A Week in Kathmandu Valley

Here’s a trip plan that gives you a taste of what Nepal has to offer within a week: a short trek with great views of the Himalaya combined with a visit to the ancient cities of Bhaktapur and Patan. You'll stay within striking distance of Kathmandu.

Day 1: Settle in

Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel to get settled in. Afterward, take a short walk around Thamel to enjoy the new sights and sounds before heading to a traditional Nepali restaurant to take in your first meal.

Day 2: Kathmandu to Nagarkot (short hike)

View from Nagarkot
The view from your guest house on the evening of Day 2 from Nagarkot. Photo by Neil Young

Drive from Kathmandu to Sankhu for the start of your hike to Nagarkot. Sankhu is a traditional village and the hike from here to Nagarkot takes about 3-4 hours, depending on your speed (there’s a bit of uphill). Nagarkot is perched atop one of the eastern hills outside of Kathmandu, and on a clear day affords some of the best views of the Himalaya that you can find from the Kathmandu Valley. There are a number of hotels with great views that we can choose from for tonight.

Day 3: Overnight in Nagarkot

After breakfast on a balcony overlooking the valley and hill stations below, continue your hike to Dhulikhel following the ridgeline with continued views of the mountains. Later, after lunch, you’ll head to the heritage city of Bhaktapur for an overnight at Peacock Guest House, a 700-year-old building that was restored in the 70s and has luckily survived last year's earthquake.

Bhaktapur is one of three cities in the Kathmandu Valley, founded in the 12th century and known for its well-preserved heritage sites and architecture. It's easy to get lost amongst its alleys, local markets and temple grounds as you wander around before your evening meal.

Day 4: Bhaktapur & Patan

Bhaktapur Durbar square
Enjoy lunch at one of the rooftop restaurants surrounding Bhaktapur's Durbar Square. Photo by Jean-Marie Hullot

Dawn at Bhaktapur. This is the perfect time to tour this heritage site and the only time in the day when the locals are going about their daily duties as they did hundreds of years ago. Later, go to meet the Humans of Bhaktapur - a yogurt maker or a paper maker - to hear stories of resilience and strength through the disaster that struck Nepal.

Pashupatinath, Kathmamdu
The main temple complex of Pashupatinath, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

After lunch, we'll make our way to Patan, one of the other ancient cities in Valley, famous for its arts and crafts. Our first stop will be to grab a cup of organic coffee at Karma Coffee, a boutique coffee shop that recycles and upcycles everything around coffee - the perfect start to an afternoon of touring Patan's local markets. In the evening, you’ll head back to Kathmandu where you’ll overnight.

Day 5: Your choice of local activities

Vespa Valley tours, Kathmandu
A new way to see Kathmandu: tour the city on a Vespa. Photo © Alex Treadway

Use this day to partake in one of the local activities that Kathmandu has to offer, such as learning how to cook Nepali food in a Cook like a Local course, having a Buddhist monk or Hindu priest leads you around the ancient sites of Boudha, Swayambhu, or Pashupatinath, or touring Kathmandu by Vespa with Vespa Valley.

Later in the day, take some time to wander on your own and catch the sights and sounds of the local markets, the evening ceremonies, and watch the world go by while sipping a chai from the steps of Kathmandu's Durbar Square.

Day 6: Last-minute shopping, time to relax

Your final day. You’ve had a busy week, so take the time now to relax, do some last-minute shopping, and soak in the atmosphere of Kathmandu before heading to the airport. Hopefully, before long, you'll be planning your next trip back.

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

6 days of trekking and culture, Nepal - Nov 1 - Nov 6, 2016

Traveler: kayla b. - Local specialist: Raj Gyawali

I had to follow up a pick up time and itinerary several times. The first guide was late, thought I was being transferred to a different hotel, because he had his bike we walked for a decent while before being able to get a taxi which would take us and the bike.

The cycle tour was quite good. But the ending was disappointing being a festival there was no pizza and a drink. We found a place to have a drink and I was left to pay for my own taxi back to the hotel.

The following day the... read more

I had to follow up a pick up time and itinerary several times. The first guide was late, thought I was being transferred to a different hotel, because he had his bike we walked for a decent while before being able to get a taxi which would take us and the bike.

The cycle tour was quite good. But the ending was disappointing being a festival there was no pizza and a drink. We found a place to have a drink and I was left to pay for my own taxi back to the hotel.

The following day the monkey temple and the monastery were great. The monk was very illuminating and spoke very well. It was disappointing however that we could only talk for an hour and the monastery and library closed 15 minutes after finishing our discussion with the monk.

The welcome dinner was very nice and the social tours consultant (the young girl) she was very friendly and nice to talk to.

I enjoyed my time with Juman over the next few days hiking. The villages and scenary were nice even if majority of the time we were walking on the road.

I was disappointed that the hiking times were advertised 3.5-4.5 hours every day when the first day I walked for 2 hours and 10 minutes only and was eating lunch by 10am in an effort to stall time. On the second day we walked to Bhaktapur and again I was there much earlier then expected.

Juman was great company and the local guide in Bhaptapur had a lot of knowledge of the area.

Getting back to Kathmandu was very unorganised. I had to insist that the Peacock guest house organise and pay for the taxi back to Kathmandu as I was having trouble with my bank cards so couldn't get money out of the ATM's.

I was supposed to stop off at the coffee plantation on the way back which never happened, and the taxi driver asked for money when I arrived at the hotel implying that he hadn't been paid. He called the Peacock guest house and thank fully they sorted it out for me.

I thought that a transfer to the airport was included on the final day but this was not.

Whilst I liked the accommodation and it was very nice compared to the hostels I had been staying in, it was apparent that there was lots of other options (cheaper options) in the areas where I stayed which would have drastically reduced the amount which I paid for the trip, and I was disappointed that despite my request that this wasn't looked into.