What to See in Nepal in 4 Days and 5 Days
Traveling to Nepal for just 4-5 days is not long enough to do more than just scratch the surface of this small but diverse country in the Himalayas, and is never enough to get the best views of Mount Everest. However, there is still a lot you can do in five days that can make your trip worthwhile. And with so much in the Kathmandu Valley, the heart of Nepal, you do not even have to worry about long travel times if you do not want to go far.
Nepal is a country that has a lot of amazing attractions within a small area, and the diverse culture and landscape are enough to make you want to stay a lot longer than just 5 days. But if you are limited on time, then here are a few ideas for things that you can do to make the most of your short visit to one of the last Himalayan kingdoms.
Must-sees and Must-Dos in Nepal for 4 Days
The Kathmandu Valley is the beating heartland of Nepal, and to many people in the area, it is known as the “real Nepal”. A huge natural depression in the landscape, surrounded by hills and mountains, Kathmandu is one of the most exotic cities in the world, and even if you do nothing else but explore the city and its closest temples and stupas, then you will have achieved a lot in a short time. Most of the major religious and culturally important sites in Nepal are inside the Kathmandu Valley, and it is one of the best places to learn more about Nepal’s varied and ancient history.
Kathmandu Valley is the beating heartland of Nepal.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the highest deities in Hinduism, Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most sacred Hindu temple sites in Nepal. Lying on the banks of the Bagmati River just a short distance from the center of Kathmandu, this is one of the most iconic temples in Nepal for the Hindu people, as it serves as the seat of the national deity of Nepal, Lord Pashupatinath.
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most sacred Hindu temple sites in Nepal.
Built in the 15th century by the Lichhavi King, Shupuspa, the temple complex has grown over the centuries, with new buildings being constantly added by different rulers and factions. Pashupatinath is now the largest temple complex in the country, and stretches along both sides of the Bagmati River, a holy river in Hinduism. One of the biggest attractions of the temple is the Maha Shivarati Festival, which takes place in spring, and which attracts over a million Hindus from around the country and around the world.
An ideal place to find peace and tranquility, except for the thousands of monkeys that play around the site, the Swayambhunath Stupa lies in the northwest of the Kathmandu Valley, sitting on top of its own hill and overlooking the valley below. An amazing site, it is a great place to get some of the best panoramic views of both the valley and the Himalayas to the north, and you can see all the way to the city itself from the top of the hill.
Swayambhunath is one of the holiest of the Buddhist sites in Nepal that lies in the northwest of the Kathmandu Valley.
A holy Buddhist Stupa of immense size, Swayambhunath is one of the holiest of the Buddhist sites in Nepal, and the site of many pilgrimages in the country. Legend says it grew spontaneously out of the earth more than 2,000 years ago, and is the oldest stupa of its kind in the world. The stupa also houses the largest image of Sakyamuni Buddha in the world, on a pedestal on the western edge of the site.
Lying around eight kilometers to the west of Kathmandu City, Bouddhanath Stupa is one of the most impressive and imposing landmarks in Nepal, and can actually be seen from the plane as you land at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Bouddhanath is the largest stupa in the Kathmandu Valley, and at 36 meters tall, is one of the largest in Southeast Asia.
Bouddhanath Stupa is one of the most impressive and imposing landmarks in Nepal.
Numerous monasteries surround the site of the stupa, and it is the religious center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal, and a sacred site for pilgrims that come to the stupa from across the region to pray. The stupa was built in the 8th century by the Lichhavi rulers of Kathmandu, and it lies on what was once the ancient trade route from Nepal and India to Tibet and on to China. The design is based on the Mandala design of the Gyantse Kumbum in Tibet, a 32-meter stupa that houses 108 chapels.
Located around 40 kilometers to the southwest of Kathmandu City, the Namo Buddha is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Nepal for Tibetan Buddhists, and is know by the local Tibetans in Nepal as Takmo Lu Jin, which means “Tigress Body Generosity”. The stupa marks the site where a Buddhist prince encountered a female tiger that was close to starvation, trying to feed her cubs. Overcome with compassion for the dying animal, the prince gave up his own life that the tigress may eat his flesh and feed her young.
Namo Buddha is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Nepal for Tibetan Buddhists.
There is a small shrine dedicated to the prince nearby, that has a statue of the prince and the tigress with her cubs. On the other side of the hill lies a small monastery, the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Gompa, that was built in 1976 to accommodate the vast number of Buddhist pilgrims that come to the site every year.
Top Places to Add for a 5-day Tour
To the west of the Kathmandu Valley lies Pokhara, one of the most popular trekking regions in Nepal, lying just to the south of the great Annapurna Range. The city of Pokhara lies on the edge of Phewa Lake, the second largest lake in Nepal, and one of the main tourist attractions of the city. Boat rides out on the lake are popular in the spring and autumn seasons, and the city is the ideal place to use as a base for trekking around the Annapurna Circuit and other treks in the range.
Pokhara is one of the most popular trekking regions in Nepal that lies on the east of Kathmandu Valley.
The number one leisure and entertainment city in Nepal, Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna Range and is ideal for both individuals and families as a holiday destination. Aside from the obvious trekking, Pokhara also has an abundance of adventure activities, such as pony trekking, boating, kayaking, and paragliding, and is a great place to relax by the lake with the backdrop of the Himalayas in the distance.
Known as the Birthplace of Buddhism, Lumbini is one of the most spiritualistic sites in the world, and was the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, otherwise known as Buddha. The small village contains more than 25 international monasteries, including the famous Maya Devi Temple, dedicated to the mother of Buddha. A place where you can study Buddhism and meditation, the site also includes the place where Buddha attained Nirvana, or enlightenment, and is a sacred site to both Hindu and Buddhist alike.
Lumbini is one of the most spiritualistic sites in the world where is the Birthplace of Buddhism.
One of the most important sites in the Lumbini Garden is the Maya Devi Temple, which is said to have been constructed on the actual place where Buddha was born. The Ashokan Pillar, which is within the grounds, is inscribed with writings that name this as the birthplace, and was constructed by the Indian Emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, one of many pillars he erected across India and Nepal. The pillar in Lumbini was erected in 249BC, When Ashoka was visiting the birthplace of Buddha.
The Lumbini Gardens are the perfect place to fin peace and tranquility, and you can wander around the peaceful gardens, or find one of the many tranquil meditation spots and relax. The focal point of the gardens is the sandstone carving that depicts the birth of Buddha, believed to have been left there in the 14th century by RipuMalla, one of the Malla Kings of Nepal.
Chitwan National Park
One of the premier attractions in Nepal, Chitwan National Park lies to the southwest of Kathmandu, and is the largest and oldest national park in the country. An UNESCO listed site of World Heritage, Chitwan covers more than 900 square kilometers of dense jungle, deciduous forests, and marshlands, which has a huge animal population. One of the best national parks for viewing wildlife across Asia, the park has hundreds of species of resident animals and thousands of species of birds, both indigenous and migratory.
Chitwan National Park is the largest and oldest national park in Nepal and is one of the premier attractions in this country.
For nature lovers, this is the ideal destination in Nepal, and you have a good chance of seeing wild Bengal tigers, rare one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys, and hundreds of other creatures. If you are very lucky, there is a chance you may get to see one of the rare leopards that inhabit the park, or the even rarer sloth bears, of which there are inly a few hundred left in the world.
The park is also well known for its elephants, both wild and trained, and it forms part of the migratory routes for the wild elephants from northeast India, which venture into the park in search of food. Elephants are also kept in reserves in the park, and you can visit them there and spend the day interacting with these huge creatures, or even take a safari on the back of an elephant to see the wild animals in the park.
Mount Everest Region
Traveling to Nepal would not really be complete without a visit to the Mount Everest Region, to the east of Kathmandu. Lying on the border with China, Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, is the main pilgrimage site for trekkers from all across the globe, who come here to make the 17-day trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and back. However, with only five days to spend in Nepal, it is not possible to accomplish this.
Nepal tour would not really be complete without Mount Everest Region, but it is not possible to be accomplished within five days.
But there is a way you can get to see some of the great views of Mount Everest while you are there, and not having to extend your stay. Reaching the village of Lukla, the start of the Everest trek, is done by plane, a 45-minute flight from Kathmandu. Once there, there is a great trek that you can take that lasts for just four days, which takes you to one of the best places from which to view Mount Everest from a distance, the Everest View Hotel in Namche Bazaar.
Namche Bazaar is the Sherpa capital of Nepal, and one of the most beautiful villages in the mountainous Himalayas. A two-day trek from Lukla, once there you have the options of trekking to other sites nearby, which can be reached easily in just a few hours, as well as spending some time in the village learning more about the unique Sherpa culture. The trek back to Lukla can be done easily in less than an afternoon, so you can get your flight back to Kathmandu.
If you are traveling to Nepal and only have a short time travel, then it does not mean you cannot get the best out of your trip. It is still possible to take in some of the most stunning sights of Nepal as well as taking a trek around some of the most amazing places in the country. And even with just 5 days to spare, you still have the chance to get a good close-up view of Mount Everest.