on October 28, 2011
Nagarkot is to Kathmandu what Sarangkot is to Pokhara: the closest place to the city from where you can see the whole range of mountains surrounding it. The village is at 2200m and offers good views of the Langtang Range of the Himalayas, just to the north. The highest peaks there are the Langtang Liru (7245m) and the Lunpo Lang (7064m) and the area is the third most popular trekking site in Nepal. The Everest can be seen at the northeast, but you will need an exceptionally clear day for that. If you arrived at Nepal overnight or from an angle in which the mountains were obstructed, then a visit to Nagarkot will give you the drive needed to leave a comfortable guesthouse for the sake of a demanding trek.Reaching Nagarkot is simple. The best is to travel first to Bhaktapur (see that entry in this journal) and then to take one of the buses climbing the rest of the narrow and steep way (20NRP for the way up and 12NRP while descending). Bhaktapur’s bus terminal is small and finding the right bus is no trouble.Nagarkot is a vacations resort and all of its small population is dedicated to the tourism industry; few of its buildings are private, almost each one of them hosts a guesthouse or a restaurant. Accordingly, the prices are roughly threefold those of Kathmandu, but considering that the stays here are limited in time, this is a secondary issue. The steep topography of Nagarkot creates unforgettable sights; in Gantabya, the restaurant at the entrance of the village, you can see the tops of grown up pines just centimeters away from the window of the ground floor. Invariably, all guesthouses and restaurants here are upscale in the Nepali reality; yet, they are still very accessible. There is no need to book place months ahead, and the fees are reasonable.Nagarkot exhibits a strong version of a Nepali climate characteristic: huge quantities of dew accumulate on the ground during the night and evaporate in the early hours of the morning, creating a fog that hides the mountains. Hence, to get a crystal clear sight of the Himalayas, you should stay in the village overnight. Just before sunset, the views are at their best, with soft blankets of clouds softly caressing greenish mountain ridges.The surrounding area is not an attractive trekking place, unless you are interested in wandering around the Kathmandu Valley. Moreover, the terrain is different from the one in the more popular trekking areas, thus it is not an ideal location for checking trekking equipment. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to desist, then the place is relatively low, so that a first time visitor to mountainous areas won’t be able to assess his – or hers - reaction to altitude. Yet in the hyperactive Nepali reality, Nagarkot is the perfect place for spending a relaxed weekend observing mountains, just before engaging the real thing.
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