|Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal
is a sleepy place. Many restaurants start setting up
about 9.30 pm; however, a couple of nightclubs are supposed
to stop selling
at 10.00 pm. Like many, you may just decide to go to bed early
and get up early the next morning, when the city is at its best.
Nightclubs and Bars
Kathmandu's nightlife is growing somewhat. The surrounding area of the Kathmandu
Guest House has evolved into quite an exciting little location
in the evenings, with dueling sound systems blaring across the alleyways,
noisy revelers looking for action, and the cops and the rickshaw
wallahs waiting outside for closing time.
in Thamel and Freak Street provide beer, cocktails and music. As
with the tourist restaurants, are on the whole fine for meeting,
mixing and prolonging an otherwise short evening. A number of restaurants have "happy
hour" in the early evening, meaning free popcorn. During the
high season, bars usually keep serving until the late hours behind
drawn curtains and locked doors. However, please inform your hotel staff
if you are going to stay out late, as you could get locked out. Reputations
rise and fall from season to season, but the establishments listed
below seem to be in for the duration.
The Thamel and Freak Street bars attract budget travellers, and
a few young Nepali men hoping to meet up with Western women. A handful
of fancier nightclubs in the city attract a more diverse
clientele - Nepali men and women, expats, upmarket tourists - and
are busiest on weekends. They usually stay open late and typically
have a cover charge.
Pool and Snooker are
becoming popular with young Nepalis. A number of places have tables,
which provide congenial common ground for foreigners and Nepalis
You probably do not wish to come to Nepal for a gamble, but a night at one
of Kathmandu's casinos is a weird unforgettable experience. The
officially out of bounds for
Nepalis, and mostly visited by zealous Indians
and bored Westerners staying at the deluxe hotels. Admission is
free, and players get complimentary food and drinks. There are casinos
at the Soaltee Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, Yak & Yeti, Hotel
de l'Annapurna and Everest Hotel.
Dance and music are essential parts of Nepali culture, and nowhere
more so than in Kathmandu, where festivals and parades (not to mention
weddings) are an almost daily occurrence. Touring other regions
of the country, you'll encounter different styles of music and dance,
and while it's fun to see these performances in their native context,
it might be worth checking out a culture show in the capital
to get a taste of Nepal's folk and performing arts.
Several Thamel restaurants (Green Leaves and Nepalese
Kitchen) host free folk music performances in the high season.
Many of the deluxe hotels do pricey dinner shows. Cultural evenings
are held at the Royal Nepal Academy, off Kamaladi, they're not well
The following groups perform regularly scheduled shows. Admission
is about Rs300; call for times.
Everest Cultural Society,
at the Hotel de l'Annapurna, Durbar Marg (telephone 228787).
Conventional folk performances, nightly during high season.
Hotel Vajra, Bijeshwari (telephone 271545). The Vajra
's resident Kala Mandapa ensemble does a superb classical Nepali
dance and dance-drama programme on Tuesday evenings.
Himalchuli Cultural Group, near the Bluebird Supermarket in
Lazimpath (telephone 415280). Nightly folk performances during high
Kathmandu has been quick to embrace ghazal, an Indian popular
style of music. Troupes tend to work the better Indian restaurants,
where they provide dinnertime accompaniment from a platform. A ensemble
consists of amplified tabla, guitar, harmonium and synthesizer.
Love is the theme, and the sentimental lyrics - typically in Hindi
or Urdu, but increasingly in Nepali - draw from a tradition going
back to the great Persian poets.
To watch a ghazal act, try the Hotel Manang in Thamel
Northwest; Amber, Ghar-e-Kebab or Moti Mahal in Durbar
Marg; Raj Gharana on Kamaladi; or Ghoomti in the Bishal
Bazaar on New Road.
and other performances
Despite competition from satellite TV, Kathmandu's cinemas,
most recent Indian blockbusters in Hindi, are popular.
The most convenient ones to reach are the Jai Nepal Chitra Ghar, one block
east of the Royal Palace entrance, and the Bishwa Jyoti on Jamal.
The films are shown at noon, 3.00 pm and 6.00 pm every day and tickets cost pennies.
Some Thamel restaurants show pirated Hollywood videos and
laser discs to bring in clients. They're often of poorer quality,
but they're free. For newer English-language releases on a bigger
screen (but still video disc), go to Kathmandu Mini Vision in the
Kathmandu Plaza building at the east end of Lal Durbar (telephone
During the high seasons, the Kathmandu Guest House hosts
slide shows by visiting authors and adventurers. The rafting
companies have their own promotional shows. The Indigo Gallery sometimes
hosts impromptu slide shows on fine-art subjects - email firstname.lastname@example.org
to get on their mailing list.