Ten days is enough time to do more than just scratch the surface in Nepal. You can go on a substantial trek, enjoy mountain biking and white-water rafting, or tour the country's many cultural attractions — and still have time to fit in some downtime in Kathmandu or Pokhara. As Kathmandu is home to the only international airport in Nepal, most visitors will spend a bit of time in the capital. Factor in at least one full day to see a selection of its highlights, such as ancient Buddhist stupas, Hindu temples, and grand palaces.
Here are some suggested itineraries for 10 days in Nepal.
Option #1: Go Trekking
Trekking is a major reason to travel to Nepal, and in 10 days you can enjoy a serious trek. By picking a route close to Kathmandu you avoid lengthy travel time that would eat into precious trekking time. Give yourself a day or two in Kathmandu either side of the trek, to organize permits, see some of the capital's cultural attractions, and to decompress afterward.
Here are our suggestions for treks suitable for 10 days in Nepal, within easy reach of Kathmandu:
- The Kalinchowk Temple trek. A moderate trek with hill culture, forest and river landscapes, panoramic views of the Himalayas and the beautiful pilgrimage spot of Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple.
- Pikey Peak. Sir Edmund Hillary himself claimed that the view from Pikey Peak was the best in Nepal!
- The Langtang Valley. A moderate trek with expansive views, interesting Tamang culture, and a relatively gentle pace. The region took a hit in the 2015 earthquake, but is ready for trekkers again and could do with extra income for its continued recovery.
- The Tamang Heritage Trail. Also in the Langtang region, the focus of this trek is the local Tamang culture, so you'll stay with locals and help provide sustainable economic benefit to the community.
Alternatively, if you're really itching to travel to the Everest region--a once-in-a-lifetime aspiration for many travelers--you have time to do a short trek there. Select a five or seven day itinerary, starting at Lukla (after flying from Kathmandu), and trekking through the heartland of Sherpa culture, Namche Bazaar. You'll enjoy spectacular mountain views (including Everest), interesting culture, and the thrill of trekking in a region as beautiful as it is famous.
Another great way to spend 10 days is to choose one of the many short treks in the Annapurna area near Pokhara (a convenient one-hour flight from Kathmandu). Consider the popular Ghandruk Trek (3 days), Ghorepani Trek (5 days) or the more off the beaten path Khopra Danda Trek (6 days) and spend a day or 2 chilling in the lakeside town of Pokhara.
For other trekking suggestions for limited time, see The Best Short Treks in Nepal.
Option #2: Trekking, mountain biking, and rafting adventure
In 10 days, you can enjoy three of Nepal's best outdoor pursuits--trekking, mountain biking, and rafting--in one adventurous itinerary. The eight-day Kalinchowk Adventure itinerary is easily accessible from Kathmandu but takes you into a part of the Himalayan foothills that few travelers experience. Start by heading to The Last Resort--an adventure camp overlooking the Bhote Kosi River, on the old highway to Tibet. From there, make the three-day camping trek up to Kalichowk, a temple with stunning views of Lapchi Kang, Mani Himal, Gaurishankar, Tibet, Langtang Himal and the Mahabharat Range. Instead of trekking back down the mountain, get on your bike for an exciting descent, then finish the adventure with riding the rapids of the Bhote Kosi River.
- Day 1 Arrive in Kathmandu
- Day 2 Sightseeing in Kathmandu
- Day 3 Drive to The Last Resort; optional bungee jump/canyon swing/canyoning
- Days 4-6 Trek to Kalinchowk
- Day 7 Mountain biking
- Day 8 Rafting on the Bhote Kosi River
- Day 9 Return to Kathmandu
- Day 10 Depart
Option #3: Cultural Tour
If active adventure pursuits aren't really your thing, there are numerous cultural and historical attractions throughout Nepal to explore. From the birthplace of Buddha at Lumbini to the 20th century Peace Pagoda in Pokhara; the blend of Hindu and Buddhist sites in Kathmandu to the old Newari town of Tansen, this itinerary covers much of Nepal's cultural diversity--plus the views couldn't be better!
Start with a couple of days in Kathmandu, before heading west overland and down to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, on the flat Terai. Explore the Peace Park, home to Buddhist monuments constructed by nations from around the world, as well as the nearby archaeological site of Tilaurakot. Travel back into the hills, to Tansen, a Newari town with good mountain views, interesting textile traditions, and a spectacular abandoned palace on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. Continue on to Pokhara, a beautiful lake-side city for some relaxation,
- Day 1 Sightseeing in Kathmandu
- Day 2 Drive to Bandipur, stopping en route at the Manakamana Temple, a pilgrimage site, reached by cable car. Overnight at Riverside Springs Resort, overlooking the Trisuli River.
- Day 3 Drive to Lumbini
- Day 4 Tour the Buddhist Temples and the Peace Park of Lumbini
- Day 5 Visit the ancient archaeological site of Tilaurakot
- Day 6 Drive to Tansen
- Day 7 Around Tansen
- Day 8 Drive to Pokhara
- Day 9 Sightseeing (and optional adventure) in Pokhara
- Day 10 Fly back to Kathmandu