Not many years ago, Durbar Marg (or Kingsway) used to be resplendent on quite a few occasions throughout the year. These were occasions when the royal entourage came out of the palace for state affairs like attending parliament to read out the budget once a year, and important festivals, where royalty paid homage to gods, living and non-living. The common folks watching from the sidewalks clapped gleefully as the impressive procession carried down the most appropriately named Durbar Marg. This avenue, thus, is not your usual avenue, and even if sights like the above are no more, with the demise of royal rule, it is still an avenue to behold, with the best shops selling the most iconic brands on both its sides, a couple of five-star hotels, many high-end restaurants and clubs, sparkling malls, etc., and yes, now a unique museum in the form of the erstwhile royal palace at the far end of the street.
2. Ason Bazaar
In the heart of the capital, Kathmandu, six different streets—Bhotahiti, Kamalachi, Teuda, Balkumari, Nhai: katwa, and Makhan: Galli—meet at a large and crowded square known as Ason Bazaar. Surrounded on all sides by mostly small shops selling everything imaginable, it is the historical commercial center of Kathmandu Valley, as well as a religious and cultural stronghold of the Newars, the original inhabitants of the valley. Besides the numerous shops displaying a vast array of goods, from farm produce to spices to utensils to fabrics, and many more in between, you will also find an ancient pagoda-style temple dedicated to the Annapurna Ajima (Goddess of Abundance) at one corner, where all those who come here make it a point to visit and pay their respects. .
Thamel has carved out a place in the minds and hearts of countless numbers of tourists from around the globe, who have experienced both its quirky and not-so-quirky attributes when staying in one of its numerous hotels and exploring its many still-very-local nooks and corners, Once a rustic locality known locally as Tha Bahil, Thamel’s prominence as the country’s premier tourist hub began to be evident only in the 1970s, a result of the decline of the once famous ‘Freak Street’ near Kathmandu Durbar Square that was then the center of all things touristic. Now, with thousands of business establishments, including hotels for all budgets, restaurants and clubs serving cuisine and drinks from around the world, numerous travel and trekking agencies, hordes of souvenir shops, etc. Thamel has an energy that is quite palpable, and is a rendezvous point for all.
Mangal Bazaar is one of the oldest bazaars in Kathmandu Valley, and it is where Patan Durbar Square, the seat of former monarchs of Lalitpur, is located. As it is, the fact that it is the site of a must-visit tourist destination makes it a pretty throbbing bazaar, added to which, it is the major commercial center of ‘the city of the arts’. Thus, you will find as many foreigners around the place as you will find locals. While for the former it is a field day for clicking away to glory, for the latter, it is more about shopping for daily necessities, and generally, just walking through to reach various parts of the locality. You’ll also find old folks sitting on patis (public loggias) passing the time of day and soaking in the sunlight and watching the world go by.
Boudha is a locality that is famous for having some impressive landmarks, such as Boudhanath Stupa, said to be among the largest stupas in Asia, and a world heritage site monument, and Hyatt Regency, one of the premier five star hotels of Nepal. The locality is home to many people of Tibetan origin, many of whom arrived here when they were fleeing Tibet after the Chinese invasion. Thus, you will find a lot of Tibetan culture around here, including many restaurants serving authentic Tibetan cuisine. Losar, the Tibetan New Year, is an especially god time to visit this place, when you will find throngs of revelers decked out in their best finery in and around Boudhanath Stupa, which as it is, is normally full of visitors and devotees on all other days, as well.