If you are a resident of Kathmandu like me, the daunting city life warrants incessant levels of burnout and stress– even more so with Kathmandu’s skyrocketing pollution levels and overpopulation. It is important to then seek to find quiet in this city for your own sanity and that’s the venture I embark on in this succession of things to do alone in Kathmandu.
Freak Street Mornings
Basantapur is one of the best places to be at in Kathmandu but if you are there during the daytime, it is teeming with hordes of people pretty much every day of the week so the best time to visit Basantapur is during the mornings where you can enjoy the streets as well as the durbar square complex. I decided to start my day off with a cup of coffee at Freak Street Kaffe located right at freak street. The jazz playing at the cafe created the perfect mood for me to relax and read a book over a cup of macchiato. At 9– after about an hour of staying at Freak Street Kaffe, Basantapur was starting to get crowded so I decided to depart to the next destination after a quick stroll at the durbar square.
Arguably Kathmandu’s most peaceful heritage site, Boudha provides you enough options to spend the entire day there and feel at ease and that’s exactly what I did.
My go-to place everytime I go to Boudha is Karma Coffee. The cafe, located about 400 meters away from Boudhanath Stupa, is designed with green architecture and with trees planted all over the place. Additionally, the calm tunes playing in the speakers make for an extremely tranquil vibe. I ordered a cup of (milk) iced coffee which cost Rs 190 and sat there reading my book and enjoying nature.
photo credit: unsplash.com/@caishan119
After a good hour at Karma Coffee, I decided to walk back to the boudhanath stupa complex since I had parked my scooter outside and couldn't use it. On my way back, I saw a small poster for a massage parlor that said “Massage at Rs 500” so instinctively I thought that was a very reasonable deal and decided to go inside the parlor– apparently I had been scammed, the banner was months old and now the price had increased to Rs 700. Nevertheless, I still wanted to get my back massaged and was willing to pay the extra 200 and so I did and let me tell you- it was a very wise decision. The half hour long massage reinvigorated me making me feel like a newer person. You can find these spas almost anywhere in boudha but the one I went to was called harmony spa, located in an alley right beside the stupa.
By the time I was done with the massage, I was starting to get hungry and what better snack to treat yourself to at Boudha than a nice spicy bowl of Laphing. I went to this local shop right beside Mahendra Boudha Secondary School and had a bowl of peanut Laphing at Rs 70. I also had lassi along with the Laphing and that made my stomach pretty full.
It was around 12:30 when I had finished eating and so I decided to go back to Boudhanath Stupa and bid Boudha farewell to proceed to my next destination but when I got to the Stupa, the afternoon view was way too breathtaking for me to just leave so I decided to stay for another hour. The view of Boudha is the best from rooftop restaurants– there are many in the area but I decided to go to Roadhouse since it has wonderful drinks and I was looking for something cool to drink. So there I was peacefully sipping my mojito on a weekday afternoon at a rooftop restaurant at Boudha– it was a truly relaxing experience.
At around 2PM, I left Boudha to depart to my next destination– Kirtipur. But as I was on my way back, I saw Taragaon Museum. Mind you I have been living in this city for 17 years but not once had I been inside that museum- I didn't even know it existed but it seemed like a fun place from the outside so I went in. Apart from being an architectural masterpiece, the Museum has a huge collection of traditional artworks depicting rural life but what I liked even more about the museum was its garden- big, green and grassy with plenty of area to sit. It’s a fun place to go alone or with friends, I will definitely return.
It was 3PM when I left taragaon museum to depart for Kirtipur and since it was peak traffic hour, it took me well over an hour to reach Taudaha, my next destination. Taudaha lake too is one of the most beautiful spots in the city to enjoy some alone time– even more so in the evening, the setting sun goes really well with the lake. I fed the fish at the lake, did some sightseeing and then sat at a bench at Taudaha for a while perusing nature, waiting for the sun to set and enjoying the calm breeze brushing my cheeks gently. After staying there until sunset, I decided to go to Jatra Restaurant at Kirtipur for dinner before departing home.
Located at Kirtipur’s Chithu Street, Jatra Restaurant specializes in Newari Dishes- I ordered Bara and Chatamari which were both mouth wateringly delectable. I also ordered a plate of momo because I was craving it since the morning and the momo at Jatra very easily fulfilled my craving, it was delicious. The prices too were super low given the quality of food and the ambience the place offered. My bill at the end was less than NRS 400.
It was 6PM when I was done eating and since Kirtipur is 8 kilometers away from Kathmandu, it was getting late for me so I departed and the traffic too was starting to get low which brought a pleasant end to my quest for solitude.