Updated: February 7th 2018
| Nepal travel guides
Patan is one of Nepal's larger cities and it lies to the south of Kathmandu. For tourists Patan is renown for it's ancient Durbar Square, surrounding streets, the Patan Kumari, along with a host of stone and metal workings.
Reaching Patan is extremely easy from Kathmandu with either a short bus ride or taxi ride you can be there in under 30 minutes. While some people do stay in Patan, it's relative proximity to Kathmandu makes it a more popular day trip option.
While Patan was badly hit during the April 25th earthquake in Nepal and it did lose some templesthe vast majority of the city is open to visitors and reconstuctions are underway.
Patan is also known as Lalitpur. Both names derive from the Sanskrit word "Lalitapattan". Locally many people still call it Lalitpur while tourists sectors refer to it as Patan.
If you plan on returning to Patan more than once, bring your passport (visa) with you and ask for an extended ticket to avoid paying a daily entrance fee into Patan Durbar Square.
Patan has several festivals throughout the year that are largely Newari based. It can get very crowded due to narrow streets. A good choice would be to have lunch on a balcony on one of the restaurants around Patan Durbar Square. This way you avoid the crowds but get to look over everything. Do see this list of festivals in Nepal to get an idea when they are on.
Technically there is no fee to enter "Patan". But there is to enter into Patan Durbar Square.
The current fee for foreigners is 1000rps while SAARC members pay 250rps/ Nepalese free. Do note this fee is for Patan Durbar Square only.
Outside the square there are additional charges: the Golden temple 50 rps, Rudravarna Mahavihar and Rudravarna Mahavihar are 50 rps combined (keep your ticket).
If you are planning to stay in Patan or revisit Patan Durbar Square then when purchasing your ticket show your passport and you can get the same ticket extended for one week at no extra cost.
Ticket booths are located at all the main entrance streets into the old city and there are frequent random "ticket inspections."
In this case a half day is perfect for Patan. Otherwise try to break up your visit to these old cities with some trekking or outdoor activities rather than viewing them over a few days.
There's enough to see and do in Patan for full day if you are a Nepali history buff or really enjoy old streets, temples and getting lost in them. However if you have been in Kathmandu city or Bhaktapur then you might not get too excited at spending a full day in Patan seeing more of the "same".
Start your day in Kathmandu with a hearty breakfast. Avoid rush hour traffic and set off via taxi (400+ rupees) at 9am or by bus from Ratna Park at 9am. Pay for your Patan entrance fee as you enter one of the main gates (ticket comes with a map of durbar square). Don't worry someone will come up to you and ask if you have a ticket if you don't spot the booths.
Start your walking tour in Patan Durbar Square. Walk along The Bhimsen temple with marble carvings. The Vishwanath temple with stone elephants and riders. Krishna's stone temple. Yognarendra and Vishnu temples. Shankar Narayan temple, which has two kneeling stone elephants. The Patan Durbar Square bell.
To the North head to the Golden temple for 50 rupees entrance to admire the gold, silver and bronze work before going to the Kumbheshwar Temple.
To the South visiting the Rudravarna Mahavihar temple which is one of the oldest in Nepal. Then the Mahaboudha Temple and the sadly vandalized Machchhendranath temple.
By now you may be indeed of lunch so stop off at one of the high restaurants surrounding Patan Durbar square to enjoy the surrounding views.
After lunch pay a visit to the Kumari's residence. It's a small courtyard and if you are lucky you might be allowed to visit the living goddess.
If you do wish to visit the Kumari do have a read about the Kumari and understand the protocols and history of the Kumari.
There are a lot of travel agents who market tours and trips to Patan. Most are hideously overpriced, especially when booking online. Further, a lot of travel agents will take you to Patan Durbar Square, maybe the Golden temple and that's it. You will miss out on a lot.
There's also the issue that many tour agencies don't have a good understanding of Newari culture (Patan is a Newari city) so you often only get an abbreviated understanding of the place.
Reaching Patan is not hard. It's a short taxi ride away (directions below). Independently making your way to Patan is far better than a tour. Once there either use a good guidebook or hire a local guide.
Use this map of Patan for both the highlights mentioned in this guide, suggesting walking tour, ticket office locations and bus stop/ taxi locations.
Locations on map are subject to change.
Unless you really want to stay in Patan, my advice is to simply take a day trip out from Kathmandu rather than change hotels. Check out Kathmandu accommodation here.
However if you are doing research or really like Patan here are several hotels very close to the center of Patan.
Hotel Goodwill - Pool, sauna WiFi, laundry service, LCD televisions (cable). Restaurant on site and very peaceful. Some excellent room rates. (30+)
Try my hotel search below for the best rates.
Liked this page? You'll love my book! It's a guidebook that's better than the rest. Yes, really! In it I cover all of Patan's attractions (including Durbar Square) with well researched information, photographs and travel tested walking tours.
It's an interactive & printable guidebook like no other.
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