Recently I had been to a 5 day-long solo exploration trip to Kathmandu, Nepal in June 2023 and would like to share my amazing experience in the below few pages. It was a completely random/unplanned trip but in the end happened to be a complete life-changing experience. The trip was blend of amazing hostel experiences, random hitch-hiking, yogic practices, scenic beauty and meeting people from all around the globe.
Journey begins in Kathmandu and Hostel terrace view
Day 1- Journey begins
- Since it was the month of June and raining all around North India (with frequent landslides in the northern India region), I planned to visit Kathmandu by flight from Delhi. I was completely satisfied with the services offered by the Nepal Airlines including food, plane and the crew hospitality.
- Being the birthplace of Lord Buddha and maternal place of Lord Sita, the spiritual influence of Buddhism and Hinduism is easily felt once stepping on the land of Nepal.
- On landing at Kathmandu airport at around 1 pm, I got a NCell Nepal sim card for 500 Nepali Rs from the airport itself. INR upto Rs100 currency notes are also accepted everywhere in Nepal (1 INR = 1.6 Nepali Rupee).
Note: INDRIVE and PATHAO are two commonly used and cheap car/bike taxi apps in Nepal.
- I reached Zostel, Kathmandu in Thamel area (already pre-booked for 1 day) but found it almost empty due to off-season. After lunch at hostel, went to Kathmandu Darbar Square ( World Heritage Site ) and also to Swayambhu Nath Stupa Temple.
- One can either walk or take bike-taxi to travel short distances in Kathmandu. After some chit chat with hostel mates, slept early due to tiredness of the day.
Pic from a Yoga Session
Day 2 – Divine Pashupati Temple Visit
- Every morning (8 to 9 am) there was arrangement of guided Yoga session nearby to our Hostel in Thamel (in Yog Hotel). I tried to start my day by this yoga session everyday. Today was my first day of this session and I found it quite unique and peaceful. After breakfast, I changed to a more happening and crowdy nearby hostel.
- Around 12 pm went to Pashupati Nath Temple (one of the most sacred Shiva temples in the world). Due to off-season, there was not much rush and the darshan of the almighty were smooth as butter. River Bagmati flows besides the temple and various cremations also happen there on regular basis.
- Do take care that taking photos inside temple premises is strictly prohibited!!
- Spent some time sitting in the temple premises filled with shiv-lingas everywhere and contemplating on my life journey so far.
- From Pashupati Temple, got an bike-taxi and reached BudhaNeelkanth temple (not worth visiting).
- Also took a ride to the highest Buddha Stupa of the Kathmandu Valley which was nearby to BudhaNeelkanth temple.
- Returned to hostel (dead tired) and went to sleep after nice chit chat with random people in the hostel café.
Note: Almost every meal in hostel is filled with random chit-chat / discussions with different kinds of people. It is this open atmosphere about the hostels I liked the most and we get to learn a lot from others.
Pashupati Nath Temple premesis
Day 3 – Trip to Nagarkot Hill town
- On Day 3, as a morning routine, attended the Yoga session that I mentioned earlier, and met Emil (person from Iceland) and others in that session. After the session, we had our breakfast together and I along with Emil decided to travel to Nagarkot (a small hill-station around 50 Km from Kathmandu, 2200m elevation).
- We checked out from the hostel and reached Bhaktapur via Bus. From Bhaktapur, we grabbed another local bus (charge was 50 Nepali Rupee) to reach Nagarkot.
- Nagarkot is a small off-beat place far away from the hustle and bustle of the city and one will truly find peace listening to the birds chirping on trees with mountains and cloudy mist all around.
Note: On a clear day, on can also spot Mount Everest from Nagarkot.
- We found one nice and cheap hotel with good balcony view and had some rest.
- After a short hike around the village, we had our dinner at a café in Nagarkot and had a special Nepali jin called “Thumba”. We played some card games in night and then slept.
Day 4 – Trekking and Hitch-Hiking
- After waking up to a fresh mountain scenic view, we (me and my friend from Iceland) went on a hike to a nearby hill. After a good trek of about 2 hours, we came back to our hotel and started our journey towards a famous suspension bridge nearby (Bageshwari bridge).
- We trekked downwards from our hotel (around 20 Kms) and reached the massive bridge.
Note: Its very common to be stuck with wild Leaches while trekking in Nepal. So, it is advisable to wear long pants.
- From here, we hitch-hiked (first time in my life) to Bhaktapur (Hitch-hiking is basically travelling by taking a free ride and convincing other passer by’s), From there we took bus to Kathmandu.
- In Thamel area of Kathmandu, there are a lot of things to pass the time like indoor box cricket, rock climbing arena, cafes, spas, yogic centers and many more.
Suspension Bridge and Chandragiri Hills Rope-Way
Day 5 – Visit to Chandragiri Hills, and Casino visit
- Today, there was plan to visit one day complete guided meditation and yoga center. But I found it not much worthwhile so decided to drop the plan as it was expensive too (8k Nepali Rupee for a day!).
- My other friends from the hostel went there.
- I was completely clueless about how to spend the day, but then found one Indian guy from Uttrakhand in the hostel (Rohit). We decided to visit Chandragiri hills which was around 30 Kms from Kathmandu.
- It’s a nice place and there is a provision of ropeway to reach the top (2500m). The ropeway goes straight through the clouds and it’s a ride that I will probably remember my whole lifetime. The two way cost of the ropeway was around 1500 Nepali Rupee. On the top of the hill, there is an Shiv temple and many other activities like Zipline, Bunjee, etc.
- On our way back to Kathmandu, we went to Pashupati Nath temple to attend the famous Bagmati river Aarti. It was so peaceful and gives a good competition to the aarti that happens in Kashi, India.
- In Thamel area, there are around 4-5 good casinos. I went in Casino Palace and tried my luck on Roulette. Its my first time inside a casino and although I lost few bucks but it was a nice experience.
Note: Only Non-Nepalis are allowed to visit inside a casino. There is no entry fees to visit the casino.
- In night, we (I and Rohit) had some deep discussions about life and future along with the dinner and we then went to sleep.
My Hitch-Hiking Buddies and Sneak peak into Casino Palace
Day 6: Back to Delhi, India
- On Day 6, I had my flight on 1 pm from Kathmandu to Delhi.
- Thus, soon after waking up I started packing my bag and was ready at around 9 30 am to depart for the Airport.
- The Nepal airport is quite small with only 6-7 airlines operating through it. The check-in process was super smooth (Nepal Airlines again) and everything was done with all the formalities in no time.
- I utilized my free time at airport to wrote down the complete experience of this Nepal trip in my Diary and reached Delhi (Home sweet Home) after a flight of around 1hrs 30mins with Happy memories of Kathmandu, Nepal imprinted in my mind.
Thanks for reading,