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Guide to Bhaktapur

More temples than anywhere else in Nepal!
Updated: September 1st 2017 | Nepal travel guides


My Rating:  
must see highlights - entrance fee - directions - accommodation
Download my guidebook to Bhaktapur (great for tablets, phones, laptops or print)

About Bhaktapur


Bhaktapur is an ancient city about 12km outside of Kathmandu city within the Kathmandu valley. Once one of the capitals of Nepal in the 15th century, today it's Nepal's third largest city and renown as being a city of culture, temples and craft work.

If you have time it's worth spending a few days and nights in Bhaktapur. However if you are short on time then it's an easy day trip. Either way a trip to Nepal would not be complete without visiting this magnificent ancient city filled with many things to see and do.

Did you know?

There are more temples per foot in Bhaktapur than in either Kathmandu city or Patan.

Bhaktapur (भक्तपुर) means "city of devotees" in Nepali. However it does have some other translations meaning "Ancient Newari Town."

Founded in the 12th century by King Ananda Malla Bhaktapur rose to be a city renown for culture, crafts and trading due to being a part of the ancient Indian trading route through to Tibet.

If you plan on buying many Nepali souvenirs to take home, make sure you visit Bhaktapur before buying anything. It's reknown for producing pottery, puppets, masks and cultural handicrafts.


Must see highlights around Bhaktapur


Bhaktapur's old city is broken up into four main areas. The most famous is Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Followed by Pottery Square and Taumadhi Square. The last square is also the oldest, Dyattraya Tole.

If you are visiting Bhaktapur I highly recommend you download my guidebook to Bhaktapur. It includes fantastic walking tours of the whole city and photographs of every temple that you won't find anywhere else!

Meanwhile here is a list of things to see & do in Bhaktapur:

  • Bhaktapur Durbar Square: one of the largest ancient squares in Nepal filled to the brim with temples, cultural carvings and buildings
  • Basantapur Chowk: two famous sculptures that cost a man his hands
  • The Palace of Fifty-five Windows: a masterpiece of wood carving
  • The Golden Gate: one of the most intricate and well decorated gates in the world
  • Pashupatinath Temple: impressive wooden temple
  • Vatsala Durga Temple & Taleju Bell: Stone temple with bell built by King Jagat Prakash Malla (currently - 2017/18- under reconstuction however you can give donations directly to its rebuilding)
  • Siddhi Laxmi Temple: A stone temple built in the 17th-century (currently - 2017/18- under reconstuction)
  • Pottery Square: Watch Bhaktapur's famous pottery as it's made in this idyllic traditional square filled with potters and their wares.
  • Royal Curd: Take a time out and eat some of Bhaktapur's famous curd
  • Side streets of Bhaktapur: Spend hours wandering off down the side streets of the city enjoying local handicraft stores, artisans, local cafes and countless ancient buildings
  • Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Square: with a five-tier roof and an ornate exterior stone staircase the Nyatapola Temple is one of the tallest in all Nepal.
  • Dattatreya Temple in Dattatreya Square: Smaller but much revered three-tier temple.
  • The Peacock Window: One of Nepal's most precious woodcarvings and national art treasures - there are several craft stores along the same street worth visiting.

Bhaktapur is a huge ancient city that does not allow normal traffic to go through it. Walking around Bhaktapur is therefore a lot less stressful and enjoyable than it is in Kathmandu!


Entrance fee for Bhaktapur


The current fee for foreigners is covered under the main Bhakapur entrance fee(1500 rupees) and covers all areas.

If you are planning to stay in Bhaktapur then when purchasing your ticket show your passport and you can get the same ticket extended for one week with no extra cost. You can read more about Bhaktapur ticket prices in the link above.

There are several back streets with no ticket booths into the old city however if you want to enter the museum or several other buildings you might be asked to show proof of entry.

Don't bother arguing with the ticket counter staff that you are staying overnight in Bhaktapur - you still need to buy a ticket - but the extension is free for the length of your visa.


Suggested one-day walking tour of Bhaktapur


There's enough to see and do in Bhaktapur for several days if you enjoy getting lost and exploring. However if you are in Kathmandu the following walking itinerary would make for a great full day out in Bhaktapur.

Start your day in Kathmandu with a hearty breakfast. Avoid rush hour traffic and set off via taxi at 9am or by bus from Ratna Park at 9am. Arrive either at the West Entrance or East Entrance (bus). Follow the blue line in the map below making your way through Bhaktapur. Do ensure you visit Bhaktapur Durbar square, taking in the museum, and a side trip through the Golden Gate. Make your way south along the street marked for "Arts and handicraft stores" for some shopping before making your way to pottery square to look at some traditional pot making.

Loop back around to Bhaktapur square for lunch, or back out the west gate for a cheap local eat. After lunch take a final look around Durbar Square before making your way east towards Taumadhi Square. Climb up the stone steps of Nyatapola Temple for a great view before later walking around the square for some souvenir shopping. Continue east through a maze of back streets and enjoy getting lost in amongst ancient streets, buildings and courtyards on the way to Dattatreya Temple in Dattatreya Square. Either continue east towards the main east gate to catch a taxi or a return bus to Kathmandu.

Bhaktapur is easily walkable as there is no traffic allowed in the old city. Thus making it a one of the most enjoyable cities to walk in all of Nepal. From the west entrance to the east entrance usually takes a good 35 minutes without stopping. So do take your time and loop around the city to truly make a day of it.

For a fully interactive walking tour of all Bhaktapur download my guide below.


Directions to Bhaktapur


By bus: There are many buses going to Bhaktapur from Kathmandu City. The easiest and most central bus leaves from Bhaktpaur Bus park which is just before the old Ratna Park bus stop in Kathmandu. The cost of this bus to Bhaktapur is 25 Rupees, however foreigners are charged 50 rupees. Simply show up inside the bus park and ask a driver. The bus drops you directly at the Bhaktapur bus park in Bhaktapur near the main entrance. Alternatively you could go to Ratna Bus Park in Kathmandu and head to any of the buses and start asking for where the Bhaktapur bus is. The Ratna buses do not always stop at the main Bhaktapur bus park though, they often stick to the main road which results in a not so easy walk to main ticket counter. In all cases board the bus and pay when a ticket collector comes up to you. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.

By taxi: Taking a taxi to Bhaktapur is very easy from anywhere in Kathmandu city. However you will be paying upwards of 900 rupees and closer to 1200 rupees to 1500 rupees starting fee. Bargain hard.


Accommodation & hotels near Bhaktapur


Luxury:

Hotel Heritage - WiFi, well decorated and serviced hotel. However it is a little out of Bhaktapur center and well over priced.

Hotel Peakcock - Boutique style hotel with charming rooms, a little restraunt & a quaint courtyard.

Mid-range:

Vajra Guest House & Restaurant - WiFi, laundry service, LCD televisions (cable). Beautiful Garden, restaurant on site and a very close to Bhaktapur's attractions.

Bhadgaon Guest House Bhaktapur - WiFi, parking, laundry service, child minding Restaurant.

Budget:

Nepa Guest House - WiFi, well run and very clean, right in the center of Bhaktapur.

Shiva Guest House 1 & 2 - WiFi, traditional looking clean guesthouse with restaurant. Close to Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Nyatapola Guest House - WiFi, traditional guesthouse and craft store. Aside from the mandatory sales pitch for their goods it's located in the very interesting Pottery square area.

Looking for more accommodation in Bhaktapur? Try my hotel search below for the best rates.


Download my guidebook to Bhaktapur


Liked this page? You'll love my book! It's a guidebook that's better than the rest and the only one that's kept updated. Yes, really! In it I cover all of Bhaktapur's attractions with well researched information, photographs and travel tested walking tours.

It's an interactive & printable guidebook like no other.

Bhaktapur travel guidebook
Find out more!

 


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Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square from the east
Click photo to read a free travel guide to Bhaktapur Durbar Square!
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Patan

Full guide:
» Guide to Patan    
Central Patan
  - Patan Durbar Square
 South Patan
  - Mahaboudha Temple
  - Uku Bahal
  - Machchhendranath temple
North Patan
  - The Golden Temple
  - Kumbeshwar Temple Complex
West Patan
  - The Kumari Living Goddess
East Patan
  - The Balkumari Temple

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Bhaktapur

Full guide:
» Guide to Bhaktapur
Durbar Square
» Guide to Bhaktapur Durbar Square
  - Erotic Elephants Temple (Shiva Parvati)
  - Basantapur Chowk (Sculptures)
  - National Art Gallery / Museum
  - The Golden Gate (Sundhoka)
  - Taleju Temple (Mul Chowk)
  - Naga Pokari 
  -
55 Window Palace
  - Siddhi Lakshmi
  - Stone Lions
  - Pashupatinath Temple (Bhaktapur)
  - Vatsala Durga Temple & Taleju Bell
  - Chyasalin Mandap
Near Durbar Square
» Taumadhi Square
Just outside Bhaktapur
» Kailashnath Mahadev (Tallest Shiva statue)
» Nagarkot

Like to know more?
» Get my full guidebook to Bhaktapur!

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Lumbini

Full guide:
» Guide to Lumbini
History:
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» Ashokan Pillar in Lumbini

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Nyatapola Temple Bhaktapur Nepal

Nyatapola Temple Bhaktapur Nepal
Click to see a larger photograph of the Temple in Bhaktapur Nepal

 
 
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