Best Tips & Local Advice
- Take domestic flights to save valuable time. The flights are scenic, too!
- If traveling during the monsoon (June to Aug), stick to the cities and cultural sites
- Trekking and water sports are best from March to May & September to November
- Focus on one region: although Nepal's a small country, poor roads & mountainous terrain can lead to longer travel times and unexpected delays
#1 Explore the Ancient Cities of Kathmandu
|Day 1||Visit Swayambhunath Stupa and Kathmandu Durbar Square||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Visit Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa||Kathmandu|
|Day 3||Discover the ancient city of Patan||Patan|
|Day 4||Explore Bhaktapur||Bhaktapur|
|Day 5||Day trip to Namo Buddha outside the Valley, Returning to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
The Kathmandu Valley is so full of historical, architectural, and religious treasures that you don't need to leave (or go very far) to have a rich experience in Nepal. Spend the first three days checking out the most famous sites of Kathmandu: the Kathmandu and Patan Durbar Squares, Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa. Head to Bhaktapur and spend the night there, to experience the peace and quiet after the day-trippers leave. From Bhaktapur, take a trip up to Namo Buddha for breathtaking mountain views, fresh air, and a delicious organic lunch at the Namo Buddha Resort.
#2 Short Trek in the Kathmandu Valley
|Day 1||Travel to Dhulikhel, on the edge of the valley, by vehicle and enjoy a scenic sunset||Dhulikhel|
|Day 2||Trek to Namo Buddha, a sacred Tibetan Buddhist site||Namo Buddha|
|Day 3||Trek to Balthali through picturesque villages and farmland||Balthali|
|Day 4||Trek to Panauti, an ancient Newari town, then drive back to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 5||Sightseeing around Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
While five days isn't long enough to undertake any of Nepal's truly epic treks, it's certainly enough time to stretch the legs and get your blood pumping in the hills, with spectacular views. By sticking close to Kathmandu you can eliminate lengthy travel days. And you may be pleasantly surprised how quickly the city turns to scenic hills and pretty villages. For more details on this itinerary, see Balthali Village Trek via Namo Buddha and Panauti
#3 Adventure in Pokhara
|Day 1||Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Go Paddling on Phewa Lake||Pokhara|
|Day 2||Head up to Sarangkot to go paragliding over Phewa Lake||Pokhara|
|Days 3 & 4||White-water rafting on Seti River, Camping on the beach||River camping|
|Day 5||Fly back to Kathmandu, Sightseeing in the city||Kathmandu|
Nepal is famous for its outdoor activities, and travelers who want a bit of a thrill should make a bee-line to Pokhara. Five days is plenty of time to enjoy kayaking on the lake, paragliding, white-water rafting and camping under the stars.
#4 Chill Out in Pokhara
|Day 1||Sightseeing around Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Fly to Pokhara, Walk along the lake for sunset views||Pokhara|
|Day 3||Sarangkot lookout with a short hike back down through traditional villages||Pokhara|
|Day 4||Pokhara sightseeing, including Davi's Falls, Tibetan refugee colony and market||Pokhara|
|Day 5||Return flight to Kathmandu, Sightseeing in the city||Kathmandu|
Although Nepal is (justifiably) famous for its active adventure sports, you don't need to be a super-fit athlete to enjoy the country. Pokhara is a super-chill city (especially in the Lakeside area) that rewards a bit of laziness with spectacular views and good food and shopping. Plus, there are enough sites of interest nearby to mix up the chilling out with some sightseeing.
#5 City, River, and Mountains
|Day 1||Kathmandu sightseeing||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Raft along the Trisuli River; drive to Bandipur||Bandipur|
|Day 3||Spend the morning in Bandipur; drive to Pokhara later in the day||Pokhara|
|Day 4||Sightseeing and/or activities in Pokhara||Pokhara|
|Day 5||Flight to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
If you want to experience some of Nepal's highlights--the culture of the city, the rush of the river, and the majesty of the mountains — then that is possible on a well-planned five-day itinerary. Start by sightseeing in Kathmandu — take your pick of a couple of its heritage and religious sites.
Then, raft along the Trisuli River, which runs parallel to the main highway between Kathmandu and Pokhara; a river trip minimizes the need to travel the whole way by road. Chill out in the hilltop Newari town of Bandipur, before driving to Pokhara. There, chill out by the lake, opt to go paragliding, or take a day hike into the hills. Return to Kathmandu by air, and enjoy the scenic flight (as long as you're sitting on the left-hand-side of the airplane!)
For more great trip ideas, check out all of our 5-day Nepal tours and itineraries.