As you land in Kathmandu, there’ll be an immediate feeling of remoteness. The mountains look down, the valley stretches out, and the big city feels more like a village. Although the 2015 earthquake impacted the capital, its spirit hasn’t been diminished. So along with the cracked roads, you will spot lines of excitable pilgrims, people communicating through deities, and friendly smiles that help set the scene. Check into the hotel early and join the guide for Himalayan coffee, an excellent opportunity to gain context in your private tour of two medieval kingdoms. It wasn’t that long ago that Kathmandu was the beating heart of three different kingdoms and your cultural and adventure trip will offer a unique impression into this past world.
Start your exploration in Patan, where a gold-inscribed temple is found amid a cloud of incense, and the intricacy of woodcarving surrounds a royal bathhouse. Then, you’ll continue to an enormous stupa, where a rooftop cafe terrace overlooks the throngs of visiting pilgrims. Explore the heart of Kathmandu’s kingdom, and follow an architectural and historical journey through 13th to 15th and 18th-century styles. As you continue through the city there’ll be a chance to stop at a holy cremation site, which adds yet more spirituality to the day. Finish your first tour at another of Nepal’s World Heritage sites, where you will follow the monkeys and madness at Swayambhunath Stupa.