I couldn’t have painted the picture better in my imagination if I tried, the magic of mountains in Nepal are irresistible, so much so, that during a three-day Chisapani Nagarkot Trek, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the breathtaking scenery that stood there before me.
I didn’t have time to go on a long hike to the Everest Base Camp or other long adventurous trips. Instead, I chose a smaller path, that was by no means simple, yet satisfying, nonetheless.
The Nagarkot hike I had partaken it, was perfect for what I had been seeking when looking for one of the best treks in Nepal. It’s also an excellent option for tourists who desire hiking places in Kathmandu, yet still, want to explore the wilderness and get away from the hustle and bustle of the chaotic city.
Let’s uncover one of the best short treks I’ve had the pleasure to complete during my travel experiences. An adventure that allowed me to see the best of Nepal, meet the beautiful locals, endure the pain of a hike and feel the satisfaction of completing a fantastic adventure.
This is my incredible journey of the visually stunning Chisapani Nagarkot Trek in Nepal, and who knows, perhaps it’ll inspire to endure a similar hike.
Nepal Adventures – The Visually Stunning Chisapani Nagarkot Trek
A Trekking Experience with the Nepal Hiking Team
The Chisapani trek was by no means a sponsored trip; I booked my short trek in Nepal through Tour Radar, who worked closely with one of the best hiking teams in the country, The Nepal Hiking Team.
Their reputation within Nepal is very positive with fantastic reviews, and they do treks of all kind, including the longer hikes to the Everest Base Camp and Nepal short treks such as the three-day Chisapani to Nagarkot trek.
The whole experience with the Nepal Hiking Team was professional from start to finish; they took care of my bigger luggage while I was away and dropped it off at my next hotel before I even arrived back.
The Tour guide did a phenomenal job for the duration of the tour; it’s those conversations we shared during the trek which is something I will always remember fondly. Of course, there is the Porter, what a warrior, he carried all that extra luggage so I could enjoy my experience even further. The work ethic of all Porter’s in Nepal is genuinely inspiring.
The Fitness levels required for the Chisapani Nagarkot Hike
You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic for the three-day hike, but basic fitness is necessary to get through the journey.
What I mean by basic fitness, is your ability to be able to hike for around eight-hours in a single day, for over two days, with the third and final day requiring around a four-hour hike.
During the hike, you will come across many uphill encounters that will feel heavy on your thighs as you ascend the mountains, particularly on the first day and sporadically over the next two days.
Another important note to keep in mind is the Kathmandu altitude, if you’re not used to it like me, it can leave you short of breath and hard at breathing, but slow and steady will get you through no problems.
Preparation for the 3-day hike
It’s essential to minimise your backpack during the Chisapani Nagarkot trek, whether you’re carrying it, or the Porter is taking care of the pack.
Generally, over the three days, you can wear the same clothes, although a change of clothing is recommended, especially during your one night in Nagarkot where luxury is waiting for you.
Other than that, make sure you wear long clothes, good hiking shoes, apply sunscreen, drink water, bring a camera, wear a beanie if hiking during the cold season and personal belongings, including your passport, that will be needed for the trip.
For further information, you can always ask your tour provider pre-trip for what to pack for the hike, and they’ll help you out with a quick reply.
Day 1 – Kathmandu to Chisapani
An early morning wake up was required at the Hotel Horizon in Kathmandu City, not too early, but I needed to check out of the room, eat a fulfilling breakfast and get ready for pick up at 8 am.
Without any delays, I met the boss of the Nepal Hiking Team at the entrance of the hotel on the streets of Thamel, by his side he had the guide and the porter for the hike, and we were driven to the starting point of the tour to begin the Chiapani Nagarkot trekking.
It Begins in the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
There is a Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park entrance fee of 1000-Nepalese rupees when entering into the national park, although my park fees were already included in the tour price, and the guide took care of all documents at the booth. All I needed to do was to hand over my passport to the authorities.
From the outset, the Shivapuri trekking route started with an ascent up the mountains, it taught me a lesson of not going too hard too early and to walk at a steady pace. With the altitude, I found I was hard at breathing only a few minutes in and needed to slow my steps down a little. The breathing troubles wouldn’t last as I became accustomed to the conditions.
Throughout the early part, we wandered through many farms situated in the National Park, with the farm animals, mainly goats, seen regularly through the early stages trip. We had an early lunch, not too long into the hike at an old shabby tea house, feeding our empty stomach on the Nepalese dish Dal Bhat and a hit of much-appreciated coffee.
The early stages of the trek have been encouraging to say the least, out in nature with the sun beaming down, even though it was cold. Nepal is truly a beautiful country, especially when you escape the city life, and the scenery is only going to get better the further we advance into the Chisapani Trek.
Greeted with snow through the Chisapani hike
I never expected to see snow, heck, the snow has never really been a part of my life living in the state of Western Australia. Therefore, how I grateful I was that the trekking area to Chisapani had heavy snowfall the previous night. It meant, a lot of the trail was covered in snow and not melting away anytime soon.
I was like a little kid experiencing something new; I had previously seen snow twice in my life, once as a kid and second time in Muju-Gun of South Korea. Walking through the forest, the snow became hard to avoid, I didn’t want to avoid it to be truthful, and with a gleaming smile, I kept moving forward embracing the new personal experience.
It also made the scenery appear even more beautiful, I have always thought the outdoors look better with snow, and it was hard to persuade otherwise with what I was seeing. Of course, I was lucky to have the snowfall during my hike, it may not be the same for other travellers participating in the trek, but they are the breaks in life.
The incredible Himalayan Mountain views begin to appear
A glorious day in the Nepalese wilderness and heavy snowfall, what more could appear to make this day even more special?
The Himalayan Mountains, of course.
How breathtaking, overpowering were the mountains at first sight. Never in my life had I seen anything more mesmerising as my eyes became captivated to the mountain ranges which became endless.
The mountains of Nepal would follow me for the duration of the trip and hardly leave my sight. It follows you through the majority of the Chisapani Nagarkot trek. Often, falling on my backside through the tricky terrain while being distracted by such beauty.
No harm was done, I got up and dusted it off, the mountains were in my sight for three days only, and I didn’t want to waste the precious moment in my life.
Staying the Night in a Chisapani Lodge
An Earthquake affected area from the devastations in 2015, the Chispani town in some parts is torn apart with half-demolished buildings that have yet to be bulldozed and look as if a few of those buildings are about to tumble over.
That’s the devastation side of things done with.
Chispani is the base of the first night of the tour and home to the million-dollar views with the Langtang Himalayan Ranges in full sight. The Dorje Lapka Hotel we stayed at certainly wasn’t anything luxurious, the rooms were cold with no heating, but there was a warm shower, a fulfilling feed for dinner and extra thick blankets for extra warmth.
However, from your hotel window, you could see the never-ending mountains ranges. In that case, what else mattered when I was travelling through Nepal alone, but to have a bed to sleep in at night and the mountains to wake up to in the morning.
Day one complete and what a positive experience it had been, as I eagerly awaited day two of the Chisapani Nagarkot Trek.
Day 2 – Hiking from Chisapani to Nagarkot
The hump day of the Nepal tour, and the most significant distance we needed to travel by foot in a single day for the trek.
In the second leg, we walked from Chisapani to Nagarkot, crossing through the forest, farms and villages along the way to the next destination and in the process, witnessing more beautiful scenery that occupies Nepal.
An Amazing Sunrise in Chisapani
They always say the Nagarkot sunrise is the best views to see during the trek if that is the case, I was looking forward the following morning because the Chispani version didn’t let me down.
The alarm had been set for 6 am on a cold morning in Nepal; I wasn’t going to miss this sunrise in Chisapani for anything. With the day somewhat clear upon waking up, I was greeted to the best sunrise I had ever seen, continually watching the morning sun make its way over the Himalayan Mountains.
For half an hour, I watched the magic over the horizon, starting from near darkness, onwards to the first morning light when the sun lifted over the mountains in the distance. The dawn experience was incredible, as I stood in the one spot and witnessed the landscape change in front of me.
With so much going wrong in the world, it was mesmerising to see the planet at its very best in an unfamiliar part of the world.
The 20-kilometre Nagarkot Trek
After delicious apple pancakes for breakfast with coffee, the next leg of the Chispani Nagarkot Trek started early with a long day of hiking ahead.
For the early parts, the terrain was more comfortable to handle as we took the risk-free track through the forest for the first couple of hours with no real events taking place as we marched onwards and checked out the surrounding every so often.
A few hours into the hike, we stopped for lunch at a lovely restaurant that appeared situated in the middle of nowhere. The hidden restaurant had rather impressive facilities, with a glamorous dining area and guest rooms down below. I have fallen in love with Nepalese food during this trip, so I had the Dal Bhat once more, which as always, was an impressive dish.
The second half of the walk continued after an impressive lunch, with the forest path deserting us, and this time walking through villages, farm and mini townships. It was fascinating to get a feel of how the Nepalese lived away from the city.
For an extended period, any uphill climbs had been rare, that is until we reached the final leg into Nagarkot township. It was the hardest uphill climb of the whole Chisapani Nagarkot Trek, with the thighs starting to feel heavy, while we continued upwards for what seemed like hours, but lasted around 45-60-minutes.
Into Nagarkot, you can tell you have found another beautiful part of the country, as you wander through a quiet township with many hotels lined together, most looking rather impressive and with Himalayan Views.
Our hotel seemed to be the last one in Nagarkot, continuing the delay to end the big day’s hike. However, the wait was worth it as we checked into the Hotel Himalayan Villa.
The incredible Hotel Himalayan villa
I loved this hotel; I really did, and you can read the full feature article of the Hotel Himalayan Villa with this link.
The Hotel Himalayan is only around 60-90 minutes from Kathmandu, so you could easily spend a night or two in Nagarkot, staying at either this excellent Villa or anyone other Nagarkot accommodation in the township.
The Hotel Himalayan Villa is a modern hotel with beautiful facilities. Its biggest drawcard is the Open Terrace that faces the Langtang Himalayan Mountains, the ideal spot to purchase an alcoholic beverage from the bar and enjoy your drink outside on the terrace with the incredible views in the distance.
The luxury and spacious rooms are impressive too. In my hotel room, was a king-size bed, cable television, air-conditioning/heating, a fully equipped bathroom and a private balcony to appreciate the mountains further.
For dinner, the hotel’s restaurant serves up a buffet with a great selection of casseroles, pasta, carvery, vegetables and dessert. Along with the guide, who joins me for dinner, we tuck into a few plates of the buffet food, before going in our own direction and resting up before the final hike in the morning.
Day 3 – The Conclusion to the Chispani to Nagarkot Trek
The great three-day hike concluded with a non-existent sunrise, a three-hour morning hike to the Changunarayan Temple, before returning to the chaotic scenes in Kathmandu CIty.
It wasn’t all perfect
I wish I had beautiful pictures to show you of a Nagarkot Sunrise. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world, and the perfect photo couldn’t happen.
In the final morning of the Chisapani Nagarkot trek, I woke up hoping for a mesmerising sunrise. However, it wasn’t to happen with the surrounding area interrupted by thick cloud coverage blocking out any sunlight. Such is life.
On a clear day, I do not doubt that the morning views from the Nagarkot hotel would be incredible, as they were the afternoon before. I had been so lucky through this tour already. I wasn’t about to complain about the minor details that didn’t go as planned.
The Nagarkot Changunarayan Hike
A foggy day and still helicopters were crazy enough to fly in the skies with reduced visibility. It was madness even to the guide because Nepal has had its fair share of tragedy over the years.
With the noise in the skies, we continued along by foot on the ground wandering through more villages and farms towards our final destination in Changunarayan.
Not a long hike this morning, and much appreciated. While the Chisapni Nagarkot trek is short compared to other walks in Nepal, it was unusual for me to regularly on my feet for three days, and the body felt a few aches and pains during the final leg.
The hike finished up in a small town called Changu, a boutique area village consisting of market stalls, coffee shops, restaurants, museums and the magnificent Changu Narayan Temple, which is said to be the oldest Hindu Temple in the Kathmandu Valley.
It was the ideal conclusion to the hike which gave plenty for the duration of the tour, and to finish standing inside an ancient temple, surrounded by the Changu village and the Champak Tree Forest, concludes the story of the three-day hike near Kathmandu perfectly.
The End of an exciting adventure
The experience of the Chisapani Nagarkot trek was surreal, while you had to grind it during the day through stretches of the hike, especially uphill, there was indeed no boring bits associated with the journey.
How could there be with Nepalese culture and landscapes to keep you occupied, with the Himalayan Mountains, Stupa’s, temples, villages and farms to gaze at while roaming the country by day.
It’s the ideal hike for those who don’t want to be out on their feet for too long but still witness the best of Nepal. If you are touring the Kathmandu Valley area and wondering what to do, give the Nagarkot to Chisapani trek a consideration. You won’t regret it.