So you’ve decided to go to Nepal? Good choice!

This travel guide includes a 10 days itinerary in the Kathamandu Valley; a list of unmissable things to do in Nepal. Be warned, once you go to Nepal you’ll probably end up like us and want to go back again!

Nepal may be famous for its mountains but we decided to spend 10 days in Kathmandu Valley. It turns out that, probably, we took the best decision.

The Kathmandu Valley offers seven UNESCO World Heritage sites: ancient squares, breathtaking stupas and sacred Hindu temples.

After 10 days in the country we’ve found out that our favorite things, what have made this adventure so so special is one.. Nepali people. Nepalis are the friendliest people you’ll ever met. You can immediately feel their optimism and kindness. Nepalis have made this trip unique and we cannot wait to be back.

We’re going to share the best things to add to your 10 days itinerary in Kathmandu Valley!


START – Kathmandu END – Kathmandu

DURATION – 10 days

WHEN DID WE GO – November

HIGHLIGHTS – meet the rescued animals in Kopan Animal Sanctuary, join an early morning Hindu ritual, watch an open air cremation in Pashupatinath and trek between rice fields on our way to Namo Buddha


In Kathmandu Valley distances aren’t great but the roads are poor and extremely slow.

Some people decide to use the public transportation to live like a local but if you do not have enough time and not want delays you can follow our suggestion. We decided, at the end, to travel around the valley with a private car. Of course we didn’t drive, it seems impossible to drive in Nepal! We rented a car with a Nepalese driver that carried us around and gave us some tips as well.


If you are planning to stay a whole week in the Kathmandu Valley and visit it far and wide we recommend to stay in the same place. There is no need to change accomodation every day, all those places are quite close to each other. We didn’t want to stay in the chaotic Kathmandu so we decided to use Bhaktapur as base. Great choice!


Kathmandu is the world-famous capital of Nepal and, honestly, it can be a little scary at first! How to describe it? It’s chaotic and bustling, cultural and historic, beautiful and colorful.. And, of course, polluted! 1.7 million of people live in Kathmandu and the craziness of this city can be overwelming: the sound of car horns, the dust, the crowdy streets, but in the end it’s hard not to love it.

The city is nestled in a valley and surrounded by Himalayan peaks, Kathmandu is as spiritual as urban, a stupa or a temple is around every corner. You just need to walk and find the beauty that this city hides.

You can easily visit the city center by foot, so grab a map and start walking through the busy streets of the city. Don’t forget to take some time to visit the Durbar square which has been almost destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, but still very beautiful.

Thamel neighborhood is famous for shopping but we recommed to buy handcrafts in a smaller town.

After a day in the chaos of Kathmandu you’ll probably need some rest and we have the perfect spot for you. Garden of Dreams is a lovely green oasis located in the middle of the Kathmandu city noise, relaxing on the grass was the perfect end of the day for us.

READ | Best things to do in Kathmandu


The Boudhanath is the largest Stupa in Asia. With countless monasteries around it, Boudha is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. This 36-meter-high stupa it’s stunning to see in person and it is for sure the most beautiful one in Nepal.

Take a stroll around this white dome, observe the devotes light butter lamps and praying. Don’t forget to walk around stupa clockwise only.

Watching prayer flags waving in the wind in Boudhanath was really magical and we didn’t want to leave this extraordinary place.


Panauti is an ancient city that is off the beaten path so this is a fantastic place to just witness Nepali’s life happening.

It has its own Durbar Square and its own version of Pashupatinath Temple, in fact we saw our first cremation here in Panauti.

Our favorite part of visiting this little town was wandering through the old city. There’s such a slow pace of life with animals walking down the streets, kids playing and temples around every corner.

It’s also home of Panauti Community Homestay Project founded by a group of strong and independent Nepali women. The goal was simple: connect travellers in homestays with local women and their families. In this way women involved have been empowered to move beyond their family duties and take a more active role in society. Their motto is: “Run by Women for Women’s Empowerment”


Did you know that you can hike in Nepal even if you’re not on the Himalayas? Well, we hiked from Panauti to Namo Buddha and it was one of the funniest thing in the whole trip.

The journey should take anywhere between 2-3 hours one way. The first part is easy and flat, you’re going to observe the daily routine of Nepalese people walking inside little villages and between rice fields. On the way you will start seeing thousands of prayer flags above in the distance, that is Namo Buddha.

At some point the path starts by climbing up the mountain and the fields are replaced by forest. To reach the monastery you have to climb around 250 metres. The first thing that you’ll ecounter is Namo Buddha’s stupa and after the stairway you’ll finally see the majestic monastery.


The most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal is a beautiful, quiet and pure place.

The history behind Namo Buddha is very interesting.

In ancient times, there was a king who had three sons. The two oldest sons were known for their skills in the martial arts. The youngest was different, he was very compassionate. His name was Great Being. One day, the three sons went into the forest and they spotted a tiger’s den. The two oldest boys prepared their arrows, but they found a weak mother tiger and her babies. The youngest felt compassion for the tiger and asked his older brothers not to kill her. But he had a problem: if he wanted to help the tiger, he would have to kill another living being to feed her; the tiger was too weak to find some food for herself. After a lot of thoughts, he decided to cut his wrist to give the her his own blood. But, after drinking his blood, the tiger killed and ate the young son.

His sacrifice allowed him to move on to a higher life, and the Namo Buddha Temple was built in his honor on the spot where his family found his remains.

There is a lot to see in Namo Buddha. You can visit the main monastery and if you are lucky enough you can hear the monks do the Puja.

Going up, above the main monastery, you’ll see some other temples and stupas.

If you take the stairs going down.. You’ll see a wonderful path covered by thousands of prayer flags. At the end of the stairs there is another beautiful stupa and few shops.


It was one of the three “Royal Cities” of Nepal back in the day. Although it suffered significant damages during the earthquake of 2015, it still remains one of the most beautiful town in Nepal.

Bhaktapur is often referred to as the “cultural capital of Nepal” as well as a “living museum” and you’ll easily find out why.

Start by spending some time at the Durbar Square where you can see the Royal Palace and some beautiful temples, then head for the famous Nyatapola temple (our favorite place in Bhakatpur). When you’re done temple-hopping, it’s time to shop! Bhaktapur is known for its handcrafts, in Pottery square you can find local potters making vases, pots and more, you can purchase items directly from the makers!


First of all, we didn’t expect so much from this place. In Budhanilkantha you can feel a real and strong mystical air. This place lies off the main traveller circuit, so most visitors are local devotees. You’ll immediatly notice the 5 meters long sleeping Vishnu statue reclining on a bed of snakes in the middle of a small pond. It is considered the largest stone carving in Nepal and it was made out of a single block of black basalt.

The statue is beautiful but the magic happens early in the morning. The best part of visiting Budhanilkantha is to attend the Hindu daily rituals, every morning Vishnu is cleaned and dressed by young Hindu priests. Flowers, incense, bells.. The ritual is very emotional and intense.


This is a small and sleepy village , a walk through Kokhana offers a window back in time, with farmers, women spinning wool and mattress makers. You’ll have the chance to to enjoy the slow life of a Nepali small village.


Kopan is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery and is famous for its meditation retreats. You can also visit it but a large portion of the monastery is closed to visitors and can only be accessed by students.

You can wander in the gardens, visit the library and have lunch at Kopan cafè.

We have actually found out that Kopan also hosts an animal liberation sanctuary, we’ve made a donation and we had the chance to go and meet the animals of the shelter. These animals have been rescued from the butcher or from Nepalese animal sacrifices, and now they can finally live in peace.

In Buddhism supporting animals liberated from death not only helps the animals but it also gives people the chance to purify life-obstacles. This was for sure one of our happiest moment in Nepal!


Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in Asia dedicated to Lord Shiva.

This temple is famous for its open air cremations which take place along the river. You can watch the whole hindu ritual from the beginning, with the preparation of the body, until the end when the body is set on fire; it slowly burns for over 2 hours. This is actually a very moving and beautiful ceremony; a great experience to contemplate impermanence of life. This is for sure one of the most incredible things that we’ve witnessed in Nepal.

If you do not want to see cremation Pashupatinath is a beautiful place to visit as well, but please be aware that tourists will only be allowed to visit certain areas and temples.

It is also very common to meet Sadhus here, they are religious ascetic who are trying to acquire liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth by meditating. Some sadhus are open to being photographed, just ask and they normally say yes and ask for a tip.

READ | Our ultimate guide about Pashupatinath Temple


This is a small village on a hilltop in the district of Bhaktapur. Changu Narayan is famous for his temple which is the oldest in the whole Nepal. From the parking lot you’ll have a nice walk on a path full of prayer flags, you’ll pass few shops, a Thangka painting school and at the end you’ll find the beautiful temple area.


This is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Kathmandu and it is also called Monkey Temple because of .. Well, monkeys. Be careful of them, they seem cute and friendly but they can be aggressive.

You have to climb the 365 stairs to reach the top but once you get there you’ll find a breathtaking stupa and a spectacular view of the Kathmandu Valley.

Representing Buddha’s mind, visit a stupa is considered to be the same as meeting Buddha in person, so you’ll feel a lot of energy here. The mystical atmosphere is highlighted by devotees who make a ritual circumnavigation of the stupa, recite mantras and spin the prayer wheels. Everything happens with a fragrance of incense in the air.


Patan is also known as Lalitpur which literally means “Beautiful City”. Wandering through the city you’ll easily find out why. Patan is such a lovely city to explore by foot so we suggest to get off the main road and walk in little alleys discovering beautiful courtyards, temples and parks.

Don’t forget to check out the Durbar square and the Golden Temple. Golden Temple is actually a Buddhist monastery, it gets its name from the gold plates that cover most of the frontage.. A must do in Patan for sure!


This is an interesting town set into the hillside just a half an hour outside Kathmandu. Most tourists forget that Kirtipur even exists. There are several interesting temples, squares and alleys. Grab a guide and discover this little town!