Kathmandu, as the gateway of Himalayas, becomes heaven and a major destination for trekker around the world.
It because Nepal is home to over 1,300 peak over 6,000m and almost 400 peaks open for expedition including highest peaks, Mt. Everest (8,848m).
Nepal as a destination for trekker has many trekking trails from very high altitudes (14,000-18,000 ft / 4267-5486 meters) until extreme high altitude (= 18,000-29,028 ft /5486-8847 meter).
Trekker need minimum around 5 – 6 days for a short trek (high-altitude) near Kathmandu.
The nearest high-altitude trekking trails destination is Langtang region include Gosaikunda trek. Trekker also can try a short trek in Pikey Peak (Everest region) for 5-6 days. And for these trek, you need to plan budget minimum USD$400.
Day hike become an alternative for a traveler who stay at kathmandu Valley.
This is the reason why one day hike in Nepal become popular. One day hike overcome the time limitation and also cheaper than trekking. It is also suitable for a beginner at any age, who want to try hike in Nepal to see Himalayan Mountain. Here i summarize the top 5 Best One Day Hikes Near Kathmandu based on Popularity.
One day hike destination in Nepal is moderate altitudes hiking (5000-8000 ft /1524-2438m above sea level).
It’s safer for a beginner to avoid Altitude mountain sickness.
It’s also fit for a traveler with any fitness level, as long as you don’t have any physical restriction.
You will walk up for 2-4 hours through the hills and valley, forest, national park and villages. You also can visit a monastery on the top of a hill, then see sunset and sunrise in Himalayan Mountain. The best thing is it near capital city Kathmandu, only take 1 hour drive to start point.
Summary of One Day Hikes Near Kathmandu Valley
1. Nagarkot One-Day Hike (2175m)
- The most popular Day Hike near Kathmandu.
- Experience A taste of Newari culture at Sankhu.
- The best place near Kathmandu, to see panoramic Sunrise and Sunset views of Himalayan mountain Dhaulagiri to Kanchenjunga in Annapurna range, Mt Everest, Mt Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang.
2. Kakani One-Day Hike (2000m)
- Experience a Tamang society and Hike to Shivapuri National Park.
- A superb view of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding hills.
- A glorious view of snow-capped mountains in Langtang Himal range, Ganesh Himal ranges, Manaslu, Annapurna, Fishtail, Dorjelakpa.
It is also famous for Himalayan trout fish and Strawberry Farming.
3. Shivapuri One Day Hike (2560m)
- This is the highest altitude among other hiking trails.
- The hike walk up through the rhododendron forest, through watershed and wildlife area of Shivapuri National Park and conservation area.
- Himalayan views of Langtang Himalayan views, Ganesh Himal, Langtang-Lirung, Dorji Lhakpa, Rolwaling Himalayan views.
- Holy Budhanilkantha Temple/ Narayanthan Temple with a large reclining statue of Lord Vishnu.
- Famous holy area of Tibetan Buddhist, Nagi Gompa nunnery. It is a home to over 100 nuns that practice classical Buddhist philosophy, ritual arts and meditation.
4. Chisapani One Day Hike (2215m)
- Walk through the rhododendron forest of the Shivapuri national park for 4-5 hrs.
- The spectacular Mountain View point of an extensive range of Eastern Himalayas from Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal, Gaurishankar Himal ranges.
5. Namobuddha Panauti One Day Hike (2215m)
- Sacred river trails.
- A superb panoramic view of Langtang Himalayan range in front of you and many mountains including Mt. Everest, Manaslu and Annapurna range.
- Buddhist shrine and Stupa at Namobuddha or Takmo Lu Jin, meaning “Tigress Body Generosity”.
One Day Hikes near Kathmandu Valley
1. Nagarkot Hike
- Starting point: Sankhu
- Ending point: Nagarkot
- Distance: 28 kilometers
- Kathmandu – Sankhu: 48 Minute
- Duration: Minimum 5 hours
- Altitude: 2175m/7135 ft
Highlights of Nagarkot Hike
A taste of Newari culture at Sankhu
The start point of Nagarkot Hike is Sankhu or Sakwa. This is the ancient Newar town in the north-eastern corner of Kathmandu Valley, about 17 km from Kathmandu.
Newar community live in this town and they are historical inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley. They form a linguistic and cultural community of of Tibeto-Burman, ethnicities and Indo-Aryan. Newar community following Hinduism and Buddhism with Newar language as their common language.
The interesting things is Newars community still continue living their age-old traditions, practices, religion and culture.
Their contributions to culture, art and literature, agriculture and cuisine is famous since as early as the seventh century.
You will find Newar art and architecture like the carved Newar window, roof struts on temples and the tympanum (the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, door or window) of temples and shrine.
These art exhibit their traditional creativity. You can see these art in the ancient palace, Durbar Square.
Most of traditional Newar art is religious art with influence on the art of Tibet and China.
Newar devotional paubha and Thanka painting, sculpture and metal craftsmanship are world-renowned for their exquisite beauty.
Nepal’s 2011 census ranks Newar community as the nation’s sixth-largest ethnicity/community in Nepal.
Sunrise, sunset, and Mountain View
Nagarkot’s altitude is 2175 meter (moderate altitude) and it is one of the most scenic viewpoints in near the Kathmandu.
This is the best place near Kathmandu, to see superb Sunrise and Sunset views of Himalayan mountain Dhaulagiri to Kanchenjunga in Annapurna range, Mt Everest, Mt Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang.
The Best Season to View Mountain from Nagarkot is Spring Season between middle of March to middle of May and Early Autumn between middle of September to middle of November.
It is better to plan your hiking vacation in advance, and if your destination is seeing Himalayas mountain, then avoid to visit Nepal, in monsoon because it’s cloudy and you can’t see mountain.
You also need to consider to not going in winter, because during winter, the temperature in Kathmandu valley, mountains and hills could be under 5 degrees Celsius.
2. Kakani Hike
- Starting point: Kathmandu
- Ending point: Kakani
- Distance: 25 kilometers
- Duration: Minimum 5 hours
- Altitude: 2000m/6560 ft
Highlights of Kakani Hike
Panoramic view of Langtang Mountain Range, Shisha Pangma Range, Annapurna Range, Mt Manaslu.
The hiking trails lead you to the Shivapuri National Park.
Soon after you reach Kakani hill station, you can see the views of the Kathmandu Valley, surrounding hills, and superb view of snow-capped mountains in Langtang Himal range, Ganesh Himal ranges, Manaslu, Annapurna, Fishtail, Dorjelakpa with a clear blue sky.
You will walk up through deep pine forests and high hills, giving you peace and fresh air.
Tamang culture and traditions
You will walk up through green paddy fields and see the views of rural Nepalese life.
Most of the society living in Kakani follow Tamang culture and traditions.
They follow Buddhism and Hinduism.
Many of the locals wear their traditional Tamang costumes and giving hikers a peek into their lifestyle.
Himalayan trout fish and Strawberry Farming
Kakani well known for special trout fish. At the bottom of kakani’s hill, you can visit the rainbow trout farm that popular for the special Japanese Rainbow Trout. Trout fish provides a lean source of good fat omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and minerals.
The rich delicious taste and fresh fishes found in the restaurants and becomes the major attractions of Kakani.
Here also popular of Strawberry Farm.
The altitude of 2000m helps provide the strawberry the perfect elevation to grow red and green color of the Strawberry enticing over 1800 hectares of kakani land.
3. Shivapuri Hike
- Starting point: Kathmandu
- Ending point: Shivapuri
- Distance: 10 kilometers
- Duration: Minimum 5 hours
- Altitude: 2560m/8400 ft
Highlights of Shivapuri Hike
Shivapuri National Park and conservation area “watershed and wildlife area”
Shivapuri is a nearest National park from the Kathmandu. This is the government protected area, preserving more than diversity of 500 animal species.
The hike walk up through the rhododendron forest. During the hike, you can see the origin of the holy Bagmati River, Bagdwar, which is a pristine water source.
Superb Himalayan views of Langtang Himalayan views, Ganesh Himal, Langtang-Lirung, Dorji Lhakpa, Rolwaling Himalayan views,
Shivapuri Hill at the elevation of 2560 give us a splendid panoramic view of the snowy Himalaya ranges such as Ganesh Himal, Langtang-Lirung and Dorji Lhakpa, eagle-eye view of Kathmandu valley and the surroundings.
Budhanilkantha Temple/ Narayanthan Temple
Narayanthan, or Budhanilkantha in the below of the Shivapuri Hill, is a famous Monastery and many foreigners visiting for meditation.
This Temple also known as the Narayanthan Temple is a Lord Vishnu temple with a large reclining statue of Lord Vishnu identify this temple.
The name Budhanilkantha does not come from the Buddha; Budhanilkantha stands instead for “Old Blue Throat”.
The main statue is a black stone structure carved from a single block of black basalt. The statue stands 5 meters tall in the middle of a recessed pool of water, which is 13 meters long.
He holds the Sudarshana Chakra and a gem in his four hands with a silver crown engraved with multiple Kirtimukha images.
They regard this temple as a sacred place for Hindus and Buddhists, which is a splendid example of religious harmony in Nepal.
According to one story about Origin of the statue, a farmer and his wife once struck a figure while plowing the field which caused it to soak blood into the ground. This is the figure of the lost deity of Budhanilkantha.
Holy areas of Nagi Gompa
Nagi Gompa nunnery is home to over 100 nuns associated with Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery in Kathmandu.
Nuns from all over the Himalayan region have come and they learn classical Buddhist philosophy, ritual arts and meditation practices in peaceful surroundings.
Over 40 nuns at Nagi Gompa have completed at least one traditional 3-year retreat and many nuns are in a lifetime retreat, nowadays.
The nuns of Nagi Gompa are famous for their performance of “chod”. It is a ritualized dance form of Tibetan meditation.
4. Chisapani Hike
- Starting point: Sundarijal
- Ending point: Chisapani
- Distance: 13 kilometers
- Duration: Minimum 3 hours
- Altitude: 2215m/7270 ft
Highlights of Chisapani Hike
Shivapuri National Park
The hike start from Sundarijal, which is located about 15 kilometers far from Kathmandu to Chisapani, a tiny village lying deep in the Shivapuri National Park.
Sundarijal is a place that important cultural and natural.
Buddhist influence this place, that’s why you can see prayer flags everywhere over the high waterfalls and rivers. There are lots of temples and stupas.
From Sundarijal, you will walk across dense sub-tropical forest and take the stairs up towards the Shivapuri National Park. The trails and stairs look well organized.
Views of Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal, Gaurishankar Himal ranges
After a walk through the rhododendron forest of the Shivapuri national park for 4-5 hrs.
You will reach the spectacular Mountain View point of Chisapani.
You can see a close view of an extensive range of Eastern Himalayas from Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal, Gaurishankar Himal ranges.
5. Namobuddha Panauti Day Hike
- Starting point: Kathmandu
- Ending point: Namobuddha
- Distance: 38 kilometers
- Duration: Minimum 6 hours
- Altitude: 1800m/5900 ft
Highlights of Namobuddha Panauti Day Hike
River trail and the quaint town of Panauti
Panauti is one of the oldest towns in Nepal, locate at the junction of the important religious site, two sacred rivers Rosi and Punyamati.
The pilgrimage journey to these places believe this sacred sites enables a human to free from many sins and anxieties.
A third river Lilawati, besides aforesaid two rivers, making a trio-junction called Triveni.
Panauti comprising many temples, from15th Century or earlier, that are still present till this day dating back to the – Buddhist Stupa and shrines
This Buddhist shrine and Stupa at Namobuddha radiates peace and calm vibes.
It holds high significance, and one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites south of the Himalayas.
Large numbers of pilgrims come here to visit Namo Buddha, during the months of February and March.
It known as Takmo Lu Jin, meaning “Tigress Body Generosity” by Tibetans
The Namo Buddha stupa marks the site where a young prince (the Buddha himself) encountered a tigress close to starvation and unable to feed her own cubs. The prince allowed the tigress to consume him and feed her cubs.
A few minutes’ walk will bring you to a small shrine uphill from the stupa contains statues of the prince together with the tigress and her cubs.
On the other side of the top of the hill stands the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse monastery constructed in 1976, a well-preserved, beautiful monastery
View of Mt Everest and Langtang Mountain Range
Namobudha offers a superb panoramic view of Langtang Himalayan range in front of you and many mountains including Mt. Everest, Manaslu and Annapurna range.
These mountains visible during the pleasant weather on horizon.
Preparation for Hiking in Kathmandu
There are so many tour agencies offer day hike to these popular trek. Make sure you use legal agencies that registered by government. The benefit of using agencies is they will plan the trips and manage your needs, include permits to a national park.
They also provide certified-guide who can enrich your knowledge about the culture and society surroundings.
This is the best choice to enjoy hiking and worry-free.
Even though you still need to prepare and carry these things
- A travel essential, like a first-aid kit, water tumbler, health bars, and flashlight
- Wear comfortable clothing based on season. The best time to do Hiking in Nepal is spring and early fall. You can see a mountain in this season. keep the weather in mind.
- Sunglasses, insect repellant and toiletries
- Local currency, coins and notes of Nepali Rupee–NPR. Small shops may not accept international currencies and credit/debit cards.
- A local map with you, with detailed trails. Map your entire journey out before you start. Have a map always better even you have a guide with you.
- Respect to local and their culture with etiquette and cuisine
Things to consider while you’re Hiking in Kathmandu
You are hiking in the wild, respect nature and do not throw waste or plastics around. Use your own water bottle and avoid mineral water in plastic. Other things is don’t feed or befriend any animals you may encounter.
My Last Thought
One day hike near Kathmandu gives you an opportunity to enjoy the superb panoramic view of Himalayas Mountain.
You also can see the views of Kathmandu valley, walking up and down through dense forest, visit shrines and holy temples and experience the rural villages of Tamang and Newar society.
Taking away yourself from hustle-bustle cities life and going inside the deep nature is good for your spiritual and physical health.
It is also cheap, easy, and only need a short amount of time to visit.
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