Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu Valley

See all the great cultural treasures of the Kathmandu Valley, including no less than six World Heritage Sites on this excellent short trip.

Start off in Patan with its spectacular Durbar Sq and Patan Museum. Explore Kathmandu’s stunning medieval temples and palaces of Durbar Sq. Get your Himalayan kick with mountain views at Nagarkot and Dhulikhel, and hike to the temple at Changu Narayan.

Complete the trilogy of former royal kingdoms with a visit to Bhaktapur. Explore the sacred site of Namobuddha before returning to Kathmandu.

Walk to the towering stupa of Swayambhunath and visit the quirky National Museum.

On your last day, you’ll have time for exploring the shopping streets of Kathmandu to bring home some unique souvenirs.

You may wish to wave goodbye to Nepal in spectacular style with a Mt. Everest scenic flight (optional extra) before your return flight home.

This trip is a perfect combination with adventures in North India or Bhutan.

8 DAYS
FROM £1095
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Leisurely Active
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Arrival - Patan

After your morning arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Patan.

This afternoon, begin your cultural exploration with a guided tour of Patan, one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. It is known as the arts and architectural centre of the valley, an aesthetically pleasing city founded in 250 A.D.

Visit Patan’s famous Durbar Square, Royal Baths, Mahaboudha, Krishna Mandir and the Golden Temple. The last stop on your tour is the Patan Museum, set within the former presidential palace.

Take time to browse the fair-trade shops of Patan.

None
Day 2: Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a melting pot of cultures with Hindu influence to the South and Buddhist to the North.

Enjoy a full day’s city guided tour with a local expert at hand to explain the history and cultural importance of each site.

Visit the famous historical monuments constructed in the 14th century. Visit the temple, restored by King Mahendra Malla in 1562, and the Durbar Square which incorporates the royal palace, Kastha Mandap and Kumari Devi temples. The House of the Living Goddess is where the virgin goddess known as Kumari resides on the exquisitely carved windows of the upper floor.

Your tour includes the intriguing and atmospheric religious sites of Pashupatinath and Boudhnath. Pashupatinath is the holiest Hindu temple in the Kathmandu Valley, situated beside the sacred waters of the Bagmati River.

Boudhnath is lovely to visit in the evening. Enjoy a cup of tea at one of the many cafes and watch monks and nuns file past whispering mantras.

Breakfast
Day 3: Nagarkot

This morning, head east (1 hr drive), into the Kathmandu Valley to the small village of Nagarkot nestled on the northern edge of the valley. On a clear day, Nagarkot offers some of the best panoramic mountain scenery, with spectacular views during sunrise and sunset.

After lunch, head out on an easy walk through Nagarkot and its surrounding villages. The trail starts with a peaceful walk through a dense canopy of pine trees. You’ll then continue onto nearby villages for superb mountain vistas.

Breakfast
Day 4: Bhaktapur

This morning you will take a fairly easy walk to the village of Changu where you’ll visit the ancient Hindu temple Changu Narayan, one of Kathmandu’s most atmospheric temples.

Afterwards, you’ll drive onto culture-rich Bhaktapur, an enchanting settlement whose original architecture has been wonderfully maintained.

Enjoy Bhaktapur’s fine collection of Newari architecture on an afternoon sightseeing walk. The cobbled streets take you to highlights such as the Lion Gate, the Art Gallery, the famous Golden Gate and the Palace of Fifty-five Windows.

Breakfast
Day 5: Dhulikhel & Namobuddha

This morning, drive to Dhulikhel, a well-preserved Newari town and mountain viewpoint. Take a walk in the old town, which  comprises almost exclusively of four- and five-storey brick mansions, many with ornate wooden lattices in place of glass windows. Some even show cracks sustained due to earthquakes from decades ago.

The central square contains a handful of temples, set at the high point of the village and with partial mountain views. Grab a spectacular view of the mountain ranges from Dhulikhel’s viewpoint before continuing your journey to Namobuddha.

Namobuddha is one of the holiest Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Himalayas.

Check in to your hotel. From here you can explore the surroundings and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.

Breakfast
Day 6: Namobuddha

Today, you’ll embark upon an optional but rewarding hike to the village of Balthali, stopping en-route at the monastery at Namobuddha.

Those less keen on the exercise can choose to be driven to the monastery.

The stupa celebrates the compassion of a young prince who encountered a starving tigress about to devour a child, and offered his own flesh instead – a sacrifice that ensured his canonization as a bodhisattva. A steep path leading up to the ridge is festooned with prayer flags; in a small shelter near the top is a famous stone relief sculpture of the prince feeding his flesh to the tigress. There’s also a collection of Tibetan retreats and lesser stupas, as well as an atmospheric monastery if you wish to explore the area.

Continue down the valley through terraced rice fields and thatched farm houses to the rural settlement of Balthali.

You’ll be picked up and return to your hotel by car.

Breakfast
Day 7: Kathmandu

This morning, visit the golden-topped Buddhist stupa of Swayambunath at puja time.

Swayambhunath is magnificently set atop a conical hill 2km west of Thamel. The hill commands a sweeping view of the Kathmandu Valley, and the temple complex is overrun with pilgrims and monkeys.

There are several religious shrines around the main stupa, and you can spend as much time as you prefer, observing the Buddhist pilgrims making a full circumambulation (kora) of the hill, queuing up to spin the gigantic fixed prayer wheels and the six thousand smaller ones that encircle the perimeter, and frequently twirling their own hand-held ones.

Later, visit the city’s National Museum for an appreciation of the intertwining of religion, art, myth and history in Nepal. The museum houses some fabulous stone, metal and terracotta statues, cloth painting, Buddhist Thangkas and manuscripts.

Explore the streets of Thamel, which offers Nepal’s largest gathering of shops selling handicrafts and souvenirs, while Durbar Marg specializes in high-end products. Handicrafts are also sold around Jhochhe and at the Durbar Square night market.

Breakfast
Day 8: Departure

Depending on the time of your return flight, you have the option of enjoying an exceptional treat as your final goodbye to Nepal – an early morning scenic flight to view the world’s highest mountain peaks, including Mt Everest.

The views of these magnificent Himalayan peaks are truly spectacular. Note that this scenic flight is an optional extra.

Later, you will be driven to the airport ready for your return flight.

Breakfast
Day 1: Arrival - Patan

After your morning arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Patan.

This afternoon, begin your cultural exploration with a guided tour of Patan, one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. It is known as the arts and architectural centre of the valley, an aesthetically pleasing city founded in 250 A.D.

Visit Patan’s famous Durbar Square, Royal Baths, Mahaboudha, Krishna Mandir and the Golden Temple. The last stop on your tour is the Patan Museum, set within the former presidential palace.

Take time to browse the fair-trade shops of Patan.

None
Day 2: Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a melting pot of cultures with Hindu influence to the South and Buddhist to the North.

Enjoy a full day’s city guided tour with a local expert at hand to explain the history and cultural importance of each site.

Visit the famous historical monuments constructed in the 14th century. Visit the temple, restored by King Mahendra Malla in 1562, and the Durbar Square which incorporates the royal palace, Kastha Mandap and Kumari Devi temples. The House of the Living Goddess is where the virgin goddess known as Kumari resides on the exquisitely carved windows of the upper floor.

Your tour includes the intriguing and atmospheric religious sites of Pashupatinath and Boudhnath. Pashupatinath is the holiest Hindu temple in the Kathmandu Valley, situated beside the sacred waters of the Bagmati River.

Boudhnath is lovely to visit in the evening. Enjoy a cup of tea at one of the many cafes and watch monks and nuns file past whispering mantras.

Breakfast
Day 3: Nagarkot

This morning, head east (1 hr drive), into the Kathmandu Valley to the small village of Nagarkot nestled on the northern edge of the valley. On a clear day, Nagarkot offers some of the best panoramic mountain scenery, with spectacular views during sunrise and sunset.

After lunch, head out on an easy walk through Nagarkot and its surrounding villages. The trail starts with a peaceful walk through a dense canopy of pine trees. You’ll then continue onto nearby villages for superb mountain vistas.

Breakfast
Day 4: Bhaktapur

This morning you will take a fairly easy walk to the village of Changu where you’ll visit the ancient Hindu temple Changu Narayan, one of Kathmandu’s most atmospheric temples.

Afterwards, you’ll drive onto culture-rich Bhaktapur, an enchanting settlement whose original architecture has been wonderfully maintained.

Enjoy Bhaktapur’s fine collection of Newari architecture on an afternoon sightseeing walk. The cobbled streets take you to highlights such as the Lion Gate, the Art Gallery, the famous Golden Gate and the Palace of Fifty-five Windows.

Breakfast
Day 5: Dhulikhel & Namobuddha

This morning, drive to Dhulikhel, a well-preserved Newari town and mountain viewpoint. Take a walk in the old town, which  comprises almost exclusively of four- and five-storey brick mansions, many with ornate wooden lattices in place of glass windows. Some even show cracks sustained due to earthquakes from decades ago.

The central square contains a handful of temples, set at the high point of the village and with partial mountain views. Grab a spectacular view of the mountain ranges from Dhulikhel’s viewpoint before continuing your journey to Namobuddha.

Namobuddha is one of the holiest Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Himalayas.

Check in to your hotel. From here you can explore the surroundings and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.

Breakfast
Day 6: Namobuddha

Today, you’ll embark upon an optional but rewarding hike to the village of Balthali, stopping en-route at the monastery at Namobuddha.

Those less keen on the exercise can choose to be driven to the monastery.

The stupa celebrates the compassion of a young prince who encountered a starving tigress about to devour a child, and offered his own flesh instead – a sacrifice that ensured his canonization as a bodhisattva. A steep path leading up to the ridge is festooned with prayer flags; in a small shelter near the top is a famous stone relief sculpture of the prince feeding his flesh to the tigress. There’s also a collection of Tibetan retreats and lesser stupas, as well as an atmospheric monastery if you wish to explore the area.

Continue down the valley through terraced rice fields and thatched farm houses to the rural settlement of Balthali.

You’ll be picked up and return to your hotel by car.

Breakfast
Day 7: Kathmandu

This morning, visit the golden-topped Buddhist stupa of Swayambunath at puja time.

Swayambhunath is magnificently set atop a conical hill 2km west of Thamel. The hill commands a sweeping view of the Kathmandu Valley, and the temple complex is overrun with pilgrims and monkeys.

There are several religious shrines around the main stupa, and you can spend as much time as you prefer, observing the Buddhist pilgrims making a full circumambulation (kora) of the hill, queuing up to spin the gigantic fixed prayer wheels and the six thousand smaller ones that encircle the perimeter, and frequently twirling their own hand-held ones.

Later, visit the city’s National Museum for an appreciation of the intertwining of religion, art, myth and history in Nepal. The museum houses some fabulous stone, metal and terracotta statues, cloth painting, Buddhist Thangkas and manuscripts.

Explore the streets of Thamel, which offers Nepal’s largest gathering of shops selling handicrafts and souvenirs, while Durbar Marg specializes in high-end products. Handicrafts are also sold around Jhochhe and at the Durbar Square night market.

Breakfast
Day 8: Departure

Depending on the time of your return flight, you have the option of enjoying an exceptional treat as your final goodbye to Nepal – an early morning scenic flight to view the world’s highest mountain peaks, including Mt Everest.

The views of these magnificent Himalayan peaks are truly spectacular. Note that this scenic flight is an optional extra.

Later, you will be driven to the airport ready for your return flight.

Breakfast

Interested in this itinerary? It's great as is, but we'll be happy to tailor it for you.

Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)