In Kathmandu Valley are three ancient cities, once independently ruled by their respective Malla kings: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. In this day trip, visit Patan and Bhaktapur, home to cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites that hark back to Nepal's rich past. You'll learn to appreciate Patan's name in Sanskrit, Lalitpur, which means ‘City of Living Art.' (Hint: it's home to the valley's finest sculptors and craftsmen.) Over in Bhaktapur, experience what it's like to wade slowly back in time, with streets and architecture retaining their olden, brickmade charm. All throughout, pay close attention to their shared religious heritage. Of Buddhist and Hindu backgrounds, both Patan and Bhaktapur are wealthy with temples, shrines, idols and sculptures in honor of their gods – giving you an endless count of sights over which to marvel.
Venture into the ancient villages of Kathmandu Valley in this exploration of Bungamati and Khokana. Because of their relative inaccessibility, visiting the towns is akin to going back in time – a time when locals gather in main squares and the call of everyday work intermingles with communal life. Such sights are what you'll see on this journey, with Bungamati's resident woodcarvers and craftsfolk hard at work. The place is home to the shrine of Rato Macchendranath, patron god of Patan, alongside other religious monuments. You can expect a similar ambience in Khokana, where locals live largely off of their agriculture. Learn about their renowned produce, mustard oil, and the unique way it is harvested, then pay a visit to the landmark three-storey temple dedicated to Shikali Mai, the local mother goddess.