Various sightseeing tours are organized to places of tourist interest in Nepal. In Kathmandu valley there are three cities worth visiting namely, Kathmandu-the city of culture and heritage, Patan - the city of fine art and architecture and Bhaktapur-the city of devotees, mainly popular for ancient religious sites of the two main religions: Buddhism and Hinduism. All these medieval cities of the valley were founded at various times between 3rd Century B.C and the 9th Century AD by Malla Rulers. UNESCO recognizes core of all three cities as International Heritage sites. Sightseeing tours are generally conducted on Full and Half day basis from 8 to 4 hours.
Kathmandu is the capital city located at the altitude of 1350m in a small mountain valley with an area of 49.45 km. It is the arrival point for the visitors by air and has been very popular for the historical and architectural sites of Nepal. Kathmandu was crowned, with the title of 'Capital City' after the great unification of Nepal in 1768 AD by Prithivi Narayan Shah..
Despite its small size, it offers a plentiful of treasured spots listed in the World Heritage Sites. The three Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur (3 districts of the Valley) are quite popular for cultural tourism activities. All the sites of tourist interest are masterpiece in art and architecture. The old carved palaces, narrow lanes, and frequently encountering ancient temples adorned by the rare and attracting cultures and festivals makes Kathmandu as "a focal destination" for foreign tourists. The Kathmandu valley exposes itself to the panoramic views of the mesmerizing Himalayas, sequestered national park and also to the exotic hiking spots.
Kathmandu Durbar Square (World Heritage Site)
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kathmandu. It is enlisted in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Clustered around the central Durbar Square there are popular places one can visit like the old Royal Palace (Hanuman Dhoka), numerous interesting temples, the Kumari Chowk or Kumari Bahal (House of the Living Goddess) .An inquisitive exploration in the Durbar Square showcases the ancient art and architecture of Nepal, which has proved to be a masterpiece to every traveler for its genuineness.
The most popular tourist destination of Kathmandu lies 15 minutes walk from the center of Kathmandu. Restaurants, hotels, lodges, travel services in a narrow and clean street is surrounded by entertaining environment. Nightlife is one of the major attractions of Thamel.
Pashupatinath Temple (World Heritage Site)
Pashupatinath is one of the world's most important Hindu temples. It is the temple Shiva, known as Lord of all Creatures, located on the bank of the holy river Bagmati. Pashupatinath lures numerous devotees from all over Nepal and India. This Hindu temple is considered to have a special significance for Nepal. The old buildings on the site were destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 14th century, its stone Linga (a sacred stone of the Hindu religion) smashed to dust, but it rose again behind their retreating back. Succeeding monarchs reinstated the temple and the images. The Ghats (crematorium) at the bank of the river Bagmati are the orthodox Hindus truest cremation center.
Swayambhunath (World Heritage Site)
Swayambhunath is the Buddhist Stupa, situated on the hilltop west of Kathmandu. It is a standout amongst the most famous UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites of Nepal. It is one of the most popular UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites of Nepal. Geologists believe that the entire Kathmandu Valley was once upon a time a lake and legends say that the hill on which Swayambhunath stands was an island in that lake. Under the Malla king's rule various improvements were carried out and King Pratap Malla constructed the great stairway to the stupa in the 17th century. From the straightened top of the hill, the soaring central stupa is topped by a gold- hued square block from which the watchful eyes of the Buddha look out over the valley in each direction. From the platform of the spot the wonderful changing view of the valley could be seen with the monkeys running here and there.
Boudhanath (World Heritage Site)
Boudhanath is the largest Stupa of Nepal and one of the largest in the world. It is a religious center for Nepal where Tibetans and Buddhists walk around the stupa and other thriving monasteries in clockwise. Boudhanath has always been connected with Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhism. The main Stupa is believed to have been built at some point 600 CE after the Tibetan Ruler Songtsen Gompo was changed over to Buddhism by his two spouses named Bhrikuti and Wen Cheng Konjo. But the current stupa was presumably built after the attack of the Moghul invaders in the fourteenth century. Stupas were initially built to restore holy relics or to commemorate an event or place with a structure that symbolizes Buddhist beliefs.
Patan is the third medieval city after Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. It is just 15 minutes’ drive from Kathmandu. Patan is also known by the name Lalitpur and it is quite unique from Kathmandu and Bhaktapur due to its architectural ancient masterpieces. Patan Durbar Square is one of the architectural focal point clustered around with many temples more than in Kathamandu and Bhaktapur.
Krishna Mandir is one of the attractions of the square. It was built in 1637 by the king Siddhi Narsingh Malla. The entire temple is constructed from the stone. Another popular site worth visiting is Golden Temple. It is the unique Buddhist Monastery founded in the12th century. It is a large rectangular shape with three roofs and a copper gilded facade with the images of Buddha and Avalokitesvara and the walls of the monastery engraved with Buddha images and paintings. The square is teemed with the Bhimsen Temple, Manga Hiti, Vishwanath Temple, Jagannarayan Temple, and others. One can enjoy the pleasure of discovering Patan Durbar Square, which is listed in UNESCO 's World Heritage Site.
Situated approximately 20 km east of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon or Khwopa in the Newar dialect is the third worth-visiting town in the Kathmandu valley. It looks the most mediaeval in many ways. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a bit larger and more spacious as compared to Kathmandu Durbar Square. But it is less crowded with temples than Patan. Bhaktapur is adorned with Royal Palace of Malla dynasty, ancient monuments mostly terra-cotta with carved wood columns, palaces and temples with beautiful carvings, gilded roofs, spacious courtyards. The city is teemed with different pagodas and religious shrines. Bhaktapur is enclosed by mountains and offers a spectacular view of the Himalayas.
Situated approximately 25 km east of Kathmandu, Nagarkot is scenically one of the most beautiful spots in Nepal, popular for its sunrise and sunset views of the Himalayas. Visitors can see Mount Everest with its snow-clad peaks from an observation tower at the very top of the village’s hills on a clear day. One can also see different beautifully coloured flowers in full bloom in spring season. This small village is also one of the best places for short hikes, which to explore nature’s wonders.
Pokhara is an enchanting, second largest city with three large lakes: Rupa Tal, Begnas Tal and Phewa Tal. Visitors enjoy lakeside serenity and breathtaking views of Machhapuchhre (Fish tail) Peak (6993m) looming over the horizon. It is easily accessible by road and by air from Kathmandu. The Kathmandu Valley is adorned with many Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines whereas the Pokhara Valley is popular for Nepal’s most popular trekking and rafting destinations along with different places of tourist interest.
Tansen is one of the oldest Newar hill settlements with a rich Tansen history and a glorious past. A short excursion of the surrounding area can be organised if time permits. Tansen is an ancient town located amidst the grandeur of the surrounding mountains and is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Nepal. This place is modeled as a sister town of Kathmandu. All the significant monuments and temples of Kathmandu can be seen in replicated form here. It looks as if they are in Kathmandu perched on a mountaintop in quiet environment. Sightseeing here includes: Srinagar hills which gives the best view of the western Himalayas in Nepal.
Lumbini (World Heritage Site)
Lumbini is one of the UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites located in Kapilavastu district of Nepal. It was in Lumbini where Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha was born in 623 B.C. After being enlightened Lord Buddha preached his message of peace and non-violence to the world. Lumbini has become one of the world's most popular pilgrimage sites where thousands of Buddhists pilgrims and international tourists regularly visit from different parts of the world. The main attractions at the Lumbini Sacred Garden are the Mayadevi Temple, Ashoka Pillar, sacred pond, China Temple,Thai Temple, Burmese Temple and so on. It is believed that by touring to this holy destination brings emancipation in one’s life, which is so pure, peace, and prosperous to those who seek salvation from the filthy activities practiced in the world.