A country known for having 8 of the world’s tallest mountain peaks, Nepal is a trekker’s paradise. One of the easiest hiking routes to do is the Kathmandu Valley. Even if you have no big plans of scaling some of the most spectacular peaks of the world, the valley is a feasible alternative. You can plan and prepare for many enjoyable hikes that will take you to the serene countryside with its dramatic views, gorgeous temples and an introduction to the Nepalese way of life.
Preparing for your hike
Trekking in Nepal is easy if you are well prepared. As the heat can become very uncomfortable, trekking is best done during spring (March-May) and autumn (September to November). Make sure that you have the basics covered such as sturdy yet lightweight trekking shoes, windproof/rain jacket, breathable clothing, hat, sunglasses and sun cream. A good pair of lightweight walking sticks is recommended to help with ascent and descent. Don’t forget to carry enough water to avoid dehydration especially as you climb higher, you will experience a rapid evaporation of moisture. A good map is essential in addition to a GPS. You can also hire a local guide to help you find spotty areas or unmarked places.
A day hike from Nagarkot
The Kathmandu Valley is circled by numerous hills ranging from 2,000 to 2,700 meters. Trails link much of its perimeter. Nagarkot which is located on the eastern rim is a good place to start whether you are thinking of a short hike or a longer trek towards the northern part. From the capital of Kathmandu, Nagarkot is about 32 kilometers away and is accessible by road using public transportation or a hired vehicle. There are also places in the area where you can spend the night if you are preparing for longer treks or don’t intend to go back to the capital immediately.
Start your trek towards the village of Changu or Dolagiri. This will take you less than 3 hours. Visit Changu Narayan which is located on top of a hill surrounded by a forest of Champak trees. Marvel at the inspiring Hindu temple, believed to be the oldest in Nepal with its stone sculptures. From the temple, a staircase brings you down to a fork. If you go left, you will end up in Bhaktapur and the right trail takes you to verdant rice paddies towards Sankhu Road. If you descend southeast from Nagarkot, you will end up in Banepa with splendid views of terraced fields and an old village named Nala dotted with splendid temples. The hike will be 5-6 hours.
Nagarkot is not only a fantastic place to see outstanding views of the mountains but is also a great starting point for easy hikes in the Kathmandu Valley. Charming sceneries of corn & rice fields, ancient temples, and friendly villagers await day hikers. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of hiking challenges in the valley but for now, Nagarkot offers a good compromise.