Kathmandu is a noisy, chaotic, and generally crazy city. Incredible history, culture, and architecture sit alongside scooters, traffic, and endless souvenirs. Everything about the city is an explosion of noise, colour, and sensory overload. Despite this, Kathmandu is also home to some incredible wildlife, including a large population of (relatively) well-behaved rhesus macaques. These ever-adaptable monkeys have taken up residence at the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site Swayambhunath – giving it the nickname ‘Monkey Temple’. There is also plenty of birdlife to spot including black kites, kingfishers, and parakeets.
Average rating: 2.0 (average)
Average cost: an entrance ticket to Swayambhunath costs around $2.
Best time to visit: the climate is relatively warm and pleasant year-round. The monsoon takes place between June and August, meaning rain and clouds.
How to get there: Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and is connected to a range of national and international airports. Road travel in and out of the capital is possible but the roads are notoriously bad. Tourist buses run to the main destinations of Pokhara and Chitwan and can take anywhere between 5 and 9 hours. Within the city, walking is a frenetic and sometimes dangerous experience, so you’re best off taking a taxi up to Swayambhunath. It’s a short ride from the main hub of Thamel. You can get dropped off at the steps and hike up to the temple (dodging monkeys along the way), or get a taxi straight to the top.
Typical activities: bird watching, wildlife watching
Number of reports: 1
Last updated: 2023
WILDLIFE IN kathmandu
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:
macaque – 100% OF WILDSIDE USERS (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
You can’t miss the macaques at Swayambhunath, from the minute you arrive at the steps you’ll be face-to-face with one of them. There are an estimated 450 macaques living at the temple – an amazingly high number given the relatively small size of the area. Thanks to the steady stream of visitors (and the food they bring), the macaques are not afraid of people. This means they aren’t scared of approaching you and can become aggressive if food or plastic bags are on show. Make sure to keep all food, drinks, and plastic hidden away or in a rucksack. And remember, smiling directly at macaques can aggravate them, as showing your teeth is seen as a threat! If you don’t make it to the temple, keep your eyes on the rooftops in the morning and you might see them moving about the city!
Photo credit: sippakorn under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay