In just 4 days, you'll explore the famous cultural sites of the Kathmandu Valley and top it off with an early morning flight with views of Mount Everest. This trip provides the perfect balance for getting the best of Kathmandu's nature and culture for those with limited time.

Highlights

  • Get to know Kathmandu's lively Thamel district
  • Take an early morning scenic flight with views of Everest
  • Take a guided tour of the Kathmandu Valley's sacred sites

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Kathmandu Cultural Tour: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Patan Durbar Square Kathmandu
Day 3 Everest Mountain Flight, Afternoon in Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 4 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

Kathesimbhu Stupa. Kathmandu

It's a beautiful flight into the Kathmandu Valley with views of the Himalaya and terraced valley floor. Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, one of our representatives will greet you and transport you to your hotel.

Depending on your arrival time, you'll have time to explore the city. Some popular sights include Kathmandu’s Durbar Square and its narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. There's also Swayambhunath temple, where you can watch the sunset over the valley and the Himalaya to your north.

The tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes. Then, if it's not too late, head to the busiest bazaar in the city, Asan Tole, which offers an authentic display of spice, fish, and vegetable stands that make for great photo ops. Practice some basic Nepali phrases and chat with friendly locals!

Day 2: Kathmandu Cultural Tour: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and 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: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, 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. 

Swayambhunath Stupa
A few miles from the city center on a scenic hill, this is the best place to observe religious harmony between the Nepalese Buddhists and Hindus, as well as the Kathmandu Valley below. The stupa—a dome-shaped Buddhist structure—is one of the most historic shrines in this part of the world. Along with prayer wheels and fine paintings displayed in the monasteries, Swayambhunath also boasts the largest Buddha statue in the country.

Pashupatinath Temple Complex
Located on the bank of the Bagmati river, this is the site of Nepal's holiest Hindu pilgrimage and has received worshippers for at least 1,500 years. A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of Buddha and an eighth-century statue of Brahma, the Creator. Wander past skeletal images guarding temple gates and other magnificent temples dedicated to various deities in the complex.

Patan Durbar Square
This beautiful archaeological site and monastery holds 14th-century statues and ancient scriptures. While here, you will visit the Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple, Mahaboudha Temple in Terracotta, and Oku Bahal. 

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: Everest Mountain Flight, Afternoon in Kathmandu

Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse from above

Before breakfast, you'll take an early morning flight (1-hour) to see Mt. Everest as well as Nepal's other mighty peaks. It's a spectacular flight that flies east along the Himalayan range to Mt. Everest and back. You'll be picked up from your hotel, shuttled to the domestic airport, and will be back at your hotel in time for breakfast.

During the flight, looking out the lefthand side of the plane, you'll see famous peaks such as Shisha Pangma (8,013 m), Cho-Oyu (8,201 m), Nuptse (7,855 m), and finally Everest (8,848 m), known as Sagarmatha by Nepalese and Chomolungma by the Tibetans.

After breakfast, you'll have some free time to explore on your own in the morning. You can relax at the hotel or head out for a short walk, where we can recommend some routes.

In the afternoon, you'll have the option of taking a guided tour (via private jeep) to some of the famous cultural sites of the Kathmandu Valley. See the attached articles for ideas of the places you could visit. 

Day 4: Depart Kathmandu

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.

Have another day to spend? Consider this 5-day tour that includes a day hike and teahouse overnight in the village of Nagarkot on the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley.