Yesterday we hiked from Sundarijal through Shivapuri National Park to Chisapani. It was a fun ~14km hike (1000m elevation gain) with gorgeous valley views (full photo set here):
Lonely Planet very aptly describes Chisapani as a “grubby little truck stop without the trucks.” The draws of Chisapani are the Himalayan views and the availability of overnight lodging. After checking out all of the hotels in Chisapani (there are only 4 to choose from), we took the nicest one in town: a top floor double at the Galaxy Hotel with a private deck, expansive mountain and valley views from both the deck and the bedroom, large private bath with a sink and “hot and cold” water, a friendly host, and a bustling restaurant/gathering room downstairs. Total cost: 100 rupees (about $1.35).
Of course there were a few catches:
- All meals in town were to be eaten at the hotel. This is how they generally supplement the room costs in Chisapani. Not a problem, as the food was tasty and the dining room warm and social (we played a local card game with a Pole and a some Nepalese porters). Thus, total cost of room (after dinner + breakfast + bottled water) = 950 rupees. Still pretty darn cheap.
- There were no lights in the room. We didn’t notice this until almost dark. There are a few wires poking into the room where someone had maybe thought about wiring the room for lighting. Fortunately we had our headlamps.
- The toilet was Nepalese (squat)-style, though it was the only one I’ve ever seen with a Western-style flush. Not a bad feature, but to get it to work you needed to manually open the supply tubes to the tank which would then spray water all over you and the bathroom. Chalk another one up for half-finished room features.
- No towels.
- Everything was slightly damp (probably from the recent rains combined with lack of ventilation).
- No blankets/top sheet, and linens that hadn’t been washed in who knows how long. Unfortunately we didn’t have a sleeping bag with us, so this was by far the most inconvenient hitch. Covering the pillow with an extra shirt plus sleeping in warm clothing was our closest approximation, and the result was it was like a night’s sleep on a red-eye (maybe 3-4 hours at best).
While the rain had ended there were still lingering clouds that obscured most of the Himalayas. We did get some nice shots of the valley though: