Kathmandu is the ancient and rustic capital of Nepal; the gateway to the Himalayas. Kathmandu is certainly a city that should feature on every traveller’s bucket list. With bustling side streets and ancient Hindu Temples Kathmandu is an experience to behold.
Contrary to popular belief Kathmandu and Nepal as a whole are very easily accessible and with visas available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, there is no excuse not to visit the subcontinent’s greatest gem. Transport in and out of Kathmandu is regular and mostly reliable; remember to set your watch to ‘Nepali Time’ and be patient…you’ll get there in the end! Bus journeys are the perfect opportunity to try you hand at the Nepali language; Nepalese people are famously hospitable and welcoming and will gladly help you get a grip of the language!
Once you have visited the must-see sights and attractions of mystical Kathmandu; holy Boudha Stupa, sacred Pashupatinath Temple and the ornate Royal Palace, to name but a few, get your day pack at the ready and explore a little further a field. There are a myriad of great day trips away from Kathmandu that if you rise with the sun will see you return to the city lights just in time to grab a beer in backpacker’s central…Thamel.
Nagarkot is a short 32 km (19 mile) drive from central Kathmandu and at just 2,170 m (7,119 ft) above sea level is an easy altitude for a light and less than strenuous day hike. The Sanku Temple is the starting point for a one day Nagarkot hike. After a 3-4 hour hike, depending on your fitness level, will see you arrive at Telkot Village; take a short break and breathe in the fresh, crisp air. A refreshing luxury away from the dusty and polluted air of Kathmandu, your view from Telkot Village will feature the imposing Annapura Mountain Range, Langtang and Ganesh Himal. Breathtaking, spectacular, awe-inspiring…there are not enough superlatives to describe the view from Nagarkot.
Nagarkot Full-Day Hiking Tour from Kathmandu
Duration: 6 hours
Having done your time in busy and chaotic Kathmandu, a hike to the top of Namobudda Hill is a welcomed break. At 1,750 m (5,741 ft) in altitude the steady heights of Namobudda offer unrivaled views of Kathmandu Valley. Namobuddha holds great significance to Buddhists the world over and no hike would be complete without a visit to the holy Thrangu Tasha Tangste Monastery, which schools young monks. Inside the monastery you will find a shrine dedicated to Lord Buddha’s past life in which he offered his body to a hungry tigress.
Private Namobuddha Hiking Trip from Kathmandu
Duration: 5 hours
Bhakatpur is the embodiment of classic Asian architecture. With ornately carved wooden window frames and gates hand crafted from sheets of stone, a visit to Bhaktapur will see you step back in time and walk the cobbled, paved street just as Kings and Queens did before you. Although you’ll come away from Bhakatpur wanting more, seeing all the major sights in one day is easily achievable and you certainly won’t be rushed. First, start with the 55 Window Palace, constructed in 1427 AD during King Yaksha Malla’s reign, the Palace was redesigned centuries later by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th-century. The 55 Window Palace is a truly unique piece of master craftsmanship. The main courtyards of the Palace feature Lion’s Gate and the Golden Gate; beautifully and ornately constructed archways that have stood the test of time.
Away from the dormant ancient architecture, Bhaktapur has a busting and vibrant working community. Make your way down the small alleyways away from Bhaktapur Durbar Square into Pottery Square where you will find local artisans focused intently on their potter’s wheels. Many of the potters are happy to let you have a go on their wheels and often find it hilarious to watch tourists make a mess of their true art. Under their guidance you can make a little chai cup or an ash tray. Be sure to give them 100 NRS (1.5 USD) for their time and materials.
Bhaktapur Private Half-Day Tour With Lunch
Duration: 4 hours
Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a popular pilgrimage site for practicing Buddhists the world over. This truly spiritual place is calm and tranquil for all who visit. Aside from the Maya Devi Vihara focal point there are a great number of other Buddhist Temples that have been donated by other countries. In one short day you can visit temples donated by and constructed in the traditional style of Korea, China, India, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand!
A day in Lumbini culminates in a visit to the bright, white and breathtaking World Peace Pagoda which brings a day to this holy site to a memorable close. For those wildlife lovers amongst you add a visit to the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary, which adjoins the World Peace Pagoda wetlands. The sanctuary is a great opportunity to spot the rare saris cranes stalking through the wetland plains.
Lumbini And Kapilvastu Buddhist Pilgrimage Private Tour
Duration: 6 hours
Possibly one of the most iconic views in Nepal is that overlooking Patan Durbar Square. A stunning example of classic Nepali architecture, Patan is a must-visit for anyone with a keen interest in history and culture. The Patan Museum is home to a great array of artwork, artifacts and traditional handicrafts. The gorgeous courtyards of Mul Chwok, Keshav Narayan and Sundari Chowk are incredibly photogenic and certainly worth exploring.
Private Day Tour: Patan and Bhaktapur from Kathmandu
Duration: 8 hours
If you’re feeling flashy and don’t fancy a 14-day trek to Everest Base Camp, then a luxury Mount Everest Flight is certainly a viable option. Take off from Kathmandu Domestic Airport in the early hours in a sturdy 18-seater plane and sit back and enjoy views of the world’s tallest mountain and the worlds most iconic mountain range. During a one-hour flight you will learn the spiritual significance of the Himalayas while getting as close as possible to the great peaks without actually climbing them!
Flight Over the Himalayas including Mt Everest from Kathmandu
Duration: 1 hour
Get your day pack at the ready!
Kathmandu has plenty on offer for tourists and travelers alike. By using Kathmandu as a base you can experience a wide variety of Nepal’s history, culture and landscapes within a series of easy to arrange day trips. Many people opt for pre-arranged tours and this is often the most convenient way to get around but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, pack you phrasebook and guidebook in your day bag and head out of the city lines to explore the wonders of Kathmandu Valley and beyond.
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