Lounge around on a private island sipping mojitos and doing nothing all day long. Ah! If only our wishes would come true. But we do get to unwind and relax on our days off from work and the best option is to embark on a quick, short drive around the valley. Here’s a list of a number of suitable destinations that can help you rejuvenate in record time.
Located just 22 km away from Kathmandu, Chitlang is nature’s perfect touchstone and the oldest route into Kathmandu valley. The local, centrally located Newari village is a rich experience when it comes to observing and absorbing the local culture and their simple way of life. For somebody who is a little more hands on, the famous goat cheese making facility is an interesting experience and one of the major attractions of Chitlang. Ambassadors and tourists regularly visit the facility as the proprietor was trained in Belgium and France. Embark on a hike on the Sungava Trail and you can enjoy the sights and sounds of gurgling streams of the ‘seven tap water falls’ known as Saat Dhara. Take in the panoramic views from Bhedafaram which is acres of green contoured fields. With plenty of time on your hands, you can visit the Swochanda Bhairab Temple which stands by a flowing river and pay your respects to the locally revered deity. Chitlang Organic Resort and Indreni Mushroom Resort are two of the well-known places where you can spend the night. There are quite a number of homestays as well, besides an interesting tented camp conveniently located by the main road.
Legend has it that a Bodhisatva while wandering around the forests of Namobuddha, came across a sick, famished tigress with a cub. To save the lives of the unfortunate animals, the holy man offered his own flesh to the tigress and cub. In awe of his self-sacrifice, Namobuddha became a place of worship and subsequently has become a tourist destination for hikers as well as a pilgrimage site. The monastery follows the principle of recycling and maintains an organic vegetable garden which produces enough to make them self sufficient. The monks at the monastery are more than happy to welcome you for their morning and evening prayers. Climbing up around a hundred challenging steps takes you right up to the shrine. The nearest attraction is the Panauti village, one of the oldest and well maintained towns in Nepal. Many of the temples here have been restored to their former glory and are a major attraction for tourists. The Namobuddha Resort here has beautiful flower gardens and luscious farmlands where you can relax, rejuvenate and enjoy delicious meals.
A half hour car ride from Kathmandu city is the Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park, boasting a rich variety of plants such as the Himalayan Cherry, Rhododendron and Ring cupped oak. The Himalayan squirrel, Himalayan black bear, barking dear, boar and a host of other wild animals call the national park their home. It is also a bird watchers paradise with sightings of a wide range of colourful birds during a hike through the forest. Shivapuri Village is one of the popular places to stay overnight enjoying mountain bike rides on the many off road trails. Yoga early in the morning provides an excellent outlet for energy as well as an opportunity for the union of bodily spirits and mental energies. Tents are available onsite for one to indulge in some adventurous camping in the outdoors. The other well-known resort is the Shivapuri Heights Cottage with its unique outdoor spa serving as their main attraction.
The golden rays of the sun color the snow capped mountains making them look like fire on ice. Fittingly, Nagarkot is known for spectacular sunrise and sunset views which attracts countless visitors year after year. Nagarkot still tops the list when you are out looking for a quick weekend getaway. One can enjoy views of the rich green Shivapuri National Park, the sprawling Kathmandu valley and marvel at the panoramic spectacle of the world’s highest mountain range. The Nagarkot View Tower located at an elevation of 2100 m gives one the opportunity to see unobstructed views of the valleys below and the unforgettable sight of the Himalayas. The walk up to the tower also promises panoramic views. Besides driving around, Nagarkot is also a great place for mountain biking with numerous trails leading to various destinations. The Buddha Peace Park, a well maintained visitor’s park with some hundred stairs leading up to a golden statue of Buddha is yet another attraction. What also attracts visitors to this place are the ‘Bat caves’ in the area. An exploratory walk through the caves can be both mystifying as well as an adventure. For rest and rejuvenation, there are a number of resorts in the area which provide facilities such as hot water showers and internet television besides the usual amenities one would expect in a resort.
Nepal is a popular destination for those who want to soak in the rich and abundant bounties of nature. But what makes this country even more attractive to local and international travelers alike, is the sunny, hospitable nature of its diverse people in the countryside who respect visitors and welcome them with smiles.