With two days in Kathmandu, there’s time to experience the city’s cultural treasures and get out into the countryside, too. Visit sacred Hindu and Buddhist sites, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and enjoy a day hike or a scenic cable car ride with sweeping Himalayan views. Here’s how to make the most of your 48 hours in the Nepali capital.
Day 1: Sacred Kathmandu
Morning: Rise early to reach Pashupatinath Temple at the most atmospheric time of day. This is the most sacred Hindu temple in Nepal and an important cremation area. Afterwards, head to the nearby Boudhanath Stupa, the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal. Have lunch overlooking the bright white shrine.
Afternoon: After lunch, head south to Patan to check out Patan Durbar Square, a collection of temples and old palace buildings. Explore the informative Patan Museum here, then peruse the lanes surrounding Durbar Square, which hide many more temples, picturesque old buildings, and handicraft shops.
Night: Eat your fill of dal bhat tarkari (rice with lentil and vegetable curries), the Nepali national dish, at a restaurant in the lively district of Thamel, followed by drinks at a rooftop bar. Those who enjoy dancing can groove to the cover bands that play most nights of the week at Thamel bars.
Day 2: Get Out Into Nature
Morning: Wake early, again, to make a trip out to Nagarkot for the sunrise. This town just outside the Kathmandu Valley is famous for its sunrise views over the Himalayas, which rise just beyond the northern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. Have a postsunrise breakfast in Nagarkot.
Afternoon: This afternoon, active travelers can hike from Nagarkot to a nearby village, passing through forests, farmland, and traditional villages and enjoying great views along the way. Alternatively, return to Kathmandu and head to the Chandragiri Cable Car for sweeping views of the city and, when the weather is clear, the Himalayas beyond.
Night: The shops in Thamel are open late into the evening, making this a good time to do some last-minute souvenir shopping. Wrap up your stay with a cycle-rickshaw tour around Thamel and the Kathmandu Durbar Square area.