Patan is one of Nepal's larger heritage cities and it lies to the south of Kathmandu city within the Kathmanduy Valley. It is also known locally as Lalitpur which translate to beautiful city. 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.
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.
Did you know?
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.
- Patan Durbar Square: a palace square one home to the ruling kings
- Keshab Narayan Chowk Museum: small expensive museum
- Golden Temple: Ancient temple covered in gold, silver and bronze ornaments - separate entrance fee of 50 rupees
- Kumbheshwar Temple: impressive five-story pagoda temple
- Bishwakarma-vishwakarama Temple: a temple made to an achitect god. Also made of metal.
- Rudravarna Mahavihar / Uku Bahal: one of the oldest Buddhist Monasteries in Nepal (50rps - includes entrance to Mahaboudha Temple)
- Mahaboudha Temple: a stone temple with over 1000 images of Buddha
- Machchhendranath temple: temple to a rain god that might have been a man
- House of the Kumari: Courtyard and house of Patan's Living Goddess the Kumari.
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."
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".
SIn 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.
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.
By bus: There are many buses going to Patan from Kathmandu City. The easiest and most central bus leaves from Ratna Park bus stop. The cost of this bus to Patan is 20 Rupees. Simply show up at the park and head to any of the buses and start asking for where the Patan or Lalitpur bus is. Board the bus and pay when ticket collector comes up to you. It takes about an 30 mins depending on traffic. The bus will drop you out side the main gate where you can get a return later.
By taxi: Taking a taxi to Patan is very easy from anywhere in Kathmandu city. However you will be paying upwards of 400+ rupees. Bargain hard. If you are stuck for time, you could arrange for the taxi to wait for you. There's not a huge difference in the fare if they are only waiting 2 hours.
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.
Summit Hotel - Excellent long standing hotel with a lovely garden and pavilion. Rooms are trim & proper. It's not in walking distance to Durbar Square though. (USD$145+)
Hotel Clarion Patan - well decorated and serviced hotel. Clean with a nice restaurant. Wifi works (USD$45+)
Traditional Homes Swotha - Very well maintained, clean hotel decorated in traditional Newari Style (USD$55+)
Hotel Goodwill - Pool, sauna WiFi, laundry service, LCD televisions (cable). Restaurant on site and very peaceful. Some excellent room rates. (30+)
Durbar Guest House - One of the few remaining budget guest houses in Patan. Simple rooms that are clean but not wall maintained. (USD$8+)
Looking for more accommodation in Patan? Try my hotel search below for the best rates.
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