The Kathmandu Valley: Bhaktapur & Dhulikhel
Explore the heart of the Kathmandu Valley outside the bustling capital with an excursion to ancient Bhaktapur city and a stay in the town of Dhulikhel. The culture here is Newar; the homes are traditional red brick trimmed with finely carved wood. Bhaktapur today resembles the Kathmandu of hundreds of years ago. Dhulikhel is a busy little town, beautifully situated to offer spectacular panoramic views of the Himalayas from the Annapurna range in the West to Mt. Karolung in the East. Enjoy breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and optional trekking opportunities to nearby villages. This is a great place to acclimatize before heading off for a trekking adventure.
Day 1 Bhaktapur/Dhulikhel
From Kathmandu, transfer to the village of Dhulikhel via the third and most ancient city of the Kathmandu Valley – Bhaktapur. Once a separate kingdom, Bhaktapur still retains the architecture and design of a feudal state focused on artistic and religious glorification. You will feel you are walking back in time strolling through the core of the old city now preserved and interpreted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take some time to look in the shops to observe potters, weavers, brassmakers, religious artisans, Brahmin priests and spice merchants carrying out their professions as they have done here for hundreds of years. Enjoy your lunch at one of the rooftop restaurants. Afterwards, continue on to Dhulikhel, situated on a ridge top north of the Kathmandu Valley. You will stay at a lodge with panoramic view of the Himalayas. You have only a 20-minute walk to the village center with its winding streets and narrow alleys. This an excellent place to relax and observe typical rhythms of life in Nepal.
Himalayan Horizon or similar
Day 2 Dhulikhel
Dhulikhel offers a wealth of opportunities for exploration. Roam the shops in the village, enjoy guided hikes of various lengths and difficulty or just relax on the patio and enjoy the splendid view. There are sacred Hindu temples, an active Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, a venerated holy location where the Buddha offered his flesh to a starving tiger, and many scenic view points within a morning’s walk of your lodging. Local people are very friendly and likely to invite you in to see their homes, school or shops.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Himalayan Horizon or similar
Day 3 Dhulikhel & Onward
Spend more time exploring in Dhulikhel before you are transferred back to Kathmandu where services end.
What to Expect
Duration 3 days
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.