Though Nepal is a poor country, it is blessed with pristine natural beauty and geographical diversity. Nepal’s luscious greenery, iconic mountain ranges, crystal clear streams, the flow of cooling breeze around the waterfall, unique culture and tradition can mesmerize anybody in the world. Nepal’s perfect combination of natural beauty and cultural richness is inevitable.
With its rich geographical diversity, Nepal has become the famous destination for hiking in the world. One can find thrilling and adventurous place for hiking here. One can enjoy hiking starting from low landscapes to the foot of high Himalaya. Spring ( February-May) and autumn (September-November) are considered as the favorable seasons for hiking as the weather is pleasant with the clear sky. Here is the list of some popular hiking spots in Nepal for adventure lovers :-
Top day hiking destinations in Nepal
1) Nagarkot Hiking :
Nagarkot is one of the famous hiking destination near Kathmandu. Nagarkot has situated 32 Km away from Kathmandu at an altitude of 2175 meter. It lies in the Eastern part of the valley offering the iconic view of Himalaya. Nagarkot is a popular day hike spot and takes approximately 4-5 hours to reach the top hill. The hike starts from Newari town in Sankhu passing scattered villages, forests, and farmland. The bounty hill and exquisite beauty offer hikers an amazing lifetime experience. After reaching the top, one can encounter the panoramic vista of the Himalayas ranging from the Dhaulagiri to Kanchenjunga along with the distant view of Mt. Everest.
Nagarkot also features a view tower which offers the 360-degree breathtaking view of Kathmandu valley and sights of Himalaya, such as Gaurishankar, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa ranges etc. Nagarkot provides the broadest views of the Himalaya. Out of 13 Himalayan ranges in Nepal, we can enjoy the beautiful views of 8 ranges from Nagarkot. Nagarkot is renowned for mesmerizing sunrise and sunset view from snow capped mountains. Hence, Nagarkot is an ideal place for hikers who loves to spend time in the lap of nature.
2) Chisapani Hiking :
Chisapani hiking place is another hiking destination near Kathmandu. Situated 14 Km far from Sundarijal, Chisapani is a popular hiking destination among tourist in Kathmandu valley. The spectacular view of Annapurna range can be enjoyed from Chisapani. It is a day hike which starts from Sundarijal and takes 5 hours to climb the uphill. About 90% route is uphill from Sundarijal to Chisapani with a green and fresh environment. Chisapani features the majestic Himalayas along with traditional lifestyle and diverse flora and fauna.
After a couple of hours walk through Shivapuri National Park leads to Chisapani via Mul Kharka. Chisapani provides a closer view of Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Jugal etc. and is the best destination for bird watch. It is an ideal place to skip city rush with fresh natural and cultural setting.
3) Shivapuri Hiking :
The ninth national park in Nepal, Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park was established in 2002. It is located in Budhanilkantha, a north fringe of Kathmandu Valley. It is the second highest hill near the Kathmandu Valley and initially covers an area of 144 square kilometers at an altitude of 2,563 meters and named after Shivapuri peak (2,732 meters). Shivapuri is also a day hiking destination but has an option whether to hike for an entire day or just a few hours. The hike initiates from the southern part of the Shivapuri area.
On the way to the top, visitors can enjoy the refreshing green environment and cool breeze. Shivapuri is known as the paradise for bird watchers and granary of different flora and fauna. This national park protects over 500 species of flora and fauna. Shivapuri also houses the famous monastery Nagi Gumpa which is situated at an altitude of 2,330 meters towards the north of Kathmandu above Budhanilkantha Temple. The monastery is known for foreigners visiting for meditation and Buddhism practices. It also features the spectacular view of Kathmandu valley, landscapes, and hills.
4) Namo Buddha :-
Namo Buddha which lies in Kavre district is 40 Km away from Kathmandu at an elevation of 1750m. With pollution free surrounding and bountiful of nature, Namo Buddha is a great tourist destination around Kathmandu Valley. Namo Buddha is a day hike and a religious site for the followers of Buddhism. From the conceptual point of Buddhism, Namo Buddha is the most sacred religious site in Nepal. It is a historical place where a prince, Ngingdui Tshenpo Mahasatwo sacrificed his life for the well-being of a sick tigress and her hungry cubs.
One can reach a place where the scene of the prince giving his body to the tigress is depicted in stone after walking up the hill. Namo Buddha also abides a very old Thrangu Tasi Yangtse Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Namo Buddha is a small area covering scenic sights of the valley and mountain ranges with ancient stupas and shrines built on the hill. Namo Buddha which means “First Buddha” has been a holy pilgrimage from centuries.
5) Phulchowki Hiking :-
Phulchowki is the highest hill situated in the Southern part of the Kathmandu valley at an elevation of 2782 meter.Phulchowki which means “Hill of flowers” is a popular destination for a short day hike. The hike starts from the Godavari where one can explore beautiful botanical garden featuring different species of flowers. The scenic walk uphill through the dense tropical forest takes 4 hours approximately.
The Phulchowki hill is 20 Km long and it is famous for bird watching and romantic views. The hill also offers magnificent views of Kathmandu valley with a beautiful glimpse of Annapurna range and Gaurishankar .The hill dwells different species of birds, butterflies, flora and fauna along with the shrine of “Phulchowki Mai”. Hence, Phulchowki is an ideal destination for hikers.
6) Amitabha Monastery Hiking :-
Amitabha Monastery, also known as “Seto Gumba” in Nepali is situated in the Southern part of the Kathmandu valley. Amitabha Monastery is a day hiking spot and the hike starts from the footsteps of Swayambhu. The hike all the way to the top is very entertaining and refreshing. The monastery features unique Kaleidoscope of colors and rich culture. One can explore different avatars of Buddha inside the stupa. The stupa’s gate is opened only on Saturday for general visitors and tourists. With registration price of NRS 40, Seto Gumba is worth spending time. The Amitabha Monastery is surrounded by lush green villages and breathtaking views of Kathmandu valley and is a paradise to witness sunset and sunrise.
Moreover, Nepal abiding these beautiful places has established itself as the best hiking destination around the world. These thrilling and beautiful hills possess the potentiality to quench anyone’s thirst of hiking. The variety of options allows people of any age to attempt hiking experience . The unique culture and friendliness local people adds more taste in hiking.
Writer : Rashika Shrestha Pahari