Eventually, the constant blare of horns, the persistent pollution, and the never ending haggling from street vendors took its toll. Our time in Kathmandu, despite its obvious pleasures, was getting to us. We needed to find a respite; somewhere to escape, if just for a few hours. Heck, we didn’t need it, we craved it!
We asked a few local friends who suggested we visit a hidden garden just outside of famous tourist district of Thamel, ‘The Garden of Dreams’. It sounded like exactly what we were after.
We set off through the narrow streets, dodging crazed Kathmandu taxi’s, hashish dealers, and pesky street vendors. The short walk seemed to take an eternity, but before long we stumbled across the nondescript hole in the wall entrance that announced The Garden of Dreams.
It turns out The Garden of Dreams is like a gift from Shiva – a delightful little spot where we could finally escape the crazy, chaotic streets of Kathmandu.
THE GARDEN OF DREAMS, KATHMANDU
AN OASIS RIGHT IN THE HEART OF KATHMANDU
The Garden of Dreams has a varied history. Built in the 1920’s, and originally named of ‘The Garden of Six Seasons’ (after Nepal’s six seasons), it was formerly a private garden for Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rama, who requested an elegant, European neo-classical walled gardens complete with pavilions, fountains, ponds, pergolas, and verandas to accompany his sprawling mansion. Like most of Asia’s stately colonial remnants, the gardens fell into disrepair upon his death. After decades of neglect, restorations were undertaken between 2000 and 2007 with the support of Austrian Government.
After paying our 200 rupee entry fee, we stepped through the entrance way and right into our version of heaven; an oasis, right in the heart of Kathmandu. Ornate neo-classical pavilions, well manicured gardens, expansive lawns and quiet. So much quiet.
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RELAXING IN THE GLORIOUS KATHMANDU SUN
Thankfully, The Garden of Dreams escaped with only minor damage from the destructive 2015 earthquake, and while the signs were evident, it didn’t distract from our exploration. We spent hours investigating all corners of the gardens, admiring the unique flora brought from varying countries around the world, and learning about the history, its fall into disrepair, and the extensive 7 year renovation project. We couldn’t help but feel a little thankful to the Austrian Government. They did good; real good.
We found secret hideaways, no doubt perfect for the throngs of Nepali youth who frequent the gardens, and we found the best position to lay down, in an amphitheatre no less, to relax in the glorious Kathmandu sun.
We didn’t move for the rest of the afternoon, enjoying a few precious moments away from the ever constant shrill of motorcycle horns, and the constant craziness of everyday life outside the walls.
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AN AFTERNOON DELIGHT
We finished our perfect little afternoon the best way possible – with tea and cake at the Kaiser Cafe. Not just any tea, but ginger tea which we’d become accustomed to in the high Himalaya. The cake, chocolate, hit the spot, much like the whole day had. There was no hint of the chaos that surround the walls, just us and our perfect afternoon.
If you’re in Kathmandu and looking to escape the hustle and bustle, or simply looking for a brilliant, relaxing afternoon after a hard week’s hiking, The Garden of Dreams is the perfect place.
Visited The Garden of Dreams? Enjoy the serenity as much as us? Let us know your thoughts!
THE GARDEN OF DREAMS ENTRANCE FEE
If you’re non-Nepali, entry is going to cost you Rs. 200 per person (under $2). Nepali’s get a special rate of Rs. 100 per person.
If you’re after wi-fi at the Garden of Dreams, it costs Rs. 50 per hour.
See Tripadvisor reviews here.
HOW TO GET TO THE GARDEN OF DREAMS
The Garden of Dreams are located in between Thamel Marg, and Kantipath on Tridevi Sadak. It’s located practically opposite the ever popular Fire and Ice restaurant, and next door to Himalayan Java cafe.
It’s a seriously easy 2 minute walk from Thamel, but if you get lost, ask for directions.
THE GARDEN OF DREAMS MAP
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