Day activity around Katmandu
Day activities around Kathmandu
If you’re on a tight schedule but want to pack in all the adventure possible in a short stay in Kathmandu, there are still some options available to you.
Read also : Sightseeing around Kathmandu
Hiking around Kathmandu
Hiking up one of the many hills around Kathmandu is recommended for those who don’t want any part of the longer, strenuous cross country treks. Kathmandu is a valley surrounded by tall hills on all sides, and the Himalayan views from the top of the hills, especially those of the northern side of the valley, are worth the effort.
Nagarjun, locally known as Jamacho, is an easy 5 km hike to the summit. Some areas of this peak are off limits, cordoned off by the military for the summer retreat of the former royalty. A slow pace with brief rest stops can get you to the peak in 2 – 2.5 hours. On top is a viewing tower and some Buddhist stupas. There are no shops along the way, so be sure to carry all the gear you need, including drinking water, food and a first aid kit for emergencies.
Sundarijal is the primary watershed for Kathmandu, where a clear mountain spring is dammed to form a small reservoir. You can end your hike next to the spring and play in the water, but don’t make the mistake of drinking from it. There are convenient steps all the way to the top, and is exactly like the trekking routes across most of Nepal, only a thousand times smaller. This too is a short climb, but a nice way to get away from the hustle bustle of Kathmandu.
Phulchowki, towards the south, is a much tougher climb, and will take you all day to walk up, take a short rest, and walk down. The fun part is spotting the shortcuts while you’re walking up. Just make sure you don’t follow the driving route all the time. There’s not much on top, just a few radio and television transmission towers and the omnipresent shrine to local deities, but the fun is in the climb itself. A clear day will see white Himalayan peaks in all their majesty.
Rafting around Katmandu
If day hikes are not your cup of tea, it is possible to enjoy the thrills of the Himalayan white waters in just a day too. Rivers are graded on the level of difficulty of their rapids, and you can choose the kind of adventure you want. The higher the grade, the more exciting the rapids.
The Trishuli River, which flows along the Kathmandu – Pokhara Highway, is a local favorite for single day rafting trips. An early morning bus takes you to the river in about 2 hours, followed by a few hours on the river and ends with lunch in one of the riverside restaurants. Trishuli is a class III, but the rapids are more turbulent in the monsoon.
For a higher adrenaline rush, head off to the action packed Bhote Koshi river. Bhote Koshi is colder, cleaner, faster, and is the place to be if you’re looking for raging rivers. However, to enjoy this river to the maximum, a two day trip, with night stay in one of the rafting lodges is recommended.
Bungee and Swing around Katmandu
Jumping off a bridge into a rocky river below, with just a piece of elastic tied around your legs is definitely a thrill if you’re looking for one. The jump is handled by professionals from The Last Resort, literally the last resort on the way to the Tibetan border in Tatopani. Watching the raging river far below while you’re standing on the jump platform is not recommended at all. Many brave would-be jumpers have backed out at the last minute just because they looked down. The Last Resort takes care of your travel, jump and lunch worries while you just enjoy the experience.
The swing is a recent addition to the resort. Like bungee, it involves an elastic band around your body while you swing through a deep river gorge with your feet almost touching the water.
Both are worthwhile experiences. However, I’d recommend you to change this day-trip activity to an overnight stay to savor the experience. The bus ride back to Kathmandu the same day is going to take away half the fun you had in the morning.
Fishing around Katmandu
Fishing the Himalayan rivers is a rewarding experience, with more than 150 varieties of freshwater fish to be caught. The locals use ancient methods of casting nets, since this is done to feed their families and not for fun. However, you just might see small boys or old men passing time with a home made bamboo rod waiting for a bite.
The greatest prize is the mighty Mahseer, an omnivorous giant which has been recorded to weigh up to 50 kgs. A 2-3 kilo mahseer is an okay catch, but it is very possible to land something in the 9-10 kg category. However, this is a dwindling species due to effects of modernization – unregulated commercial fishing by villagers, pollution, the construction of dams – and visiting anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release. To actually have a good chance to catch these famed fighting fish – and they put up quite a fight, even the smaller ones – you’ll need to go further off to the Karnali or Tamur river, which is not possible in a single day. However, the Trishuli and Indrawati rivers quite near Kathmandu can provide a relaxed fishing experience. Guides, rafts and tackle can be had on hire from most of the rafting agencies in Thamel.
Rock Climbing around Kathmandu
Though famous for its mountains, Nepal is not very well known for rock climbing opportunities. For those interested, there is a small cliff in the Nagarjun hills which offers an excellent spot to try your hand at the sport for another exciting day in Kathmandu. Make sure you check with your local travel agent before heading to make sure there are certified guides present when you reach there. You don’t want to be stuck with a cliff but no equipment.
Cycling around Kathmandu
There are some biking stations around Thamel which can arrange tours, with guide, equipment, and refreshments, to explore Kathmandu itself, or the surrounding villages for a short cultural tour, or even tougher trails for an adventurous ride. Try visiting Lubhu, Bungamati or Kirtipur to get a taste of the rural life, surprising since it is hardly a 20 minute drive from Kathmandu but still so far removed from the modernity of the city.
Read also : Travel by bicycle in Nepal
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