Aside from Kathmandu there are other cool places near Kathmandu Valley to see. The best way to see them is to do a Kathmandu Valley trek.
The great thing about a Kathmandu Valley trek is that it can be done in 4 days, so it’s perfect if you only have a week in Nepal. You can add it on to a couple of days in the capital exploring all of the Kathmandu Valley UNESCO sites.
The Best Time to Go Trekking in Nepal
Most people know Nepal as the ultimate place to do a trek. I mean, who doesn’t want to trek in the Himalayas? Nepali trekking comes in many different forms.
Nepal is one of only two places in the world with access to Mount Everest. Please don’t climb Everest. It’s dangerous and the area around the peak is littered with human bodies and, well, litter. Instead, if you want a challenge, hike to Everest Base Camp. It’s still over 5000m.
The best time to hike to Everest Base Camp and the amazing Annarpurna region in Central Nepal is Spring or Autumn. Summer brings monsoons, making it a terrible time to attempt high altitude treks.
Summer, however, is a great time to trek the Upper Mustang region. The region is in the shadow of Annapurna and mostly sheltered from those pesky monsoons.
Kathmandu Valley Trek – An All Year Round Adventure
The only trek in Nepal that can be done all year round is the Kathmandu Valley Trek. This is because it’s not considered high altitude. It’s highest elevation is around 2200m, which is quite doable for most fit people.
We did our trek towards the end of winter. The mornings and nights were obviously cool, but not nearly as cold as I was expecting from a mountainous region.
The days were relatively warm and sunny.
Getting to the Starting Point of Our Kathmandu Valley Trek
Although Bhim had joined us for our sightseeing around Kathmandu, he would not be joining us on the trek. He needed to be at his office, so he put us under the care of one of his guides called Amir.
Bhim and his driver escorted us to the to the northern outskirts of Kathmandu where we met Amir. We realised straight away that he had a wicked sense of humour. This was going to be a great trek!
Entering the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
Our first day of trekking would take place in the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, northeast of Kathmandu.
But first we had to stop at the entrance station at Mulkharka to get our permits to enter the park.
The 1000NPR (US$8.30) fee was included in our trek fee, so our guide Amir handled the payment for us.
Fees for other parks in Nepal are here.
We had to show our passports at the station for registration. The registration procedure took quite a while. Then finally we could head on to Sundarijal and officially enter the park!
Kathmandu Valley Trek Day 1 – Sundarijal to Chisapani
The first day of our Kathmandu Valley Trek was the shortest, but it was far from the easiest. The first four kilometres from Sundarijal was rather nice and flat.
But then we hit what I like to call heart attack hill. Stairs, stairs and more bloody stairs. Over 10 freaking kilometres of them.
My knees were not happy by the end of it and I was happy to see a tree with toothbrushes on it. This was in front of our lunch stop.
I asked Amir if he knew why there were toothbrushes on the tree and he said he wasn’t sure. Now I’m going to spend the rest of my life wondering!
Lunch Then Chisapani
All of our food was included for the trek and Amir always took care of the ordering for us.
There was a bit of a wait for food, but we were glad for the rest.
When we got into Chisapani, the first thing we saw were buildings that had been damaged by the 2015 earthquake.
They seemed to be defying gravity. I walked to the left of them just in case gravity finally won.
Chisapani to Nagarkot – Day 2 of a Kathmandu Valley Trek
When you’re doing a Kathmandu Valley trek, you want to make sure you have a breakfast full of energy.
So someone in the group, (not me) ordered a Snickers Crepe. Another option was a Nutella Crepe. I went with the slightly healthier Banana Crepe option. I stand by my choice.
It wasn’t long before we were on our way again for our longest trekking day.
Luckily, as we’d done the majority of the ascent on the first day, we were in for a day of relatively flat trails.
And amazing views! With cows and goats thrown in for good measure.
Lunch in Chauki Bhanjyang – Places Near Kathmandu Valley
We stopped for lunch in Chauki Bhanjyang. We actually had a couple of last minute additions to our trek on the first day. Amir’s son Ajit and his friend Solomon.
Both were enthralled with my crazy travel stories and asked to my blog. When I told them I didn’t have one, they insisted that I start one.
So you can blame them for my internet presence.
Afternoon Snack in a Blue Village on a Kathmandu Valley Trek
We had already walked a long way by the afternoon, so Amir did a quick survey to see if we wanted to stop for an afternoon snack.
Nagarkot, our stop for the night, was still a few hours a way.
We almost unanimously cried, “Yes!”.
Amir advised us that we just needed to walk up the hill from the valley we were in and we would be able to eat.
But first, he showed us how to use a local swing with colourful flags. Those colourful flags are everywhere in Nepal.
When we got to the top of the hill, we noticed that all of the buildings in the village where we stopped to eat were at least partially blue.
Sitting by the Fire in Nagarkot Nepal After a Long Day on a Kathmandu Valley Trek
We got a bit of a laugh when we rocked into Nagarkot and saw the ‘Hotel at the End of the Universe’. I mean, we knew we’d hiked a long way that day, but to the end of the universe? Wow.
We put in our order for dinner and went to rest for a while.
When arrived in the dining room for dinner, we noticed the staff has started a fire in the fire place for us.
We chatted by the fire for several hours before heading to bed. I think we all slept pretty well that night!
Kathmandu Valley Trek Day 3 – Nagarkot to Dhulikhel
We arose bright and early for the second last day of our Kathmandu Valley trek.
It was actually our last day of hiking though.
Again it was a long day with many awesome views and animals along the way.
We even saw a little waterfall.
And would you believe we stopped at another blue village for lunch? Maybe blue villages are a thing in the Kathmandu Valley.
Kathmandu Valley Trek – Taking it Easy on the Way to Dhulikhel
The Nagarkot to Dhulikhel part of our trek was pretty much all down hill.
Except for the part in the middle that wasn’t.
Luckily that part didn’t last for too long.
The trails for most of this day were more open than other days. Strangely, all the animals we’d been seeing throughout the trek seemed to disappear after lunch.
Perhaps that was because we were getting closer to a city.
Dhulikhel to Kathmandu – Day 4 of a Kathmandu Valley Trek
Although the fourth day of our Kathmandu Valley trek didn’t really include much trekking, it did include quite a bit of travel.
We had walked nearly 70 kilometres in our three days of hiking and needed to get back to Kathmandu, which was now 30 kilometres away.
So we got to experience some local transport, which was fun and frightening at the same time.
Final Thoughts on Nepali Trekking
Our Kathmandu Valley trek was pretty amazing overall. We did notice that everywhere we stopped for food there was a long wait. The food was great, it just took a while to get to us.
Given that our trek came at a very cheap price, we were expecting very basic facilities for our overnight stays. They were much better than we expected.
We walked nearly 70 kilometres in the 4 days of our Kathmandu Valley Trek. With more than 1800m net elevation gain over those days, this trek may not be suitable for people who are not regular hikers. At least not at the pace we did it.
For an easier trek, you could start in Chisapani. Any Nepali trekking adventure will be a great one, no matter how short it is.
Are you ready to take your very own Kathmandu Valley Trekking trip? My friend Bhim from Exodus Himalaya Treks and Expeditions can help you plan an amazing trip. :o)
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