Make the Most of Your Time in Nepal

Have a fixed number of days? Maximize the things to see and do during your visit

With a limited time to spend in a culturally rich nation like Nepal, you’ll want to make every second count. Even with just five days you could design an itinerary that includes hiking the rolling green hills and mountain villages outside the capital of Kathmandu as well as traveling to the lake city of Pokhara for some paragliding and white-water rafting. With 10 days you could embark on various mountain hikes, including the Kalinchowk Temple Trek (with its epic views of the Himalaya) and to Pikey Peak, which features one of the best views in Nepal. And with two weeks you could visit the Hindu temples of the capital, embark on mountain treks, and enjoy a multi-day river adventure on the Karnali in the unspoiled Bardia National Park.

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How Many Days to Spend in Nepal

Although geographically compact, Nepal's mountainous terrain and bumpy roads make it feel like a much bigger country than it is. Add diverse cultures, terrain, and ecosystems to the mix and you could easily spend several weeks exploring the picturesque Himalayan nation. However, in as little as three days, you can enjoy some of Nepal's highlights. To complete one of Nepal's famous treks, you typically need about two weeks.

Kathmandu's famous Boudhanath Stupa
Map of 5 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Nepal ranges from very high mountains to jungle-filled plains—which means that, despite being a geographically small country, hopping quickly around the country can be a challenge. With five days, you’ll have time to see the cultural highlights of Kathmandu and Pokhara, or get a taste of the adventures Nepal is famous for with short treks and whitewater rafting. You can even visit Everest Base Camp (if you don't mind taking a helicopter to get there!).

Prayer flags  waving in the Annapurna region
Map of 6 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
6 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With six days in Nepal, most travelers choose between a week of sightseeing in the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys, a short and rewarding trek in the Himalayan foothills, or a curiosity-driven adventure in one specific region. If wildlife calls to you, venture into the remote west for an off-the-beaten-path safari; if culture is what you're after, consider a village-to-village hike. Read on for six unique itineraries that are guaranteed to inspire.

7 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With a full week in Nepal, there’s time to cover a lot of ground on a sightseeing tour—you can easily combine the highlights of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan National Park. But the reason many travelers come to Nepal is to trek, and with seven days, you can choose between a few rewarding trails. The Ghorepani Poon Hill and Pikey Peak treks are both popular options with views for days; you can also opt for a cultural village-to-village hike or a luxury trekking experience in the Annapurna foothills.

The eyes of Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu
Map of 8 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
8 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With eight days in Nepal, you can undertake a short great trek or split your itinerary up into multiple regions. You could explore Nepal’s two biggest cities and add in a very short trek, or you could hit a trio of the nation’s most beloved regions (no hiking necessary). If you’re feeling adventurous, head off-the-beaten-track for a week of adventure: trekking, camping, mountain biking, river rafting, and even bungee jumping. Or head straight for the jungles of Chitwan National Park for some quality time with the country’s wildlife.

The village of Ghandruk in autumn
Map of 9 Days in Nepal - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
9 Days in Nepal - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With nine days in Nepal, you'll have a couple of days to explore Kathmandu before heading off for a trek or multi-sport adventure (think mountain biking, rafting, or even bungee jumping). You can also consider a relaxing sightseeing tour of Nepal’s cultural highlights or discover Everest in luxury; you’ll fly by helicopter to various villages, then spend your days hiking, and your evenings unwinding in deluxe accommodations with some of the world’s most incredible views. These unique itineraries are sure to inspire your adventure.

Views of the Annapurna Himalaya from the Khopra Danda teahouse
Map of 10 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

From spectacular treks in the high Himalaya to visiting the birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini, white-water rafting to Hindu pilgrimage sites, 10 days in Nepal is plenty of time to experience some of the country's highlights. Hit the ground running (or, strolling at a more leisurely pace) by selecting an itinerary that best reflects your interests.

A traditional masked dancer in Patan Durbar Square
Map of 11 Days in Nepal - 7 Unique Itinerary Ideas
11 Days in Nepal - 7 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With eleven days in Nepal, you can devote your time entirely to exploring the country on a trek, split your itinerary between trekking and sightseeing, or skip the trail entirely and discover historical cities, beautiful landscapes, and cultural landmarks. Customize one of the following itineraries depending on what you're most interested in.

A view of Everest and Lhotse in the Himalaya
Map of 12 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
12 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With twelve days in Nepal, you can tour a wide swath of the country or head out on a long, epic trek. If you’re interested in sightseeing, you can visit Nepal’s mountains, rivers, and jungles at a relaxed pace, or you can take an adventurous approach (think mountain biking, trekking, rafting, or even paragliding) and explore on one region, like the Annapurnas. Travelers interested in trekking also have a variety of options when it comes to time on the trail: visit iconic circuits, head off-the-beaten-path, stay in the homes of local villagers, or trade teahouses for luxurious accommodations.

Morning sunshine at Swayambhunath Stupa
Map of 13 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
13 Days in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With thirteen days in Nepal, you can spend time in a few destinations to get a taste of what the country has to offer or you can commit to one particular region, which you can explore by foot, raft, or safari (and in some cases, all three). For trekking, consider getting away from crowds: Pikey Peak, the Khopra Ridge, and the Dolpo region are off-the-beaten-path, offer incredible views, and opportunities to learn about local villages and their heritages. You can also travel through Nepal in style; stay in luxury accommodations after a day of trekking, take a helicopter tour of the Himalaya, or sleep in a deluxe resort in a jungle, where you’ll be lulled to sleep by the trumpets of the property’s resident elephants. Read on for some inspiring ideas!

Pokhara's Phewa Tal from above
Map of 2 Weeks in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas
2 Weeks in Nepal - 6 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Two weeks in Nepal is enough time for a truly satisfying adventure, whether you’re interested in doing an epic trek or making your way around the country to learn about its culture and history. If you’re inspired to have an authentic experience, you can stay in the homes of local villagers or in remote hilltop monasteries. You can hike to Everest Base Camp or explore the world’s tallest mountain from the luxurious comfort of a private helicopter tour. Far-flung exotica more your thing? Go on safari in Chitwan National Park or explore the wild Mustang region, which was previously forbidden to outside tourists.

How Many Days Should You Spend in Kathmandu?
How Many Days Should You Spend in Kathmandu?

Maddeningly chaotic but never dull, Kathmandu is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and religions. Not merely a jumping-off point for a Himalaya trek, it's also a worthwhile destination in its own right, with a legacy of myths and legends seen in the historic pagodas lining its dusty streets. Even if you're here for just one day you can profit from the highlights of this uniquely beautiful metropolis.

Everest Base Camp
How Many Days do you Need to Visit Everest Base Camp?

How you get to Everest Base Camp—and the amount of time it requires—depends what side of the mountain you're approaching from. Most travelers coming from Nepal will come via the classic 8-day trekking route, one of a few longer alternate trekking routes, or on a half-day helicoptor tour. Those coming from Tibet can drive to a less-visited base camp and experienced trekkers can embark on a challenging 5-day hike. Read on to find out more about how long it takes to visit Everest Base Camp.