As if it just came out of the canvas, with its red-brick buildings, rustic pathways, soothing window views from its more than excellent cafes, and on the backdrop, beautiful, majestic mountains; Patan is so gorgeous, almost unrealistic. After Kathmandu and Pokhara, Patan is the third-largest city in Nepal.
Located south of downtown Thamel, Patan carries a vibe in itself, more relaxed, more breathable. A taxi from Thamel to Patan would usually cost you about NPR 600-700 for a 10KM ride, although drivers could ask for more so bring some bargaining skills handy.
Pagoda styled buildings in its Durbar Square clustered together make for a fantastic skyline, and each day when it’s about time for the sunsets, you see a swarm of travelers in the multi-storeyed cafes of Patan gazing at the larger than life views.
Getting around Patan
The best way to explore Patan is on foot. Rather than waiting in a taxi on traffic-ridden roads of Nepal, go and explore the alleyways of Patan. Enter through a courtyard and find yourself in the maze of stunning architecture, houses, temples, and wells shared by the lovely locals. And if lost, ask anyone, and they would point you towards the main road happily.
Things to see in Patan
The heart of Patan is in its central Durbar Square, with its unique built, and a piece of architecture on every step, you’ll be amazed at each junction where you see history come to life once again through heritage. You can walk around the cobblestone streets, buy some goodies from the local NGO and fair deal shops (unique setups with fair priced handicrafts- locally made, locally sold at fair prices to uplift the local community).
The Royal Palace of Patan and Patan Museum
Within the square, rests this age-old UNESCO World Heritage site, and the seat of his highness in Lalitpur. If you are too pleased watching the living characters in a place, sit on a bench by the walls of the museum and watch the central square become busier, evolving throughout the day. It’s just a great thing to notice how things turn around here—the entry ticket costs NPR250 for SAARC nationals and NPR1000 for other foreign nationals.
Three courtyards, most prominent and beautiful of which is the Sundari Chowk (which translates to the Beautiful Courtyard), adds up to the charm of downtown Patan. The Sundari Chowk has a fountain-centerpiece, which turns out to be the show-stealer each time because of its intricate stone and bronze work. Of all, there is one thing that might intrigue you (to say the least) which is, how the narrow alleyways of Patan interestingly connect and make the town a supersize jigsaw puzzle. It’s a thing of beauty altogether.
#ProTip: In the square is an open area where local people dedicatedly come to feed pigeons, there are tens and hundreds of pigeons flying around all day and these locals who come to feed, have, in a way, accommodated this ritual into their daily lives. It’s very soothing to see the smiles on their faces while they’re feeding. It almost feels like they’re feeding one of their own. It’s a rare and pure emotion, and you’d notice that. You can also buy some grains and feed the birds.
Krishna Mandir and Mahabuddha Temple
Built only with stones, the Krishna Mandir is centuries old and has seen the city change through its course. In Patan, when you’re out after a long day at work, you’ll come and spend some time sitting by the Pavillion-like falchas (stairs) of the temple and spend a pleasant evening talking to your friends.
The Mahabuddha Temple made singularly out of thousands of clay bricks, is a place of worship and a heritage temple that boasts of Buddhism and the thousands who follow it here in Nepal. The entrance fees for this temple is 50 NPR, and the visit is worth the price
Kwa Baha and a fantastic breakfast!
Right behind the Durbar Square runs the real town. The alleyways, though narrow, into the interiors of Patan, have so much to offer, you’ll be more than happy to get lost in here.
First things first, the lanes house some of the most amazing restaurants, cafes, and local sweet shops that are any day a treat to the senses. Mhamadu Galli (Galli translates to the alley) in particular drags you to its buttery fragrances coming straight out of the sweet makers in this lane. You can enjoy some mouthwatering desserts here.
If you’ve got an eye for detail, you’d love how Kwa Baha Monastery (locally referred to as Golden Temple) has its idols shining like molten gold. The roots of the place trace back in the 12th century. Today, it’s a silent place for worship, meditation, and spirituality.
On your way to Kwa Baha, you would probably find more than one of those craft shops, populated with artifacts, paintings, works of exceptional craftsmanship, don’t forget to pick up a souvenir.
Food to eat in Patan
When you say food in Patan, it comes with flavors, sceneries, and tradition. It’s simple, you are walking around in Patan, and you find a hole-in-the-wall, and it turns out to be an excellent food stop, no complications, no billboards, just good food, and outstanding views.
This hidden curtain, though, makes it a bit tricky to find a decent place to eat and enjoy. So, here are some options:
The beautiful ivory and yellow-colored building with metallic frames on windows, the restaurant is hidden in a residential complex. The place is a real treasure of authentic Nepali cuisine, impeccable service, and fantastic interiors. It’s an experience to have a meal in the quiet courtyard of Raithanee, not far away from the busy Darbar square. You’ll love spending an evening or two while enjoying a wide variety of meals here.
Si Taleju Rooftop & Bar
Of places to hangout in Nepal, this one’s quite a charm. This Cafe is located at the edge of Patan Darbar Square in Thichhu Gali. The entrance to the cafe is a bit tricky, also to reach the rooftop, you have to climb five floors with a narrow staircase, which is quite a climb, but the view of the Darbar Square lighting up at sunset is definitely worth it from this place. The food here is pretty average, so you can pick some quick bites like Momos or French Fries and a drink, add a beautiful sunset to it, plus some serene views of the Durbar Square make up for a chilled out evening.
Cafe De Patan
Colorful, authentic, and real, Cafe de Patan is a gift to the neighborhood. With its vibrant outdoors and authentic Nepali styled dining set up, this can be counted as somewhat more of an experience than a regular meal. You’d taste some mind-blowing dishes that are very much worthy of being a part of your social feed too.
Nadini food court
A less than a minute of northeast walk from Krishna Temple, this local cafe is a table turner. Talk about versatility, and you have 20 authentic Newari dishes on your menu right there. The taste palate here is close to godly, and ambiance can be marked as more than decent. You sure can have a good meal when you’re craving for one.
Patan Museum Cafe
The cafe with a garden, this one’s run in Durbar Square, so you can have a quick break while still exploring the town. It’s worth visiting the cafe, especially for the greenery, lively ambiance and it’s decent food.
A much popular choice, you’d see a lot of travelers here, right behind of the Durbar Square. This humble food place offers a great variety when it comes to food, with a revolving menu according to the season, what they also are good at is their top-notch service. With a variety of continental dishes, they serve some Nepali dishes too. Their Mezze plater with homemade pita bread, home-made pasta, and organic salads are outstanding, and the show stopper is their cheesecake, which is undoubtedly best in town too.
Places to stay in Patan
Nepalis are by far a very warm and friendly group of people; they’ll bring you to their dinner tables and tell you stories about their family. They’ll laugh with you and take you for a ride around. So, while staying anywhere in Nepal, you’ll find some of the most courteous people on the go. In Patan, here’s where you can find a place to stay:
Traditional Homes Swotha
Located within walking distance from Durbar Square of Patan, Traditional Homes, Swotha is a very artistically restored Newari house. The boutique property has several rooms options from the Attic suite, Family rooms, and traditional rooms. This 70 years old, and very earnestly refurbished property is hidden in a small by lane. The staff is warm and welcoming, and the rooms are sparkling clean. The restaurant at the property is an added perk, with outdoor garden seating and delicious organic meals.
A super humble homestay run by Robin, Kaji Home, is located in the alleys of Patan little bit away from the touristic center of Patan. The rooms are well ventilated, and right from the moment you enter the homestay, you feel at home. With his loving and caring family and two pets, Kaji home is a perfect choice if you want to take a break from Hotel hopping.
If you are traveling solo, Robin can take you out for a good ride around the city on his Royal Enfield and that too for a very nominal price. This cheerful guy will make your day with a happy-go-lucky approach all day long. Robin also lends out his scooter, which is very well maintained, and the rental is better than the market price.
If you’re all about gorgeous views to wake up to in the morning, this place could be an excellent pick for you. Repurposed and restructured this homestay can offer fantastic scenery of the Patan Durbar Square. The only trick while deciding to stay here is to find the location. The hosts will go out of their ways to help you as much as possible during your entire stay.
Yamba Traditional Home
If you wish to stay close to heritage, this is one of the good options, where you should plan to go. The homestay is a traditional Nepali Home built with red bricks and wooden floors in the rooms. Pradeep, the owner of the homestay, is a super warm host you would like to meet when on a trip. The major plus is that his place is situated within a 400 meters radius of the Patan Durbar Square, so you’ll not miss the beautiful sunrise in the Darbar Square.
Pahan Chhen – Boutique Hotel
Patan doesn’t boast of high-end luxuries of life and metropolis like skyscrapers, but if you still want to take an exquisite staying experience, Pahan Chhen does the job neatly. What you get is clean rooms, over the top facilities and a brilliant rooftop restaurant overlooking the entire town. It’s a relaxing experience to stay at this boutique property, and it doesn’t even cost a fortune. Expect to spend about NPR 8000 for an average night.
Hotel Timila Newa Comfort Home
A real treat for the viewer, this hotel is built very beautifully with red bricks, traditional sculptures, and beautiful bamboo furnishings. You’d almost feel like staying in a jungle resort while you are in their terrace suite and queen-sized rooms overlooking the garden. It’s a great choice but a little away from the hustle and bustle of the town.
Go to Patan for a leisurely walk and get lost in its crisscrossing alleys that have more than a hundred stories to tell!