Explore the Top Tourist Spots in and Around Kathmandu
Kathmandu serves as the epitome of attraction for visitors to Nepal. Its centuries-old culture and tradition are still alive in the bustling streets, the staggering monuments showcasing the exquisite architectural skills, the rugged old traditional houses and the charming narrow streets, the unique and authentic array of cuisines, and very moderate and pleasing weather; all draped with the modern amenities for your convenience, Kathmandu does justice as the tourist hub of Nepal.
You have probably gone through thousands of suggestions on which place to embark on in Kathmandu to know this town in a better and more beautiful way. Well, from cultural to natural, Kathmandu lacks no place for your pleasure.
However, this blessed valley is also bestowed with many wonderful places in its vicinity, which are worth visiting. Taking a day or two from your busy schedule of exploring Kathmandu, do visit these places, where you will find the immense surprise of naturalness and have an insight into the contrast of life just in the proximity of the Capital City.
Located in Southeast Kathmandu in the Kavrepalanchowk district, Balthali is an exquisite village amind the most green and serene setting. You may not know this, but Lonely Plant enlisted the Balthai trek to be among the world’s best short hikes without altitude.
Although Bathali is not as mainstream as Nagarkot or Dhulikhel, the pristine beauty of lush green terrace farms, pine forests, orange plantations, and wildflowers is way beyond words to explain. As the popularity of Balthali is low-key and receives fewer visitors, your visit will be as peaceful and perfect.
The Tamang villages with traditional houses against the picturesque green hills and their almost primitive lifestyle is another striking part of visiting Balthali.
From the spectacular sunrise to the enticing landscape view of the hill, from enjoying fresh air to having extra fun with hiking, horse-riding, or fishing; Balthali is the best place one can visit around Kathmandu Valley.
Balthali is at a distance of around 40 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu, just beyond Panauti. You can take a bus to Panauti which takes around 1.5 hours from Kathmandu. Now, from Panauti, there are two options; first, to hike for another 60 minutes, or to ride from Panauti in a bumpy road.
However, leaving all these hassles, you can go for the most adventurous option; mountain biking via Lubhu and Lakuri Bhanjyang to Panauti.
Just above, we talked about Balthali, which is 40 km southeast of Kathmandu, and now its Panauti at 32 km distance in the southeast of Kathmandu. It looks like you can have a whole lot of adventure while traveling to this part.
Panauti is a well-known historical city in Kathmandu Valley. As one of the oldest town in Nepal, Panauti is known for its wide array of both Buddhist and Hindu religious monuments and many important medieval sites.
Comprised of temples and monuments, the artistic skill exhibited in them is another captivating thing to witness.
Home to the various ethnic groups, dominated by Newar, Brahmin, Chhetri, and Tamang, Panauti celebrates 28 different unique festivals throughout the year. Makar Mela, Jya Punhi, Yomari Punhi, and Devi Nach are the most exotic ones. Well, this historical town of Nepal will be one of the best places to visit around Kathmandu.
Kalin Chowk is the perfect destination for those who are short on time and looking for the fun in foothills of the Himalayas. Kalin Chowk is already a favorite destination for locals of Kathmandu and tourists have also grown interested in this place for it offers an incredible view of 50 over peaks including Langtang Himal, Jugal Himal, Gauri Shanker, Melungtse, and Melungtse.
Kalin Chowk is one of the quickest access to the elevation of 3,790 meters from Kathmandu. The total distance from Kathmandu to Kalinchowk is about 149 km via Araniko Highway on a rough road that takes around 8 hours.
Nagarkot is one of the most popular places to visit around the Kathmandu Valley, and the distance is only 32 kilometers from Kathmandu. Mostly sought-after by tourists for a tranquil spend of time away from the bustling streets of Kathmandu, Nagarkot is also one of the best vantage points for sunrise and the Himalayas in Nepal.
It is not every day that you get to witness the unobstructed view of eight great Himalayan ranges; Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Ganesh Himal range, Langtang range, Jugal range Mahalangur range, Rolwaling range, and Number range.
Along with the broadest view of the Himalayas, the panorama of Kathmandu Valley and Shivapuri National Park is equally breathtaking from Nagarkot.
Nagarkot is also perfect for a short hike around Kathmandu Valley amid the mesmerizing Himalayan beauty and natural scenery. It is around 4 hours of panoramic hiking trail perfect a day’s outing around Kathmandu Valley.
Chisapani is a very popular place to be, which is located in the proximity of Kathmandu. Located in Shivapuri National Park, Chisapani is rich in pristine beauty surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains and verdant hills.
The impressive array of mountains including Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, and Manaslu, and sunrise and sunset view from Chisapani makes it one of the best place to visit around the Kathmandu Valley.
Chisapani Hiking is a popular spot for tourists in Kathmandu. Taking you to the highest elevation of 2,160 meters, it is around 6 hour of uphill hiking from Kathmandu.
Kakani is the perfect escape you can have around the Kathmandu Valley. It is relatively less crowded than other places in the vicinity of Kathmandu, which will provide you with some time to spend with yourself.
Located at 23 kilometers distance to the northwest of Kathmandu, right next to Shivapuri National Park, Kakani is a beautiful picturesque village at 1,982 meters elevation. Getting to Kakani takes around one and a half hours, and you can start from Balaju, then pass through the delightful and dense Nagarjun forest.
You will pass by many trout fish restaurants while driving to Kakani, and those fish are quite popular in this area. However, just have some patience, and when you finally reach Kakani, enjoy having fish with the spectacular view right in front of you.
One of the favorite places to visit amongst tourists to visit, Dhulikhel is known for one of the broadest views of the Himalayas in the backdrop with a number of cultural highlights and rich biodiversity.
From Dhulikhel, you can observe the stunning stretch of the Himalayas from Mount Annapurna in the far west to Mount Karolung in the far east. Not one or two, but twenty different mountains can be seen from Dhulikhel including Annapurna, Lhotse, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Gauri Shanker, and Phuribichyachu.
As one of the oldest areas in the town, Dhulikhel homes a number of temples that are rich in Newari craftsmanship. Reaching Dhulikhel is very accessible, and takes around 1.5 hours.
You have probably visited Boudhanath and Swayambhunath of Kathmandu Valley, however outside the valley also lies the sacred Buddhist site, only to be more serene and peaceful. Namo Buddha is also one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal and one of the holiest in the world. Its name itself means Homage to Buddha.
Namo Buddha is also known as Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery.
There is a very interesting story relating to Namo Buddha. Legends have it that Namo Buddha is the place where Lord Buddha, in his previous life as a prince, gave his body to a starving tigress and her cubs. It is also believed that Lord Buddha visited this place about 3500 years later where he declared his reincarnation as a prince in a previous life.
Located about 40 km from Kathmandu, Namo Buddha is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Its top hill location provides a beautiful panorama of the surrounding area and hills.
Located at the distance of 19km away from Kathmandu, Pharping is a small town rich in Newari culture and Buddhist pilgrimage sites. It takes about an hour to reach the town, where Guru Rinpoche is said to have attained his enlightenment.
Pharping is one of the best towns in the vicinity of Kathmandu, where you can explore sacred caves and monasteries, temples, quaint villages, and many more. Yanglesho cave, Asura cave, Phamting Vajragogini temple, Neydo Tashi Choling Monastery, Palyul Samtem Osel Ling, Tengchen Leksheyling Retreat Centre, Setidevi Temple, and Sheshnarayan temple are some of the sought-after places in Pharping.
Dakshinkali is only about a kilometer away from the town of Pharping, so do not miss to pay a visit to this temple as well. The temple serves as one of the main shrines for Hindu devotees of Kathmandu Valley.
Dedicated to the fierce Goddess Kali, animal sacrifices are the main way to pay reverence to the goddess. Mainly during the festival of Dashain, the influx of visitor is more than usual.
Godawari is located in the south of Godawari Municipality in Lalitpur, mainly popular for its botanical garden where it exhibits rich flora and fauna, along with various species of birds.
The Garden is full of beautiful natural sceneries, greenery of trees, and a peaceful environment. It is the perfect spot for nature lovers, where family and friends come together to spend some quality time away from the crowd of Kathmandu city.
Godawari Hiking is equally popular, which is only about two hours. The hiking takes us to another beautiful place to visit around Kathmandu, Pulchowki.
Pulchowki is located at 2,760 meters elevation, the highest hill in the south of Kathmandu Valley that provides an incredible view of the Himalayan mountain including Annapurna and Gauri Shanker.
Starting from the Godawari Botanical Garden, the trail goes uphill through the dense sub-tropical forest. The hiking is even more delightful during the springtime when the red and white rhododendron flowers bloom mesmerizingly.
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