Other Popular Areas

Nature has bestowed Nepal an amazing diversity in terms of topography besides the people and climate. Within a distance of a mere 150 km. the land rises from as low as a 100 m above sea level to the pinnacle of the Earth, Mt. Everest rising 8,848m into the sky. Within that short distance the climate amazingly changes from sub-tropical to arctic conditions. In between are hills and valleys covered in greenery, where people are fond of going to escape the heat of the low lying areas. Some of the popular hill stations are Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Kakani, Daman,  Bandipur,  Tansen, Hile, Basantapur amongst others.


Talk about scenic spots in the vicinity of Kathmandu and you can not help but think of Nagarkot. Located 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu, it is the most popular destination for mountain viewing. Add to that, spectacular sunrise views of the Himalaya and you have a winner. Take the option of an overnight stay in one of the numerous well-furnished resorts in Nagarkot to catch the breathtaking sunrise early the next morning instead of waking up in the middle of the night to drive there still half-asleep. Nagarkot is famous for its unmatched view of the mountains from Mount Everest in the east to the Annapurnas towards the west. It also offers an excellent view of the Indrawati river valley to the east. At 2,195 m, the panoramic view of the mountains and valley below is truly unforgettable. If you visit Nepal during the spring then you’re in for a special experience in Nagarkot as the surrounding valley is covered in a rich kaleidoscope of brilliantly colored flowers. You’ll love the short hikes and picnics around this hill station that can be arranged anytime. For those who yearn for adventure but don’t want to lose too much sweat, Nagarkot and it surroundings is the place. Explore nature’s wonders in the form of verdant forests, flowery meadows, the unusual rock formations and oh yes, indulge in gazing endlessly at the sparkling mountains in the distance.


There is no dearth of view-points in Nepal, and Dhulikhel (1,550m) competes with Nagarkot in terms of scenic views and relaxation. But Dhulikhel has an ancient town which Nagarkot does not have. 32 km east of Kathmandu, just off the Arniko Highway (The road to Tibet), Dhulikhel is easily accessible and boasts of a good number of well-established resorts with superb panoramic views of the Himalaya. The town is distinctively Newari as the architecture of the little temples and dwellings will tell you. Dhulikhel is ideally placed for embarking on a short hike to Namobuddha, where you will find a small stupa and monastery. It is famous as the spot where a bodhisattva offered his own flesh to save a starving tigress and her cub. Well worth a visit is the little charming village of  Panauti, popular for its numerous temples with magnificent woodcarvings, not far from Dhulikhel.


Drive two hours north-west of Kathmandu and you arrive at the scenic spot of Kakani (2,073m) with views of Ganesh Himal, the Annapurnas and the Dhaulagiri range. There is an unimpeded view of the valley that sweeps down to the Trishuli River far below. There is a feeling of release and relaxation as you let your eyes take in the vast expanse of emptiness that stretches before you to meet the distant mountains. Go there in late winter or spring and there will be rhododendrons growing wild on the mountain slopes. A restaurant on the hilltop is the ideal place to while away your time.


There was a time when every traveler who entered Kathmandu valley by road, passed through Daman (2,322m) enjoying the marvelous view of the snow-capped mountains. Though less frequented by tourists, Daman arguably has the most breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalaya that stretches from the far west of Dhaulagiri to the east of Mt. Everest. You can still enter or leave Kathmandu valley via Daman by traveling along the old Tribhuvan Rajpath (the first highway into the valley) which separates from the present highway from Naubise. Daman is 80 km south-west of Kathmandu and perched on a high ridge. There is a viewing tower within the Daman Mountain Resort fitted with a long range telescope and there are excellent walks around Daman especially along the Palung valley.


Get away from the trappings of city life and drive down to Dumre then upto Bandipur, the ancient trading town. 135 km from Kathmandu, it lies perched on a ridge, not far from the Kathmandu–Pokhara highway. Once a town dominated by the Newar community, a slow change-over is taking place with more Gurung people moving in. Newari architecture can be perceived in the houses and temples in town that hark back to the days of Kathmandu Valley. The old round houses of the Magars are a delight to the eyes and ancient traditional dances like the ‘Ghantu’ have been kept alive in good old Bandipur. Walk up the hill that towers over the town and enjoy an unrestricted view of Himalayan peaks: Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna, Lamjung, Ganesh and Langtang. There are excellent short hikes around Bandipur. You can also catch a spectacular sunset with your camera from the top. A short distance below the town is a recently discovered cave that is a 100m deep, one of the biggest in Nepal. Head lamps are provided at the entrance as there is no lighting within. Known as the Siddha Caves, it has stalactite and stalagmite formations and is yet to be fully explored. There is a fort on a hilltop north-east of Bandipur and is believed to have been established by the ruler Mukunda Sen when Nepal was divided into tiny principalities.


Hile is a very attractive hilltop village in eastern Nepal and is 13 km north of Dhankuta Bazaar which in turn is 50 km from the large town of Dharan. You will get superb views of the Makalu section of Himalayan peaks if you climb above Hile and from anywhere along the road to Basantapur. Hile is an important starting point for treks in the Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Arun valley regions. Buses go up to Basantapur and Tehrathum.

Getting There: There are several regular buses operating between Dhankuta and Hile. There are regular buses from Dharan to Basantapur and a direct bus from Gongabu Bus Park in Kathmandu to Hile. The town has a number of hotels and lodges.