Bhaktapur is a must-see if you visit Nepal. The capital city of the former Bhaktapur Kingdom is located 13 km east of Kathmandu at 1400 meters altitude, which is nearly the same altitude as Kathmandu. It is an ancient kingdom village where the old architecture is kept alive. This old town was originally inhabited by the Newar caste, Nepali native people. Bhaktapur was one of the many kingdoms, just like Patan. All before Prithvi united all the kingdoms to what now Nepal is.
Now it is a town with 75.000 inhabitants. The main entrance, where you find the ticket boot, is located at Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Although, there are several ticket sales points. Every road that leads to Bhaktapur Durbar Square has a ticket boot for entering so that you can see the many wonderful ancient buildings at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the complex you will find four main squares, many temples, shops and restaurants. The sphere is very serene.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the square you will see many temples. The highest temple is the Nyatapols Temple, built in 1702. The entry can be reached by stairs, flanked by temple guardian statues. Above the entrance this temple has five storeys, which is the highest in Nepal.
If you are lucky, you will see woodworkers busy with carving new wood to replace elements of the ancient buildings. Potters are busy making items for the souvenir shops. A pottery might give you a chance to try and make some item yourself, if you’re up to the challenge.
Most importand and impressive are ofcourse the many temples in this area. Check out if you can enter a couple of them.
Large area with 4 squares and lots of temples
The ancient compount of Bhaktapur has four squares: Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square. Many temples surround these squares and the whole area is certainly worth visiting. You can easily spend the day in Bhaktapur. Enjoy the wonderful scenery and have a drink or lunch in one of the restaurants. If you stay overnight in one of the hotels, it’s certainly worth walking around when most tourists left. The locals come to the squares with streetfood, dance and lots of other activities.
In many souvenir shops you will find a “peacock window”. The wood carvings in Bhaktapur are famous. One of the most beautiful carvings is the peacock window, which you can find in a small alley near Dattatreya Square. It’s easy to miss, so look carefully to the walls above the shops. Other temples have Kamasutra carvings.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Bhaktapur is by taxi. The price varies. If you let the driver wait to take you back too, he will charge extra. One way will easily cost you 1000 rupees minimum. Many taxi drivers ask a lot more because you are a rich tourist. Use your bargaining skills to get a good price. If the taxi driver isn’t willing to give a good price, just go to the next taxi.
It also helps to take a taxi from somewhere else in a random street, away form the tourist hotspot. Driving taxi’s are always cheaper in Asia than the waiting taxi’s.
Another option is to go by bus from the old buspark. It’s a lot cheaper but also less comfortable. Minibuses also drive from the Kathmandu buspark to Bhaktapur. Eventually you will be cheaper by renting a scooter or motorbike for around 800 rupees a day than by taxi.
Getting away from Bhaktapur by taxi can be very annoying. There are guys that offer you a taxi, but they aren’t taxi drivers. They try to get in between and take some commission. Just ignore them, because their job is not an official one. If they give you a hard time, just walk away and get a taxi in another area, away from the tourist hotspot pick-up place. Again your bargaining skills are needed to get a fair price.
The entry fee is around 10 dollar. If you plan to visit Bhaktapur more often, you can get a pass that will give you entry for the period in which your visa is valid. You will need a passport size photo for that.