If you’ve procrastinated for half the semester and have yet to decide what to do for spring break, and are now panicking just thinking about having to spend it in Abu Dhabi; what better way to cheer yourself up during mid-term week than by looking for last minute destinations? Having spent seventeen years of my life in Kathmandu, Nepal, I can vouch for the fact that it is the perfect place to consider for an easy but spontaneous trip. Here is how you can spend an affordable and adventurous trip in the beautiful valley of Kathmandu:

1. Durbar Squares

One of the most popular tourist spots in the city of temples is the Durbar Squares. Built before the unification of Nepal, the three main squares-- Hanumandhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur-- represent the three ancient kingdoms within the valley. These plazas reflect the cultural and architectural history of Nepal through the majestic palaces, temples, fountains, and open courts-- securing them a place on Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites

Each square has its own charm and boasts the perfect combination of traditional heritage and cute cafes, so you can spend a day exploring the Durbars, enjoying fantastic food, and local chiya (tea). You can also take back spectacular hand carved wooden window panels, ankhijhyal as souvenirs.

2. Boudhanath Stupa 

Another monument on Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites is the Boudhanath Stupa, constructed in AD 600. The famous Buddhist pilgrimage site is one of the biggest spherical stupas in the country. The whole area around the stupa is flooded with cafes and other smaller food stands-- selling laphing, a special tibetan street food made out of mung bean noodles mixed with the Nepali staple: sandheko waiwai. My favorite part around the area is the Sechen Monastery . Along with one of the biggest Buddhist libraries in the East and over 150 idols, tourists can witness the fascinating process of making thanka paintings (an ancient art form that dates back to the 7th century) by the students studying in the monastery. The peaceful garden has a restaurant with not just great food but also a tranquil aura. 

3. Thamel

Located right in the middle of Kathmandu, Thamel is a lively street filled with cafes, bars and souvenir shops. The street is decorated magnificently with prayer flags, street art and aesthetic souvenirs, and represents every aspect of what makes Nepal so unique—from the natural beauty of its mountains to its ancient cultural heritage. 

Bustling with rickshaws and tourists, you can also enjoy the energetic nightlife. Spend a chill evening at Mandala Street in Thamel, with hookah, drinks, and some good company.

#SpoonTip: If you’re planning on going on a trek, this is the perfect place to buy affordable yet reliable equipment and bags.

4. Chandragiri Hills 

Around seven kilometers south west from Kathmandu city, Chandragiri Hills is the perfect spot to get away from the crowded capital. At 2551 metres from the sea level, tourists can immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the valley and the mountain ranges-- from Annapurna to Everest-- from the view tower (at 2547 meters).

You can also experience the smooth cable car ride-- the fastest mode of transport-- to the top of the hills. This site is also home to the monumental temple of Bhaleshwor Mahadev. 

5. Jhamsikhel

Located in the Lalitpur district, Jhamsikhel is one of my favorite food spots in the valley. Catering to a wide range customers, this area has a great variety of eateries-- from spicy street food to cozy cafes. 

The homely bakeries complement the roadside pani-puri stalls perfectly, and the restaurants serve a great combination of mouth watering Momos and refreshing drinks. The speciality however, is the typical Thakali set that brings the rich flavors of the Himalayas. 

The area is even more vibrant at night when friends and families come together to enjoy a fun meal while listening to live music provided by some restaurants. 

Finding sanctuary in this chaotic city is a lot easier than it seems; under the layers of electric and telephone wires, Kathmandu is filled with diverse culture, peaceful greenery, beautiful weather and warm, welcoming hearts