Not all of us are born with the desire or at least the resources to climb the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. But, a good majority of those who travel to Nepal would likely want to catch a glimpse of the highest peak and just cross that off your bucket list! And in everyone’s mind, this is only possible if you go on a trek to Everest Base Camp for two full weeks, at least, this is what the internet says. Unknown to many, you actually don’t have to travel that long. Not all travellers will have the budget, the time and the physical fitness to go on a high-altitude trek to Everest Base Camp
. Don’t get me wrong, it is still wonderful lifetime adventure to walk through the Himalayan ranges for at least 10 days and see these mountains up close! Nothing beats the experience of waking up early in the morning and seeing these ranges towering in front of you – one client of mine literally shed tears when we were crossing a town called Pheriche because of the trail’s majestic and natural beauty! So I would certainly recommend EBC to anyone visiting Nepal. But as mentioned, there are just other ways to see Mount Everest, if you just want to see it from afar and if you have limited time. You don't have to go anywhere, this is literally viewing Mount Everest from the capital city of Nepal "Kathmandu".
"Fig: Mount Everest on the red circle, from the top of Chandragiri hill photo credit by Setopati.com"
Contrary to everyone’s belief, Mount Everest can actually be seen from Kathmandu. The Chandragiri hills
in Kathmandu offer a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges and Mount Everest on a clear day. There are also viewpoints and hill stations just outside Kathmandu – Daman, Nagarjun and Nagarkot
where the mountains are visible. Please note the 161-km or 100-mile distance between Kathmandu and Mount Everest so it will not be a close-up view. Another option, if you are lacking time but would like to experience a close-up view of the mountain is to take a short flight over the Everest
. This is not for the budget traveller as it will cost at least five times more expensive (roughly USD 200) than going to Chandragiri hill. For those interested in going to Chandragiri hill, please read on.
Highlights of Chandragiri Hill
- Closest Mount Everest view point from Kathmandu valley or from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) if you only have a few days in the country.
- Offers the best scenic view of the Kathmandu Valley and 180-degree panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. 9 Himalayan ranges can be seen from here (out of the 13 ranges we have in Nepal)!
- You can ride a cable car from here. The cable car will take you from the base of the hill to the top!
- Magnificent view of neighbouring hills, Chitlang, Daman, Naghdhunga, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Chitwan etc., making it one of the best hiking, biking, sightseeing and day tour destination
- The viewpoint for Gorkha's King Prithivi Narayan Shah who made Kathmandu as the capital city of unified Nepal.
- Holy temple of God Shiva "Bhaleshwor Mahadev"
Chandragiri View Tower
Just 15km from the touristic town centre of Thamel, Chandragiri Hill lies to the south-west of the Kathmandu Valley. At an elevation of 2,551m, the view tower was officially opened to visitors on August 11, 2016. During the first week, over 20,000 visitors went up the tower and the temple on top of the hill. On a clear day, Chandragiri offers one of the best view of the Kathmandu Valley, Shivapuri National Park
as well as nine of the Himalayan ranges in Nepal - Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Jugal Himal, Rolwaling, Kanjirowa and the Mahalangur range (Everest range)! There is also a viewing scope offer a magnified view of the Himalayan ranges.
How to reach Chandragiri Hill?
By Local Bus: If you are staying in Thamel or a nearby town, you will need to travel first to Ratnapark, a bus station. From there, local buses to Thankot (this is the route you should take) depart every 10 to 15 minutes. The last stop is a place called Godam Chaur and this is where you need to get off. From Godam Chaur, the Chandragiri hill station is about 20 to 30-minute walking distance. This is not the most convenient way but is certainly the cheapest option.
By Private Car or Taxi;
Travelling to Chandragiri hill station is much easier by private car or taxi. Any car rental company will offer this package. You can book the car for the half-day tour which would last approximately 3 hours. This includes pick up and drop off. For a group of two or more individuals, this option is not very expensive. The cost for the car averages around USD 20 to USD 25.
By Cycle or Motorbike;
If you know how to ride a motorbike, this is probably the best option for you! Not only does it give you your own time to explore, not just the hill but any nearby places as well, but it is also not as expensive as hiring a car. You can rent a motorbike at a daily rate of USD 5 to USD 10. They also provide free parking in Chandragiri. But please make sure you know very well how to ride on the road in Nepal is not as flat and not as safe as you would see in other countries. Be prepared for traffic and in some cases, winding and unpaved roads. If cycling is your thing, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
In order to provide a convenient transport service to the tourist, Chandragiri hills P. Ltd
has announced a free shuttle bus service from a different location of the Kathmandu city to the base of the cable car station. If you are living near Thamel and willing to visit Chandragiri, 08:30 in the morning from Balaju Bhatbhaneni station would be ideal and closest point to catch the free shuttle bus.
For Staffs pickup
- Kalanki Bhatbhateni to Chandragiri Hills: 7:00 am
- Balaju Bhatbhateni to Chandragiri Hills: 8:30 am
- Maharajgunj Bhatbhateni to Chandragiri Hills: 9:15 am
- Koteshwor Bhatbhateni to Chandragiri Hills: 10:00 am
- Kalanki Bhatbhateni to Chandragiri Hills: 11:15 am
Note: "Timing may vary depending upon the traffic conditions."
- Chandragiri Hills to Ring Road: 8:00 am
- Chandragiri Hills to Kalanki Bhatbhateni: 2:00 pm
- Chandragiri Hills to Kalanki Bhatbhateni: 5:30 pm
Chandragiri Cable Car Price Fare and Discount:
If you don’t like to hike for three hours going up the hill and probably a bit less going down, the government of Nepal recently opened the cable car service to go up the hill. Prices are:
- One-way (Nepalese): NPR 420
- One Way (SAARC countries): INR 700
- One Way (All other countries): USD 13.20
Free entry: children up to 3 ft.
- Roundtrip (Nepalese): NPR 700
- Roundtrip (SAARC countries): INR 700
- Roundtrip (All other countries): USD 22.00
- 20% discount for senior citizens (over 60 years old)
- 25% discount for student (Nepalese only)
- 25% discount for locals (those who live nearby)
- 40% discount for child between 3ft-4ft
- 50% discount for disabled person
Included are some pictures around the Chandragiri hill. If you have already been to the view tower, please let us know what you think of the new destination in Kathmandu and if it is worth viewing the mountains from this hill. Also, if you have additional information you would like to share, please leave us a comment.