Are you in Kathmandu for a short leave? Do you have an extra free day in Kathmandu before or after a long mountain trip? So, you must be looking for something that can be done within a day, providing one extra experience you might not get from other trips. Here are some one-day exploration tours that you can do near Kathmandu, which will help you spend your day. Not only will you kill your free time with these trips, but you will surely make unforgettable memories with them.
One Day Activity That You Can Do In Kathmandu
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Nepal is a country with a richness of natural and cultural attractions. This is a Himalayan country, so many adventure travelers visit this country every year. Of course, the mighty Himalayas are the main attraction for people worldwide, but there are many other things to explore in Nepal.
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and has only an international airport. All travelers must visit Kathmandu because there are no other options except for some land borders through India and Tibet. There are many sights, such as UNESCO world heritage sites and non-heritage sites, that are worth visiting. You can make some Day Trips to Kathmandu on a short holiday or before and after a Himalayan trek. If you are going on a trek, you need to be acclimatized, so rest at least One Day before going towards the mountain. You can do a One-Day Exploration Tour, hike, or scenic mountain flight in Kathmandu.
Day Tours In Kathmandu: History, Culture, Religion, and Art Activities
There are numerous day-tour sights in Kathmandu. There are seven UNESCO cultural world heritage sites in the valley, so you can visit those sites during a one-day tour. Visiting these seven heritage sites has been divided into different Day tours, such as the Kathmandu Day Tour of Bhaktapur and the Patan Day Tour. Also, there are many heritage sites in Kathmandu, but they are not listed as world heritage sites. It doesn’t mean that regular heritage sites are not worth visiting. Even though they are not world heritage sites, they are excellent sites to see.
Kathmandu Day Tour
Kathmandu Day Tour is about 7-8 hours, visiting 4 UNESCO world heritage sites. You can start this tour after breakfast with private transportation. On this Day Tour, you can visit Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (the monkey temple), Pashupatinath, and Bouddhanath. Kathmandu Durbar Square is an ancient royal palace with many temples, living goddesses, and much more. You can learn history, religion, and culture from this place by viewing historical and religious monuments.
Swayambhunath is situated on a hill. It is a Buddhist site, so you can see many monuments here according to Tibetan Buddhism. This place is also known as a monkey temple because there are many monkeys. The monkeys from this place are excellent, so they do nothing to the people if you don’t tease them. You can see a nice view of the Kathmandu Valley from the hilltop.
Pashupatinath is one of the most famous Hindu temples among the Hindu community from all over the world. This temple is ancient with a long religious history, so thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit it as an offering to the god Shiva. Also, there are a lot of tourists visiting this place to see an open cremation.
Another beautiful site to visit during this Kathmandu Day Tour is Bouddhanath. It was established in the 4th or 5th century with the 3rd Buddha (Kasyapa) relic. Bouddhanath Stupa is the highest Stupa in Nepal and the second in the world. This Stupa was made with Mandala architecture, so Mandala is a meditational device. You will visit these four sites on your Kathmandu Day Tour and return to your hotel.
Bhaktapur And Patan Day Tour
'Bhaktapur and Patan Day Tour' cover two different ancient royal places. Not only are there palaces to see in these places, but there are also lots of other things to explore.
Bhaktapur is the oldest city in the Kathmandu Valley. This place was the ancient capital of the valley until the 15th century. Then the valley was divided into three kingdoms, and kings ruled Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. Lots of people are still farming in this city.
There are four different squares: Durbar Square, Pottery Square, Taumadhi Square, and Dattatraya Square. The 55-window palace, the tallest temple, Nyatapola, and many more attractions can be seen on the Bhaktapur city tour.
Patan means flat land, though; this place is known as Lalitpur. Lalit means the fine arts, and Pura means place, so we can say this is the city of the fine arts. Patan Durbar Square is one of the valley's most miniature ancient royal palaces. You can see lots of attractive temples with different architecture. One of the most beautiful temples in this place is the Krishna Temple, with 21 pinnacles made of stone. You can see a lot of metal carvings around this place.
Dakshinkali Pharping Day Tour
The Dakshinkali Pharping Day tour is excellent and quiet, taking you a few kilometers from the crowded city. You will feel fresh and at peace during this Tour. You will visit two different sites: Dakshinkali and Pharping.
Dakshinkali is a Hindu site, so this is a temple of the goddess Kali where you can see offerings by many Hindu pilgrims. It is located at the junction of three small rivers surrounding a dense forest. After this, you will visit Pharping, which is a Buddhist site. You can see many colorful Buddhist prayer flags and a cave where Padmasambhava meditated here. You can also visit a beautiful monastery and Sheshnarayan temple in this place and drive back to your hotel after the Tour.
Besides these Day Tours, you can do Bungmati Khokana, a typical Newar village Tour, Chandragiri Hill Tour with cable car, Dhulikhel Panauti Tour, and many more.
Day Hikes Around Kathmandu: Nature Activities
Day tours involve driving from one site to another and exploring the area. If you are looking for something more adventurous than the day tours, you can make One-Day Hiking Trips Around Kathmandu. Numerous hiking trails offer scenic mountain views, landscapes, valleys, nature, local experiences, and more.
Nagarkot Changunarayan Hike
The most popular hike for many hikers near Kathmandu is the Nagarkot Changunarayan Hiking Route. There are many domestic and international hikers every day on this trail. You can start this Hike by taking the early morning drive from Kathmandu to Nagarkot hill station for sunrise and then going for a hike, or you can spend one night in Nagarkot and hike downwards to Changunarayan.
This Hike is about 4-5 hours, through traditional villages and forests, enjoying the lifestyle of the villagers, scenic mountain views, valleys, landscape, and much more. You will finish the hike by reaching Changunarayan, a UNESCO cultural world heritage site. You can drive back to Kathmandu after visiting Changunarayan or Bhaktapur on the way there.
Shivapuri Nature Hike
Shivapuri Hill is the highest elevated hill in Kathmandu Valley. This is a complete nature hike where you will hike the whole trail inside the forest through Shivapuri National Park. Along the trail, you will visit a beautiful monastery, the House of Sadhus (Kuti). You will see the starting point of the Bagmati River on this hike, which is Baghdwar. It is a bit of a steep day hike, and you can enjoy nature, a view of the valley, wildlife, birds, and much more from this hike. After reaching the top of Shivapuri Hill, you will hike back to Narayanthan and drive back to your hotel.
The Champadevi hike is the most accessible and beautiful day hike near Kathmandu. It is a short day hike that is recommended for families and people who don’t have any hiking experience. You will drive a few kilometers south of the city center, which takes about an hour to drive to Pharping, and start the hike towards Hattiban Resort and Chanpadevi Hill.
On a clear day, you will see a fantastic view of Kathmandu Valley, Pharping Valley, and the high Himalayas. Enjoy nature with this hike. There are colorful prayer flags, Stupas, and Hindu shrines on the top of Champadevi Hill. After reaching the top of Chapadevi Hill, you can hike back to the same place you started your hike or hike to Kritipur or Taudaha and drive back to the city.
Kakani Suryachaur Hike
Kakani Suryachaur hike is also a nature hike near Kathmandu. You will drive from the city to the hill station of Kakani, which takes around 2 hours. From here, you will see scenic mountain views of Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, and Langtang ranges and hike through Shivapuri National Park for about 3 hours to reach Suryachaur. Suryachaur is in an open area, so you will see mountain views with unique landscapes. Then you will hike another hour to Jhon and drive back to the hotel.
You can even stay overnight in this place and go paragliding. This is a new hiking trail, so there should be fewer people on the trail.
Jamacho Nagarjun Hike
The nearest hiking trail from the city center is the Jamacho Nagarjun Day Hike. You will drive around half an hour to the starting point and then hike up the hill. This hike offers one of the best views of Kathmandu Valley, with scenic mountain views. You can see lovely birds along the hike and visit the beautiful Nagarjun monastery on top. This hiking trail also goes through Shivapuri Najarun National Park.
Seeing Scenic Mountains From Kathmandu: A Flight Tour Activity
Besides visiting cultural and historical heritage sites and doing some hikes from Kathmandu, you can also do scenic mountain tours within a day. You can see and explore magnificent mountains in Kathmandu. It would be best if you did some mountain flight tours for this, which wouldn't be physically stressful.
You can tour two kinds of mountains from Kathmandu using plane and helicopter flights. Both are sharing flight tours, but you can do a private flight tour with a helicopter if you would like.
Everest Scenic Flight
Everest Scenic Flight is a popular tour that takes you to the high Himalayas within a few hours. This kind of flight operates in the morning with clear weather from Kathmandu airport. Hundreds of people do this scenic flight tour every morning.
The plane will have single-sitting seats on both sides and fly around in both directions so all the people can see the mountains well. You will land back at the same airport after this scenic flight. You can see Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Gauri Shankar, Manaslu, and more massifs from the flight.
Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour
A Helicopter Everest Base Camp tour is the best option to reach the base camp of the world’s highest mountain within a few hours. This tour is known as the Everest Base Camp helicopter landings. There are several landings, such as at Lukla, Everest View Hotel, and Kala Patthar. You can see one of the best and nearest views of Mt. Everest and its range from Kala Patthar.
Flying over traditional villages, glaciers, base camps, and landscapes and landing on those vantage viewpoints, you will enjoy a lot with this tour. Though it is an expensive day tour compared to the other day trips, it can be one of the best experiences ever.
Except for these day tours, day hikes, and mountain flight trips, you can do a one-day rafting trip to the Trishuli River and Bhotekoshi River and a bungee trip. Also, you can do cycling tours, biking tours, rickshaw tours, and visit some local markets on a one-day trip in Kathmandu.
There are many historical and ancient sites to visit in Kathmandu on your free day. Visiting these sites is not only to see them, but also to learn a lot about history, culture, and religion. Hiking trips to different trails take you out of the noise and make your mind fresh. These day tours and day hikes around Kathmandu can be done with low budgets, but scenic flight tours might be costly compared to other trips. But flight tours may provide one of Kathmandu's best one-day tour experiences. These one-day exploration trips are suitable for a short visit to Kathmandu.