This is the ultimate collection of the ten days trips you must not miss while you are in Nepal. It does not take very long to see all the sights Kathmandu has to offer. However, there are lots of day trips out of the city too.
Within about two hours’ drive – by bus from Kathmandu, if you are feeling adventurous (these are very frequent but often crowded), you can be in a completely different world. It does not take long to get away from the dust of Kathmandu, into the Kathmandu Valley.
Top 10 Day Trips You Must Not Miss while you are in Nepal
Here there are many places worth visiting in Kathmandu. I have tried to list places outside or just outside Kathmandu. Obviously, there are many other places within the city that you could easily spend all day like Boudhanath and Pashupatinath, Kopan Monastery, Asian and Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Square, depending on your interest.
Panauti hike and lunch with a local family
Panauti Hike is one of the 10 days trips you must not miss while you are in Nepal. This full day starts with a hike, starting at Sanga, an hour’s drive from Kathmandu. Following paths through the attractive undulating countryside to Panauti, this 10-kilometre hike is easy for anyone moderately fit. Reaching Panauti, here you are treated to a hearty home-cooked meal at one of the Community Homestays. After lunch, you can explore the beautiful historic centre of Panauti, and if you have more time, can even stay the night at one of the homestays here. Obviously, if you don’t fancy walking too much, a visit to Panauti can easily take up a day.
Bhaktapur is another of the five UNESCO listed sites in the Kathmandu Valley. It is a historic town and home to the famous Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Here you can explore the little lanes and pass through squares full of old temples and palaces. There’s a little museum full of artistic treasures. You can see hand-thrown pottery laid out to dry in the sun, woodcarvers, and other crafts. There are many buses that ply the 15 kilometres, usually taking about 40 minutes.
Do not forget to miss the famous “Juju Dhau”, the king of curd and some local Nepali mouth-watering cuisine.
Not far from Bhaktapur, Thimi is on the way from Kathmandu. It is possible to add this to your visit to Bhaktapur if you are short of time. Smaller than Bhaktapur, it is no less important as it lies on what was the trade route from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu. It is also a treasure trove of old temples and beautiful buildings in small courtyards. It is much less touristy but for me, one of my favourite places to visit. Don’t miss the Balkumari Temple and its rest houses, Mahalaxmi Temple, Thimi Durbar (palace) and its many other temples.
Namobuddha Monastery is one of the must-visit places while staying in Kathmandu. This is a lovely little Buddhist monastery situated in Dhulikhel which is just 40 kilometres from Kathmandu. Sitting on the top of a hill, it is very beautiful. If you are here in May, there is an important festival on the full moon day of Baisakh, the Birthday of Lord Buddha. Of particular interest is the idol of “Sacrifice to the Tigress” which is a good place for viewing the sunrise and sunset. If you have time, you can stay in one of the monastery’s guest rooms and participate with the monks in their meals and prayers.
Dakshinkali Temple and Pharping
Not for the squeamish, Dakshinkali Temple is a major Hindu temple in Nepal. It is located 22 kilometres from Kathmandu and close to the village of Pharping. Animal sacrifices, especially of cockerels and male goats, are offered to the goddess, the sacrifices taking place early in the morning twice a week. Families come and after the sacrifices, sit down to picnic. Pharping is no more than a couple of kilometres away, where you can find Buddhist temples as well as the Asur cave, famous for the handprint of Guru Padmasambhava.
Nagarkot is one of the most popular hill stations in Kathmandu. This resort is popular as a retreat from Kathmandu and a place where, on clear days, it is possible to catch a glimpse of Mount Everest as well as other peaks of the Himalayan range and a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley. It is a popular place for hiking and if you have time, there are some good 2 – 3 day treks to or from here around the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. If you want to come here for the sunrise, then you might consider spending the night at the Community Homestay here.
Changu Narayan Temple and Village
Changu Narayan Temple is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The ancient Hindu temple of Changu Narayan is well worth a visit. It is believed to be the oldest temple in Nepal. It has a shrine dedicated to Lord Visnu. The village and temple are located on a hilltop behind Bhaktapur, just 12 kilometres east of Kathmandu.
Budhanilkantha and Shivapuri National Park
In the northern suburbs of Kathmandu, Budhanilkantha Temple (also known as the Narayanthan Temple) is a Hindu open-air temple that is dedicated to Lord Mahavishnu, marked by its large reclining statue of Lord Mahavishnu. It is then a twenty minute or so walk up to the entrance of the national park. Here you can walk up Shivapuri Hill (2,732 m) along shady forest paths. Although leopard, jungle cat, civet, Himalayan black bear, wild boar, and many more animals are believed to live here, I personally have only seen rhesus monkey, but have spotted dozens of species of birds. For birdwatchers, this is a good place to come.
Kirtipur-Lake Taudar – Chobar Gorge
Although now almost a suburb of Kirtipur, it was an ancient city of Nepal. Just five kilometres south-west of the city, it is one of the five municipalities in the Kathmandu Valley, (the others being Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Thimi). Although it is so close to Kathmandu, it could not be more different. It is close to nature, so as well as visiting the temple here, it is not far to walk to Lake Taudar, the largest lake in the valley, and Chorbar Gorge, just a few kilometres away.
Just outside of Kathmandu, this is a popular area for picnics and hiking. Godawari is also well known for its botanical garden, as well as its temples. Phulchoki hill (2,765 m). This place is home to a wide variety of butterflies, and there are more than 250 species of birds, even leopards and deer. Pulchowki is named the “Hill of Flowers” because of the colourful flora here. There is a small temple of Phulchowki Mai and another, Phulchowki Mata at Godavari behind St. Xavier’s College. It is believed that if you go to Phulchowki hill, your heart’s desire will be fulfilled.
So, these are the top 10 Day Trips You Must Not Miss while you are in Nepal.