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3 Days in Kathmandu: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, November 2014

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The Kathmandu Valley lies in the heart of Nepal, and with three days, you can see all the highlights of the area. Explore all three of the Valley’s holy cities (also the three largest in Nepal) and catch a stunning Himalayan sunrise.

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu

Kathmandu’s laid back nature and kooky eccentricities have been drawing in travelers for decades, and the busy city makes a good base for your explorations throughout the Kathmandu Valley. Start your morning with a visit to one of the world’s most important Hindu temples, Pashupatinath. Here you’ll be greeted by bands of monkeys and dread-locked holy men who’ve come to pay their respects to the Lord Shiva. You may even get to witness a Hindu funeral along the river.

Make the easy 20-minute trek to nearby Bodhnath Stupa for a taste of Tibetan Buddhist culture. This shrine to the Buddha, shaped like a mandala from above, is surrounded by monasteries and nunneries. Circumnavigate the stupa alongside maroon-robed monks and nuns and spin a prayer wheel for good measure.

Head to Kathmandu’s Durbar Square and aptly named Freak Street, former hippie traveler ghetto, for some lunch and people watching. This is also the place to pick up some new threads if you’re interested in channeling your inner flower child. In the afternoon, stop by Swayambhunath, or the Monkey Temple, for picturesque views from a hilltop overlooking the city below.

Day 2: Patan, Bhaktapur and Changu Narayan

In the morning, get an early start and cross the Bagmati River to the city of Patan, known as the fine arts capital of Nepal. Spend the early hours of the day enjoying the architectural wonders surrounding Patan’s Durbar Square. Be sure to pick up some wood carvings or silver jewelry from one of the many shops lining the streets and back alleys.

After lunch, make your way further afield toward Bhaktapur, an ancient town without the crazy traffic of the capital. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a living museum as you explore its cobbled streets filled with temples, shrines and palaces.

In the evening, head to the Himalayan resort outpost of Nagarkot and get ready for an early morning.

Day 3: Himalayan Sunrise

It would be a shame to come to Nepal and not see your fill of Himalayan peaks, so today’s all about the scenery. Wake up before the sun to watch the majestic mountains surrounding Nagarkot light up. If you’re lucky enough to come on a very clear day, you can even see the tip of Mount Everest from this forested mountain oasis.

Spend the morning hiking or mountain biking through the surrounding hills, and in the afternoon, enjoy the scenic drive down winding mountain roads, through Bhaktapur and back to Kathmandu.

Tours & Tickets

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Pashupatinath Temple and Bodhnath Stupa Tour from Kathmandu

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Immerse yourself in Kathmandu’s spiritual traditions during visits to the Hindu temple Pashupatinath and the Tibetan Buddhist stupa Bodhnath , both UNESCO ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 6-7 hours

From USD $68.00

Flight Over the Himalayas including Mt Everest from Kathmandu

Soar to the top of the world on a scenic flight over the Himalayas, including outstanding aerial views of towering Mt Everest. Take off from Kathmandu in the ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $248.99

Kathmandu Day Trip: Budhanilkantha and Hike Through Shivapuri National Park

4 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Gain insight into Nepal’s religions in a fun and active way on this small-group day trip from Kathmandu. Take local transport to Budhanilkantha, the holy site ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 6-7 hours

From USD $83.00

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

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 2 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 Evening Tour by Rickshaw Including Durbar Square

3 star rating: Worth doing 3 Reviews

Discover Kathmandu like a local as you explore the city on an evening rickshaw ride. Start in the colorful tourist hub of Thamel and pass buzzing bazaars and ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 2-3 hours

From USD $68.00

2-Night Nepal Farmstay Experience from Kathmandu

Leave the busy streets of Kathmandu behind for the fresh air and tranquility of the Nepali countryside on a 2-night stay at the Famous Farm near Nuwakot. After ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 3 days (approx.)

From USD $340.00

Kathmandu Countryside Bike Tour

Hop on a mountain bike and follow your guide to the tranquil outskirts of Kathmandu on this half-day bike tour! Discover the history and charm of the ancient ...  Read more

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 4-5 hours

From USD $89.00

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