The Best Things to Do in Boudha, Kathmandu: A Complete Guide
All the best restaurants, activities, accommodations, and more in your new favorite Nepali neighborhood!
If you’ve been lucky enough to go to Kathmandu (or if you are just starting to research the city!), you’ve seen or heard of the awe-inspiring Boudhanath Stupa, a Buddhist religious structure which is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Many tourists and local residents alike go to the stupa to pay their respects and turn the prayer wheels as they walk around the structure in traditional Buddhist fashion.
But did you know there is a whole wealth of other things to do in Boudha (also called Bodhnath), once you are done visiting the Stupa? So ditch the tourist trap of Thamel and head over here, where you can find amazing food, activities, and sights, all in one place!
Why You Should Spend Time in Boudha
Boudha is certainly a cultural capital of Kathmandu; its status as a sacred pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists means that it feels markedly different from the other, Hindu-dominated localities of Nepal. That means there is scrumptious Tibetan food, beautiful buddhist monasteries, and traditional Tibetan thangka paintings surrounding the neighborhood.
In addition, there are lively festivals celebrated year round, which are definitely worth the trip in themselves! However, even if you don’t visit during festival season (typically, February through April), Boudha’s streets are always teeming with excitement around every corner!
How to Get to Boudha
The easiest way to get to Boudha is by taxi. Hail down a white cab and the trip cost will run you about 300 rupees from Thamel (around $3). It is possible to take a bus from Thamel, but you will have to change buses and it is quite difficult to navigate if you don’t know the region or speak Nepali, so we recommend you use cabs.
What to Do in Boudha
So you’ve made it to Boudha -- now what? There are innumerable things to do in the neighborhood, but here we’ve laid out some of our favorites.
Visit a monastery or two
Want to learn about traditional Buddhist monk culture? Head to Kopan Monastery, an approximately 300 rupee (3 USD) taxi ride away from the Stupa. Located on a hill high above the Kathmandu Valley, Kopan was founded in 1969 and is now the home of 360 monks and lamas and many visitors pass through each day.
In Kopan, you can explore the incredible sights of the monastery from 9 AM - 5 PM or participate in the daily Dharma Talk each morning at 10:30 AM (though note that day visits are not possible during November and December).
If you are interested in a longer term stay, the monastery offers several options, including meditation courses, retreats, and private stays.
See this page for more information on how to visit Kopan.
Feed your inner history buff by visiting the Taragaon Museum
Want to learn more about the history of Kathmandu? Check out this small-yet-mighty museum and cultural center located in the Hyatt Regency (an impressive building worth visiting in its own right) near the Stupa.
The Taragaon Museum boasts photographs, sketches, and artifacts dedicated to the architectural history of Kathmandu from the 18th century onwards. In addition, it houses a contemporary art gallery with changing exhibits as well as a community event space.
The space is open Sunday-Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM, and has free entry.
Practice some yoga by the Stupa
Check out Padma Healing Arts, located on Phulbari Street right near the Stupa, which offers daily private yoga classes as well as retreats.
In addition to yoga, Padma Healing Arts offers reflexology and massages, so you can relax after a long day spent exploring Boudha!
Want to organize a class or session? Contact Pema, the brain and soul behind Padma Healing Arts, by phone at +977 980-8607328, (your hotel can make the call for you if you don’t have a Nepali Sim card), on Facebook by this link, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do some shopping on the amazing Phulbari Street
Tucked behind the Stupa (facing the back entrance of the Stupa, turn right), the winding Phulbari Street is a bustling shopping mecca that will make you forget the peace and calmness of the Stupa just mere steps away.
On this street, you can find everything, from traditional Tibetan art like Thangka paintings and wooden masks, to things like western-style clothing and suitcases.
Some of our favorite things to buy from Phulbari Street includes, of course, Thangka paintings, a traditional Tibetan form of painting featuring deities or mandalas. Other must-buys are prayer flags, statues, and room decorations.
Where to Eat in Boudha
While the activities in Boudha are worth the visit alone, the food is the real draw! The best Tibetan food outside of Tibet can be found in Boudha, and there are many dishes worth trying.
Some of our favorite Tibetan dishes include Thukpa, a traditional noodle soup; Laphing, a cold noodle dish; and Thenduk, hand-pulled noodles.
Our absolute favorite restaurant in the Boudha area is White Dzambala, a Szechuan-influenced restaurant located right on Phulbari Street serving some amazing Tibetan and Chinese dishes. The tofu dishes are to-die for, and we recommend getting the green beans as well (we promise they are more appealing than they sound!).
We recommend trying the salty yak butter tea while you’re at these restaurants, which is surprisingly refreshing and delicious.
Another great thing to try in Boudha is the street food -- just make sure it is freshly cooked in clean oil. Momos and laphing from street stalls are absolutely delicious, and we recommend trying a few to find your favorite one! Just wander down Phulbari Street and you are bound to find some mouth-watering smells pulling you in!
Where to Stay in Boudha
From budget hostels to 5-star hotels, Boudha has you covered for every price range! Keep reading to find out your perfect home in Kathmandu.
$-$$: Budget Accommodations in Boudha
For approximately $7 USD a night, you can get a comfortable single room with a shared bathroom in the Bodhi Guest House, which is safe and clean, and has a beautiful rooftop.
$$-$$$: Mid-Range Accommodations in Boudha
For $20, the Bodhi Inn and Suites is located almost right on the Stupa, with a stunning rooftop panorama.
For around $30, you can stay at the lovely Hotel Mudita, which is very comfortable and clean. From the roof, you can even see the Stupa, which makes for a lovely sunset.
The Ghangri Boutique Hotel ($40) has amazing accommodations with a Tibetan influence, helping you be surrounded by the Boudha vibe 24/7.
$$$-$$$$: High-End Accommodations in Boudha
The nicest place to stay in Boudha is the Hyatt Regency, which will run you around $100/night. The complex, located just a five minute walk from the Stupa, is absolutely gorgeous. We recommend you splurge on a spa treatment or two in their lovely facility, and definitely opt for the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast!
So why not opt out of Thamel and stay in Boudha, filled with its incredible sights, smells, and tastes? It’ll be a party for the whole senses, one that is surely not to be missed!
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