Few countries have such a harmonious blend of cultures as Nepal. We have the Sherpa & Tibetan people living in the high Himalayas, the Newar, Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Brahmin, Chettri, and others in the midlands and the Tharu & Madhesi community down south in flat Terai plains. Amazingly, 101 ethnic groups speak 123 spoken languages. Our Kathmandu Valley Encounter Tour is a perfect glimpse into the diversity of Nepal. On this tour, we will take you on a spiritual and cultural exploration as you have never experienced before.
Initially, you will explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Pashupatinath Temple & Boudhanath Stupa. You will also get to visit the Shechen Monastery, a magnificent replica of the new destroyed Shechen Monastery of Tibet.
Pashupatinath translates to “the lord of all animals”. The Pashupatinath temple is one of the four most important pilgrimage sites dedicated to the almighty Shiva.
The temple lies on the banks of the holy Bagmati river. The river originates up north at Baghdwar where three headwater streams converge. Non-Hindus aren’t allowed in the main temple square but can visit the cremation rituals on the other side of the river bank.
Boudhanath Stupa is the largest and most sacred Tibetan Buddhist site outside of Tibet. The devastating 2015 earthquake had damaged the main Stupa, but reconstruction began almost immediately and took a year to complete.
You can enjoy a mesmerizing view of the Stupa from one of the rooftop garden hotels encircling the Stupa.
The Shechen Monastery was built in 1980 by the revered Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. A central figure and of the greatest realized masters, he left Tibet in 1959.
It took master crafters, stonemasons, sculptors, painters, goldsmiths, and master tailors almost ten years to build the Shechen Monastery. The monastery has one of the largest Tibetan libraries in Eastern Asia and houses four hundred and fifty monks from across the Himalayas.
We embark on a short hike to Chisapani and Nagarkot; a small hamlet atop a hill famous for its panoramic sunrise and sunset views, after the Kathmandu tour. You will then visit Changu Narayan Temple; the oldest temple in Nepal. Changu Narayan Temple is a milestone in Nepali temple architecture with rich embossed works. It’s built is a unique Nepali style, unlike the Shikhara style nor the Pagoda style. A short drive away lies another milestone of Newari architecture, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The square houses several temples and monuments. The devastating earthquake of 2015 had damaged many of the building but reconstruction is almost completed.
Our Kathmandu Valley Cultural Encounter Tour includes a mesmerizing mountain flight over the high Himalayas. The flight ensures stunning views of Cho-Oyu, Shisha Pangma, Mt. Everest and Lhotse from a guaranteed window seat. You will then visit the famous Swayambhu Stupa a.k.a. the monkey temple. The Stupa is one of the oldest in Nepal and the enclosure has numerous shrines and monasteries.
Bidding farewell to Kathmandu, you will drive south of Kathmandu to thriving Newari town of Pharping and stay the night at a local Buddhist monastery. Here you will visit the sacred sites of Yangleshö cave, Asura cave, Sheshnarayan temple, Gorakhnath temple, and the Dakshinkali temple. You can even partake in the evening puja ceremony at the monastery with the monks and the nuns. It’s a once in a lifetime spiritual experience.
Trip Grade - Easy
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- Day 01 :Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
- Day 02 :Full day historical site visit (Pashuapati, Boudha & Shechen Gumba)
- Day 03 :Drive Boudha - Sundarijal (1.5 hrs) and hike to Chisopani (2430; 6-7 hrs)
- Day 04 :Hike to Nagarkot (2,175m; 7-8 hrs)
- Day 05 :Hike to Changu Narayan temple (4 hrs) and drive to Bhaktapur (15 min)
- Day 06 :Visit key places of interest in Bhaktapur
- Day 07 :Early morning mountain flight followed by guided tour of Swayambhu
- Day 08 :Drive to Pharping (2.5 hrs). Visit sights of interest
- Day 09 :Hike to Dakshinkali temple and partake in evening monastery Puja ceremony
- Day 10 :Drive back to Kathmandu
- Day 11 :End of tour: Departure
Notes For group size of 8 or more, meditation classes are available upon prior request at the monastery.
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
Upon your arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport, our office representative will pick you up and drive to your hotel. For first time visitors, the experience call be a bit chaotic. Just make sure to look for the Keep Walking Nepal’s board among the throng of boards.
Once at the hotel, the office representative will brief you about the next day’s program. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can either visit the sight and sounds of the city on your own or just call it a day and relax at your hotel.
Overnight in Kathmandu Hotel
Day 02: Full day historical site visit (Pashuapati, Boudha & Shechen Gumba)
After breakfast you embark on a guided tour of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The first stop – the Pashupatinath Temple, is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus all over the world. During the festival of Mahashivaratri hundreds of pilgrims arrive every year from India and abroad; such is the devotion.
Non-Hindus aren’t allowed into the main temple complex but can visit other areas. One such key interest is the cremation site on the banks of the Bagmati river. Unlike the west where funerals are closed and private, the final rites and cremation of deceased Hindus are carried out publicly. The atmosphere is full with smell of burning incense and bodies, mantras and prayers chanted by the priests and the sound of bells rung by devotees. The experience is a spiritual journey in itself.
A short drive away lies another holy site, the Boudhanath Stupa, of the Buddhist people. The Stupa itself is a gilded spire with Buddha’s eyes painted on four cardinal directions resting upon a whitewashed dome. While there are many myths and legends around its construction and its significance as a power place, there are limited historical records to backup the claim. Nevertheless, the constant throng of devotees and pilgrims, the incessant hum of prayers to a distinct music and the chaos of shopkeepers selling their wares is alluring. The best way to admire the scene is from one of the many rooftop garden restaurants offering delicious fares from Tibetan cuisine like momo and thukpa to western delicacies.
We recommend you lunch at Buddha and move towards the next destination, the Shechen Monastery. It was built in the 1980s after the famed Shechen Gompa of Tibet was destroyed in the 1950s. The monastery houses more than 300 students and has the largest Tibetan scripture library in Asia. With some luck, you might even partake in the evening puja ceremony in the monastery.
Overnight at Boudha (B)
Day 03: Drive Boudha - Sundarijal (1.5 hrs) and hike to Chisopani (2430; 6-7 hrs)
You will drive to the trailhead at Sundarijal after breakfast.
Sundarijal supplies much of Kathmandu with an old water pipe since the last century. The pipe runs along the arduous steps to the army check post, beyond which you enter the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park and the water reservoir.
Thereon the trail climbs, at times steeply on stone steps, through the woods and along scattered settlements to Mulkhara. The Tamang people are indigenous to the region, long before the area was declared as a national park, and earn their livelihood through the forest. While poaching of any kind is illegal, locals graze their livestock in the forest.
After lunch at Mulkhara, the trail then ascends through the woods to the small settlement at Chisapani. The village was hit badly by the 2015 earthquake, and there are still remnants of the devastation in the village.
Overnight at a local lodge (B,L,D)
Day 04: Hike to Nagarkot (2,175m; 7-8 hrs)
On clear mornings, you will wake up to a wonderful sunrise over the Himalayas. Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Langtang Lirung, Gaurishankar, Dorje Lakpa, Jugal Himal and other peaks form a spectacular vista.
After breakfast, you will descent a steep trail through the woods where you will encounter a variety of birds and flowers. Almost an hour later, you will arrive at Nagamati Dhaap where you can take a quick break and take in the nature around you.
Thereafter, the trail undulates quite a bit with some steep ascents as you walk deeper through the national park to Jhule where you will stop for lunch. Thereon, you will hike on a gentle trail through scattered settlements till Kartike Bhanjyang. From Kartike, a final 300m push will bring you at the hill-top village of Nagarkot – famous for the sunrise and sunset views over the Himalayas.
Overnight at a local lodge (B,L,D)
Day 05: Hike to Changu Narayan temple (4 hrs) and drive to Bhaktapur (15 min)
After another panoramic sunrise view, on clear weather, and a hearty breakfast, you will descend along terraced fields and village settlements to Changu Narayan Temple.
The Changu Narayan temple dates back to 2nd century B.C. and is the oldest temple in Nepal. The UNESCO world heritage site was devastated by the 2015 earthquake but renovations have been completed.
After lunch at Changunarayan, you will drive to Bhaktapur city. The ancient city is the best preserved out of the 3 cities in the Kathmandu valley. You can visit the key places of interest but we recommend taking it slow.
The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight at Bhaktapur (B,L)
Day 06: Visit key places of interest in Bhaktapur
After a hearty breakfast, we will take you on a guided tour of the city.
The key places of interest are as follows.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and once home to the royal family of Bhaktapur, the courtyard is dotted with several temples and dates back to the 17th century.
55 Windows Palace
The 18th century palace was built by a Malla king so each of his 55 wives could have a window view of the city.
Built in the 18th century, many consider the Nyatapole temple the pinnacle of Newari architecture. The temple is the abode of the Goddess Lakshmi and has a traditional pagoda-style architecture, reminiscent of oriental style found throughout south-east Asia.
After the morning sightseeing, the rest of the day is leisure for you to explore the city on your own.
Overnight at Bhaktapur (B)
Day 07: Early morning mountain flight followed by guided tour of Swayambhu
Our Kathmandu Valley Cultural Tour has a bonus adventure element; an early morning mountain flight to the Himalayas.
The early morning Everest view flight brings you closer to the mountains. After all, a visit to Nepal is incomplete without a visit to the-top-of-the-world.
After the mountain flight, you will drive to Swayambhunath, a.k.a. the monkey temple. It is another UNESCO world heritage site, as well as a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists and Hindus. The temple complex houses a museum and several cafes.
The rest of the day after visiting the Swayambhunath temple is at leisure.
Overnight at Hotel Tibet (B)
Day 08: Drive to Pharping (2.5 hrs). Visit sights of interest
You will continue your the Kathmandu valley tour at Pharping. Along the way you will pass by Tribhuvan University, Nepal’s first university. Thereon, you will arrive at the Chovar Gorge, from where the Kathmandu Valley water drains and reach Lake Taudaha, a holy lake. Pharping village is a short drive away.
Pharping is a culturally vibrant and bustling Newari town. Key places of interest include the sacred Phamting Vajrayogini Temple (Asura Cave) and Yanglesho Cave. The caves are a pilgrimage spot for Hindus and Buddhists and it is said that Guru Rimpoche reached the stage of a Mahamudra Vidyadhara in the caves.
You can also visit the Buddhist monasteries, Shesh Narayan Temple, and the Vajra Yogini Temple.
Overnight at Neydo Tashi Chöling Monastery. (B,D)
Day 09: Hike to Dakshinkali temple and partake in evening monastery Puja ceremony
Today you will visit another Hindu pilgrimage site; the Dakshinkali Temple.
The hike to Dakshinkali temple goes through dense pine forest on a road-less-travelled south of Pharping.
The Dakshinkali temple was originally located at a site above Asura Cave. Considered a Shakti Peeth (power place), the temple is devoted to Kali, a vicious manifestation of the goddess Parvati, Shiva’s consort. Devotees sacrifice animals behind the main temple, and the stream beneath the temple often runs with blood.
After visiting the Dakshinkali temple, you will hike back to the monastery and spend rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight at Neydo Tashi Chöling Monastery. (B,D)
Day 10: Drive back to Kathmandu
Your Kathmandu tour package is almost to an end.
After taking part in the morning rituals at the Neydo Tashi Chöling Monastery, you will drive back to Kathmandu. You can spend the day at leisure or visit Patan (arranged ad-hoc upon request) or go on a souvenir shopping spree.
Overnight at Hotel Tibet (B)
Day 11: End of tour: Departure
A Keep Walking Nepal representative will drive you to the Kathmandu International Airport at an appropriate time for your flight back home.
- Airport pick up and drop
- Scenic mountain flight
- Half day Kathmandu sightseeing with tour guide
- 3 night hotel in Tibet Kathmandu on BB
- 1 night hotel in Boudhanath on BB
- All local transportation as per as itinerary
- 2 Night hotel in bhaktapur on BB
- 1 Night hotel in Chisopani on full board
- 2 night at Neydo Tashi Chöling Monastery on full board
- 1 night hotel in Nagarkot on full board
- Farewell dinner
- Sleeping Bag, down jacket and kit bag
- Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
- Visa fee
- Travel insurance
- Any kind of alcoholic drinks, bottled drinking water, cold drinks, laundry,phone call
- Tips for
Best SeasonFeb, Mar, Apr, May, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
Group Size12 persons
AccomodationHotels, Resorts & Lodges