Kathmandu is the largest city in Nepal and is rapidly growing and evolving. With this growth comes new culture, which includes a rise in the popularity of nightclubs and other evening activities around town. Generally, nightlife in the city is concentrated in the Thamel neighborhood.
This is also generally the area of town where most tourists stay due to the high concentration of hotels, restaurants, trekking agencies, and shops filled with trekking equipment and souvenirs. There are many options for those looking for a night out, including nightclubs, bars, and casinos, among other places to choose from. Locals and tourists alike go for nights out, listening to live music and enjoying some drinks. Here we will give you a better idea of what to expect from the nightlife in Kathmandu and offer suggestions for those looking for an evening adventure in the city.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
While many people enjoy a visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square, locally known as Basantapur, during the daylight, the area truly comes to life in the evenings. Colorful lights brighten up the temples as the sun sets, and many people enjoy a walk through the square after dark. You may enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and watch as locals chat, ride bicycles, and children play games in the public space throughout the evening. This is an ideal place for an evening stroll and to continue to enjoy the ancient architecture, the area has to offer.
Additionally, while being a popular tourist destination, it is equally popular with locals, and friends frequently meet up in the area. Spending time in Kathmandu Durbar Square in the evening will give you a glimpse into local life in Kathmandu.
Thamel, Lazimpat and Durbar Marg
If you are looking to explore nightclubs and bars, you will enjoy the bustling streets of Thamel after dark. The streets will remain just as crowded as they are during the day as locals also frequent the area to party. With a variety of bars and clubs, you will surely find something that suits your preferences. There are many smaller casual bars and even more locations with live music ranging from reggae to rock to jazz and blues. Clubs in this part of town generally charge a cover during peak seasons, but this is affordable.
Other areas to check out include Lazimpat and Durbar Marg. Lazimpat is just a few minutes north of Thamel and has a small selection of bars, often with live music. This area is frequented by expats as there are many embassies close by and weekly trivia at various locations. There are also a lot of restaurants in the area, with many offering folk music and traditional dances as forms of entertainment.
Durbar Marg is an upscale street a 10-minute walk from Thamel, containing casinos, restaurants, and bars. Expect slightly higher prices here compared to Thamel, in addition to expecting quieter streets as the evening wears on.
Costs and Drinks
Generally, the average cost of a night out in Kathmandu is around 5000 NPR (USD $45). Entrance fees range from 500 to 2000 NPR, with drinks averaging 500 NPR. Local beers and spirits are much more affordable, and many are comparable to imported varieties. You may want to try Gorkha, Nepal Ice, Everest or Arna beers, and Kukuri rum if you are looking for local options.
If you are staying at a hotel in Thamel, transport will not be an issue as you can walk to most places. However, you will discover that there are always a variety of taxis available if you are staying in another area of the city.
Until 1973, marijuana was legal in Nepal and was a big draw for many people coming to Nepal. While the drug is currently illegal, many people will stop you in the street offering it, especially in Thamel.
Things to Look Out For
While Kathmandu is generally very safe, as with any major city, you should always be cautious about your surroundings and be especially careful to avoid pickpockets. This is especially true in Thamel throughout the night, so be sure to store your passport in the safe in your hotel room and only carry the essentials for your evening out.
There is generally no true dress code for most clubs in the city; however, some will require closed-toed shoes. Additionally, there is usually little heating, and you will need to wear a jacket even inside. That being said, May to September is the most popular season to go out as the weather is more ideal. There are also many festivals in October and November, and nightlife is active at that time as well.