Kathmandu Elevation

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Kathmandu is a city in the country of Nepal in Asia’s Himalayas. The city of Kathmandu is above sea level, at an average elevation of  4,344 feet (1,324 metres), so while Kathmandu is at altitude, its elevation is not great enough to cause altitude sickness. However, your body should be starting to acclimatise very slowly from the moment you get off the plane in Kathmandu airport. Tribhuvan International Airport  is at an altitude of 4390 feet, although the airport’s own website gives its altitude as 4390 m. The lowest point in Kathmandu is at the confluence of the Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers with an elevation of 1,280 meters.

Kathmandu view of city from high point swayambhunath stupa
View of Kathmandu city from Swayambhunath stupa at elevation above the city and valley.

The elevation of Thamel, the tourist district in Kathmandu city, is reportedly 1,316m or 4,318 feet.

Kathmandu Valley or Kathmandu City Elevation

Kathmandu is a huge city, filled with temples and interesting things to do. It is built in the Kathmandu Valley surrounded by high mountains. The city lies in a bowl shaped depression in the mountains.

On these mountainsides you will find various lookouts and view points from where you can see Mount Everest and the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas. The air is thinner than at sea level but also badly polluted by Kathmandu’s traffic and burning. Views of the mountains can be hard to find.

Too see the map in full click here.

Kathmandu Nepal Map altitude terrain

Swayambhunath Stupa, one of the higher parts of the city of Kathmandu is at a max elevation of 1,293m / 4,242 feet  according to various sources and is reached via steep steps on one side, a road on the other side. There are great views of Kathmandu city from Swayambhunath, as you can see from our photo at the top of the page.

As you can see from the figures above, a lot of the data on Kathmandu’s altitude that we can find online can be misleading and confusing.

Is Kathmandu the Highest City in the World?

No, Kathmandu is only at a moderate altitude although it is in one of the highest countries in the world. The highest city in the world is actually in Bolivia, Bolivia’s El Alto-La Paz metropolitan area is at an average elevation of 3,869m above sea level.

View Points Around the Kathmandu Valley

Chovar, Nagarkot, Dhulikel, Kakani, Shivapuri, Daman, Bandipur,Godavari and Phulchowki are all high points around the Kathmandu valley with good viewpoints.

You may need to read our post about the difficulty of the Everest Base Camp Trek, or our post on the best hotels in Kathmandu Nepal.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

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