Working six days a week in a city that never lets you a moment’s rest can be pretty tiring. So tiring in fact that often you are often overcome with a desire to get away from it all. Thank goodness there are weekends and thank goodness there are many places around the valley for you to escape to. Here’s a list of weekend getaway spots for you to fall in love with and find some much-needed respite.
Lakuri Bhanjyang may have skipped your radar because it’s a pretty underrated place. But it’s close, closer than any other location on this list, and really a breeze to get to. An ideal picnic spot, Lakuri Bhanjyang recently opened for paragliding, so it is also for those with an adventurous spirit. It’s breezy and isolated up there and, as Kathmandu residents, that makes it a special retreat. From Lagankhel Bus Park, catch a bus that takes you to Lubu, Lamatar. You can trek from there onwards as it’s just a two-hour climb. If you’re not up for a hike, the roads are good enough to take your private vehicle. This is also a great place for camping and the sunrises and sunsets are sights to behold.
Panauti is a frequently visited destination so we’re taking you to Balthali Village in Kavrepalanchowk. A little beyond Panauti and Khopasi is the charming village of Balthali that is a 40-kilometer drive from Kathmandu. There are a number of good resorts to stay in if you want to spend a night there. You can sign up for a session of Yoga and meditation at one of the resorts there – the tranquil vibe of the village should make meditating all the more effective. Take a nature walk and spend some time bird watching. There are also many trails for you to trek or bike on that take you to dwellings of enthnic tribes of the Newars and Tamangs. Go on a jeep safari to Kaminada, the top of the Mahabharat range. From up there you can see mountains in the eastern and northern regions.
You have to trek from Naubise or catch a vehicle through the Dakshinkali-Hetauda highway to get to Kulekhani. Five to six hours of cycling will do as well. As the main attraction, there’s the Kulekhani dam, a large water reservoir where you can boat and do some fishing. The lake is pretty clean too. Kalanki in Kulekhani is famous for its excellent fish so give it a try while you’re there. A walk around the reservoir should be very pleasant with Kulekhani’s luscious flora and fauna. For people nostalgic for Pokhara’s waters, the Kulekhani dam should more than make up for it. For cyclists, there are some really cool trails to follow. Never knew Kulekhani could be such an amazing place for a quick weekend getaway? Well, you do now.
Bungamati is where archaeological expeditions found a stone slab that mentioned King Amshuverma’s (the mighty Licchavi king) famed Kailashkut Bhawan. Besides its historical relevance, Bungamati is also a religious site. The deity Machhindranath lives in a shikhara-style temple in Bungamati six months of the year while for the rest of the year he resides in Patan. The moving of the idol is quite the event here. Karyabinayak temple (Lord Ganesha’s temple) in also located here. A little beyond Bungamati is Khokana, a quiet village where the residents mostly comprise of Newars. Here you’ll find farmers tilling their land, workers bent over spinning wool and people making mats and other little things from hay. You will also find many local Newari eateries around if you wish to sample their rich cuisine. We hear the duck choila is superb.
Herb Nepal, Bhaktapur
Herb Nepal is a lovely organic farming center in Bhaktapur. Besides their herbal products and training services, they have arrangements for farm stays as well. The idea of the farm stay is to let you experience a day in the natural life in the far-flung villages of Nepal so this is a place where you can take your kids, parents, and even grandparents. Here you get to stay at a rammed earth building that is solar power run and you can drink water right from the tap (the water is, of course, naturally filtered). Throughout the day, get your hands dirty farming with the locals. The techniques they use are community based and organic so you feel included and in touch with nature. You also have large grounds and farm animals to play and frolic around with. Come evening, there’s a nice rooftop terrace where you can sit and relax. Get some writing done or play a few notes on your guitar. There’s also a restaurant and bar downstairs.