Must see attractions in Nepal

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bodhnath (Boudha)

    Boudhanath Stupa

    The first stupa at Boudhanath was built sometime after AD 600, when the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, converted to Buddhism. In terms of grace and purity of line, no other stupa in Nepal comes close to Boudhanath. From its whitewashed dome to its gilded tower painted with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha, the monument is perfectly proportioned. Join the Tibetan pilgrims on their morning and evening koras (circumambulations) for the best atmosphere.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lumbini

    Maya Devi Temple

    The spiritual heart of Lumbini, Maya Devi Temple marks the spot where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in around 563BC. In the adjoining sacred garden you’ll find the pillar of Ashoka, ancient ruins of stupas, and maroon- and saffron-robed monks congregating under a sprawling Bodhi (pipal) tree decorated with prayer flags. Buy your entrance ticket 50m north of the gate to the Sacred Garden, and remove your shoes at the gate.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Swayambhunath

    Swayambhunath Stupa

    The Swayambhunath Stupa is one of the crowning glories of Kathmandu Valley architecture. This perfectly proportioned monument rises through a whitewashed dome to a gilded spire, from where four iconic faces of the Buddha stare out across the valley in the cardinal directions. The site was shaken severely by the 2015 earthquake, but the main stupa sustained only superficial damage.

  • Sights in Kathmandu

    Durbar Square

    Kathmandu’s Durbar Sq was where the city’s kings were once crowned and legitimised, and from where they ruled ( durbar means palace). As such, the square remains the traditional heart of the old town and Kathmandu’s most spectacular legacy of traditional architecture. The square bore the brunt of Kathmandu's 2015 earthquake damage. Half a dozen temples collapsed, as did several towers in the Hanuman Dhoka palace complex, but it's still a fabulous complex. Reconstruction will continue for years.

  • Sights in Patan

    Durbar Square (Patan)

    The ancient royal palace of Patan faces on to magnificent Durbar Sq. This concentrated mass of temples is perhaps the most visually stunning display of Newari architecture to be seen in Nepal. Temple construction in the square went into overdrive during the Malla period (14th to 18th centuries), particularly during the reign of King Siddhinarsingh Malla (1619–60). It's well worth at least a half-day trip from Kathmandu.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lumbini

    World Peace Pagoda

    Located outside the main compound, but easily accessible by bike, the impressive gleaming-white World Peace Pagoda, one of the world's greatest stupas, was constructed by Japanese Buddhists at a cost of US$1 million. The shining golden statue depicts the Buddha in the posture he assumed when he was born. Near the base of the stupa is the grave of a Japanese monk murdered by anti-Buddhist extremists during the construction of the monument.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lumbini

    Cambodian Monastery

    With strong touches of Angkor Wat, this colourful fantasy due for completion in 2018 is already one of the most fascinating temples in Lumbini. The temple is surrounded by a square railing topped off by four 50m green snakes whose tails entwine at the corners. The compound itself has a vast outer wall decorated with intricate designs.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lumbini

    Royal Thai Buddhist Monastery

    Close to the north end of the pond, this stunning and imposing wat (Thai-style monastery) is built from gleaming white marble. The blue-roofed meditation centre next door is another fine piece of architecture. Arguably the greatest compound in the monastic zone.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lumbini

    Zhong Hua Chinese Buddhist Monastery

    This elegant monastery is one of the most impressive structures at Lumbini. Reached through a gateway flanked by dogs of Fo, the elegant pagoda-style monastery looks like a small Forbidden City. Its perfectly manicured internal courtyard is an oasis of peace.

  • Sights in Daman

    Daman Mountain Resort View Tower

    Some of the best views of the Himalaya in Nepal can be had from the concrete viewing tower inside the Daman Mountain Resort. Unfortunately, the resort has closed and is seeking a new owner, but the viewing tower is still open. If no one is present at the small ticket office, which will likely be the case, just walk up.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kathmandu

    Hanuman Dhoka

    Kathmandu's royal palace, known as the Hanuman Dhoka, was originally founded during the Licchavi period (4th to 8th centuries AD), but the compound was expanded considerably by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century. Sadly, the sprawling palace was hit hard by the 2015 earthquake and damage was extensive. At the time of research, the main Nasal Chowk courtyard was open and the Tribhuvan Museum was close to reopening, with other buildings closed for reconstruction.

  • Sights in Swayambhunath

    Stupa Platform

    The great stupa is surrounded on all sides by a veritable sculpture garden of religious monuments. Several buildings were destroyed by the earthquake and rebuilding will continue for some years, but it's still a charming place to explore.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Patan

    Golden Temple (Kwa Bahal)

    This unique Buddhist monastery is just north of Durbar Sq. It was allegedly founded in the 12th century, and it has existed in its current form since 1409. The temple gets its name from the gilded metal plates that cover most of its frontage and it is one of the most beautiful in Patan.

  • Sights in Gorkha

    Gorkha Durbar

    Regarded by many as the crowning glory of Newari architecture, the 16th-century Gorkha Durbar is a fort, palace and temple all in one. Miraculously, the main structure survived the 2015 earthquake, but damage was extensive, and at the time of research, repairs were still under way. The temple-palace perches high above Gorkha on a knife-edge ridge, with superb views over the Trisuli Valley and magnificent panoramas of the soaring peaks of the Annapurna, Manaslu and Ganesh Himalaya.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bhaktapur

    Golden Gate

    The magnificent Golden Gate is a visual highlight of Durbar Sq. Set into a bright red gatehouse surrounded by white palace walls, the fabulous golden portal boasts some of Nepal's finest repoussé metalwork. The gilded torana features a fabulous Garuda wrestling with a number of supernatural serpents, while below is a four-headed and 10-armed figure of the goddess Taleju Bhawani, the family deity of the Malla kings.

  • Sights in Kathmandu

    Nasal Chowk

    From the entrance gate of the Hanuman Dhoka palace you immediately enter its most famous chowk. Nasal Chowk was used for coronations, a practice that continued until as recently as 2001 with the crowning of King Gyanendra. The coronation platform is in the centre of the courtyard, while the earthquake-damaged Basantapur Tower looms over its southern end.

  • Sights in Kathmandu

    Seto Machhendranath Temple (Jan Bahal)

    Southwest of Asan Tole at the junction known as Kel Tole, this temple attracts both Buddhists and Hindus – Buddhists consider Seto (White) Machhendranath to be a form of Avalokiteshvara, while to Hindus he is a rain-bringing incarnation of Shiva. The arched entrance to the temple was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and the temple is currently closed for repairs.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kathmandu

    Itum Bahal

    The long, rectangular courtyard of the Itum Bahal is the largest bahal (Buddhist monastery courtyard) in the old town and remains a haven of tranquillity in the chaotic surroundings. On the western side of the courtyard is the Kichandra Bahal, one of the oldest bahals in the city, dating from 1381. A chaitya in front of the entrance has been completely shattered by a Bodhi tree, which has grown right up through its centre.

  • Sights in Kathmandu

    Kumari Bahal

    At the junction of Durbar and Basantapur squares, this red-brick, three-storey building is home to the Kumari, the girl who is selected to be the town’s living goddess and a living symbol of devi – the Hindu concept of female spiritual energy. Inside the building is Kumari Chowk, a three-storey courtyard. It is enclosed by magnificently carved wooden balconies and windows, making it quite possibly the most beautiful courtyard in Nepal.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bhaktapur

    Nyatapola Temple

    You should be able to see the sky-high rooftop of the Nyatapola Temple long before you reach Taumadhi Tole. With five storeys towering 30m above the square, this is the tallest temple in all of Nepal and one of the tallest buildings in the Kathmandu Valley. This perfectly proportioned temple was built in 1702 during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla, and the construction was so sturdy that the 1934 and 2015 earthquakes caused only minor damage.