Feel like a local as you explore the picturesque neighborhoods of Kathmandu on foot with a guide, finishing your day with a cooking lesson at the home of a Nepalese family. It’s a great way to step off the tourist track and learn about daily life for the friendly residents of this sprawling city.
Begin your day in the morning, meeting your guide at the Hotel Marshyangdi. Continue to the holy site of Swayambhunath, the oldest stupa in Nepal and a frequent site of devotion for the country’s Hindu and Buddhist adherents. Discover why locals have nicknamed this site the “Monkey Temple,” thanks to its large contingent of primates. The monkeys guard the hills near the site and have been known to entertain visitors with acrobatic tricks on the banisters of the temple’s main staircase.
The hilltop location of Swayambhunath also offers sublime views of Kathmandu and the surrounding valley. Spend a moment taking it all in before entering inside the inner chamber of this mound-like building. Inside you’ll find various Hindu and Buddhist relics, including the ashes of the deceased. Many use the site for meditation, and it's easy to understand why: a mesmerizing mixture of hypnotic prayer chants, ghostly ringing bells, and smoky trails of incense provide just the right atmosphere for spiritual reflection.
After enjoying a divine experience inside the stupa, continue with your guide into the labyrinth of alleys and side streets leading to Durbar Square. Among the many sights, you’ll find in this area are picturesque courtyards, ancient temples, and markets full of local handicrafts and brilliant-colored produce.
Follow the lead of your guide as you purchase aromatic spices, vegetables, and any other ingredients you might want for your cooking lesson (at your own expense). After you’ve bought what you need, head to the residence of a local family to begin your cooking lesson.
Learn the secrets of Nepalese cooking from this friendly family as you prepare your meal in their inviting kitchen. Once the food is ready, sit down to lunch and enjoy shared conversation with the family, with interpreter services provided by your guide. At the end of your meal, head back to the original starting point to finish your trip.