What to See and Do During the Monsoon in Kathmandu
Monsoon season in Nepal has officially started. If you’re taking advantage of the off-season to travel in the country without many other tourists around, you may end up finding yourself in Kathmandu on a rainy day. If you don’t want to get wet and muddy outside, then here are some fun rainy-day activities for you to enjoy in the city.
Go climbing at Astrek Climbing Wall
Astrek is a climbing gym located in Thamel. It’s outdoors, but with protection from rain. There are two tall walls for climbing with ropes, as well as some shorter walls designed for bouldering. There are plenty of routes suitable for beginners, as well as some very challenging routes for more advanced climbers.
You can rent climbing shoes and harnesses at the gym, and there are very good staff who will make sure you have a good climbing experience. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some good rock climbing!
Sit in a café and read a book
There are plenty of good cafés and coffee shops all over Thamel and Patan where you can relax for a few hours. Order some tea or coffee, have some lunch, and finally read that book that you’ve been meaning to open for the past three months. Or bring your laptop with you, enjoy the free WiFi that many cafés offer, and finally sort through your travel photos and catch up with your friends. Many have Nepal-related books for sale, too.
Here are some suggestions of great coffee shops:
- Kar.Ma Coffee: Gyan Mandal, Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur
- Himalayan Arabica Beans: Saat Ghumti Marg, Thamel
- Himalayan Java Coffee: Locations throughout the valley, including two branches in Thamel, one at the Kathmandu Durbar Square and one at Boudhanath
- Café Swotha: Patan
- Tings Tea Lounge: Lazimpat
- Café Soma: Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur
Visit a museum
There are a few museums in the Kathmandu Valley that could entertain you for a couple of hours on a rainy day. They house important pieces of art, historical relics, weapons, coins, and a number of other archeological finds. A visit to these museums will give you a better understanding of the history and culture of Nepal.
Patan Museum (located at Patan Durbar Square)
Housed in an old royal palace, this museum features many statues and pieces of traditional Buddhist and Hindu artwork, with very informative descriptions. A visit to this museum is a great addition to a walk around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Patan Durbar Square. There’s also a great courtyard restaurant and gift shop, with lots of books.
Narayanhiti Palace Museum (located at the northern end of Durbar Marg)
This museum is located in the last palace of the Nepali royal family. The building and rooms tell the story of Nepal’s political turmoil over the past few decades, and it was where the royal massacre took place in 2001.
National Museum of Nepal (located near Swayambhunath)
Nepal’s largest museum houses historical artwork and features collections of historical weapons and coins. A visit to this museum will give a good overview of the history and culture of Nepal.
Play futsal or squash
If you want to be a bit active, there are many futsal arenas and a few squash courts spread around Kathmandu and Lalitpur. These generally charge at an hourly rate and sometimes need to be booked in advance over phone. It will be hard to make a booking on a weekend, but during the week the arenas and courts will be more open.
Go see a movie
There are a number of movie theaters around Kathmandu and Lalitpur where you can enjoy Nepali and Hindi movies, as well as more popular Hollywood movies as well. The main cinema chain in Kathmandu is QFX Cinemas. The theaters are pretty comfortable, with good quality audio-visual set-ups.
Top image: Michael Foley/Flickr