It’s 05:30 a.m. and I am sitting on my balcony staring off into the distance. It’s very cold, just trying to hold my camera is a chore and my lens cap keeps misting over. Karen is still in bed oblivious to me leaving the room. The sun is slowly rising from the east and with the beautiful early morning light, the Eastern Himalayan mountains reveal themselves before me. Somewhere out there is the biggest mountain of them all, Everest. The stillness in the air is deafening. It is as if the whole world is still tucked up in bed like Karen. Looking at the tallest mountains in the world from the comfort of my hotel balcony feels pretty special. This is why I am up at 05:30 a.m. and this is why we came to Nagarkot.
I must admit, before doing my research on Nepal I had never heard of Nagarkot. That is what I love about travel though, you never stop discovering places no matter how much you see the world. Nagarkot is a small village in central Nepal on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley. Its altitude is 2,175 meters. You come here for stunning views of the Himalayas. It is a great place to chill out for a couple of days, especially if you are coming from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. Here the air is pure, the crowds are thin and you won’t hear a horn at all (well you might, this is Nepal after all).
To be honest there isn’t a lot to do in Nagarkot but that’s okay. We wanted a few days to relax after Kathmandu and we are certainly doing that. Nothing the village offers will come close to the spectacle of the Himalayas (what could?). However, there are things to do in Nagarkot that I would recommend.
If you can stop looking at those views there are a few day hikes in Nagarkot that will keep you busy.
Nagarkot View Tower Hike: The most popular place to soak up those Nagarkot Views is from the view tower. The tower sits on the ridge at 2,164 meters and has incredible 360-degree views of mountains, including on a good day a Mount Everest view. Thankfully the tower survived the 2015 earthquake unlike a lot of the hotels in the area. From the village, the hike is about an hour’s walk south. If you don’t fancy an early morning walk to witness a Nagarkot sunrise you can always hire a taxi through your hotel. At the time of writing the cost was Rs 1200.
Nature Trail Hike: We loved this easy hike. We did it on our first day in Nagarkot and it was a perfect introduction to hiking in Nepal. As the trail is a loop there is no need to hire a guide for this hike. It takes around two to three hours and you will pass through terraced hills, fields of mustard flowers and forests. When we were there we hardly met anyone on the trail. The only people we did meet were the Tamang and Gurung locals who are so friendly (just like all the Nepalese). They would stop and have a quick chat with us before carrying on with their brisk walks. Remember to take water with you as there is nowhere to buy until you reach the village. When we did this walk we both ended up with two pocketfuls of litter that we picked up on the way. Do your good deed of the day and take a bag with you to collect any litter you come across
Rock climbing in Nagarkot is slowly taking off with climbers keen to tackle the spectacular rock formations with sharp edges and slippery surfaces. The average altitude is around 25 m/82 ft high, with climbing routes graded from four to eight. Most professional rock climbing companies are based in Kathmandu.
Before I carry on I must mention the weather in Nagarkot. As the main reason for visiting Nagarkot is to view the mountains I must warn you about the infamous cloudy mountain skies that can happen on any given day (or hour!). The best time to visit Nagarkot is between October and March where hopefully you will be rewarded with those killer views you came here for. The weather goes to extremes here, at night it can get very cold so make sure you bring warm clothing and in the day it heats up quite quickly so pack some lighter gear too.
There are quite a few hotels and guesthouses in Nagarkot offering the views you crave. Here are a few that we would recommend:
Hotel Country Villa offers you sunrise views from the comfort of your bed. Previous guests loved the food at the hotel and the friendly staff. The location is the big draw with amazing views of the mountains wherever you are in the hotel.
The Fort Resort has some of the best reviews of any hotel in Nagarkot. Once again people loved the views from this hotel. The staff seem to go above and beyond here, they will even wake you up early in the morning if there are clear views of the Himalayas. Guests love the rooms, the garden and the food.
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