Are you a first-time traveler to Nepal? Accompanying your spouse or on your business trip? Do you have just a few days to spend in the country? Probably you are thinking of doing a bit of hiking around Kathmandu and still want to have some spare time to see the world heritage sites? If the answer is “YES” to these questions then the suggested short trek below is the best option for you.
Nepal is famous for high-altitude treks like the Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, and so on. Understandably, not everyone has the time, the budget or the level of physical fitness required for these treks. In this article, we show you that it is possible to spend 2 nights, 3 days trekking around the rim of the Kathmandu Valley in the lap of the Himalayas typical Nepali villages. You can also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the Kathmandu Valley.
Highlights of the Trip
- 2 nights, 3 days trekking
- Chisapani(2,350m / 7,709ft)
- Nagarkot(2,100m/ 6,889ft)
- Shivapuri National Park
- Changu Narayan(World Heritage site)
- Bhaktapur (World Heritage site)
- Pashupatinath and Boudhanath
What is the itinerary for the Kathmandu Valley Trek?
|1||After breakfast drive to Sundarijal either by private car or local bus and start trek to Chisapani. Overnight stay in Chispani in a teahouse.|
|2||Chisapani to Nagarkot trek 7 to 8 hours and overnight stay at the hotel in Nagarkot.|
|3||Trek from Nagarkot to Changu Narayan and Bhaktapur sightseeing tour overnight in Kathmandu.|
Next day if you still have time visit World Heritage Sites by private day tour within Kathmandu Valley to include Boudhanath, Swayambhunath and Durbar Square.
You can also extend your trek by one day by trekking from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel.
Where and how to start the Kathmandu Valley Trek?
The trekking starts from Sundarijal, which is located just 20 km (12.42 miles) northeast of the capital, Kathmandu. There are two options to reach Sundarijal:-
(1) hire a private car (approx USD25) or (2) ride a local bus (approx Nrs30)
Hiring a private car is much easier than traveling by a local bus. The car and a guide will pick you up at the hotel and drive you directly to Sundarijal where you can start your trek. If you chose the local bus option, you have to go to Ratna Park, which is the old bus terminal. If you live somewhere near Thamel, then Ratna Park is not that far. It is roughly a 20-30 minute walking distance or 150 NPR to 200 NPR taxi ride. From Ratna Park, you can catch the bus to Sundarijal. Note that buses leave every 10 minutes.
Where to sleep and how is the accommodation?
You really don’t need to worry about accommodation while on the trek. The first-night hiking from Sundarijal via Mulkharka will take you to Chisapani. Chisapani village is also the gateway to the Langtang Valley Trek and many other travelers also end their trek here. Therefore, there are plenty of teahouses with rooms which may be small and basic but will provide you with panoramic views.
The second day you continue the Kathmandu Valley Trek to Nagarkot, which is one of the nicest hill stations in Nepal. The accommodation in the area is fancier than in Chisapani, and most are the resorts ranging from inexpensive and budget to the luxurious. As it is on a hill, the cost of the hotels vary greatly and depends on the view you can get. The better the view the higher the cost. Nagarkot is known for stunning sunrises, with a panoramic view of the Annapurna, Langtang, and Everest mountain ranges. If the weather is clear!! The beautiful sea of clouds from Nagarkot is also a sight to behold.
What to bring with you?
Have you experienced hiking or trekking before this trip? Even if the answer is yes, our list below may give you a head start on what to prepare for the trek. This is a simple list of what to bring on the Kathmandu Valley Trek. You are not going for a high-altitude trek or on an Everest expedition, so keep it simple!
- One pair and one spare light trousers
- 1 pair of sports shoes in good condition (or if you have hiking or trekking shoes)
- 2 -3 light shirts if the weather is warm (including what you plan to wear on the first day). During wintertime, we recommend to also dress in layers and please bring some warm clothing.
- 1 jacket (preferably windproof and waterproof)
- One or two pairs of trekking socks
- Lightweight backpack
- Water bottle
- Trekking pole (optional)
- Hat or cap
- Light snacks
If you decide to stay in one of the more luxurious hotels in Nagarkot you might want to bring something nice (but warm) to wear at dinner. And bring a swimsuit!
Do I have to buy a trekking permit for the Kathmandu Valley Trek?
Every trekking route in Nepal requires a permit of some sort. In this Kathmandu Valley Trek you are trekking within a National Park so require a parking permit. You will be entering the Shivapuri National Park and therefore will require an entrance ticket for the Park. You must pay 1,000 NPR for a foreign tourist, 600 NRP for those from a SAARC country, and 100 NPR for a Nepali tourist. Children under 10 years of age go free. But the good news is you don’t need to get a TIMS card (Trekking Information Management System) for this trek.
When is the best time (season) to go on this trek?
Anytime is the best time for the Kathmandu Valley Trek! Regardless of the season, trekking around Kathmandu Valley can be enjoyed by anyone at any time. It is not a high-altitude trek so you don’t have to worry about altitude sickness or heavy snow in the winter. However in the monsoon season, as in other areas in Nepal, rain can be unpredictable and you have to make sure you have a windproof and waterproof jacket in case (and a backpack cover!)! It will be foggy in Nagarkot in the winter (very occasionally there will be light snow) and there may be leeches on the trail in the monsoon.1. Nagarkot Weather 2. Chisapani Weather
Do I need to hire a porter for this trek?
Hiring a porter for this trek completely depends on you and how much you intend to bring with you. I would say if you are strong enough to walk with about 8 to 10 kg in a hilly area then you probably don’t need one. I would instead recommend to just trek with a guide.
If you think your backpack is heavy to carry uphill or if you have any physical condition prohibiting you from carrying heavy stuff for a longer period of time, then you should go with a porter as well. Note that the first day from Sundarijal to Chisapani is about 900m uphill and 5 to 6 hours of trekking. The second day from Chisapani to Nagarkot is roughly 7 to 8 hours of trekking, but not too steep.
Can I trek on my own without a guide?
In my opinion, trekking on this route alone without a guide might be even more difficult than in the Annapurnas or Everest Region, as this area is not heavily trekked at all nor is it signposted. It is not completely impossible to trek on your own as long as you prepare in advance, research the route, etc. If you have experience of trekking alone, then we would highly recommend you studying the map very well. It might be challenging to be on your own because of these reasons:
- There are multiple trails leading to your destination.
- The trails are narrow and there are many small sub-divided trails.
- It is not a busy trail, meaning, there are not a lot of trekkers along the way to ask for directions or to follow. There are also not a lot of local people.
- Most of the time, you should expect to walk alone and inside the forest areas.
How much is the real cost of this trip?
This trip is way cheaper than you think. The cost will depend on which company and what is included in the package you take. However, if you choose companies like Viator, Expedia, or GetYourGuide, then they are relatively more expensive than a local trekking agency in Nepal.
To give you an idea, if you book directly through a local company, your cost will probably be between USD 130 and USD 200 for the whole trip (contact us). Again, the cost will depend on which category of hotel you prefer to stay in Nagarkot as it is more expensive than a regular hotel in Kathmandu. Remember better the view from your window, the higher the room cost!
How much do the international travel agent companies charge?
Viator: An online travel retailer, they offer several tours, trekking and travel packages all around Nepal. A similar package as the Kathmandu Valley trek for 3 nights 4 days has a cost of USD 360 per person.
GetYourGuide: Currently offers over 25,000 products all around the world such as sightseeing tours, adventure holidays in Nepal, multiple day tours and attraction passes. Local companies can also upload and manage their products online but are subject to commission. GetYourGuide also offers a similar package as above with 2 days Nagarkot-Chisapani trek around Kathmandu valley. The starting cost is USD 500 per person.
I can highly recommend a 2 or 3 night Kathmandu Valley Trek for those on a tight schedule. It gives you a taste of what Nepal has to offer and shows you the marvelous mountain ranges. You will definitely want to come back to discover more! If you want to know more please contact us. If you enjoyed reading this article, don’t forget to click our rating box below. Or if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.