October is the season of festival this year. It is the month to either get into the festivities or go for a little adventure trekking. It is just after monsoon so there are no extremities in the weather. A perfect season to go trekking. But for those who just want to relax and unwind I can suggest 7 things you could do in Kathmandu Valley.
1. Celebrate the festivities
One of the major festival: Dashain falls on this month. Its importance is similar to Christmas in the western culture. We have holidays and festive bonuses, basically time off from work to enjoy with friends and family. So, I would suggest make some Nepalese friends and get invited to their festivities. Dashain is a 10 day long celebration but the main celebrations are on 11th- 16th of October this year.
Take a stroll around Kathmandu. You will see a lot of activities: kite flying, high swings made from bamboo shoots and ropes etc. They say you should let your foot off the ground at least once in Dashain. That’s why you will find the long bamboo swings in open areas of the city. Everyone will be in the festive mood and you will find celebration everywhere.
2. Visit Swayambhunath Stupa
Also known as the monkey temple, it is situated on top of a hill so you can get a spectacular view of Kathmandu Valley. You can choose to climb all the 365 steps or take the back way. Try going their early morning if you want to observe the daily routine of Nepalese people. People come there for prayers and also for their morning exercise. During October it is windy so people come there to fly kites as well. If I haven’t told you kite flying is also one of the traditions of Dashain. You will find kites everywhere in October. I am sure you will find some event happening there as well.
3. Visit the 3 Durbar Square in the valley
The 3 durbars are the ancient palaces of the Malla Kings who ruled the valley hundreds of years ago. They are located in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Don’t worry they are within 20 Kms so you should be able to visit them all in one day. Each place is rich in architecture and history of Nepal. You can choose to visit the individual museum and take tour around the durbar. It is the major hangout for youngsters and alike and also the main tourist sites of the valley. Because of the festive season you might find musical shows happening here and there.
So you didn’t go for trekking. Doesn’t mean you can’t have the view of the Himalayas along with Mt. Everest. All you have to do is contact the local airlines (Yeti Airlines or Buddha Airlines) or your travel agent for the rates and dates. The flight starts early morning from about 6 AM. It’s a 45mins flight starting from Kathmandu and ending in Kathmandu. For more information you can check our blog on Mountain Flight.
5.Cultural Shows and Musical Events
To add to the Dashain celebrations there are many cultural shows happening in and around the city. These shows are organized by the local community for which they collect funds to decorate the area and put up shows that tells the tale of Dashain. You don’t have to pay to be a part of the show. They just put up a stage in an open area and start the show. As I said it’s time for celebrations so a lot of musical event will also be happening.
6. Shopping and more shopping
This is the season to shop. Everywhere you will find festive discounts and more on most items especially in clothes. There will be hordes of people shopping as everyone wants to buy new clothes to wear in Dashain. Similar to Christmas people gift each other clothes and accessories.
The main market would be New Road but I should warn you that you might not have space to set foot there. But you could go for less crowded place like Durbar Marg, Naxal and Lazimpat area. Don’t worry they will also have the festive discounts.
7. Rejuvenate to Nagarkot
If you are a little tired of going round the city and want to rest a bit you should head up to Nagarkot. It is just few km away from Kathmandu city. It’s a very popular destination for weekend getaway amongst the Kathmanduities. Most famous for mountain views and breathtaking sunrise it can be a relaxing time for you. Check into a nice hotel with some good books and let your feet up. You might want to try some kite flying there.
If you loved the festivities you could stay a bit longer till November for another of our main festival Tihar (A festival of lights). Kathmandu will be bustling with people in the beginning of the festivals but many people go back to their native place for dashain. The road construction has made the city dusty but during Dashain it should be clean.
So get your festive mood on and get with the celebration. Try flying the kites, playing on the swing, unwind in Nagarkot, view the valley from Swayambhunath, experience culture and art, go shopping and enjoy.