Pradeep Guragain Pradeep was born and bred in Nepal and is a seasoned hiker and rider. With a passion for self-drive road trips, he will just head off at a moment’s notice for trips, either long or short. Scuba diving is another passion he loves to pursue. As for the future – “I dream of living in a farmhouse close to nature, and far from cities.”

Insider’s Guide To Best Hotels In Kathmandu – Where To Stay

8 min read

As you know, Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. It’s also home to some five million people. Situated in a valley surrounded by hills, the city sits at an elevation of 1400 m. Within the small area of the Kathmandu valley lies the cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, along with a few small villages. Crowded because of the lack of space within the main area (Kathmandu and Patan), the valley still has plenty of hiking trails on the surrounding hills. Overall the Kathmandu valley is around 600 km sq.

As of spring 2020, there is only one international airport in the country, and that is in Kathmandu. Therefore, unless you are crossing the land border between India and Nepal, you will definitely be spending time in Kathmandu.

For tourists there are a limited number of areas which offer accommodation, namely Thamel, Patan and Bouddha. Within these areas, however, there are a large number of hostels, lodges, hotels and deluxe hotels to meet every ones requirements.

In this post I will guide you through the different locations and accommodation options which will give you a starting point on your search for what suits you!

Thamel

Approximately 6 km from the airport, Thamel is THE place for tourists to Nepal! Within and around Thamel the range of accommodation is astounding from backpacker hostels to five star hotels. I have handpicked places within each category which I think are worth you having a look at.

How to get to Thamel – from the airport take a taxi. Unless you are on a tiny budget, take a prepaid taxi from the desk at the exit. Saves time and trouble. Approx USD 6. Walking down to the main road you will find ordinary taxis and could manage to bargain the price down to around USD 4. No guarantees though!

10 Best Backpacker Hostels In Thamel

Going back only around ten years you would be unable to find a hostel in Nepal. At that time lodges were very inexpensive so demand for hostels was not there. But as rents and overheads have increased, so too have room prices. And with the rest of South East Asia increasing becoming a ‘must see’ travelling destination for backpackers, demand for hostels has reached Nepal also. The best ones are probably found in Kathmandu because Thamel is the centre of nightlife for young Nepalis and tourists alike. While you can find very comfortable mid range and expensive restaurants and bars, there is an even bigger range of cafes, restaurants and bars geared up for the backpackers and budget tourist.

Here are my top picks of hostels in Thamel.

1. Zostel Kathmandu

zostel hostel kathmandu

Situated in the new backpacker area of Thamel called Paknajol, Zostel Kathmandu is part of an Indian chain of backpacker hostels which spans forty cities in India and Nepal. With private rooms with on suite bathrooms, four and eight bed mixed dorms and four bed female dorms, this hostel has something for everyone. They even have a loyalty card great if you are planning to explore India too.

party hostel kathmandu

2. Flock Hostel

Describing itself as having ‘hipster vibes’ this is a new hostel with great outdoor space, and fresh décor. It has beautiful private rooms along with eight – ten – twelve bed mix dorms and a ten bed female only dorm. Beds come with privacy curtains as standard. With airport pick up, currency change facilities and in house restaurant serving bakery items and special dietary menus, this hostel has the feel of a hotel with the vibe of a backpacker hangout.

3. Yakety Yak Hostel

yakety yak hostel thamel kathmandu

Situated in a part of Thamel that is not pedestrianized there is no trouble getting a taxi straight to the door with your heavy luggage! The mixed and female only dorms come with great storage lockers and there are five private rooms with en suite bathroom. All dorm beds come with towels. With its own mini restaurant, it is in the same building as a great café, working space.

best hotel yakety yak thamel

4. Alobar 1000

alobar 1000 bunk bed kathmandu

This is one of the older hostels in Kathmandu (2012) and is in a great location on the outskirts of Thamel but only 3 or 4 minutes walk to the centre. It excels in providing tours and information for travellers.

alobar party hostel kathmandu

5. Rest Up Kathmandu

rest up kathmandu hostel

Six and 10 bed dormitories, plus a 6 bed female only dorm along with private rooms, at a very reasonable price, even lower it you skip the breakfast. This is at the budget end of hostels.

6. Big Tree

Relatively new hostel near Zostel Kathmandu and Flock Hostel.

big tree hostel dorm bed

7. Poshtel 111

poshtel hostel kathmandu

The bunks in this hostel are structured Japanese style cubical beds: practical and private, if a little claustrophobic.

poshtel hostel thamel

8. Shangrila Boutique

shangrila boutique hostel thamel

Rooms are available either with en suite bathrooms or with shared bathrooms.

shangrila hostel kathmandu thamel

9. Thamel 327

Thamel 327 Hostel

This hostel provides the usual dormitories, female only dormitories, and private rooms.

10. Phat Kath’s Secret Garden

phat kath secret garden hostel

Here the accommodation in bungalow type clay and brick rooms.

phat kath private room

5 Best Cozy Boutique Hotels In Thamel

If you want to take a step up from a hostel, here are my suggestions for great boutique hotels in Thamel.

1. Bodhi Boutique Hotel

bodhi boutique hotel kathmandu

This hotel is located in a quieter, newly opened, part of Thamel, yet all the hustle and bustle, nightlife and shops are just 5 minutes walk away. Double, twin and family rooms are all decorate in a unique style to reflect the name of the hotel. Breakfast is included in the small, cozy breakfast room. The rooftop is available for tea, coffee, drinks in the evening.

bodhi boutique hotel thamel

2. Kasthamandap Boutique Hotel

kasthamandap boutique hotel thamel

Situated in the same quiet area as Bodhi Boutique Hotel, the Kasthamandap Boutique Hotel has standard, deluxe and suite rooms, all decorated individually with wall art by local artisans. The whole hotel has a traditional Nepali Buddhist look and feel to it.

kasthamandap boutique hotel thamel kathmandu

3. Karma Boutique Hotel

karma boutique hotel kathmandu

Again, Karma offers a traditional feel and is decorate with traditional Nepali arts.

karma boutique hotel jyatha thamel

4. Taleju Boutique Hotel

Taleju Boutique Hotel Thamel

Offering a restaurant, bar, and seminar hall, this hotel also has a spa (great for after your trek). Its courtyard garden and rooftop terrace provides great outdoor spaces to relax in.

Taleju Boutique Hotel Kathmandu

5. Kumari Boutique Hotel

Another new hotel created with a traditional Nepali feel.

2 Best Traditional Hand Crafted Hotels In Thamel

If you want a more authentic experience through hand crafted hotel, the following two hotels might be what you are looking for.

1. Kantipur Temple House

kantipur temple house thamel

This amazing hotel was build long before the newer hotels were even thought of in this location. Not only is this a heritage hotel, it walks the talk being that it is an eco-hotel with a social responsible philosophy. It does what it can to protect and preserve both the environment and the cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley. If you want to know what it was like to live in a traditional Newari style home, with its traditional wooden window frames, and opening onto a central inner courtyard, here is your chance!

kantipur temple house kathmandu

2. Nepali Ghar

nepali ghar hotel thamel

This hand crafted hotel has beautiful Nepali architecture, particularly wood carvings. Each piece of furniture is a statement piece reflecting hundreds of years of skills. Yet, the hotel also boasts modern facilities such as a fitness centre and executive meeting rooms. An all day restaurant and terrace garden completes the hotel.

nepali ghar hotel kathmandu

6 Best Medium Size Hotels In Thamel

There are of course a host of other good hotels in Thamel.  Here are some of my medium sized hotel suggestions for you to check out.

1. Yatri Suites

yatri suites and spa thamel
yatri suites and spa kathmandu

2. Norbulinka Boutique Hotel

Norbulinka hotel thamel
hotel norbulinka thamel

3. Hotel Moon Light

hotel moon light thamel
moon light hotel thamel kathmandu

4. Dalai La Boutique Hotel

Dalai La Boutique Hotel

5. Aarushi Boutique Hotel

aarushi boutique hotel thamel
aarushi boutique kathmandu

5. International Guest House

internatioanl guest house thamel
international guest house kathmandu hotel

14 Best Business & Luxury & International Chain Hotels In And Near Thamel

If you are coming to Kathmandu for business or if you already have loyalty cards to some world class hotels, you might find what you are looking for here. Some of them are brand new. Some are world renowned, and others are privately owned with a long history of operations in Kathmandu. All are situated in, or near (within 10 to 40 minutes walk) of Thamel.

1. Aloft Hotel (5 star)

aloft thamel
aloft chaya center thamel kathmadnu

2. Malla Hotel (5 star)

Malla Hotel
five start malla hotel thamel

3. Fairfield By Marriott

fairfield by marriott thamel
fairfield thamel

4. Ramada By WYNDHAM

5. Hotel Ambassador (4 star)

hotel ambassador lazimpat kathmandu
ambassador hotel lazimpat

6. Hotel Shankar (4 star)

shankar hotel kathmandu
hotel shankar lazimpat

7. Radisson Hotel Kathmandu (5 star)

radission hotel thamel kathmandu
radission hotel lazimpat

8. Hotel Shangri La Kathmandu (5 star)

shangrila hotel lazimpat kathmandu
shangrila hotel kathmandu

9. Hotel Manaslu (4 star)

hotel manaslu lazimpat
manaslu hotel lazimpat kathmandu

10. Traditional Comfort (4 star)

traditional comfort hotel lazimpat
traditional comfort hotel thamel

11. Hotel Annapurna (5 star)

del annapurna kings way hotel
hotel annapurna del kathmandu

12. Hotel Yak and Yeti (5 star)

hotel yak and yeti kathmandu
yak and yeti hotel kings way kathmandu

13. Hotel Shambala

hotel shambala maharajgunj
shambala hotel kathmandu

15. Kathmandu Marriott Hotel

kathmandu marriott hotel

16. Maya Manor Boutique Hotel

maya manor boutique hotel
maya manor hotel hattisar

Interesting Fact One

Oldest Hotel In Thamel – Kathmandu Guest House

kathmandu guest house

There is really no need for a street address for the KGH! It’s a well known landmark in Thamel. As a matter of fact, the Lonely Planet uses it as the central landmark in Thamel.

Established in 1967 well before Thamel became the tourist hub it is today, the Kathmandu Guest House is in a converted Rana mansion. KGH has a long history of hosting mountaineers and many famous people including the Beatles in 1968! Recently upgraded, it still offers accommodation at different budget levels to fit its wide range of clientele.

Patan

Patan lies approximately 6km from the airport, in the opposite direction to Thamel. Once separate kingdom, it is now very much a part of Kathmandu only separated by a different administration and the Bagmati River. It is a very popular area for expats but more and more tourists are finding its charms.

5 Best Backpackers Hostels in Patan

In recent years, with more tourists discovering Patan, a few backpacker hostels have opened up. I have to say that they are not as sophisticated as the hostels in Thamel but if you like that homestay feel, and are on a low budget or simply enjoy being away from the maddening (tourist) crowd, these might be for you!

1. Hostel Solo Travel Nepal

hostel solo travel patan kathmandu

This hostel gets great reviews and ratings with its dormitory and individual rooms.

2. Kaji Home

kaji home patan hotel

Great for those who like to be off the beaten track with more of a homestay vibe.

3. The Old Town Hostel

old town hostel patan

This hostel offers mixed dorm beds only. Located in the heart of the old town, it’s a great place to explore old Patan from.

4. Sanu House

Pretty basic, with prices to match.

5. Comfortable Home Stay

comfortable homestay patan

Not really a hostel, but offers inexpensive twin and double rooms in an old part of Patan.

11 Best Heritage Traditional Hotel In Patan

Patan itself is like a huge heritage site! Patan Durbar Square and the surrounding old town provides an insight into the past as well as a window onto very much alive local traditions. Reflecting this are some lovely heritage hotels.

1. Lumbini Heritage Home

lumbini heritage home patan

2. Hotel Timila Newa Comfort Home

timila hotel patan

3. Zyu by Casa Deyra

zyu by casa deyra patan

4. Boutique Heritage Home

boutique heritage patan

5. Tajaa Pha The Heritage Home

taaja pha the heritage home patan

6. Hotel Patan House

hotel patan house kathmandu

7. Hotel Kutumba

hotel kutumba patan kathmandu

8. The Inn Patan

The Inn Patan Hotel

9. Traditional Homes – Swotha

traditional hotel swotha

10. Hiranya Guest House

hiranya guest house patan

11. The Life Story Guest House

life story guest house patan

4 Best Business And Luxury Hotels In Patan

There are a number of good business and luxury hotels now located in Patan, including the Summit Hotel. While not so much a business hotel, this comfortable hotel with a lot of green space sees visiting staff of development organisations, the UN and embassies, coming to stay, along with trekking groups. It’s also quite a haunt for local expats.

1. Hotel Himalaya

hotel himalaya patan
hotel himalayan patan kathmandu

2. Vivanta Kathmandu

vivanta kathmandu
vivanta jhamshikhel

3. Hotel Greenwich Village

greenwich hotel patan
greenwich village patan hotel

4. Hotel Goodwill

goodwill hotel patan
goodwill hotel patan kathmandu

Bouddha

Situated approximately 4 km from the airport, Bouddha is the name of the area surrounding Boudhanath Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the area where many Tibetan refugees have traditionally gathered. Although many of the older refugees are now Nepali citizens, the area still retains its Tibetan vibe. Early morning and evening people can be seen doing kora around the stupa in traditional dress. There are a number of good restaurants in the area, many of them focusing on Tibetan food.

7 Best Hotels In Bouddha

1. Hotel Tibet International

tibet international hotel bouddha
tibet international bouddha

2. Hotel Hermika

hotel hermika bouddha
hermika bouddha hotel

3. Hotel Mukhum International

mukhum international hotel bouddha
hotel mukhum bouddha

4. Green Boutique Hotel

gree boutique hotel bouddha

5. Hyatt Regency International

hyatt regency bouddha
hyatt regency kathmandu

6. Ghangri Boutique Hotel

ghanri boutique hotel bouddha

7. Bouddha Boutique Hotel

bouddha boutique hotel kathmandu

Airport Hotels in Kathmandu

By airport hotel I mean hotels located near to the international airport! There are no hotels in the airport itself and many of the surrounding hotels are catering more for pilgrims and businessmen rather than tourists. However, they might be a good option if you have an early morning flight.

3 Best Hotels Near Kathmandu Airport

1. Airport Hotel Kathmandu

kathmandu airport hotel
airport hotel kathmandu

2. Hotel Meridian Suite

meridian suite kathmandu airport
airport hotel meridian suite kathmandu

3. Pashupati Boutique Hotel

pashupati boutique hotel
pashupati boutiuqe hotel kathmandu airport

Interesting Fact Two

Oldest Heritage Hotel in Nepal – Dwarikas Hotel, Kathmandu

dwarikas hotel gaushala
dwarikas kathmandu

Dwarikas Hotel lies not far from the airport and near Pashupatinath Temple. It is, however, definitely no pilgrims’ hotel! This is a very high end and expensive hotel which is like a step back in time. Having its roots in the 1950s when the late Dwarika Das Shrestha bought the land the hotel currently sits on to build a family home (Interestingly, this family home is now the Fusion Bar), Mr Shrestha’s passion for cultural heritage grew into a sustainable business. In 1998, the front building was completed tot the design of his daughter, Sangita Shrestha Einhaus and the rest is history! In fact it’s such interesting history I suggest you go take a look. A coffee or a drink in the bar is well worth the money spent to see this fabulous hotel, Dwarikas has kept many traditional arts alive in its workshops as well as being home to many visiting famous names and tourists.

dwarika resort dhulikhel
dwarika dhulikhel resort

If you have the budget, they also have a resort in Dhulikhel which is so exclusive it is closed to non residential guests!

To Sum Up

If you are looking for a hostel with a great traveller vibe, best head to Thamel. If you have been on the road a while and are looking for something less touristy, then Patan might be for you. For those who are into Buddhism, Bouddha is the place to go. Even if you are not spiritual, the atmosphere in Bouddha is unlike anything else in the city. Tibetans in exile say it’s as close as they can now get to home.

All images © booking.com | Agoda | HostelWorld | TripAdvisor

Pradeep Guragain Pradeep was born and bred in Nepal and is a seasoned hiker and rider. With a passion for self-drive road trips, he will just head off at a moment’s notice for trips, either long or short. Scuba diving is another passion he loves to pursue. As for the future – “I dream of living in a farmhouse close to nature, and far from cities.”

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