Swayambhunath Stupa, perched atop a hill just west of Kathmandu, is the oldest shrine complex in the entire Kathmandu Valley. As you approach the ancient stupa from the city, you can see it’s golden spires, white domed ceilings and eerie painted eyes from a distance. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a pack of monkeys who’ve led locals to refer to the complex as the Monkey Temple.

The exact origins of the sight, one of the most important pilgrimage sights for Tibetan Buddhists, are unclear. Local legend says the Stupa was originally a lotus flower that emerged from a great lake that once occupied the Kathmandu Valley. History tells us the complex was commissioned by an early fifth century AD king, making it one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal.

For the best views of Kathmandu bellow the temple complex, visit in the early evening as the sun begins to set. If time permits, you can walk down the hill from Swayambhunath all the way back to Durbar Square in less than an hour.

Please note that there has been significant damage to the Swayambhunath Stupa Shrine Complex due to the earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks in Nepal in late April and early May 2015. Authorities have said they will do all they can to restore historic and cultural sites in Nepal and are assessing the extent of damages.

Tours & Tickets

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Best Cultural Walking Tour of Kathmandu: Swayambhunath and Durbar Square with Nepalese Cooking Lesson

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 3 Reviews

Experience Kathmandu like a local on this small-group cultural walking tour. Visit the oldest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, Swayambhunath, and explore one of the ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 5-6 hours

From USD $80.00

Kathmandu World Heritage Full Day Culture Tour

Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one day on this private guided tour with private transport. The tour includes visits to Kathmandu Durbar Square, ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $115.00

6-Night Private Sindure VDC Tour from Kathmandu with Homestay

On this private 6-night tour, you will travel to the Sindure Village Development Community (VDC) and have an excellent opportunity to learn about the area's ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 7 days (approx.)

From USD $500.00

Private 5-Night Heritage Trip to Lumbini from Kathmandu

Enjoy this multi-day trip to Lumbini, a UNESCO-protected small town in the southern Terai plains, 306kms from Kathmandu. Walk in the footsteps of the founder ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 6 days (approx.)

From USD $1,235.00

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