What to wear in Kathmandu depends on what attractions you wish to see, what activities you wish to experience and during what season you are visiting. The capital city of mystical Nepal has plenty to offer its visitors, which is why this is a leading tourist attraction in Asia.
Kathmandu is the center of Nepal tourism, economy and urban living. It is the largest and busiest city with about one million inhabitants. It is not uncommon to see Western and Asian tourists walking around and bathing in the city’s mystic charm and religiosity.
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The city is the urban center of bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley in the Himalayas. It is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most prominent of which is the Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is a complex that contains ancient temples, palaces, structures and streets. It is located at the heart of Thamel, the tourism center of the capital city. Kathmandu is bordered by its two sister cities, Patan (Lalitpur) and Bhaktapur, while Nepal is locked between India and China. The country is serviced by major airlines from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Travelers coming from the United States and Australia typically pass by London, Bangkok, Hong Kong or Singapore.
One of the top reasons for tourism is religious pilgrimage. Devotees from India and Bangkok regularly come to see the centuries-old temples in Kathmandu. Non-Buddhist visitors to the temples must dress in accordance with the accepted religious norms. This means not showing too much skin, while exhibiting good and respectful behavior all throughout. Another tourism draw is trekking and mountain hiking. International mountaineers never go to a country without the proper gears and tools. They are always equipped with the knowledge of what to wear in the country of destination.
When trekking, Western tourists try to put on the local Kurtar Suruwal or Punjabi, which consists of a top, trousers and a long scarf. The top is long and could be used as covering whenever trekkers need to rest and have a moment of privacy. The fabric is also very light and is perfect for outdoor activities. Tourists can go to any fabric store and local tailors can make a custom-made Punjabi in a day or two. A good pair of shoes and sunglasses is a must when trekking.
Generally, tourists visit the city to take in its natural beauty and ancient charm. International tourists are often seen just walking around the tourist area of Thamel since the tourist attractions here are very near each other. In this religious, cultural and traditional city of Kathmandu, female tourists are advised not to wear strappy tops and short skirts. The Nepalese are very conservative and so tourists should not wear anything skimpy. Skirts and trousers should be long, and male tourists should resist the temptation of walking around shirtless due to the scorching heat. Walking around in short shorts, women in strappy tops and men half naked is only acceptable when trekking outside Kathmandu. When shopping or walking around the city, dressing down in a light cotton shirt and jeans is perfect. Skirts are more culturally accepted for women, though. What to wear in Kathmandu is determined by the local culture first, and then comfort second.