One day treks around Kathmandu valley

Published On: September 27, 2019 10:15 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

For many of us, traveling for days or perhaps weeks high up in the mountains is the ultimate dream. However, due to work or school, we might not have the luxury of taking a week out of our busy schedule to travel for a long time. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t travel at all, we can still make short but frequent trips around the valley in order to get our dose of the wilderness. Here are a few places we recommend you visit.

Pilot Baba Ashram
Out of all the routes we have selected here, this one might be relatively unknown, even to those who have made it a point to regularly hike during the weekends. This route takes you up the hills that rise behind Suryabinayak. Within the first 15 minutes of the trek, you will be transported from urban residences to a luscious thick, green forest. The starting point of the hike is the Suryabinayak bus stop or the Suryabinayak Ganesh temple (which is a mere 10-minute walk from the bus stop). The entire distance of the hike is about 15 kilometers and it will take you about four to five hours depending on your walking speed, to get there and back. The main attraction of the hike is, of course, the Pilot Baba Ashram from where you will have an excellent view of the valley as well as the Suryabinayak forest. Moreover, there are numerous teashops located outside the ashram where one can enjoy a mean cup of local ‘masala’ tea. Definitely not to be missed. 

The hike for Chisapani starts from Sundarijal and the average time taken to reach the top is about four to five hours. Chisapani is a small settlement of Brahmin, Gurung and Sherpa communities with fantastic views of mountains like the Langtang Himal, Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal and Gaurishankar Himal ranges. The hike starts from Sundarijal (around an hour from central Kathmandu), passes the main water source for Kathmandu and goes on through Shivapuri National Park until you reach Chisapani village. You can also extend the hike by hiking from Chisapani to Nagarkot. This will take you around seven hours and you can stay the night at Nagarkot or drive back to Kathmandu. This is an ideal trip to make if you want to get away for an entire day and perhaps have a little staycation as well.

The hike unto the Chandragiri Hill starts from Matatirtha Temple located in Chandragiri. From there, to reach the hill, which is at an elevation of 2729 meters, it will take you about three to four hours. Between the temple and Chandragiri Hill, you can make a small stop at Chhap Bhanjyang in order to have some tea or refill your water bottle. Once you reach the top, on clear days, you can view mountains ranging from Mt Api, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Ganesh to Langtang, Dorje Lakpa and Gaurishankar. Moreover, you can also catch glimpses of various types of birds like the Grey Wagtail, Steppe Eagle, Kingfishers, Common Myna, Indian Pond Heron, Oriental Turtle Dove, Red-vented Bulbul, and Great Egret to name a few. This route can be a really fascinating one for nature and bird lovers.

Champadevi is in the southeastern corner of the Kathmandu valley and falls in Makwanpur district. Though there are several routes to get to Champadevi, the most popular and the easiest is the one where you walk along the Dollu valley through pine forests. This hike route starts from Hattiban Resort and the trail is already mapped and easy to follow. From the resort, the round trip will take around three hours in total. A longer and a bit more adventurous route begins from the Dakshinkali temple road, beyond the Taudaha lake. If you take this route, you will have to walk on dirt roads through fields until you reach the forest where the trail is a step climb through the forest to the ridge above Haatiban Resort. We recommend you take the latter option if you want your hike to be a bit more adventurous. 

To get to Phulchowki is fairly simple – get to the Lagankhel bus stop early morning and take a bus to Godavari. From there, Phulchowki is a six- to seven-hour hike. Phulchowki is a sub-tropical forest that provides breathtaking views of the Kathmandu valley as well as the Annapurna and the Gaurishankar range. It is the highest hill near Kathmandu and is filled with palms, citrus, oak, birch and pines. The forest houses different species of birds, rhododendrons, orchids etc. From the top you get eagle-eye view the valley and if the sky is clear you can see a wide stretch of Nepal’s Himalayan belt. It’s truly spectacular. And while you are there, don’t forget to check out the Botanical Gardens in Godavari as well. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, and you can relax and have a quiet picnic there to end your trip. 

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