Hitch a ride on this Kathmandu tour that reveals two, ancient satellite cities often overlooked by travelers. With shrines and temples aplenty, just follow the smell of incense to these old-world towns.
What to Expect
It’s easy to just explore Kathmandu, but we want to encourage you to discover the Kathmandu Valley’s two other former kingdoms – Patan and Bhaktapur. Between the buzzing markets, the artistry of the age-old temples and palaces, and the medieval feel of both cities, you’ll be sure to leave Nepal with a much deeper understanding of this incredible place.
First you'll visit Patan, about a 30-minute drive away. As you enter the ancient city, you’ll be taken aback by the vivid contrast to Kathmandu. Although these days Patan is part of the sprawl of the Kathmandu conurbation, Patan has an identity of its own, including the center of Sanskrit Learning (hence why you may see and hear of Patan by its Sanskrit name, Lalitpur, meaning City of Living Art).
Surrounding the city’s main square are noble royal and religious structures, which highlight the Hindu pantheon, mainly of Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. You’ll have the opportunity to explore Patan’s excellent museum that features some superb artifacts from both Buddhist and Hindu traditions, leaving you well informed of the glories of the past and the span of civilizations that have flourished and competed here in the Himalayas.
Leaving Patan behind, head for the medieval city of Bhaktapur. As if held in a time warp, the little city of Bhaktapur amazes everyone. Upon entering this ‘City of Devotees’, you’ll quickly realize that you have entered a time of feudal ways and medieval street-scenes, with a uniquely magical ambiance that confidently eschews modernity for tradition.
Bhaktapur is also a place where your eyes naturally want to shift skyward towards the pagoda rooftops, but don’t forget to come back down to earth to peer down bustling ancient alleyways. Challenge yourself to keep still and absorb the activity around you.
The definitive building in Bhaktapur is the 30m-high Nyatapola Temple, with its five pagoda roof lines towering above the market square. That being said, Nyatapola Temple is center point and iconic landmark amidst thousands of palaces, temples, and shrines, constantly employed - enticing or warding off deities and demons with offerings (typically floral and food or percussion or horn music). As such, it’s well known that in Bhaktapur, there’s an ever present incessant clanging and tinkling of big and little bells. You get used to it – it’s all part of the Bhaktapur charm. Senses enriched and fascinated, you’ll head back to Kathmandu, which will take about an hour.
- English-speaking local guide
- Private vehicle
- Entry fees to Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur
What's Not Included
- Lunch in Bhaktapur (local Newari cuisine options)
- Entry fee to Patan Museum
- Gratuities for guide and driver
- Items of a personal nature
Know Before You Go
Please dress in modest clothing – specifically, something that covers your shoulders and knees.
This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour. Children younger than 6 are permitted at no extra cost, but please make sure you inform your guides of this before you take the tour.