With jaw-dropping vistas, Nepal’s diverse cultures, terrain, and ecosystems are unlike any other.
You could easily spend several weeks exploring this picturesque country that lies on the southern slopes of the Himalayan mountains.
A vacation to Nepal requires three days minimum for the city and at least two weeks for those who are eager to explore the famous Nepal terrain.
However, Nepal’s topography alone could make any first-time traveler feel a little intimidated and overwhelmed.
But, don’t let this scare you off. A trip to Nepal ties together adventure and spirituality so well that once you’ve experienced it – you’ll be yearning to return again and again.
This guide will give you a Nepali tour itinerary, that isn’t too exhaustive.
Traveling between cities may take a while (even the main roads in Nepal, is in poor conditions. This post will guide you with interesting activities between locations.
Nepal: Days To Plan
In just three days, travelers can see the best of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city.
And to the disbelief of some, this is the perfect number of days to come away with an appreciation of the rich culture and heritage of the ancient city.
But for others, three days isn’t enough to see ‘the real Nepal’. The real reason to visit Nepal lies outside the busy, congested city.
These areas of Nepal, are located in the hills, mountains, rivers, lush farmland, forests, and jungles.
To experience these natural attractions, a three-day trip will enable you to go on a short trek, river trip, or visit the small towns that surround Kathmandu.
Two weeks in Nepal will allow for a longer trek, a trip to a national park for wildlife spotting, or a mixed cultural Nepal day tour.
To really experience the best of Nepal, plan for three to four weeks; this is enough time to complete an ambitious hike.
The remote and under-visited Makalu Base Camp or Arun Valley hikes are some of Nepal’s best-kept secrets, together with Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal, which is rarely visited by tourists.
If you have some time left to spare, make sure you experience the jungle and other adventure activities such as rafting.
Here are some suggested itineraries, from three days to three weeks.
Three Days in Nepal
An under one week Nepal itinerary may be a crunch for time, but it’s definitely possible.
Start your week with a guided tour of Kathmandu that will take you to the city’s most famous sites.
Some things to see in Nepal, Kathmandu are Durbar Square and the holy places like Boudhanath/Bouddha, Pashupatinath temple complex, and the MonkeyTemple / Swayambhunath, which has an incredible 360 panoramic view over Kathmandu.
Spend a day hiking around the central village of Nepal, Nagarkot. This offers a combination of unbelievable views of the Annapurna Range and an intimate look at the daily life of the locals and their communities.
With only three days in your Nepal travel itinerary, unfortunately, you won’t have time to hike all the way up to the famous Everest.
But even if you don’t get to climb the monolith, it would be a waste not to see the world’s tallest mountain. So, if you can, be sure to book a flight to Everest, and discover the mountain and all its glory, from above.
You can also kick off your trip to Pokhara with a shot of adrenaline and go whitewater rafting down the Trishuli River.
Perhaps, spend your first full day in town sightseeing around the historic city, including an evening out in Pokhara’s remarkable nightlife.
Nepal Itinerary for 10 Days
With ten days on your Nepal trip, you can see everything that a one-week traveler can, plus a couple more unique experiences added to the list.
Instead of going straight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, take the scenic route and spend a night in the gorgeous village of Nagarkot.
Here, you will be grateful to witness some unforgettable sunsets and sunrises.
Head to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lumbini and explore the birthplace of the Buddha.
In Lumbini, you can explore some incredible historical sites, like the Maya Devi Temple and the Ashok Pillar.
If you’re interested in Nepalese Buddhist culture and history, Lumbini is a place you don’t want to miss.
Alternatively, if you’re in town for trekking, a dedicated hiker can complete Nepal’s most popular trek, the Annapurna Base Camp trek.
You will achieve the maximum altitude of 4130 (13,550ft) at Annapurna Base Camp. Or try the Everest Base Camp trek.
Places to Go in Nepal in Two Weeks
If your Nepal vacation has two full weeks, you can enjoy all of Nepal’s cultural and natural wonders and still fit in some time for Nepal’s biggest attraction and activity – trekking.
You can spend your first three days exploring Kathmandu, from its temples to the surrounding old towns.
Traveling from city to city in Nepal can be long, but it’s easy to take domestic flights in Nepal. So, hop on a plane and head to the city of Pokhara to engage in some adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.
You might’ve heard through the grapevine, some unfavorable things about Kathmandu.
Namely that the city is overcrowded, but there are enough places to get away from the hustle and bustle if you know where to go.
Although that part is true, the wealth of the main attractions of Kathmandu outweighs the rumblings of the rumor mill.
However, in order to really navigate this city’s method of madness, it would be best to keep sightseeing in Kathmandu for a longer stay.
Kathmandu has seen a lot of development since the devastating 2015 earthquake, now more and more big international hotel chains, shops, and fast-food chains are opening around Kathmandu.
Pokhara is loved by many, and once you’ve made your way to this city, you’ll understand why.
The Nepalese people, particularly the Kathmandu-dwellers, enjoy the clean air of Pokhara and the shores of Phewa Tal are where the city’s beauty really shines.
From parahawking (paragliding accompanied by an Egyptian Vulture) to rafting, to ziplining, there’s an adventure activity for everyone in Pokhara.
If you’re a yogi or enjoy a guided meditation every now and then, the appeal of Pokhara is seeing other yogis (and tourists) do yoga on the beach.
Alternatively, Pokhara is where you’ll be able to hike up the World Peace Stupa.
Unless you plan to trek the nearby Annapurna Himalaya Range, no more than two or three days would suffice in the city of Pokhara, Nepal.
But often people stay longer, while it´s not much to do in Pokhara so is the city a perfect place to relax and forget about time.
Chitwan National Park
If you’re in Nepal around their Autumn season (September to November), consider hiking the thick, complex Nepal jungle – the Chitwan National Park.
This preserved area occupies Nepal’s lowlands near the border of India. These months are prime for trekking, since the high grasses that cover the jungle most of the year is shorter, offering you the best chance at seeing the rare tigers that live inside the park.
Even if you’re not planning to make your way to Nepal during peak season, Chitwan National Park is still very much worth the visit, irrespective of when you arrive.
You will get to go on a safari to discover elephants, one-horned rhinos, crocodiles, and even deers in their natural habitat throughout the year.
Realistically, you need not spend more than two or three days of your two weeks in Chitwan. However, you’ll need to devote more time to the park if you take a bus ride from Pokhara or Kathmandu.
A more expensive (but less stressful) way to visit the park is by flying to Bharatpur.
The Poonhill Trek
Why not spend the next few days left on your two-week itinerary on the Poonhill Trek? This is one of the easier hikes to do into the Annapurna Range. You won’t regret one minute of this Nepal adventure.
All the stunning mountain views are sure to leave you speechless. Not to mention, you don’t even need to be super fit to make it through the Poonhill Trek.
Along the way, you’ll get to stay in rustic tea houses and enjoy delicious local foods. Once you return to the city, spend a day resting those muscles and relaxing after your trek.
If you want to spend your whole two weeks trekking, Nepal really does have several options for stunning treks that can be completed in that time.
Hike off the beaten track with a two-week trek along the Dhorpatan Trail into Nepal’s Western Himalaya region.
Whether you’re interested in pushing your body to the limit, photographing rare mountain views, or getting a little taste of the Nepalese village life, there’s a two-week trek available with your name on it.
Get up early and take a boat along the Rapti River. The east Rapti River is a part of Chitwan National Park, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions for a canoe or boat ride.
Flowing from east to west, it forms the northern border of the Chitwan National Park and also joins the Narayani River inside the protected area.
Nepal in Three Weeks
A three-week Nepal itinerary should be designed with one goal or event in mind, and that’s getting up into the Himalayas on a trek.
And why not? With three weeks to plan for, you can start in Kathmandu and spend a couple of days exploring the city before heading to another, such as Pokhara.
And after a few days there, you’ll be more than ready to set off on a trekking experience, you’ll never forget.
You can finish the Annapurna Circuit, Langtang, or the Everest Base Camp trek in two weeks, to name a few.
While these treks require a certain skill set and level of physical fitness, whatever trek you do will be well worth the effort.
You’ll be rewarded with incredible alpine vistas and incredible local hospitality.
After these treks, you might want to travel to Lumbini for a day or two to discover the temples in the Buddha’s birthplace, or explore Chitwan for three days to enjoy a jungle safari.
Those destinations are covered in more detail above.
Finish your trip strong with a three-day stay in Nagarkot, where you can enjoy gorgeous Himalayan views in a village that feels like a world of its own.
So, How Many Days Do You Need Exactly?
To be honest, there is no magic number. It’s up to you to decide what works for you. Nepal is not a big country, so you can certainly cover most of the sights in just a few days.
Without trekking, you can travel from Kathmandu to Lumbini and catch all the great sights in just one week.
If you want to combine a short trek with a little bit of cultural or historical integration, then definitely round up to the double digits.
But the most popular option taken by Nepal hiking aficionados is the 10-day itinerary.
This gives you the perfect amount of time to tackle some of the country’s famous trekking trails.
Tips for Efficiency
Be mindful of road travel in Nepal. It tends to be slow, as roads are either through hills, mountainous terrain, or are just in poor condition – it’s usually both.
Also, bear in mind that not all points of interest or trailheads have a nearby airport. But it will always save time to fly where possible.
Most airports in Nepal, however, are, in fact, small airstrips. So, flights are often delayed or canceled when the weather is bad.
For these reasons, it is important not to pile too much onto your Nepal travel schedule, or you might miss an important date.
So, How Many Days Should You Spend in Nepal?
Whatever plan you choose to follow or use as a starting point, Nepal is one place to consider for your bucket list.
This beautiful country is loved by trekkers and mountain enthusiasts everywhere, eager to plan a trip.
But even if you have come to simply spot some wildlife in the Nepal jungle, meditate at the many temples, or sip tea in the hills – Nepal provides it all. It may be hard to get there, but you’ll soon find out that it’s even harder to leave.