Best way to get to know a city is to use its public transport. This is definitely not for the ones who seek comfort while travelling in Nepal. They are extremely compact, so if you are of tall built then it’s not going to be easy. Public transport here is anything but comfortable. And if you get stuck in one of our famous traffic jams here in Kathmandu, it’s better to be stuffy inside the bus or micro-bus than to breath in the headache inducing air.
For a first timer in Kathmandu, I suggest you to live it at least one time to know what I am talking about and do open the window if you can and get some air along with freshly hot black smoke coming out of vehicles passing on the other side, it’s quite the experience, you will know what it’s all about only when you do it. If you think you cannot handle that then do promptly close the window. Having this experience one time is enough. On the upside, it’s the cheapest way to travel and can save a lot of money.
Still buses and micro-buses are helpful in getting around the valley in Kathmandu or anywhere in Nepal and knowing the place although you may not remember all the names of places the bus makes a quick stop. By travelling along side its local passengers, you get to understand and get closer to the people here a lot better than taking those reserved for tourists only rides to a specific tourist destination.
If you want an unplanned day trip of wondering around the city or small villages on the outskirts of the valley of Kathmandu, local buses and micro buses are a great way to do it. Get off the bus at the last stop and be ready to get lost. In case you feel panicky when you really do get lost, don’t worry, just ask the helpful locals for direction. They will be more than happy to show you the way to the bus stop where you can catch a ride back to the modern civilization.
Up for it, then, head to a near bus park where you can get on to any one of the buses that travel for four to five hours out of the Kathmandu valley. It’s better to get on a bus which does a round trip. Don’t be surprised if you hear or see livestock on or in the bus. It’s a fairly common sight to behold on buses that does trips around the outskirts of the Kathmandu valley. All you can and need to do is enjoy the ride and watch the world as it passes by!