The Kathmandu Valley is full of old towns and cities, and rich Newar history. Starting with a visit to Bhaktapur, this ancient Newar city is perhaps the most important World Heritage Site in Nepal. Not far away, Panauti is where you spend the night with a family who shows you around the lovely little gnats and the historic town centre. You are then taken to Neydo Monastery where you join the monks in their prayers and see how they live. Spending the night at the monastery, you then return to Kathmandu and to Patan, which was once its own city and like Bhaktapur, a separate kingdom. Staying in one of the old traditional Newar homestays here, you explore this fascinating part of the city.
|Day 1||Bhaktapur and Panauti (Panauti Homestay)|
|Day 2||Panauti – Namobuddha - Neydo Monastery|
|Day 3||Neydo Monastery - Patan|
Homestays: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conRead More...
Homestays: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip may have to alter the schedule if necessary and any such changes are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
Staying in a homestay can be the highlight of your trip. You can live like a local, sharing with families their way of life. The homestays are family homes, so whilst they offer a good standard of comfort, they may not be quite as luxurious as a hotel.
The quality of homestays used varies from place to place. In all of the homestays guests are offered a private room and if not an attached bathroom, then a clean bathroom that is shared with the family. Some homestays can be a little ‘rustic,’ and although most can provide hot showers at the turn of the tap, in a few places you might be given a bucket of hot water for a ‘bucket shower.’
Food and drink
Meals provided at homestays are prepared by the family and generally, there will not be a choice as this is what the family will be eating too. However, guests with any special dietary requirements should make this clear beforehand. For example, anyone how cannot tolerate wheat flour would not want to be served chapattis or momos, so should warn their hosts on arrival.
Water served at the homestays is filtered and all hosts and hostesses have been trained in the hygienic preparation of food. In many places, guests may be offered local chyang or raksi, a beer made from rice or grain, or a spirit distilled from the same.
In most of the places where there are homestays, you can be taken by your host family to see the local sights, or to participate in local activities, depending on where you are staying.
In many homestays, the level of English may be quite basic. Generally, younger people will know more English from school, but their parents do not always speak so much English. That said, many of the homestay hosts and hostesses are learning English and will welcome the chance to practice and interact with you.
It is best to bring Nepali rupees and try to bring as much small change as you can, as in the villages cashing larger 1000Rs notes is always more difficult. You should exchange enough money into Nepalese rupees to last the entire time of your trip as outside Kathmandu and Pokhara, there are very few ATMs and no money changers. Although Indian rupees may be accepted in many places, nowhere will accept foreign currency as it is very difficult for local people to then change into Nepali rupees.
Communication: mobile phones and internet
Mobile phone reception can be very patchy. Although NCELL, the local mobile company has quite good coverage, sometimes the signal can be very weak. Many homestays offer wifi, which also can be quite variable in speed.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and is not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trip the best they can, we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst travelling in Nepal. Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses).
The climate in Nepal varies a lot depending on altitude and time of year. During the summer (June-August) rainy season, it usually rains a few hours most days, towards the end of the day, only occasionally raining all day and for a few days at a time. It is useful to have an umbrella and rain cape. The rest of the year is generally dry, with the temperatures dropping in the winter. As there are limited heating facilities, be sure to bring warm clothes if you are coming during the months of November to February. In the spring and autumn, the weather can be warm, even hot if you are staying in the Terai, the plains in the south of Nepal.
Bhaktapur and Panauti (Panauti Homestay)
One of the most fascinating and important World Heritage Sites in Nepal, the historic centre of Bhaktapur is made up of three large squares filled with historic shrines and temples, Newar architecture and fine art. This ancient town is famous for its clay pots and exquisite wood carvings. Also legendary for its colourful festivals and its delicious and unique cuisine, Bhaktapur retains its medieval feel and the local people are still engaged in farming and traditional crafts like pottery, metalwork, art and woodwork which have supported the city since it was established in the 12th century. This is a ‘must see’ place to explore. You will be shown the magnificent Golden Gate in Durbar Square (square of the palaces), the Palace of 55 Windows, the Nyata Pola Temple, Newar houses and pottery square. Although the town was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, there has been a lot of work to repair the old buildings.
You are then taken to Panauti where your homestay hosts will cook you a local and traditional lunch. They take you to explore the historic centre of this beautiful little Newar town. Here you can see a large number of Hindu and Buddhist religious monuments and temples. Originally a small state given by King Bhupatindra Malla as a dowry to his sister, it is still largely unchanged over the passage of time. You visit Indreswor temple and Durbar square in the town centre. Situated at the confluence of the two rivers Rosi and Punyamati, it has been regarded as an important religious site since very early times. Panauti is surrounded by sacred rivers and is the birthplace of a number of legendary figures. There is a traditional Newari confection produced only during the harvest festival each year. Panauti is also famous for its 40 temples and 28 festivals. Rich in Newari culture, many of the town’s festivals are similar to those of Kathmandu while some are unique with a completely local character.
In the evening, your hosts will show you how to cook a typical Nepali meal.
Panauti – Namobuddha - Neydo Monastery
After breakfast, you leave Panauti to visit Namobuddha, up the hill from the town. This small village is where you can find the very old Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery. It is a very important Buddhist pilgrimage site and one of the holiest in the world as it is known as the place where the Buddha, in a previous life as a prince, gave his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. The monastery is home to more than 250 monks and includes a monastic college, a school for young monks and a Tibetan Medical clinic.
You are then taken to Pharping and Neydo Monastery where you can observe the monastic life of the monks here, join with them in the prayers and ceremonies, and relax in the comfortable monastery guest house.
Neydo Monastery - Patan
An early start to the day, you join the monks in their morning prayers. After breakfast, you return to Kathmandu, dropping your things off at your homestay in Patan. Like Bhaktapur, in its day Patan was a separate city, one of the three that made up the three kingdoms of Nepal. Very different in character from Kathmandu, Patan’s Durbar Square is surrounded by the most superb of Newar architecture. Here you see a beautiful ensemble of temples and shrines beside the old royal palace that now serves as a little museum. You can see a mixture of both Hinduism and Buddhism, with people worshipping both at the same time. Renowned for the “Birth to Death” shops, these are where to shop for every little item that Nepalese rituals require from birth to death. There are many interesting festivals and traditions that are observed here.
You spend the night in one of Patan’s fine homestays where you can learn more about family life and the rich Newar traditions people still follow here.
After breakfast with your host family, it is time to say goodbye and your tour is at an end.