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The Kathmandu World Heritage Sites Tour offers a spiritually enriching journey through the cultural treasures of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan in central Nepal. Over the course of five days, you’ll explore seven UNESCO-designated heritage sites in this valley of temples.
This tour, established as UNESCO-listed in 1979, leads you through three cities, commencing with Kathmandu Durbar Square. It then proceeds to Pashupatinath temple and Boudhanath stupa within Kathmandu city. Following this, a drive to Nagarkot, located on the outskirts of the valley, provides an opportunity to witness a breathtaking sunrise and mountain vistas. The subsequent day includes a visit to the ancient Changu Narayan temple, concluding with a stop at Bhaktapur city’s Durbar Square. The journey culminates with a visit to Swayambhunath stupa and Patan city’s Durbar Square.
This tour presents an excellent chance for travel enthusiasts, photographers, and Instagrammers to explore the picturesque heritage sites of the Kathmandu valley. Given its focus on short overland city and cultural exploration, it is well-suited for travelers of all age groups.
– Explore the Hanuman Dhoka Museum and various temples within the Kathmandu Durbar Square.
– Marvel at the majestic Shiva temple and the numerous shrines at the Pashupatinath temple.
– Partake in a circumambulation at two of the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage sites, Swayambhunath and Boudhanath Stupa.
– Embark on a short hike to Nagarkot Tower for a panoramic view of the Ganesh Himal, Langtang range, and a breathtaking sunrise.
– Discover the oldest city of Bhaktapur and pay a visit to the museums within the Durbar Square.
– Explore the Patan Museum and marvel at the architectural beauty of the Krishna Mandir in Patan Durbar Square.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m/4,592ft) – Transfer to Hotel and Tour Preparation
Day 2: Kathmandu Heritage Sightseeing & Drive to Nagarkot
Day 3: Sunrise View and Drive Back to Kathmandu via Changu Narayan and Bhaktapur
Day 4: Patan Durbar Square and Swayambhunath Sightseeing
Day 5: Final Departure from Nepal
Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you’ll be greeted by our friendly representatives from Third Rock Adventures. Kathmandu, known as the city of temples, is rich in World Heritage Sites. A short drive from the airport will take you to the vibrant Thamel, a popular tourist hub. Here, you’ll have the chance to explore diverse cuisines, cultures, and charming narrow alleys. If time allows, in the afternoon, we’ll visit the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kathmandu Durbar Square. This well-preserved area features ancient temples, shrines, and museums, offering a glimpse into the city’s history. Highlights include the Hanuman Dhoka Museum, once the palace of the Shah kings, the Kumari Bahal, Taleju Temple, Kal Bhairav shrine, and more. Later, you’ll return to the hotel for a welcome dinner.
Overnight stay in Kathmandu.
Today, we’ll explore two of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu.
After breakfast, we’ll head northeast of the valley to visit the revered Pashupatinath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This ancient temple, dating back to 400 BCE, holds great religious significance. While only Hindus can enter the main temple, its distinctive gold-plated roof can be admired from a distance, adding to its unique charm.
Next, we’ll visit the Boudhanath Stupa, located just a short distance away. Built in 600 AD, this stupa is renowned for being the largest dome-shaped stupa in the world. It was also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, alongside Pashupatinath. After circumambulating the stupa, you’ll have the opportunity to savor local Tibetan cuisine.
Following our sightseeing, we’ll embark on a scenic drive to Nagarkot. The one-hour journey along the Arniko Highway offers refreshing views of the city and lush hills.
Overnight stay in Nagarkot.
The highlight of your day starts with an early morning hike to the tower in Nagarkot, offering a breathtaking view of the sunrise and the majestic Himalayan range, including Mt. Jugal, Ganesh Himal, and Langtang range. After a hearty breakfast, we’ll set off to explore two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Changu Narayan Temple:
A short half-hour drive to the south of Nagarkot brings us to Changu Narayan, the oldest temple in Nepal, dating back to 325 AD. This temple is a two-storied pagoda dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was designated as a World Heritage Site due to its historical and religious significance. The temple complex also houses other shrines, and from the hilltop, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
In the afternoon, we’ll drive back to Bhaktapur, the oldest city in Nepal. Here, you’ll explore the ancient Durbar Square, featuring significant constructions from the 16th century. This square bears the legacy of the Malla dynasty era. Visit notable structures like the Nyatapola Temple and the 55-Window Palace. Some of the palaces have been converted into the National Art Museum, as well as the Brass and Metal Museum. Immerse yourself in the rich Newari culture, witness traditional attire, and savor authentic dishes before returning to your hotel in Kathmandu city.
Overnight stay in Kathmandu.
After breakfast, embark on a journey to explore the remaining two UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
Patan Durbar Square:
Head to the south-central part of the valley to reach Patan, also known as Lalitpur. This is one of the largest Newari towns and is home to the third major Durbar Square in the valley. Built in the 16th century by the Malla Kings, Patan Durbar Square served as their royal residence. It is renowned for the Krishna, Bhimsen, and Taleju Bhawani temples, as well as a museum showcasing architectural settings.
Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple):
Next, venture to the western hills of Kathmandu to visit one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage sites, Swayambhunath Stupa, also fondly known as the Monkey Temple. After ascending a series of steps to reach the hill’s summit, you’ll encounter the stupa, crowned with 13 rings in the spire. From this elevated vantage point, enjoy panoramic views of the city. It’s highly likely you’ll encounter a playful troop of monkeys in this serene setting.
Upon returning from your tour, feel free to explore local handicraft shops and pick up some meaningful souvenirs.
Overnight stay in Kathmandu.
On your last day in Nepal, after enjoying breakfast, you’ll have the opportunity for some shopping. Depending on your flight schedule, our representatives will ensure you reach the airport in time. As you board your flight, we bid you farewell with hopes for your swift return, ready for another exciting adventure with us. Safe travels!