Best Short Treks around Kathmandu

  • Updated on Apr 23, 2024
  • Pradip Tamang
  • 16575 views

Namo Buddha - one of the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage site  

Kathmandu - the capital of Nepal is famous as the city of ancient old temples, palaces and art. This legendary city is not only about culture tour and heritages but it also offers some of the best short treks and stunning overnight hiking trips around its hills and beautiful villages outside Kathmandu Valley. To name few of these short treks are traditional Chisapani Nagarkot Trek, Dhulikhel Namo Buddha Balthali Trek, Nagarkot to Dhulikhel Trek, Chandragiri Chitlang Trek that takes 1 nights to 3 nights 4 days from and to Kathmandu. If you are looking for 5 to 7 days treks; Helambu Trek and Gosaikunda Trek are advised though Gosaikunda Trek goes higher in altitude and you may find it tough for novice trekkers.

These short treks are ideal if you are in time restriction or not capable to trek higher in the mountain, no worries you can still experience hiking for one or more days through the scenic hills and beautiful hamlets and local villages. The sub-alpine forests and quiet countryside make for a memorable short break from the monotonous daily city life. Most of the hikes mentioned here can be done in 1 night 2 days or 2 nights 3 days for relaxing and leisure walk, are suitable for family and novice trekkers. 

Table of Contents

Popular 2 to 3 Days treks near Kathmandu

Namo Buddha and Balthali Trek 

This brilliant short trek can be 1 night 2 days or 2 nights 3 days for a relaxing vacation village walking excursion. The trail goes through terraced farmlands and lovely countryside. Visitors can enjoy the scenic view Himalayas in the distance. Staying at Namo Buddha monastery overnight rewards visitors to feel divinity and mystique Buddhist doctrine at Namo Buddha. 

Second night; we will stay in Balthali Village resort which has a flowless view over the countryside and experience that rural life near Kathmandu.  

Trip Fact
Elevation:  1750m
Main Feature: Experience rural village life, terraced farmlands, monasteries, temples, and breathtaking views of Langtang and Gauri Shankar Himalayan Range. 
Trek Duration: 2 to 3 Days depending on your fitness and time frame. 
Accommodation: Trekking Lodge, Accommodation in Monastery and Resort. 
Check the complete information for the Dhulikhel Namo Buddha & Balthali Hiking Tour.

Chisapani Nagarkot Trek

Another short trek around Kathmandu Valley is traditional Chisapani Nagarkot trekking which has been popular for the three last decades. This trek starts from Sundarijal – 45 45-minute drive from the center of Kathmandu. This trek is 3 days long. Compared to the Namo Buddha and Balthali trek Chisapani Nagarkot trek is demanding as it gains an elevation of 1000 meters from Sundarijal to Borlang Bhanjyang then descend to Chisapani (215m). 
Chisapani to Nagarkot is 18km long, the trail goes through Shivapuri National Park that extends the trek to  Nagarkot – a very popular place for great Himalaya view over Gauri Sankar, Rolwaling, Langtang, Manaslu, and Annapurna Himalayan range to the far west. Trek Sundarijal to Chisapani as described above, overnight then hike approximately 7 to 8 hours through mostly dense forest to Nagarkot, where you stop overnight. 

Another choice is to continue walking from Nagarkot to Changunarayan the next day and then drive back to Kathmandu or we have a chance to visit Bhaktapur one of the oldest ancient towns in Kathmandu valley. The Nagarkot to Changunarayan trail goes down through terraced rice fields, through a Tamang village, and along a ridge of deciduous forest to Changu Narayan and might take around 4 hours.
Changunarayan temple is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been rebuilt after being damaged in the 2015 earthquakes. There is also a very interesting museum at the temple which has been lovingly cared for over the years. From Changunarayan drive back down to Bhaktapur (8km) and explore this medieval town with its prosperous civilizing history. 

View from Nagarkot that may take your breath away........

Trip Fact
Altitude: 2,195m
Highlights: View of a chain of the Himalayas stretching from Mount Everest to Annapurna, Stunning Sunrise and sunset view from Nagarkot, walk-in Shivapuri National Park, experience village lifestyle.
Trekking  Duration: 2 Nights 3 Days

Looking for an inclusive package? We have a package of Chisapani Nagarkot Trek

Variant: 
One can extend this trek to Dhulikhel and even to Namo Buddha and Balthali which requires 4 to 5 days in Total. 

Day 1: Kathmandu – Sundarijal – Chisapani
Day 2: Trekking to Nagarkot
Day 3: Trekking to Dhulikhel
Day 4: Trekking to Balthali
Day 5: Back to Bhaktapur / Kathmandu or even drive to Chitwan or Pokhara if you rent a private vehicle.  

Helambu Trek

If your time allows you 5 to 7 days; the Helambu trek can be another option. This trek is a perfect short one-week trek close to Kathmandu Valley. Despite being near Kathmandu, the Helambu area remains untrodden. Besides Himalayan snowy peaks; you will enjoy the Hyolmo culture of countryside people, the company of green rhododendron and bamboo forests, and majestic waterfalls. 
Helambu trek is the one of most varied treks near Kathmandu. The grand Himalayan view is hard to believe at the border with Tibet and monasteries making the trek to the region an enchanting experience. The people living in the highlands of the Langtang region are Nepalese, being the offspring of Tibetan origin; they still look like Tibetans and have very similar culture, dress, and language to Tibetans.

Trip Fact
Altitude: 3650m
Highlights: Yholmo Culture, Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries and monuments, Hike to Ama Yangri Peak, Green Rhododendron and Bamboo Forest,  Majestic waterfall, best suited for a week trip.
Trekking  Duration: 5 to 7 Days according to your time. 

Suggested Itineraries for 2 to 3 Days Trek outside Kathmandu Valley

Dhulikhel Namobuddha Balthali Hike - 2 Nights 3 Days
Day 1: Drive to Dhulikhel from Kathmandu, and walk to Namo Buddha. 
Day 2: Walk to Balthali Village. 
Day 3: Walk to Khopasi and drive to Kathmandu/ Bhaktapur/ Nagarkot

1 Night 2 Days Trip outside Kathmandu, it can be long for seniors and family trek but good for regular hikers. 
Day 1: Drive to Dhulikhel from Kathmandu and trek to Balthali
Day 2: Trek to Khopasi and drive to Kathmandu.

2 Night 3 Days Trek Chandragiri Chitlang Kulekhani Trek 
Day 1: Hike to Chandragiri (opt to take the cable car), walk down to Chitlang
Day 2: Trek to Markhu (visit Indrasarovar Lake). Overnight at Markhu  / drive to Kathmandu.
Day 3: Back to Kathmandu, visit Dakshinkali temple and Buddhist monasteries at Pharping on the way to Kathmandu

Chisapani Nagarkot Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Drive to Sunrijal (1460m) from Kathmandu, walk to Mulkharka – Borlang Bhanjyang (2440m) – Chisapani (2115m). 
Day 2: Trek to Jhule – Katike Bhanjyang – Nagarkot (2200m). 
Day 3: Drive to Bhaktapur / Kathmandu or walk to Changunarayan. 

Helambu Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Drive to Sundarijal and trek to Chisapani.
Day 2: Trek to Kutumsang (2470 m 7-8 hr hike) lunch stop at Chipling (2170 m).
Day 3: Trek to Tharepati (3690 m) - 5-6 hours walk.
Day 4: Trek to Tarkegyang (2600m).
Day 5: Excursion to Ama Yangri Peak (3771m), requires a whole day for the round. Or opt to explore the Holy places around Tarkegyang. 
Day 6: Trek to Sermathang (2590m) / Drive to Kathmandu 
Day 7: Drive to Kathmandu by local bus/jeep

Best time to trek

From mid-September, October, and November are the best months for Nepal's best trekking time and it is the busiest time in the trekking trails like Annapurna, Everest, Langtang Manaslu, etc. The monsoon rains have cleared the sky of dust and the views are often striking. The valleys and lowlands are still green and the weather is mild so trekking is far more enjoyable at this time of year.

Winter: the months of December to February are cold but have blue skies still people trek even to higher places such as Everest Base Camp. However, trekking around Kathmandu in winter is not that cold, and still can trek. 

Spring: The months of March to May are the second best time to trek in Nepal. The month of May can be warm in the lowlands as the temperature goes up every day.

Monsoon or summer: June to August or the beginning of September; it rains almost every day. The rain may affect your trek and the trekking trail is wet and muddy. Still, it is so green during July and August. Terraced fields are very beautiful lovely scenery.   

Terraced rice farmlands in the Balthali area in August

Packing List

For the packing list; you do not need many items but some short trekking clothing is necessary: Below is the suggested list 

  • Day sack to carry your belongings.
  • One warm jacket, proper hiking shoes, hiking pants, shirts, sandals
  • Trekking pole if you have a sore knee. 
  • Water bottle (bottled water is available), Hand sanitizer, Toiletries
  • First aid supplies with basic medicines
  • Camera/ cell phone and its accessories. 
  • Sunglasses, Sunscreen cream, sun/ warm hat,
  • Gloves if you are trekking in winter (optional). 
  • Insect repellent if trekking between April to August for mosquito. 
  • Nepalese rupees if you are doing self-trekking. 

Optional items

  • Flashlight (just in case sometimes if power is cut off)
  • Pocket Knife
  • Passport photocopy
  • Laptop/iPad, Books/ebook, Ear plugs, Masks, Pair of flip flops
  • Some snack bars.