3 Days in Kathmandu: Suggested Itineraries

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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.
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Tours & Activities (7)
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Pashupatinath Temple and Bodhnath Stupa Tour from Kathmandu

Explore the religious traditions of Kathmandu during this 4.5-hour visit to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Pashupatinath, a renowned Hindu temple, and the Tibetan Buddhist site at Bodnath Stupa. Join your knowledgeable guide at these two iconic spiritual centers, witnessing the hum of daily activity and learning about Buddhism and Hinduism along the way. Want to earn some extra karma? Visit a well-known Nepali astrologer for an optional reading. This small group visit, limited to just 12 guests, also includes site entrance fees.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$58.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$58.00

Flight Over the Himalayas including Mt Everest from Kathmandu

Feel like you’re on top of the world (literally) during a 1-hour scenic flight above the iconic peaks of the Himalayas and Mount Everest. Depart from Kathmandu aboard an 18-seater plane, soaking up views of more than a dozen majestic mountains from above, including the towering 29,029-foot (8,848-meter) Mount Everest. A pilot provides added narration during your trip about the spiritual significance and names of the various summits. Round-trip hotel transport is also covered.
  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$311.00
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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US$311.00

Kathmandu Day Trip: Budhanilkantha and Hike Through Shivapuri National Park

Combine visits to two of Nepal’s most fascinating Buddhist and Hindu religious sites with a moderate woodlands hike during this 6- to 7- day trip from Kathmandu. Travel to Budhanilkantha, where you’ll visit the sacred site of sleeping Hindu deity Vishnu. Then take a moderate hike through the idyllic woodlands of Shivapuri National Park to Nagi Gompa. This Buddhist monastery sits astride a majestic hilltop location, offering magnificent views of Kathmandu Valley below. End your day by checking out a local market in Sundarijal. Your day trip also includes a guide, round-trip local transport fare and admission fees.
  • Duration: 6 hours
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US$57.00
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  • Duration: 6 hours
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US$57.00

Kathmandu Evening Tour by Rickshaw Including Durbar Square

Immerse yourself in the daily rhythms and colorful atmosphere of Kathmandu during this 2- to 3-hour guided rickshaw ride. Begin your trip in the tourist district of Thamel as your guide pedals past the area’s busy market place and bustling squares, heading towards Durbar Square. Then hop off your rickshaw to wander on foot, observing the gorgeous early-evening light as it silhouettes the city’s temples and the nocturnal glow of Kathmandu’s lively nightlife begins to stir. Your rickshaw ride also includes the entrance fee at Durbar Square.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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US$46.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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US$46.00

Kathmandu Countryside Bike Tour

Cycle through the scenic countryside just outside Kathmandu, exploring charming Nepalese villages and scenic roadways, during this half-day, small-group mountain bike excursion. Pedal to the historic towns of Kirtipur and Chobar, exploring their intimate side streets flanked by ancient stone structures. As you continue your ride, you’ll cycle along beautiful roads offering incredible views of the Himalayas and learn about the area’s Newari traditions. This small-group ride, limited to 12 guests, also includes lunch, a guide, bike rental and safety equipment.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$100.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$100.00

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

Immerse yourself in the daily rhythms of life in Kathmandu during this 5- to 6-hour small-group guided walking tour, ending with a cooking lesson and lunch at a local family home. Explore Kathmandu on foot, checking out landmarks including the country’s oldest Buddhist stupa, Swayambhunath, and historic Durbar Square, wandering through the area’s bazaars and passing ancient temples and courtyards. Then buy vegetables with your guide (at your own expense) and bring them to the residence of a local family, where you’ll learn to cook a typical Nepalese lunch. Enjoy your tasty meal while chatting with the family about life in the city.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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US$66.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
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US$66.00

Half-Day Kathmandu City and Swoyambhunath Sightseeing Tour

Enjoy a private half-day sightseeing tour of old Kathmandu and visit Swayambhunath stupa. A private vehicle whisks you away to the UNESCO-listed Kathmandu Durbar Square while your own knowledgeable guide provides personalized commentary on landmarks like the 12th-century Kasthamandap, the Tribhuvan Museum and Kumari Bahal, known as the Temple of the Living Goddess. Finish at Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), another World Heritage site, located on a hilltop with sweeping views of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayas.
  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$70.00
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  • Duration: 4 hours
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US$70.00


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