Best Trips Outside of Kathmandu
The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu has since long been a cynosure of mountaineers and tourists alike who flock here from all corners of the world to experience its rich culture and surreal beauty.
From getting to grips with Mount Everest to exploring the dense jungles of the terai region for endangered wildlife, there are innumerable options to spend quality time, all within easy reach of Kathmandu. You can check reputed companies like TransIndus for custom Asian holiday packages covering all the best day trips in and around Kathmandu.
The scenic town of Nagarkot lies at an elevation of 2185m and affords a perfect getaway from the comparative heat and dust of Kathmandu. Tourists flock here in large numbers not only because of its close proximity to the capital but for its incredible sunsets and the panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges from October to March.
There are plenty of buses and taxis which ply between Kathmandu and Nagarkot each day via the Araniko Highway. Nagarkot is also the site of an ancient fort that was built to overlook the safety of the once-Himalayan kingdom. Small hikes to Chisapani and Telkot are popular from here as well as the hike to the Changunarayan temple, located in Bhaktapur.
Langtang National Park (32km)
Established in 1976, Langtang National Park was the fourth park in Nepal and is situated only an hour’s drive away from Kathmandu. Thanks to the lush greenery and some popular trekking trails, the park is a major draw for both tourists and visitors from the capital city. The picturesque park is connected to the Qomolangma National Preserve in Tibet and is home to the holy Gosaikunda Lake.
The incredible flora and fauna consist of 46 mammal species, over 250 different birds, and a thousand species of plants. The highest point of the park is at 6450m and the massive Langtang peak at 7245m occupies centre stage in the park. Some of the endangered animals found here are the clouded leopard, red panda, grey wolf, and snow leopard.
Adventure seekers will never have it so good as at Chisapani, a stunning escape from Kathmandu set among the mountains of the Shivpuri National Park. A moderate walk of 1 hr and 30mins will bring you to Chisapani, nestled at 2150m above MSL. From here one can enjoy unparalleled views of the Langtang mountain range mainly Dorje Lapka, Gaurishankar, and more.
Chisapani is a perfect place to spend a short time with families and friends and enjoy the sunrise over the mountains. The dense green forests and the tranquil village settings are other major attractions of Chisapani. It takes roughly two hours to reach Chisapani from Kathmandu on the Jorpati medical college road.
Kakani is another beautiful getaway from Kathmandu and is located 2000m above sea level. This hill station is home to a British Gurkha settlement apart from being a memorial for the tragic Thai Airways crash of flight 311 several years back. As it takes just ninety minutes to reach Kakani from Kathmandu it is popular with locals and tourists alike.
Apart from the pristine natural environment, Kakani is known for its strawberry and radish farming. The other key attractions include the gorgeous alpine landscapes and excellent views of the Himalayan peaks of Ganesh Himal, Gaurishankar, Choba Bhamre, and Annapurna among numerous other smaller peaks.
Helambu is the starting point of the extremely popular trek to the Helambu valley. A visit allows you to immerse yourself in Buddhist culture apart from enjoying marvelous views of the stunning snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas like Gaurishankar and Ganesh Himal, both over 7100m. The highest point of the trek is only 3500m and is home to the Hyolomo people who have been residing here for centuries.
On a Helambu trek, you will come across Tibetan monasteries, shrines, and stupas as you amble across the uncrowded trail. The trek starts from Kathmandu to Chisapani, Kutumsang, and Gul Bhanjyang. You then move to Tharepati to the Melamchi sherpa village.
Chitwan National Park (169km)
Located in the Terai region of South Central Nepal, Chitwan National Park is the premier park of the country and the first of its kind which adopted the role of wildlife conservation in the country. Spread over an area of roughly 953 square kilometers, Chitwan got its well-earned recognition and was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
Chitwan shares its borders with Parsa National Park on the east and Valmiki National Park in India on the south. The star attraction in Chitwan is surprisingly not the Bengal Tiger but the one-horned rhinoceros which is high on the endangered list. Incidentally, Chitwan is also a paradise for birdwatchers as it is the breeding ground of some rare species like the Bengal florican and the near-threatened Oriental darter. Some other fun activities one can enjoy at Chitwan are elephant back rides, canoeing, nature walks, and trekking.
Also known as the city of lakes, Pokhara is an enchanting destination and is the most visited, outside of Kathmandu. From boating in the Phewa lake, paragliding, and going on a mountain flight, a visit to Pokhara is high on any tourist’s list for Nepal. In winter, the Annapurna range and the iconic Fish Tail mountain are clearly visible from all corners of Pokhara.
Some other key attractions in Pokhara are the Devi Falls, Gupteshwar Cave, Bat Cave, and the Seti river Gorge. While boating is a mega draw here, a trip to nearby Sarangkot offers unparalleled views of some of the top Himalayan mountain peaks such as Annapurna III, Dhaulagiri, Gangapurna, not to forget the FishTail or Machhapuchhre.
Situated on the banks of the Trishuli and Tandi rivers, the town of Nuwakot served as the capital of the Nepal valley, prior to its unification with the country by Prithvi Narayan Shah. This historic town is of great archaeological importance as some of the buildings here date back to the Malla period.
Some fine examples of architecture in Nuwakot are the Taleju Bhawani temple and the six-storey Malla Palace which was under the control of Prithvi Narayan Shah before he attacked and captured Kathmandu.
Known as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the messiah of peace and non-violence, the holy town of Lumbini lies about 250km southwest of Kathmandu. The principal attraction here is the Ashoka Pillar, on which it is inscribed that Lord Buddha was born here. Relics from an ancient monastery and photos of Buddha’s mother Maya Devi and various other temples are located here.
Lumbini is roughly a three-hour by road from Kathmandu and can be accessed via the Tansen and the city of Bhairahawa in western Nepal.
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