Nepal was probably my first solo trip at 19, where I went to volunteer for about 6 weeks and it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart. Mama’s been wanting to go for ages and ever since I can remember, she’s wanted to see the Himalayas and I’m sure climb them as well, but I did the best I could and tried to fulfill that dream via watching the sunrise over them and Everest so it was a quarter of a win I suppose!
This is a rundown of what our 4 night, 5 day itinerary more or less looked like and which places we visited.
Nagarkot is a village in central Nepal kinda sorta at the edge of the Kathmandu Valley and known for its views of the Himalayas and Everest. It’s about an hour drive from Kathmandu Airport and one of the maddest car rides you’ll ever experience! Nepal is actually known for having some of the worst roads in the world, and this is no exception.
Unless you’re interested in hiking and trails are your thing, I’d say 1-2 days max are enough in Nagarkot, maybe even one and a half. Get there midday, walk around the village, get through a smaller hiking trail, sleep in the cold (it’s always super cold in Nagarkot so bring a jumper and gloves!), wake up early to see the sunrise, have breakfast, and take the local bus back down to Bhaktapur!
I’ve never taken a local taxi upwards and instead opted for airport pickup by the hotel seeing, as it tends to be the first stop; the drivers they send are slightly more familiar with the roads and terrain as opposed to the city drivers, so that’s always a good thing. Nagarkot is also the first stop, just because its slightly out of the way than other places and this way you’ll start at the farthest and make your way West-ish to everything else!
Bus ride to Pokhara
So this is definitely something I’d recommend everyone to do if they’re ever visiting, like a must must! A 6 hour bus ride doesn’t sound too appealing, but I promise it’s one experience you’ll never forget. No photos of the winding roads and incredible views below (which are actually a tad terrifying in real life) can really do it justice. It’s legit breathtaking and you’re left in awe of it all and how freaking beautiful and wonderful this world really is.
There are definitely other places which you can travel to via these buses which follow a similar route, but I’m not too sure whereabouts; Pokhara and Chitwan (Chitwan National Park) are ones I’d recommend just because I’ve been there, and also if you opt to go water rafting, the same buses drop you off on the way so.
Pokhara itself is a beautiful place in Nepal, one of them ones that makes you feel like you’re not really in Nepal lol quieter, cleaner, less busier, and I think suited for maybe an older audience (Mum preferred it to Kathmandu lol) I’ve got another post coming on what to actually do in Pokhara so I won’t get into too much detail here; think of it as a quaint getaway I suppose!
Fly out of Pokhara to KTM
Because we were short on days, I opted to fly out from Pokhara on the way back instead of doing the 6-hour bus journey again. It’s a small domestic airport and we totally underestimated the size of the plane itself!
Once we got back to Kathmandu, the plan was to head to a small village called Godawari. Godawari is where I stayed during my very first trip and I wanted to take mum to show her my Nepali families, where my school was, the streets I roamed and all that good stuff! Mum also opted to not take a taxi, so we did like the locals and bused it from the airport to the local Lagankhil bus stop, with suitcases piled on our laps. From there we took another bus and finally made it to Godawari!
Godawari is the type of village where electricity is sporadic and the day ends when the sun sets. The type where lizards are friends and if the occasional one is found on your bed or while you squat in the bathroom, you’re apparently not meant to freak out! It was lovely to take mum around and show her the route I used to take to school, where I’d get local munch from and just reminisce all those memories and feels with her by my side. Lots and lots of love to my Nepali family for hosting mum and I for the night and treating us like their own!
Headed back to the city for our last night in Nepal and figured mum had been a good sport and stayed in some pretty unconventional accommodation thus far, so we should maybe find something cutesy to end the trip with. We hadn’t yet roamed about Durbar Square or any of the temples, that’s why we opted to stay at Hira Guest House, which was right outside the Golden Temple and a stroll away to the main square.
Pathan Durbar Square is another place one should definitely visit if you’re in town. A lot of it is still under construction after the earthquake and I suppose, to someone who has never been there before, it all probably looks like rubble, but it always hurts my heart walking through because I remember what it used to be like; how certain temples towered over you as you walked through alleys, with the flow of people, from tourists to locals to worshipers, who would gather in the square.
There’s also a fee to enter the square, where different rates apply, depending on if you’re a foreigner versus a local or Indian, and I know this sounds really terrible, but I always tend to enter from the back route just because of familiarity with the streets so have kinda sorta avoided the ‘toll’ if you will, but just letting you know so it doesn’t come as a surprise!
As for Hira Guest House, mama loved it as did I, and would definitely recommend it to anyone. The building itself has some historical meaning behind it and I believe it belongs to a member of the royal family who had preserved its authentic architecture both inside and out, and its actually one of the few structures in the area which was untouched by the earthquake, which is super subhanallah! Regular bathrooms, hot water, lovely view onto the courtyard as well as a rooftop you can get photos on, have breakfast at, or just creep on the city really lol don’t not stay here if you’re in town!
And that’s that! It has literally taken me ages to complete this and I feel a whole lot better now that it is, but hopefully it might come in handy for one of you at some point and maybe even inspire you to trek over to that part of the world! Enjoy!
This article was originally published on gigglingcamels.com, where more pictures and information is included. Take a look on Saira’s website!