Traveling to Bhaktapur Nepal – more temples than anywhere else in Nepal

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ February 28th, 2013. Published in: Travel blog » Nepal.
Golden Gate, Palace of 55 windows, Siddhi Laxmi Temple & Pashupatinath Temple in Bhakrapur Durbar Square

Golden Gate, Palace of 55 windows, Siddhi Laxmi Temple & Pashupatinath Temple just a few of the many temples found in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur – the most beautiful old city in all of Nepal

If you read about my search of the Kumari then you might have picked up on me mentioning a visit to Bhaktapur. In fact I’ve had many visits and stays in Bhaktapur, which is quite surprising really consider the repulsive entry fee foreigners are charged to enter this ancient city. I write that in a two tier context. One is to do with the rising cost of Nepalese entry fees for foreigners to otherwise public areas. And two because Bhaktapur has the highest entry fee in all Nepal.

Is it worth it though? Well my many visits to Bhaktapur would make it seem so.

To me Bhaktapur has the most beautiful of old city centers in all of Nepal if not the world.

So then yes, perhaps there is a price to pay to see something like that.

There are however ways around paying the inflated ticket price. Right or wrong, here’s a little about my travels to Bhaktapur.

How to get to Bhaktapur cheaply

Ratna Bus Park Kathmandu

Ratna Bus Park in Kathmandu – the bus to Bhaktapur is located to rear and over to the right

If you are staying in Kathmandu city then simply head to Ratna bus park. It’s a bit of walk but certainly doable from Thamel. It’s easy in the cold winter months, but during the summer it’s a hot and dusty trip. Buses leaving for Bhaktapur leave on the right hand-side section. There are no signs – it’s Nepal remember.

Just walk in through the entrance to the park and head over to the right. If you are besieged by men asking where you want to go, then simply ask someone. I found it best to ask one of the waiting bus drivers. Then the next and the next until finally you find one that nods that this is the right bus.

Old quiet street in Bhaktapur

Old quiet street in Bhaktapur

Step two is to jump in and wait for the battered bus to fill up. You’ll get a little ticket. The cost is 30 rupees for “some locals”. Though random fuel prices mean it’s 40 rupees on a bad day. For foreigners though you’ll have to pay 50 rupees.

I sat next to some students one morning and they kicked up a fuss that I had to pay a higher price. I ended up paying 25 rupees in the end.

Then again you can always just take a taxi for about 800 to 1000 rupees. Or 2000+ if you want the driver to wait a few hours and drive you back. Remember to bargain hard and agree on a price. Eitherway the journey is about 40-60 minutes depending on traffic. Leaving before 8am seems to be the fastest.

Entrance price into Bhaktapur

Main street in Bhaktapur

Even the main streets in Bhaktapur can be quiet!

It’s USD$15 or 1100 rupees. Yes, I think it’s the most expensive entrance ticket to anywhere in Nepal. I’ll be writing up a pro’s and con’s article (rant) about entrance fees later. Eitherway if you plan to stay in Bhaktapur then show the ticket office your passport with your Nepalese visa. You can easily get a one week ticket for the same price.

If you are staying longer in Bhaktapur eg. volunteering or writing this article then either a letter from a guesthouse or local business will help secure you an even longer stay ticket.

Then again there are plenty of people who will simply keep walking after the bus leaves you off and take some side streets into Bhaktapur’s old area. There are guards around, it’s a hit and miss affair.

A quick tour through Bhaktapur

There’s no doubt Bhaktapur is a beautiful old city. The traffic ban helps tremendously in enjoying the old side streets, buildings and shops without worrying about being run over by a teenager on a motor bike or random rampant man in a car.

The initial walk takes you up though a winding street filled with little stores until you reach Dattatreya Square. Personally I always leave waking around  Dattatreya Square until last if it’s just a day trip. There are a lot of craft stores there, peacock windowDattatreya Temple itself and several nice places to eat so it’s a nice area to round off your trip to Bhaktapur.

The Nyatapola Temple

The Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur

Further along the main winding road you’ll come across Taumadhi Square which contains the magnificent Nyatapola Temple – well worth a climb. On the north wall there’s a line of souvenir stalls. Taking the street on a hill between them will take you to the famous Bhaktapur Durbar square. Of all the squares in Nepal, I think this is my favorite.

With the impressive Palace of 55 windows, the golden gate, a miniature version of Pashupatinath TempleVatsala Durga Temple and the stone Siddhi Laxmi Temple there’s plenty to see in the huge wide open square area.

Vatsala Durga Temple & Taleju Bell, Bhaktapur, Nepal

Vatsala Durga Temple & Taleju Bell

Finally there’s the museum, pottery square and the near never-ending side streets leading to smaller temples and handicraft stores. So yes in terms of value for money there’s more to see and do in Bhaktapur than you might first think.

How long should you stay in Bhaktapur?

Old lady relaxing in Bhaktapur

Old lady relaxing in Bhaktapur

I certainly recommend spending a full day minimum in Bhaktapur. It’s a great place to explore. With so many side streets it rarely feels crowded compared to other cities in Nepal. It’s also a great place to pick up Nepalese handicrafts and souvenirs.

For those looking for longer stays in Nepal, Bhaktapur offers a much more relaxed city life than that of Kathmandu while not nearly being as quiet as Patan. It also gets a lot more sun than Kathmandu which is nice in the winter months to warm you up during the day. No, you won’t get the endless touristy cafes, coffee stores, books shops and restaurants like Kathmandu but you will get solace and peace of mind.

There’s more to do in Bhaktapur

There’s something to be said for the people making a place great. Bhaktapur is no exception. The people here  are much more relaxed and there’s no hard push on tourism here.

I’ll be introducing you to a few quite soon. You’ll see from their faces alone that there’s something special about this place.

Bhaktapur has less touts, more smiling faces and a happier vibe than just about anywhere else in Nepal.

Coming Soon:

My journey with the locals of Bhaktapur

Travel Tip:

Planning a trip to Nepal and a visit to Bhaktapur? For all the details on what to do, places to visit, photos, costs, maps and accommodation check out my travel guide to Bhaktapur.

Hotel search at the Longest Way Home

Planning on booking a hotel room in Bhaktapur?

Looking for the best online rates?

I recommend you try my own hotel search for Bhaktapur . The best online rates guaranteed!


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13 Great responses to Traveling to Bhaktapur Nepal – more temples than anywhere else in Nepal

  1. Jane says:

    I hate places that overcharge. Even if they do look fantastic like Bhaktapur. Worse is the two tier prices.

    • Yea, I’m not a fan of two tier pricing either. I do however understand the reasoning behind it. But it’s an outdated model. Visiting some tourist sites it’s the tourists rolling up in public transport and buses who are paying 2-3 times the cost while SAARC and Local pull up in rented vehicles paying much lower rates. Yes there are of course many more locals who do not have high earnings, but the SAARC thing has seen it’s day and needs to be put to rest. I’mm be writing up something about this later

  2. Mark Hiddle says:

    Beautiful place. Was there a few years ago. I think the high price keeps it well maintained. Compared to visiting Paris it’s a lot cheaper.

  3. Anna's World says:

    Beautiful looking place. Each temple looks so different.

  4. Jan says:

    A fascinating city, thanks for sharing. Looking forward to learning about the people there.

  5. Emma says:

    I’ll have to ask which is your favorite place to visit in Nepal?

  6. Inga says:

    Wonderful photos Dave. How are you able to take so many within you so few people there?

  7. MarissaFH says:

    Nice! I walked around for a day there as well, and still couldn’t get enough. I stayed by a corner a couple of times, and just people-watched, which was just as fascinating.