Explore the ancient trails and villages of the Kathmandu Valley along this easy multi-day hiking route. You'll hike past small farming villages, lush green forests, ancient templates, and have the opportunity to learn about the traditional lifestyle of the local people. On top of this, you'll have great views of the distant snowy peaks of the Himalaya and the option to stay in authentic local inns and farm stays each night.

Highlights

  • Hike along the Kathmandu Valley rim for great views of the Himalaya
  • Explore and stay overnight in Panauti, Nepal's oldest village
  • Stay in authentic local inns and resorts with views over the valley
  • Visit Bhaktapur, the ancient medieval city of Kathmandu

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu, Patan Heritage Walk Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu: Boudhanath, Swayambhunath & Pashupatinath Kathmandu
Day 3 Trek from the Herb Nepal to Panauti Panauti
Day 4 Trek from Panauti to Namobuddha Namobuddha
Day 5 Trek from Namobuddha to Dhulikhel, Sightseeing in Bhaktapur Kathmandu
Day 6 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu, Patan Heritage Walk

Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square

As you fly into Kathmandu, you'll have beautiful views over the city, the Himalaya, and of the terraced fields below. After going through customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you and guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to get you settled into your hotel.

In the afternoon (depending on your arrival time), you'll be taken on a walking tour through the secret alleys and courtyards of old Patan that few travelers see. Your knowledgeable local guide will take you through the ancient courtyards where Newar artisans live, where you'll learn about the design and unique culture of this ancient city and gain a rare insight into the lives of artisans and their craft. You will meet and learn about the highly skilled metalwork artisans who make the stunning brass statues you see on display, as well as about the ancient skill of thangka painting by meeting the artists themselves.

Day 2: Explore Kathmandu: Boudhanath, Swayambhunath & Pashupatinath

Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up by an English-speaking guide for a full-day tour of the Kathmandu Valley, visiting three sacred sites: Boudhanath, Swayambhunath, and Patan Durbar Square. This day fits quite a bit in—helpful for maximizing your time in Kathmandu—but doesn't overload you with too many sites. You can spend as much time as you like at each temple (this is a private tour just for you), although most people tend to spend an hour. For lunch, you'll stop at one of our recommended local restaurants. Return to your hotel in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and meet your trekking guide who will go over details for tomorrow's adventure.

Day 3: Trek from the Herb Nepal to Panauti

Typical Newari houses in Panauti
Typical Newari houses in Panauti

After breakfast, you'll take a short ten-minute walk down the valley to Asapuri to see a small temple before continuing your hike towards Panauti. You'll walk a short way on a jeep road, before starting to climb up a walking trail which ascends out of the valley. Once the climb is over, you'll start skirting the hills on mainly contouring trails with lovely views. Then, you'll head downhill toward the village of Panauti where you'll have the afternoon to explore.

In the 13th century, Panauti was the capital of the autonomous kingdom of Banepa and it is still the most important historic village in the area and has retained its historic authenticity. The town is built in the traditional Newar style, with pink brick and carved wood, and the village is full of rural calm; only in September is the peace disturbed by the ‘Carriage Festival’.

The old part of town is wedged between two small rivers with a cluster of important temples at the confluence. This spot is regarded as an ancient power place, with an invisible third stream also connecting here. Cremations are held at the confluence and a festival is held here once a year (in January) with every twelve years being of major significance as the third stream is said to be seen at this time.

In Panauti, there's a lovely old village house you can stay at which has been beautifully restored—a fitting place for a night in the ancient town of Panauti.

Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 4: Trek from Panauti to Namobuddha

The monastery at Namobuddha

After a hearty breakfast, you'll hike out of Panauti through fields and orchards, though little villages towards Namobuddha. When nearing Namobuddhua, you'll climb up to the stupa at Namobuddha where you can explore how Tamang Buddhist culture compares with Tibetan Buddhism. The stupa commemorates Siddhartha Gautama’s selfless act of offering his body to a hungry tigress, which is said to have contributed to his ability to achieve enlightenment and, ultimately, Buddha-hood. Then, learn about the significance of the place and its place in local Tamang culture, before climbing a short distance up to the newly built Tibetan Buddhist monastery perched on the hilltop above the Stupa.

From here, it's a short walk to your mountain retreat which has great views of the Himalaya and an interesting architectural style that makes it a lovely place to relax and soak up the feeling of being in the Himalaya. You'll arrive by mid-afternoon, and you can just relax or hike up to a nearby lookout point for sunset views.

Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Day 5: Trek from Namobuddha to Dhulikhel, Sightseeing in Bhaktapur

The old city of Bhaktapur
The old city of Bhaktapur

Pending good weather, you'll have great mountain views during breakfast and then you'll say goodbye to Namobuddha and start the final walk to Dhulikhel. This is a lovely final walk through villages as you end your hike. Once you reach Dhulikhel, you'll; have a look around the old town before getting in the car and drive back to the Kathmandu Valley, stopping in Bhaktapur to briefly explore the old city and grab lunch. From Bhaktapur, you'll be driven back to Kathmandu and check in to your hotel. 

Hiking time: 3 hours

Day 6: Depart Kathmandu

The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath
The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home. It's good to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure.