maybe read a book? And if you are in the mood for something sweet, you might want to try the strawberry crepe at crepe corner in Pimbahal or the chocolate bomb donut at Dip-In Donuts.
If you want something savoury, you can get momo at Kothey’s or Laphing at Ud’s Foodport—Pimbahal has it all and that too at a very affordable rate.
Pimbahal is also the place I usually hung out at after school for the same reason. Today, however, I just got a packet of chips because I wasn’t really hungry from all the Gwaramari I ate earlier.
Patan Durbar Square—A Sweet Escape
There are a million things you can do in Patan Durbar Square but since I was on my own, I scaled it down to my top 3.
My favourite thing to do at my favourite Durbar Square is to go visit Patan Museum—not for the artefacts or the history but for the beauty of the Newa architecture and the gorgeous garden inside the museum complex where I just go to read books in solace or enjoy the artistry that is nature with my earphones tucked inside my ears.
After reading a few chapters sitting by the museum’s window, I headed towards Mamadu Galli to devour on some Lakhamari—– a Newari confectionary item available at just Rs 20 at Shree Nanda Mithai Bhandar which has been serving the delicacy for over a century at the crowded stone paved alley behind Krishna Mandir.
It was already 3PM so I had to leave Patan for my next destination but I couldn’t leave without Kulfi. You can find Kulfi almost everywhere in Kathmandu but the reason I prefer Patan Durbar Square is because the surrounding blends in perfectly with the sweetness of the dessert to create for a fun time.
I left Patan at 3:30 for Kamalpokhari, my last destination for the day.
Sunset by the pond
I have lived in Kathmandu for virtually my entire life but every other day I am starstruck by how beautiful it is and Kamalpokhari is one of those reminders. Despite being situated at the heights of urban Kathmandu, Kamalpokhari remains serene and isolated from the rest of the city like a spot of placid blue ink on an otherwise chaotic shirt. The sight of the setting sun reflected by the pond is mesmerising to say the least.
Kamalpokhari is truly one of the best spots in the city for evening walks. I sat at the ledge by the pond and watched the sun set for a while. After the sunset I decided to go to City Centre—which is right across the street from the pond—for some Laphing. In a stall right outside the mall you can find delicious Laphing at Rs 50.
Kamalpokhari is also super close to Durbarmarg, one of the most happening streets in Kathmandu. Any other day I would’ve loved to walk around Durbarmarg window shopping and soaking in Kathmandu urban life, but I decided to head home instead after a tiring but fun day.
Watch out for this space as I have tons of one-day adventures to take you on.