A remarkable legend speaks that the valley was once covered by a lake until the Bodhisattva Manjushri raised his sword of wisdom and sliced a passage through the mountain walls, draining the water and creating the first settlements.
The valley embraces most of Nepal's ethinc groups, but Newars are the indigenous inhabitants and the creators of the valley's splendid civilization.
Not very long ago, it was said that there were just as many houses as there were temples and shrines in Kathmandu valley. Now, of course, that fact does not hold true because of the rapid urbanization and population growth in the
last three decades. Nevertheless, the valley still exhibits a living, breathing entity,a vital culture that has miraculously survived till now.
The valley consists of three fabulous cities of great historic and cultural interest. These legendry cities go by the names of:
Beyond the urban milieu of these three ancient cities of the Kathmandu Valley, there are also villages and small towns that provide charming glimpses of rural life.
Sightseeing can be best done on foot or ride a bike in Kathmandu Valley. Bus travel in the city is cheap but a little time-consuming and crowded. The cenral bus station to travel around the valley in Kathmandu city is at Bagbazar and that of Lalitpur is at Lagankhel. There are trolley buses (electric buses) that operate from Tripureshwor (near the national stadium in Kathmandu city) to Bhaktapur city. Taxis or cabs are reasonably priced, but you will probably have to bargain on the price in advance as drivers are sometimes unwilling to use the meter. There are three wheeler environmentally friendly white and green tempoes. The main station of these tempoes is at Newroad, infront of Royal Nepal Airlines office. They are cheaper and fastest means of travel around the three cities of Kathmandu valley. There are motorbikes for hire around freak street such as Thamel.
You can't rent cars to drive yourself, but you can rent a car with a driver - a trip around the valley will cost you about $40 plus fuel.
Kathmandu City offers excellent ranges of places to stay, from expensive international style hotels to cheap and comfortable lodges. Thamel is the tourist quarter of Kathmandu city. In general the lodges of Thamel provide a double room for $5 to $10 per night (depending upon your bargaining skills) with basic facilities like running hot shower facilities, flush toilets, foam mattresses and clean sheets. Then there are the so-called "hotels". Most of these are slightly more luxurious than the "lodges" with probably attached bath, carpeting, furniture etc. These hotels quote their prices in dollars ranging on average $15-$40 per night.
Finally you can also stay at "luxury hotels" which are generally
Over-priced, like any world-class hotel, at a range of $100-$300 per
Hotels in Kathmandu City
Eating out in Kathmandu is a real joy because of the tremendous variety of restaurants to be found here. There are plenty of restaurants that offer traditional Nepalese festival dishes, international cuisine such as Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Indian, Korean and so on.
In Kathmandu, you should try Newari cuisine: the Newars (original inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley) have a very rich history of culinary art.
Since Nepal is a Hindu Kingdom, beef is strictly prohibited among both the Hindus and Buddhist. Hence it is little bit difficult to find restaurants that offer beef.
The popular time to visit Kathmandu is August through December. Medium-weight and easy to wash cottons can be a good choice year-round in the Kathmandu valley.
It is recommended that between October to February, woolen sweaters, jackets or similar other warm outfits are necessary. For months from June to August, it is recommended that you bring an umbrella or raincoat and a pair of sandals with you as these months are the rainy months in the Kathmandu Valley. Expect lot of walking even if you don't plan to trek. So it's recommended that you bring comfortable footwear: sneakers and sandals are the best.