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Kathmandu tours and excursions

Kathmandu tours

City tours

Four Season Travel & Tours can arrange bespoke city tours by car, bicycle, rickshaw or on foot with 24 hours notice. A typical full-day city tour includes Old Kathmandu (Durbar Square), Bodhnath, Swayambhunath, Patan and the Tibetan enclave at Jawalakhel. As an alternative to the standard 'see the sights' tour, specialist tour agency Social Journeys offers market walks, cultural tours and cooking and pottery courses.

Tel: +977 1 552 6894; +977 1 441 2508.
Website: http://www.go-nepal.com

Kathmandu excursions

Budhanilkantha

On the northern slopes of the Kathmandu Valley, Budhanilkantha is thronged by Hindu devotees, who come to pay their respects to an enormous black stone statue of the deity Vishnu, reclining on a bed of snakes in a sacred pool. The platform surrounding the holy tank is alive with flickering butter lamps, incense smoke and flying tikka powder adding to the spiritual mood, yet surprisingly few travellers make it out this way.

Panauti

The 2015 earthquake took its toll on the medieval cities of the Kathmandu Valley, but sleepy Panauti, 36km (22 miles) escaped with only minor cracks and slipped tiles. Locals credit the solid bedrock underneath the town for its famous resistance to earthquakes. Whatever the truth, this remains one of the best preserved medieval towns in Nepal, with tiered Newari temples and Rana-era mansions dotting its atmospheric, brick-lined back streets.

Bhaktapur

Like Patan and Kathmandu, Bhaktapur existed as an independent city state until the Kathmandu Valley was unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah in the 18th century. The 2015 earthquake caused devastation across the city, but many of Bhaktapur's most important temples and palaces survived. A huge reconstruction effort is now under way, but it is still possible to wander the brick-lined back streets, discovering hidden courtyards, pottery workshops and towering temples bursting out of immaculately preserved medieval squares. Bhaktapur is just 14km (8.5 miles) east of the capital and buses leave every 10 minutes from Bagh Bazaar, just east of Kathmandu's Ratna Park bus stand.

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Hotel Tibet

A firm favourite with tour parties bound for Lhasa, this Tibetan-run hotel offers quiet, comfortable rooms in a quiet location away from the Thamel bustle. The grand lobby gives a sneak preview of Tibet, with its vivid Buddhist carvings and murals. Facilities include a rooftop terrace, a private garden, a restaurant and a meditation chapel.

Kantipur Temple House

Built in traditional Newari style, with brick courtyards and carved timber window and door frames, this eco-friendly boutique hotel has 48 comfortable rooms decorated with traditional Nepali fabrics and furnishings. It’s Rana-style living without the royal budget.

Hotel Yak and Yeti

This famous 5-star hotel was founded by a Russian entrepreneur on the site of a former Rana's palace. The stylish rooms are set in two modern wings that were untouched by the 2015 earthquake, and damage to the Rana-era buildings was quickly repaired. As well as swish restaurants and bars and superior business and sports facilities, the hotel has lush gardens and its own casino.

Hotel Ganesh Himal

South of Thamel, this friendly, family-run hotel offers above-average facilities for budget travellers in quiet location away from the tourist hubbub. Rooms have reliable hot water, there's a sunny rooftop terrace and owners offer airport pick-ups and mountain bike hire.

Hyatt Regency Kathmandu

Kathmandu’s grandest 5-star hotel benefits from a secluded location, away from the centre but right on the doorstep of the Bodhnath stupa. The 290 rooms are luxurious, service is impeccable, and the hotel bar and restaurants are favourite hangouts for Kathmandu’s power players. Other facilities include a business centre, pool and spa.

Kathmandu Guest House

Probably the most famous budget hotel in Kathmandu, with a prime location in the heart of Thamel. The 121 rooms come in all shapes and sizes, from simple fan-cooled backpacker rooms to handsome air-conditioned rooms in an old Rana palace. However, the old wing was damaged in the 2015 earthquake and restoration work is ongoing. Bonus features include two courtyard restaurants with Wi-Fi, a peaceful garden and secure parking for bikes and motorcycles.