Easy Day Trips in and around Kathmandu
So, you are in Nepal! And you don’t know what to do in Kathmandu…. Try shopping, hiking, biking, climbing, photography, or just relaxing on a roof top. Here are my insider tips of inexpensive day trips for you!
Nagarjun Forest – Rock Climbing
(At least you can say you “climbed” in Nepal!)
Of course, we are always going to recommend that if you have a free day you should come with us climbing at Nagarjun Forest. Even if you never considered yourself a climber, it’s a fun day to get out in nature as we hike back through the jungle and see some of Nepal’s Wildlife. Nagarjun was the former royal residence retreat just outside of Kathmandu, and is still controlled by the Nepal Army as a protected national forest. You must go with a guide, even if just for a hike or bike ride. Any of these activities are a nice inexpensive day trip ranging from 30 – 55 USD including guide and equipment.
Patan Market at Patan Durbar Square
If it’s Saturday, check out the Patan Market. This market is across from the Durbar Square, so it’s an easy 2 in 1 activity. I suggest exploring the Durbar Square with its many temples, ancient alley ways and neighborhoods; and then hitting the market later in the afternoon when the deals will be better. It’s easy to get a taxi from Kathmandu to Patan and all the drivers will know where the Patan Durbar Square is (if they don’t, take a different cab!). Cab ride will cost you about 350 rupees, and the entrance fee at Durbar Square is 650 rupees (prices subject to change, so double check). The market is a good place to buy Nepali clothes, food or more traditional and less “touristy” things. There is some tourist kitch around, but this is a market for locals. If you start at the entrance at Durbar Square and walk the length of the entire market, you will end up at the bus park, where you can easily get a taxi to wherever you’d like to go. — TAKE YOUR CAMERA; this is a photographer’s dream!
You can catch the bus from New Bus Park in Kathmandu to Sundarijal; about a 1.5 hour ride. (Take the bus to Bouddha and then change at the end of the Bouddha line to Sundarijal… as with all Nepali buses, you just have to ask and listen for which route they call out.) Sundarijal is a beautiful ride into the picturesque rice paddy farmland of the Kathmandu Valley. When you get to the park entrance, there is a small village and a few restaurants where you can relax, have drinks or snacks. You can also do a short day hike towards Chiso Pani and view some of the waterfalls we like to canyon in during the monsoon. Sundarijal is a good monsoon canyon because the water is not as high volume as our canyon at Jalbire.
Mountain Bike Trip – Kathmandu Valley
Many of the local mountain bike tours offer a day trip from Kathmandu around the valley or to Baktapur (definitely worth visiting), so check that out. We like Himalayan Single Track for mountain bike rides, so check them out.
Old Kathmandu at Asan to New Road
It’s only a short walk from the tourist district of Thamel to Asan, one of the oldest parts of Newari Kathmandu. You will see the streets packed with locals buying from baskets of spices and grains. Shopping at the outdoor wagons for “pooja” (worship) necessities like incense, tika powder, and oil lamps. It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of these crowded streets, but take a look up once in a while at the ancient Newar buildings or duck into a barely there alley way to find a secret courtyard with a diety statue. If you meander through Asan toward the Durbar Square, you will end up at New Road. New Road is a good place to find electronics and Western style clothes and just about anything you need.
Shopping at Durbar Marg
Kathmandu is surprisingly fashionable if you know where to go. My favorite place is the Durbar Marg, but it is not for bargain hunters. Durbar Marg is a nice place to go have coffee or lunch and hang out. You can check out the shops which tend to be high end brand names. But there are plenty of knock-offs around disguised as “real” deals. So if that Jimmy Choo handbag seems too good to be true at 5000 NPR ($65), then, um, yea… don’t kid yourself! As for me, I don’t mind, I like the sites, sounds and action of the Durbar Marg. It’s often the scene of local film shoots or music videos, so there’s always something fun to see.
Need any more day trip ideas? I am always happy to help; send me an email at sandra[at]trekthimalaya.com or contact info[at]hardcorenepal.com.
Ask me about What to do in Kathmandu? I like to share my experiences with our wonderful guests to Nepal.