Doing Nepal a bit differently
Instead of staying in Thamel and taking a taxi where they want to go, there is a better way.
First, take a quadrant of the Kathmandu Valley to explore. Changunarayan/Bhaktapur, Kopan, Pharfing, Kirtipur. So book your room online for the first night or two. This usually gets you a free, or reduced, ride from the airport. We did the same and recommend you to do the if you want to Discover Nepal Hasslefree..
Changunarayan is nearby Bhaktapur, an ancient village that will give you more of a 'genuine' feel. There are several things to do, from painting your own thangka to exploring the nearby villages that each have a unique flavor. There are also 2 museums to explore. It's really quiet, too.
Big tip: Try to book your time in Nepal so you will be here during a full moon. There is usually a festival going on during each full moon, but you may need to do a bit of research on where is the best place. Indra Jatra is coming in September, awesome! That will be an excellent time to stay a couple nights in Thamel, Chhetrapati or near Darbur Square, Kathmandu.
These are also permit-free trekking trails and you can go as we all went from gentle walks to a bit of climbing, but it's through villages that do not get so many tourists. Do visit them. It is by tourism they are able to fill their stomach. After you see this side of the Valley, you will want to go to the other side for a bit. You will see different birds, insects, cultures and terrain.