- Get to know Kathmandu's lively Thamel district
- Trek the mellow trail to Nagarkot with a guide
- Wake up to the sunrise with Mt. Everest views
- Take a guided cultural tour of the Kathmandu Valley
|Day 1||Welcome to Kathmandu!||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Kathmandu Cultural Tour: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Patan Durbar Square||Kathmandu|
|Day 3||Drive from Kathmandu to Sankhu, Hike to Nagarkot (7,136 feet / 2,175 m)||Nagarkot|
|Day 4||Sunrise from Nagarkot, Drive back to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 5||Depart Kathmandu|
Day 1: Welcome to 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
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.
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: Drive from Kathmandu to Sankhu, Hike to Nagarkot (7,136 feet / 2,175 m)
After breakfast at your hotel in Kathmandu, you'll be picked up by private car and transferred to the village of Sankhu. This drive takes about 1.5 hours and heads into a scenic part of the Kathmandu Valley.
You'll then meet up with your guide and start the trek to Nagarkot in central Nepal. This is a busy trail crossing areas of jungle, flowering plants, butterflies, and locals of all ages. The village of Nagarkot is on the outskirts of the valley with striking mountain views and has close proximity to Buddhist and Hindu cultural sites.
There are plenty of cafés, restaurants, and conveniences for travelers and trekkers. Enjoy dinner in town and check out the sunset view before bed.
Trekking time: 4-5 hours (7.5 miles / 12 km)
Day 4: Sunrise from Nagarkot, Drive back to Kathmandu
This morning in Nagarkot, take an early morning walk to the village tower for a sunrise view of the Himalaya. If the weather is clear, it's possible to see a range of peaks including Everest, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Jugal, and Numbur. After breakfast, you'll return back to the capital city by private transfer.
Take advantage of anything you may have missed at the beginning of the trip. Other ideas include rewarding your muscles after the trek with a massage service at Seeing Hands (services are offered from the visually impaired), or the more upmarket Kinjalla Spa. You can also take an early evening yoga class at Pranamaya Yoga, with two locations in Thamel and Patan.
In the evening, choose from a selection of Nepali, French, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dishes in Kathmandu.
Trekking time: 4-5 hours (7.5 miles / 12 km)
Day 5: Depart Kathmandu
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.