Lazimpat is adjacent to the northeast of Thamel in Kathmandu city. It's a small area that runs either side of Lazimpat road. The area is primarily known for its high-end hotels, restaurants, embassies, and residential areas.
Most of the restaurants and hotels largely cater to Nepali businesses, business travelers, expatriates, embassy staff, NGO staff, and tourists who want to stay away from the bustle of Thamel.
A quiet Saturday on Lazimpat
For most tourists, there is no central enticement to visit Lazimpat unless they are either staying there or visiting one of the new casinos that are appearing in many of the hotels. Or, indeed, of an embassy.
Budget tourists or even mid-range tourists will find the restaurants here not that much different from the finer ones in Thamel. The difference will largely be the ambiance and well-dressed staff.
The residential area of Lazimpat is largely behind the main road or further along the northern section.
One of the bright spots of Lazimpat is the weekend (Saturday) market known as the Farmers Market at La Sherpa. Again, for most tourists, it's largely an expatriate gathering to chat and buy pricey local produce. But for long-term residents in Kathmandu, it's a chance to catch up and socialize.
Reaching Lazimpat from Kathmandu's Airport, also known as Tribhuvan International Airport, is the same as anywhere else in Kathmandu. There are licensed taxis and unlicensed taxis. There's a high probability that the moment you mention you are staying in Lazimpat, the price of an unlicensed taxi will increase by a couple of hundred rupees. That said, it's still a good price.
Although it's the main road, traffic along Lazimpat road can come to a standstill during rush hours.
If coming from Thamel walking to Lazimpat is quite easy unless you need to cross the road. There are pedestrian crossings but take note that few vehicles care. Do note that during rush hour the pollution from vehicles bellowing exhaust fumes can be extremely unpleasant if you walk along this road.
Buses and micro-buses frequent the road with most leaving from the main Lazimpat road junction to the north of Thamel or from the main Lazimpat alongside the Garden of Dreams. Due to Kathmandu's overcrowded and often times confusing public transport, many people simply opt to take a taxi along Lazimpat Road.
Do note that southern part of Lazimpat road which is to the east of Thamel used to have a morning tourist bus stop. The Lazimpat tourist bus stop moved to Sorhakhutte in 2018.
There's not much to navigating Lazimpat unless you are visiting a residential area off the main road - in which case, ask for the nearest hotel, restaurant, or embassy near where the turnoff is. The main road is where most of the hotels and restaurants are located. Dotted in-between these are embassies. To the north, you'll reach the end of Lazimpat road by the Japanese Embassy. However, places like the Farmers Market and the American Embassy are a little further along the same road, which changes name to Maharajgunj road.
Lazimpat borders several historical areas in Kathmandu, including Thamel, Narayanhiti (former royal palace), Baluwatar, and Bhatbhateni.
The impressive tree growing from the Narayan Shrine in nearby Hadigaun.
Thamel is over 1000 years old, with much evidence suggesting it's even older. Narayanhiti is relatively new, but the areas it borders, particularly Tengal, Bhatbhateni, and Hadigaun, are much older.
In my book, "Kathmandu Heritage Walks," we explore these areas in-depth and discover that early 4th-century artifacts have been uncovered here. Furthermore, texts reveal previous towns that used to exist in these areas, which were built over.
Today, Tengal, which used to be another ancient town, is no more than a modern concrete district that was hurriedly built over it. Much like Hadigaun, it's highly likely there are artifacts buried under the foundations of many buildings. Historically, this is a great shame, as these areas could once have been the fabled towns that met with southern towns, which together formed Kathmandu. Even the proximity of these areas is highly probable in Lazimpat before it was rapidly commercialized and built over.
Do read the Temples of Thamel to discover more about its heritage and history. Alternatively the book Kathmandu Valley Heritage walks contains every heritage site in Kathmandu.
Hotel Restaurants: Radisson and Shaker Hotels in Lazimpat offer quality restaurants to dine in. Prices vary from USD $10 for mains but do not include VAT or the random Nepali service charge. Menu's offer a blend of Nepali or Indian meals, continental and Chinese. The meals are usually of good quality.
Lazimpat Road Restaurants:
Embassy Restaurant & Bar opposite the Japanese embassy serves up BBQ, Chinese, and continental cuisine both inside and outside. The food is not exceptional, but the service is good. Viet Ngon Saigon Pho is probably the best Vietnamese restaurant in Nepal. The spring rolls are about as authentic as you can get. The menu is extensive, and the staff easily know how to treat guests. Bhumi Restaurant & Bar offers Nepali and Indian cuisine at pretty decent prices. The food on average is above your typically Nepali restaurant fare and certainly worth a trip. Trishna Mithai is a mid-range Indian sweet shop selling traditional Indian/Nepali sweets like laddu, khir, and gulab jamun. Cocina Mitho Chha is a Nepali restaurant with a Spanish flare for salads. It's worth coming here if you are nearby and in need of some greens. Le Sherpa is an international restaurant opposite the president's house in northern Lazimpat. The menu is small but the food is good, though probably the most expensive in the area. The Farmers Market at La Sherpa often has appetizer-style offerings from expatriates and Nepali who bring their produce every Saturday. There can often be a good selection of cheese, coffee, and wines on offer here.
Embassy Restaurant & Bar opposite the Japanese embassy serves up BBQ, Chinese, and continental cuisine both inside and outside. The food is not exceptional, but the service is good.
Viet Ngon Saigon Pho is probably the best Vietnamese restaurant in Nepal. The spring rolls are about as authentic as you can get. The menu is extensive, and the staff easily know how to treat guests.
Bhumi Restaurant & Bar offers Nepali and Indian cuisine at pretty decent prices. The food on average is above your typically Nepali restaurant fare and certainly worth a trip.
Trishna Mithai is a mid-range Indian sweet shop selling traditional Indian/Nepali sweets like laddu, khir, and gulab jamun.
Cocina Mitho Chha is a Nepali restaurant with a Spanish flare for salads. It's worth coming here if you are nearby and in need of some greens.
Le Sherpa is an international restaurant opposite the president's house in northern Lazimpat. The menu is small but the food is good, though probably the most expensive in the area. The Farmers Market at La Sherpa often has appetizer-style offerings from expatriates and Nepali who bring their produce every Saturday. There can often be a good selection of cheese, coffee, and wines on offer here.
For more restaurants do see the following:
Here is the latest list of the best restaurants in Kathmandu.
Finally, it's worth pointing out that while many people enjoy reviews from Trip Advisor there are two things to be wary about in Nepal and this site. The first is the incredible upsurge in fake reviews over the past few years. Secondly, many Lazimpat listed restaurants are not located in Lazimpat but further away in places like Thamel and Naxal.
Lazimpat's main road is noisy and polluted. Do try to ensure your hotel room is off the main road. Most hotels have soundproofing and blackout curtains. However, do be aware that quietness is not a huge trait here. Do ask for a quiet room and make sure the message is clear!
Radisson Hotel Kathmandu: One of the first hotels in Lazimpat. A little dated and not all rooms have working facilities. The restaurant is excellent.
Hotel Shanker: Once a royal palace, Hotel Shanker gets top marks for ambiance, though it is a little dated. Staff are professional, and the service is excellent.
Hotel Ambassador: Spacious, clean rooms with attentive staff. Pricing can fluctuate greatly, so choose your room carefully.
Hotel Le Himalaya: Large, bright rooms with comfortable beds. There's on-site parking, and the restaurant is good. It's located at the northern end of Lazimpat.
Do check out my full listing and reviews of accommodation in Kathmandu.
If you are in a rush for a hotel, you can use my search box below to find the best rates.
There are very few temples or shrines along Lazimpat's main road. However, next to the Farmers Market at Le Sherpa is a three-story residential building with a large shrine dedicated to Shiva on the ground floor. While the other floors are closed off, you can see the top of a white Buddhist Chaitya on the balcony of the third floor.
The weekly Farmers Market at Le Sherpa is the highlight for many people looking to socialize. It's largely attended by embassy staff, NGO workers, long-term expatriates, and their families. It's more of a boutique farmers market than a local market. Coffee, chocolate, cheese, and freshly made food items along with local produce are placed on sale, along with tables. There's usually an open bar within the surrounding garden where people can socialize. Parking is an issue outside, and there have been cases of "egoistical" people who have caused mild issues outside.
On either side of Lazimpat are older districts of Nepal. The Heritage Walk 10 from the Kathmandu Valley Heritage Walks book takes you through these areas.
Lazimpat is quite easy to navigate as it follows a straight road from south to north. The only real challenge aside from traffic is if you are looking for a residential house off one of the side streets.
By walking: the southern side of Lazimpat is a fairly easy walk from Thamel or the Palace Museum. The real issue is the pollution from the traffic, especially during rush hours. A dust mask is highly recommended. Saturdays are the quietest as it's a public holiday in Nepal. Walking all the way to the northern end can take 30+ minutes from the southern end.
The Map: use the above map of Lazimpat as a rough guide to finding your way around. For most people, the important locations are the hotels in the south, the Farmers Market to the north with embassies and restaurants dotted in-between.
The average tourist to Kathmandu will not find much of interest in Lazimpat. Those that often stay here are business travelers, tourists who bought a tour package and are staying in a hotel there, or those who opted to stay in one of the high-end hotels. The crowds of tourists from Thamel don't come here, which many people say is Lazimpat's attraction. However, the crowds of tourists are merely substituted for crowds of traffic, people coming and going home from work.
Here are some more tips to help you around Lazimpat.
- Much like the rest of Kathmandu, there are trekking agents and tour guides located in Lazimpat. Don't expect much difference in the quality nor the price - though it will be higher in Lazimpat.
- Restaurant quality is basically the same as some of the new up-and-coming along with established restaurants in Thamel but a little more expensive. Budget travelers and mid-range will find Thamel better value.
- If you are looking for an embassy, then do make sure to check out the embassy website for opening hours. Arrive early to avoid crowds as many visa applicants can be found queuing outside.
- Shopping in Lazimpat is sparse and overpriced. The shops certainly look nicer, have better displays and service than in other parts of Kathmandu, but the end product is basically the same.
Finally, keep in mind that Lazimpat is essentially where most of the embassies are located. Hotels are largely found along the southern part of the road. Long-term expatriates make the most of Lazimpat, but for the average tourist, it can be skipped with ease.
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