For many of us, traveling is something that requires elaborate plans. But the best travels are the ones embarked on spontaneously. There are many places around Kathmandu that you can just get up and head to. This weekend choose to do something other than your regular activity and head to one of the following destinations to enjoy a bit of what Nepal has to offer.
Hiking to Nagarjun Hill
Nagarjuna hill is seven kilometers west from the capital city of Kathmandu. The hill is situated at the height of 2128m. Hiking to Nargarjuna is a one-day adventure that takes three hours of walk from the base point of Balaju. The main attraction of the Nagarjuna hill is its caves, primarily the Laxmi Gupha and Buddha Buffalo. Buddha Buffalo has a story to it. There is a belief that a herdsman became a buffalo after meditating in the cave under guidance of Acharya Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna hill is also called a sacred hill because of small Buddha Stupa at the top. From the top, you can get really stunning views of Kathmandu valley and, on a clear day, also be able to see the mountain ranges of Manaslu, Ganesh, and Langtang.
Short trip to Jhor
Jhor is nine kilometers away from Samakhusi towards the northern side of the city. It lies in the lap of Shivapuri National Park. From the ring road off Samakhusi, you can reach Jhor in a roughly 30-minute drive. The thick pine forest and white waterfalls are the main attractions of Jhor. Once you get there, don’t forget to visit the small temple, Baundeshwar Mahadev nearby. A waterfall next to the shrine gives it a majestic feel. It’s a scene you must witness if you are in Jhor. And if you are feeling a bit adventurous then head over to the Baundeshwar cave as well. A short walk along a stone paved path will lead to the spot from where we can see Kathmandu Valley in all its glory.
Trek to Phulchowki
This is the highest hill situated in the south of Kathmandu valley famous for its botanical garden and bird watching. To start your hike to Phulchowki, simply drive 14 kilometers south of Kathmandu. This will take roughly 40 minutes if you are taking your own vehicle. After you reach Godavari, start walking uphill through a dense subtropical forest. A four-hour hike will lead you to Phulchowki from where you can get an eye-catching view of the eastern part of Annapurna range to Gaurishanker in the east. You can descend through the same trail you took up and this will take you roughly two hours.
Day trip to Khokana via Bungmati Village
Khokana and Bungmati village are ten kilometers away from Kathmandu. Both of them are known to be medieval Newari towns reflecting the lifestyles, cultures, and architectures of typical Newar families. Khokana is famous for the production of Mustard oil whereas the major attraction of Bungmati is the Rato Machindranath temple and Bungmati cultural museum. You can also visit the other temples in this area, namely the Rudrayani temple, Srikali Mai Temple, and make your Saturday a religious one. You will also be able to find wooden handicraft items carved by local people around the village, and can indulge in a bit of shopping if you feel like it. Besides that, you can also sample some good local food here.
Hiking to Namo Buddha from Dhulikhel
The main attraction of Namo Buddha is the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery, which is said to be the place where the Buddha, in his previous life as a price, gave his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. It is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal. Namobuddha is 40 kilometers away from Kathmandu and is a four-hour walk from Dhulikhel. You can take a local bus from Ratna Park, Kathmandu to Banepa and then change there to get to Namo Buddha. Alternatively, get a bus to Kavre Bhanjyang and then trek the remaining nine kilometers to Namo Buddha. Or you can also trek from Banepa to Namo Buddha passing through Panauti and Sangkhu, if you aren’t taking the Dhulikhel route.