Are you visiting Nepal? If yes, you must be looking for the best places to see in Kathmandu. If traveling to Nepal for the first time, you should learn about the tour sites you must see in Kathmandu. There are numerous historical and natural places around Kathmandu Valley to visit and explore for your free day. Not just one day, you can spend several days visiting those cultural and historical places in the Kathmandu Valley. Here, you can see information on those sites and what you can see while you stay in Kathmandu in this post:
Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu
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Many travelers might look for the best places to visit in Kathmandu before traveling to Nepal. You are among those first visiting Nepal and wondering about the places to see around the Kathmandu Valley. Here, we have made it easier to manage your holiday in this post.
There are seven world heritage cultural sites of UNESCO in Kathmandu Valley, where you can see magnificent ancient architecture, art, religious monuments, and more. You need two full days to visit all of these sites. Still, you can select three or four places to see in one day after knowing about those sites below, or you can visit all of them if you have more than a free day in Kathmandu. So, Let's get to know about ancient historical sites here:
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu Valley
There are seven cultural, historical, and religious UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley, which you can see and explore in two days. Check general information about those heritage monuments below:
Kathmandu Durbar Square
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is an ancient royal palace of Nepal. King Prithvi Narayan Shaha united Nepal and then moved his court from Gorkha to this palace in the 18th century. The kings of Nepal ruled from this palace until 1968 after Prithvi Narayan Shaha and then started leading from Narayanhiti Palace.
The Kathmandu Durbar is also known as Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace and Basantapur Area. You see numerous pagoda temples, Newari Architecture, arts, and more ancient things in this place. You can spend a whole day in this place by visiting different magnificent yards and museums if you like to explore well. The major highlight of the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace is the living goddess Kumari, which has strong religious beliefs and history.
You can walk to this old royal palace from Thamel through the local market. You see historical monuments with charming wood carvings in this palace square, which you probably have never seen in other places and countries.
Swayambhunath Maha Chaitya (Monkey Temple)
The Syambhunath, also known as Monkey Temple, is located on a small hill station, where you can see magnificent views of the Kathmandu Valley. It is a Buddhist site where you can see many Buddhist monuments like colorful prayer flags, stupas, thunderbolts, and more, with natural attractions.
You will also see some Shikhara, Pagoda, and dome architecture temples with several Buddhist shrines while visiting the Swayambhunath area. You can also walk to this place from Thamel, which may take around half an hour. You can see amazing lights in the Valley if you visit this place in the evening.
One of the most sacred Hindu temples in the country is the Pashupatinath Temple. However, Only Hindus and Buddhists can enter the temple. Although, you see many temples and historical monuments outside the temple. The primary thing, which can be strange and rarely seen, is an open cremation. Several dead bodies are burning at the side of the Bagmati River at the same time. You can also see several offerings around this area.
The Bouddhanath Stupa is the highest Maha Chaitya in Nepal and the second highest globally. It was built in the early 5th century. Many buildings surround this stupa in the middle of a big yard. It is one of the most sacred places for the Buddhists in Nepal. There are numerous monasteries where you can see unique religious paintings and shrines. You can get blessings from the monks while visiting these monasteries and see magnificent views of the stupa from the roof of the Monastery.
You can visit all of these sites mentioned above in one day while doing a full-day Kathmandu tour. We arrange private transport and an experienced tour guide for the day tour to see these historical places. Our guide will give you a lot of information about history, religion, culture, and more.
Patan Durbar Square
The Patan Durbar Square is in Latitpur City in the Kathmandu Valley. It has a small area around the palace compared to the other two ancient royal palaces in the Valley. Still, it is rich in art and architecture and has magnificent carvings with decorated fine art.
While visiting Patan, you can see several ancient pagoda temples, stone architect Krishna Temple, beautiful yards, an art museum, a Garden, and more.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
The Bhaktapur is an old Newar City in the Kathmandu Valley. It was the capital of Nepal until the 14th century, before the country was divided into three kingdoms. The Bhaktapur is famous for wood carvings, so you can see unique masterpieces of wood carvings in this area.
Bhaktapur has many old traditional buildings and farming land compared to the other two cities in the Valley. You visit four different squares while touring Bhaktapur. You see Dattatraya Temple and well-carved peacock window, Taumadhi and the tallest five-story temple (Natapola), Pottery and clay pots making, and palace squares in Bhaktapur.
The Changunarayan Temple is a sacred Temple belonging to the God Vishnu. It is located on a hill station close to Bhaktapur, covering a small area. You can also see a small Newar town here with well-carved buildings. There is a stone pillar with the first proof of historical writings. King Manadeva I from the Lichcchivi dynasty had put this stone pillar writing about his father's work for the country in the 4th century.
You can see both these durbar squares and Changunarayan Temple in one day by doing the Bhaktapur and Patan Day Tour. We arrange this tour by providing you with private transport and an experienced government-authorized guide if you want to visit these tour sites in the Kathmandu Valley.
Visiting Religious Sites
You can also visit two religious sites, Dakshinkali and Pharping, in one day around Kathmandu. These two places are close to each other. You drive south of Kathmandu for around an hour, which is the famous Kali Temple. You also see the most vital cremation sites, shrines, and parks.
After visiting Dakshinkali, you return the same way for around a minute's drive and visit Pharping. It is a Buddhist site where you see several monasteries with colorful prayer flags, religious shrines, and caves, where Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) and Gorakhnath mediated. You can hike through steps for 10-15 minutes and see the magnificent Pharping Valley and green hills.
After Pharping, you drive another five minutes towards Kathmandu and visit Sheshnarayan temple. Here, you see many fishes and Hindu and Buddhist shrines and return to Kathmandu.
Visiting Typical Newar Town Bungmati and Khokana
You reach in an hour's drive from the city center to Bungmati, a typical Newar town, and see traditional buildings and lifestyle. Several temples like Rato Machhindranath, Bhairava, and more can also be seen. You can also see beautiful artwork and farming while visiting Bungmati.
After Bungmati, cross a suspension bridge, visit a religious Ganesha Temple, Siddhibinayak, and walk inside Khokana Village. You will learn about lifestyle, religion, history, and culture while visiting Bungmati and Khokamna from our guide.
Chandragiti Hill is the third-highest hill around Kathmandu Valley. You ride a cable car to reach this hill. You can see magnificent views of Kathmandu Valley, green hills, and scenic snow-capped high mountains like Ganesh Himal, Annapurna, Manaslu, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Gauri Shankar, Jugal, and Everest ranges.
Besides the natural views from Chandragiri Hill, you can do some adventure activities over there. On this Chandragiri tour, you can enjoy zipline, free fall, swing ride, horse ride, wall-climb, and more.
Best Hiking Routes Around Kathmandu Valley
Suppose you are looking for a one-day adventure activity around Kathmandu and want to escape inside fresh nature. In that case, there are numerous nature and cultural hiking routes. This hiking may also be beneficial if you plan an adventure trek like the Everest Base Camp. You can go to Heart for a day or a few hours according to different trails. Check out general information about those nature hikes below:
The Nagarkot Changunarayan hiking is the most popular hiking route near Kathmandu. You can start walking from Nagarkot or Changunarayan, but walking from Nagarkot is more leisurely, mostly descending trails.
You can drive early in the morning from Kathmandu if you are interested in seeing the sunrise and hiking. While walking on this trail, you see long-ranged mountain views, green hills, valleys, farming terraces, and more from Nagarkot. You will also see the village lifestyles and daily activities of the locals on this hike.
You arrive at Changunarayan at the end of the trip, one of Nepal's UNESCO cultural heritage sites. After visiting the Changunarayan, you drive back to Kathmandu through Bhaktapur.
You can also spend one night, enjoy the sunrise and sunset from Nagarkot, and hike to Changunarayan if you do not like to wake early morning and drive from Kathmandu.
Champadevi Hill Hiking
The Champadevi Hill Hiking is the best nature trail around Kathmandu Valley. You drive around an hour from the city center to Pharping and start walking, or you can directly drive to Hattiban Resort if you want a shorter hike.
You will walk inside the forests and feel fresh air while hiking to Champadevi Hill. It is a full-day hiking journey, so you need to take snacks and water for the hike. However, if you visit on Saturday on this trail, you can buy drinks and snacks.
You will listen to the sounds of wild animals and birds while walking on the Champadevi trail. Suppose you are hiking in autumn from October to December. In that case, you will see long-ranged mountains like Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Jugal, and Gauri Shankar ranges, green hills, valleys, and more from this hike.
Nagarjun Hill Hike
The Nagarjun Hill, also known as Jamacho Hill, is inside the Shivapuri Nagarjung National Park. It is the nearest and shortest nature hiking destination to the city. You see magnificent views of Mt. Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Gaurishankar, Jugal, Dorje Lakpa, Sisapangma, and more ranges from the top of this hill. It is also the best hill station to see Kathmandu Valley.
A small Buddhist monastery and Hindu shrines are on the top of Jamacho Hill. You will see some wild animals and beautiful birds while hiking to Jamacho Nagarjun Hill.
Kakani Suryachaur Hiking
The Kakani Suryachaur hiking is also a nature hiking trail around Kathmandu Valley. You drive north of Kathmandu for around an hour to Kakani Hill and start walking towards Suryachour through the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park forest. On this hike, you will see magnificent snow-capped mountain views, natural attractions, and wildlife. The hiking journey ends in Suryachour, which has a massive ground in open space. You see the zenith of green hills, farming terraces, captivating landscapes, typical villages, and more from here and then drive back to Kathmandu.
Shivapuri Nature Hike
The Shivapuri Hill is the second-highest hill station near Kathmandu Valley. It is the most extended hiking destination, and you can escape in nature for a whole day. The hiking trail of the Shivapuri is inside the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park.
You drive to Budhanilkantha, around half an hour from the city, and start walking. You can also visit a female monk (Ani) monastery. You will be walking inside the dense forests of pine, rhododendron, oak, and many other trees with furn and bamboo bushes on the sides of the walking trail.
You will see the starting point of the Bagmati River (Baghdwar), Buddhist Monastery, Hindu Shadhu's Kuti (Inn), Hindu shrines, and Buddhist prayer flags. The view of the Kathmandu Valley looks magnificent while walking towards Shivapuri Hill. If you are on this trip in spring, you will see blooming rhododendrons inside the jungle and wild animals like monkeys and deer.
2-4 Days Short Trek Near Kathmandu
Besides day tours and hikes, you also can do a short trek near Kathmandu Valley. You can do a 2-4 day short trekking trip, which is the Chisapani trek. Suppose you like to do a 2-day drek near Kathmandu. In that case, you drive to Sundarijal and walk to Chisapani through the traditional village and Shivapuri Najarjun National Park. After Chisapani, you trek to Sankhu through Jhule and drive to Kathmandu. You can also make it three days, during which you reach Nagarkot on the second day, walk to Changunarayan, and go to Kathmandu.
Making it four days, Chisapani Trek goes to Dhulikhel and then drives to Ktm. You can also walk to Namobuddha and Panauti Town if you have more days w. On this trekking trip, you see pristine mountain views, magnificent valleys, landscapes, green hills, wildlife, traditional lifestyle, and more.
You can also reach Everest Base Camp from Kathmandu within a few hours.
You can see pristine mountain ranges while hiking and trekking around Kathmandu, but they are pretty far away. If you love to reach very close to the high Himalayas, especially Everest Base Camp, and see the world's highest mountain from a close distance, you also have an option. The Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour, with several landings in Lukla and Pheriche, brings you to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp and then Lands at Hotel Everest View. You can see magnificent mountain views from very close while landing each spot.
You can also see Mt. Everest from very close by doing the mountain flight from Kathmandu. Everest scenic flight is the fastest and cheapest option to see the Everest Himalayas and other superb mountain ranges. You fly from Kathmandu Airport and land back in the same place after exploring the mountains if you are on this flight tour.
You can contact us anytime to see any of these sites listed in Kathmandu. We provide professional tour and hiking guides for you and arrange private transport like car, van, and bus according to your group size. We hope this post is beneficial to plan to visit and see specific sites and destinations after reading this post. You can even refer this to your friend and anyone you know who travels to Nepal for the first time. You can email us or WhatsApp at +977 9851043624 and ask anything about Nepal. We are always happy to provide authentic information for you.