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11 Life Hacks To Survive in Kathmandu
Hawrry Bhattarai comment 4 Comments access_time 7 min read

Bear Grylls, who has lived in some of the most remote corners of the earth, once said “ Improvise. Adapt. Overcome” and that is exactly how we should learn to live here in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is one of the most populated cities of Nepal and it also happens to be one of the most expensive cities in South Asia. 

Kathmandu challenges us on a daily basis just like it does to all its tourists and settlers. Here are few life hacks to live in this city:

11 Clever Hacks To Survive In  Kathmandu

#1. Know the Bus Routes

know the bus routes

Kathmandu has a big and small public transit system, but unless you make the effort to learn how it works, sooner than you realize you’ll be burning your fingers on your bulging wallets. Thus, get wise to each of the different bus and microbus routes as well as their main stops. 

Trust me, the feeling of being confused, concerned and lost is worse than anything else.

#2 Talk to Locals

talk to locals

When you start to explore a new city, you quickly realize that locals are goldmines from heaven! Not only do they provide excellent insider tips and tricks, but they also have the best stories and hacks for having a ball around town. It’s not just about where to buy the best fruits or even where to dine – it’s also about exploring the hidden gems scattered throughout their beloved city. Locals just know what’s hot! You know When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So get your charm on and start talking!

#3 Explore Market Before Making Purchase

local nepali shop

In the streets of Kathmandu, you will find that many things are priced from INR 100 to 1000. So before opening your wallet too widely, go around shopping at a few more places first and compare their prices to get the best value for your money. This way you will end up saving more than intended. 

Pro Tip: It may vary with different locations but the simple rule that I follow while making a purchase in the local market is simply ask for price (clothes only) : Divide that price by 3 and then multiply it by 2 is the final price of the item. Some might argue at first but this works they tend to agree on this negotiated price.

Eg: Salesman: Rs 5000

Rule: 5000/3 = Rs 1666.66 *2 = Rs 3333.33  

Sales man: Laaijanus la 3333 final 

#4 Find Places to Buy Second-hand Books

Book Shop Nepal

If you are one of those lovely bookworms, there are plenty of places where you can find second-hand books. These can often be found where the tourists go in Kathmandu, like Thamel. You don’t have to worry about being bored while traveling. Just find yourself a comfy spot and spend some time reading. 

 #5 Make Use of Your Student ID Card

Student ID Card

Student ID cards make students feel special in many amazing ways. From the Bhrikuti Mandap’s Fun Park to any historical place you care to name, many venues across Kathmandu offer student discounts. You might find that you can save as much as fifty percent on tickets and sometimes even more!

#6 Carry Entertainment With You

carry the entertainment

We’ve all had some experience with Nepali Time; you arrive somewhere on time or even a little early and everyone else is already late. It can be quite frustrating and disheartening, however it doesn’t mean you should leave your fantasy time at home because ending up waiting around won’t be any less boring stuck inside a building instead of outside in the fresh air! And let’s face it, carrying around just a few episodes of ‘The Office’ on a smartphone isn’t going to hurt. Or watching Netflix’s ‘365 Days’ might spice you up. 

#7 Carry A Sanitizer

Carry A Sanitizer

Sanitizers are the best friends of all people who live in Kathmandu, Nepal. As great as the city is, there are constant germs that plague the area amidst a plethora of smells both good and bad. Public toilets in Kathmandu are not the cleanest spaces. To protect yourself from all these prickly beasts and stave off illness, Hand sanitizer must be used at all times. Always sanitize or wash your hands thoroughly before deciding to eat something or touch someone intimately.

#8 Find Food Places You Can Afford Always

Nepali food

We’re all foodies at heart with peanuts in our wallets. You will frequently be struggling to find appropriate restaurants that won’t demand a part of your kidney too badly during a typical meal out. That’s why it is worth asking people you know or locals in the area if they could recommend somewhere to eat; their advice will often lead you to somewhere that really keeps costs down and has tasty meals too! It is also worth checking out places recommended by some of your friends via Instagram or YouTube! 

Pro Tip: When you end up in expensive restaurants don’t panic. The greatest escape is to order momo or chow mein. I often use this trick if I am traveling with a tight pocket. Also note that, order ‘chow mein’ not ‘spaghetti’ anything fancy will cost you. 

#9 Find a Place to Unwind

Garden Of Dreams

Living is wonderful but why not make it more wonderful by finding a special place where you can be yourself?  Some of us love the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Kathmandu, while others seek something quiet : Garden of Dreams, UN park, etc. Find a place that makes you feel comfortable. It could be a restaurant, a library, or high up hills; seek it out and savor it.

#10 Install Useful Apps

nepal apps

Hotel and home

While they’re not always the most reliable, phones are extremely useful. Some of the most useful applications in Kathmandu include 

  1. Pathao, Tootle (Ride Sharing inside Kathmandu Valley)
  2.  eSewa (a payment service provider), Khalti
  3.  Google Maps (a mapping service).
  4. My Hotel and Home


Install these handy apps so that life in this rapidly changing city is more convenient than ever!

#11 Know Your Hotlines

SOS app

Hotlines are essential for your survival. In fact, the entire country’s survival. From the police, ambulance service and fire department to information and assistance hotlines, having a list of these numbers available at all times is an absolute must. And they should be saved in your cell phone under key contacts or stored in your phone under ICE (In Case of Emergency) settings. 

Having them on hand will help save lives whenever necessary whether you’re a tourist in unfamiliar surroundings or otherwise. Memorize any emergency number immediately like you would with a phone number that you use frequently so that if something goes wrong you can always get through as quickly as possible without wasting time running around looking for a piece of paper containing these numbers when you desperately need them!

Install SOS Nepal Emergency & Safety App.

When your safety is compromised, or even if you are feeling just a tad bit unsafe, SOS Nepal Alert can help you acquire the much-needed support. 


Living in Kathmandu does have its perks, but it isn’t exactly easy as some people make it out to be. I hope that some of these hacks help you make your life a little easier. If you care to share some more things you know or follow you are always welcome to get featured on this blog. 

 Comment and let me  know if you have anything to add! 

Share to let people know how they can live in this heavy, bustling city without losing their minds!


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