The alternative Kathmandu: #1 A mindful walk back in time.

The alternative Kathmandu  

If this is your second visit to Kathmandu you may be in need of a few thoughts to focus your mindful travel and explore the city further, understand it more, so you don’t just have a quick stay before shooting off to Pokhara, Solu Kumbhu etc. If this is your first visit then we hope to help you get more out of your trip and get out of the mainstream rather than following the hordes every day to Swayambhu, Pashpatinath or Durbar Square.


1 Basantapur  to Thamel

This is our #1 city walk through some of the oldest parts of Kathmandu. We’re not going to give you a detailed map (Google offline download of Kathmandu should do that!) nor is this a history of the area. Suffice to say you could do this at a decent pace in 30 mins or about 90 mins if you take lots of photos and explore the shops and stalls of the locals.

My wife was born here and is one of the Newar ethnic group who were the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. Most people living along this route are Newari and the majority will have the surname Tuladhar. Check it out!

Startpoint: Basantapur, New Road.

Endpoint: Thamel

Connections: Basantapur > Indra Chowk  > Ason Tole > Bangemuda  > Thahity > Thamel


Basantapur to Thamel

Begin your walk at the end of New Road facing Basantapur/Durbar Square and turn right. Initially walking along a tarmac road with shops either side and lots of parked vehicles you will soon enter the packed-earth streets, black mud after rain! Almost joined together are the crossroads of Indra Chowk and Naiken Tole with sellers of coloured beads, bangles, brass pots, carpets and electrical goods. Mostly shops for locals we have several nephews and nieces with businesses here.

Continue now to Ason Tole, a major market area of Kathmandu with stalls of fruit, vegetables, rice, pulses, spices, coloured dyes all worthy of urban street photography. Take your time, you won’t find a better market photo opportunity in the whole city. Now, don’t panic, you will not be the first foreigner to lose your bearings and sense of direction at this point. There are SEVEN exit streets here, just ask someone to point towards Tyauda or Thaihity!

Leave Ason in the direction of Thaihity and you will get back to your original straight line towards Thamel and the opportunity to see a lovely small Buddhist stupa and monastery. My wife knows this area as Seagall but Google maps shows it as Naghal just before Thaihity with a left turn down a narrow lane of Tibetan shops for about 30 metres. A small square has been well maintained by Tibetans who settled here in Kathmandu and you will be rewarded with a quiet peaceful spot for more photos. 


Returning to the main street turn left and continue your walk towards Thaihity. There are now lots of locals selling cloths, saree, prayer flags, wall hangings and all at local prices. But you look like a tourist so bargain hard! Rule of thumb, whatever they ask for, half it then half it again! 



Now enter Thaihity, another square with about 5 exits so look opposite and slightly right. That’s the street to Thamel, the “tourist central” of Kathmandu and, if you’re tired …. Take a Rickshaw as there are always plenty here. And remember to bargain hard!

We hope you take this walk and find the guide useful in your mindful travel. Leave comment feedback as it helps to update the route or correct any errors.

California Globetrotter
Wander Mum

Categories: Nepal, Travel

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

34 replies

  1. Wow! Wish I had known about your alternative Kathmandu guides before my trip there earlier this year. So useful! But, I will save these posts for a next time. I sincerely hope that there will be a ‘next time’ to Nepal for me. I loved it! Your photos are so gorgeous, by the way! Thanks for sharing your posts with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the Information, that will help me with my summer trip to the City !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks incredible and great to have a guide in your wife to help give another aspect to the city. I love all the colours and you’ve captured them wonderfully in your photos. I’d love to visit Nepal and Katmandu at some point. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I hope to publish regularly and was wondering if keeping your badge on my posts page as opposed to entering it on specific posts still works?


  4. So much color! Love seeing some alternative options to broaden horizons and give you a bit better experience of a place. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s got to be nice to have a “local” tour guide in your wife! All the bright colours in your photographs are beautiful. I especially love the wall hangings and prayer flags. #CityTripping

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kat, my dear wife is a gem. Setting off on a Trans USA rail trip next week so hope you will follow. Trying to work out how best to follow you too!


  6. Love the pictures! #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

  7. so beautiful! #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t made it here yet, but it definitely looks interesting! So colorful and those temples are amazing! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I think the Postcard is a great idea, a bit fiddly at first as I couldn’t get the HTML to work in my page sidebar. Hope I’ve got it now? My next Postcard will be Kathmandu too, then …… flying to San Francisco!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you, you might like the whole series of 10 I am writing on the places most tourists don’t see. What is your blog address so I can follow?


  10. I’ve been thinking of Kathmandu lately – there’s a possibility that I might visit the city sometime next year. I’m going to bookmark your post for future reference especially for this walk for I absolutely love to wander around streets to take photos and observe my surroundings 🙂 Thanks for sharing! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have not made it to Kathmandu yet. This walk looks great, I do usually find walking is the best way to really get a feel for the city (in most cities). Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Loved it and reblogged it. 🙂
    Honestly since i am from lalitpur, i don’t really know much about Ason. Even i get lost… Your writing gives me an impression though of how it was..

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on i am crazy!! and commented:
    A Walk back to time indeed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I would happily do that walk twice just for the sake of the colours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Andrew. It’s actually from thinking about your blog that made me think wider away from the mainstream. Since the 1980s we have been to Kathmandu loads of times and know the city intimately. Thought it would be good to share our top 10 alternatives before we go trans rail USA for 3 weeks.


  15. Good memory of my home area.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. The Alternative Kathmandu: The complete Series #1 revisited | Tales Of Mindful Travels
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