Chisapani to Nagarkot, the Scenic Route

After our restless night in Chisapani, we rose at 6am for breakfast at the Galaxy Hotel and met up with Caroline, a Dutch girl we had met during dinner at our hotel and who planned to join us for our walk to Nagarkot. We had heard that Nagarkot, on the eastern edge of the Kathmandu Valley, was a wonderful place to catch sunrise views of the Himalayas.

Upon departing from our hotel, we were faced with a choice: the shorter route to the right, which would reputedly get us to Nagarkot in about 6 hours but via the same road as motorbikes and eventually cars; or the longer route to our left, which would weave through small mountain towns before joining up with the busier road. We opted for the latter route, assuming that it would be more scenic, and that our early wakeup afforded us some extra hiking time. Our LP recommended Bhotichaur as a good spot to stop for lunch (or even for the night if we decided to split our hike).

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The peaks of the Himalayas were briefly visible from Chisapani as we departed

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Kenny and Caroline, happy trekkers

Our chosen route proved to be much slower going than we could have predicted. The road wove endlessly back and forth between countless “villages” of two or three houses each, and by 11am we were famished but there were no dal bhat houses to be found. Various locals we met along the road assured us that Bhotichaur was only 45 minutes away. Over two hours later, we finally rolled into town and found that there were no lodges where we could even get a bite to eat. By a stroke of luck, we bumped into a few Americans who were visiting a medical clinic that they had helped finance in town, and they had an interpreter who was able to convince a local woman to whip up some dal bhat for us. We added a fried egg, and it came to about 200 NPR for three (less than $3 US total). It was the most delicious dal bhat I had ever tasted.

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After lunch I became a hike fascist, and imposed a speed requirement on my companions, in hopes that we could still make it to Nagarkot before dark. It became easier to track our progress and adherence to my aggressive schedule because we actually started to see distance markers as our road widened and we passed through a few larger towns.

Even with my whip-cracking, and an extremely rushed breathless walk up a huge winding hilly road, we barely made it to Nagarkot before dark, and when we did, the “town” did not quite meet expectations. It was less a town and more a smattering of hotels scattered across a hilltop. To make matters worse, we had apparently arrived the same night as a convention for former substance addicts, and all of the hotels were fully booked. After some searching, Kenny and I finally secured the last room at The Fort Resort, one of the fanciest hotels in town and by far our most expensive Nepal lodging at $90 US after discounts. Although I must say, after our sleepless Chisapani experience and our grueling hike, a little luxury felt warranted. And staying in the nicest hotel in town ultimately seemed fitting, as I said to Kenny, “if we’re going to stay in a shitty resort town, we might as well stay in a resort.”

We have no idea how far we traveled, but we expect that our Chisapani to Nagarkot stretch exceeded 30 km.

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