I was surprised to discover that Kathmandu has one of the best nightlife in South Asia.

The capital of Nepal, with a population of over 2,5M inhabitants, has a rather high number of nightclubs and bars, and a party culture which is much more liberal than in neighboring India.

The below review is a summary of everything I learned from my stay in Kathmandu. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

Kathmandu Party Areas + Hotels
Click on the map to enlarge
If you are interested in Kathmandu nightlife, you should choose a hotel in the Thamel district.

Thamel is the most popular tourist area in Kathmandu. It used to be the go-to spot for hippies and drug users back in the 70s. Nowadays, it is much more mainstream, attracting backpackers and travelers from all over the world. Most of them stay in cheap guesthouses and mid-range hotels. It is a colorful and exciting area, but it can be quite noisy and busy.

Within Thamel, the intersection between Chaksibari Marg street and Paryatan Marg street is the best location for partying. From there, on foot, you can easily reach dozens of caf├ęs, restaurants, bars, and clubs. If you don't know where to start your night out in Kathmandu, just go there first.

The hotels I recommend near that spot are:

⭐⭐Kathmandu Merry Hotel (rated 8/10, US$15 per night) - Super cheap, clean and comfortable
⭐⭐⭐Milestone Hotel (rated 8.4/10, US$25 per night) - Brand new hotel in the center
⭐⭐⭐⭐Ambassador Garden Home (rated 8.7/10, US$35 per night) - Best value for money in this area

Durbarmarg
There is also some nightlife in Durbarmarg, a large avenue leading to the Royal Palace with luxury hotels, shops, and restaurants. It is more residential and less touristy. You may be able to find some upscale apartments there on Airbnb (up to US$45 off your first booking using my link).

For long term residents
If you are staying in Kathmandu for a longer period of time, I'd recommend upmarket neighborhoods like Lazimpat or Lalitpur. They are more laid-back yet they still have a bit of nightlife. Again, I recommend Airbnb instead of a hotel in those areas.

Kathmandu Nightlife Tips
Cost of partying in Kathmandu
The local currency is the Nepalese Rupee (Ns.) with 1$ ≈ Ns. 115.

The average cost of a night out in Kathmandu is around Ns. 5,000 (USD 45). For an entrance fee in a club, you can expect to pay between Ns. 500 and Ns. 2,000. For drinks, Ns. 3,000 should be enough to get you tipsy (around Ns. 300-600 per drink).

Typically, a foreign beer like Carlsberg or Tuborg costs around Ns. 400-500 whereas local beers like Gorkha, Nepal Ice, Everest, and Arna Beer are available for around Ns. 350-450.

Khukuri Rum, an authentic Nepali rum, is quite popular and cheap. A 750 ML bottle costs Ns. 2,000 in pubs.

Transport is inexpensive as you can go to most bars and clubs on foot (if you stay in Thamel).

Dress code:
It is generally relaxed, but all the higher-end clubs will require you to wear closed shoes and pants. Clubs and bars are rarely well-heated so you will probably need to wear a jacket during winter, even when inside.

When to party:
May to September is the busiest season for partying as this is when the weather is the warmest. The nightlife is also interesting just after Divali, usually in late October or early November.

Clubs are officially required to close at 12 PM, but the rule is not really enforced and you can actually party until morning in many venues. Friday and Saturday are the best busiest nights.

Drugs:
Kathmandu used to be considered as a heaven for marijuana lovers up until 1973. Before this date, it was legal to smoke weed or hashish, and hippies would flock from all over the world to enjoy this freedom. World-class marijuana was cultivated in Nepal, especially near the town of Pokhara.

Nowadays, the laws have become much more strict and prohibitive, yet you can still obtain marijuana easily. Street dealers sell it quite aggressively to tourists in Thamel but, unfortunately, it might not be the best stuff. As elsewhere, your best bet is to find it through a local friend.

Prostitution:
Prostitution, in spite of being illegal, is widely practiced in the Thamel area. If you just walk around, you will see some guys distributing massage parlors flyers or offering to hook you up with girls. There is also some online prostitution, especially on apps like Tinder, Badoo, or on the sugar baby website SeekingArrangement (high-class companions).

Meeting other travelers and expats:
I recommend checking the Facebook group Kathmandu Hang Out. You will find information about the latest parties and meetups with foreigners living in the city.

Best Nightclubs and Bars in Kathmandu
This is a list of the most happening bars and nightclubs in Kathmandu (if I forgot one, please mention it in the comment section below).

This is currently the poshest nightclub in Kathmandu, attracting mostly rich locals and a few foreigners. Great lighting (hydraulic chandelier going up and down, lasers, LCD panels) and a sound system of international standards. The venue is quite large (1,000 pax capacity), with a square bar in the center surrounded by elevated VIP areas. A rock band plays until 23.30, followed by a DJ (mostly EDM). A few famous international artists have played there (Asap Tyy, Quintino, etc). The entrance fee is high at Ns. 2,500 (USD 20) and a beer will cost a whopping Ns. 800-1,000 (USD 7-9).

The same group also owns and operates Karma and Reload. Both attract a hip crowd of locals and foreigners.
Reload
A similar club is Deja Vu but it is currently closed for renovation.

Senate Club
An eclectic venue with various events each day of the week, from techno nights to live Nepali rock. Cheaper than Lord of the Drinks (and also less pretentious), it is a good place to party with locals or travelers without breaking the bank. Central location on Thamel.

There are several clubs that are quite similar to Senate in terms of crowd, price, and music: Turtle Club, Playboy, Fire Club, or Fahrenheit.
Playboy Club
Fahrenheit Club
Probably the best rock bar in Kathmandu. They have local (or international/Indian) bands daily until 12 PM. Music can be soft rock, pop, metal, etc depending on who's playing. They play mostly covers of famous songs. Popular with tourists and older locals. The entrance fee is Ns. 500 during weekends with one free drink.

Other good live music bars (with different music): Reggae Bar and Jazz Upstairs.

Bar Bar Black Sip
One of my favorite bars in Thamel, along with Dancing Yak. It is rather intimate, with a regular live band and decent food. Cocktails are normally good (though it doesn't seem they have a standard).

Similar bar: Ozzie Lounge

This "traditional" Irish pub is located in Lazimpat, about 15 minutes from Thamel. A bit on the pricey side, and rather quaint, it is nonetheless a nice venue to get a drink while listening to live music. Average pub fare. Most customers are Nepalese.

This simple club is interesting if you are hoping to meet Nepali girls. While most clients are guys, you generally have a few unattached ladies on the dancefloor (not sure if they are working for the club or not). The music and drinks are similar to other places.

Sam’s Bar
This discreet bar on the second floor of a souvenir shop is one of the oldest in Kathmandu. Nothing special except that it is quite cheap. Popular with budget travelers, locals, and long-term foreign residents. They have live music on selected nights.

Similar bar: Tom and Jerry

This is a smaller club with mostly underground or non-commercial music (trance, techno, or rock bands). It only opens on Friday and Saturday. The entrance fee is usually around Ns. 1,000 with a drink. On the same location, you also have Calm Restaurant and Bar.

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