Nagokot is about 2.5 to 3 hours from Kathmandu if you take a bus first to Bhaktapur, then transfer to a bus bound for Nagarkot. We had tried to find a direct bus, but our guesthouse host told us that there were none. We think that there may be some, but possibly the terminal is less convenient to get to within Kathmandu and fill up fast.
Our best option was to walk from Thamel to Ratna park and to find the next bus bound for Bhaktapur. We would have expected a bus station, had we not already experienced inter-city buses in Nepal, but of course there were just buses lined up along the street. The first driver who spotted us asked if we wanted Bhaktapur, we eagerly said yes and he told us to get onto his bus.
The price for a one way cost a mere 25 NPR and the ride took about 50 minutes. The seats were small and cramped, but not bad for the price we paid! On our way, we saw the traffic and crazy driving of Kathmandu as well as the questionable ‘passengers’ on some of the vehicles such as goats or chickens. The pollution was awful especially on the roads, but we wanted so badly to crack open a window to fight the stuffy heat from inside the bus. Our drivers taste in music was also interesting; techno mixes and club beats pounded from the speakers as we zoomed through the traffic of scooters, cars, and overcrowded mini buses.
Once in Bhaktapur, were told to walk back to the main road that the bus had just turned off of, and to turn right. Buses bound for Nagarkot would be parked about a block or two away. We headed that way, but stopped just on the main street after turning right, for some momos. Jonny had spotted the grungy, little local restaurant and suggested that we try it. We could see the momos steaming through the open window, and they really did look delicious. So, we walked into the busy place and sat at the nearest empty table. The menu only said ‘Buff momo’, so we ordered a plate of those. About 5 minutes later, a piping hot plate of 10 momos was placed in front of us. We noticed that everyone was pouring a yellow liquid provided on the tables all over their momos, so we followed their advice. The liquid looked almost like a runny dijon mustard. After dousing our momos in it, we both gave them a try. We both smiled at eat other and nodded in satisfaction as we chowed down on our first one. They were the best momos we had ever had, and the sauce was absolutely perfect. It tasted like lemon, pepper, and spices. We had never had such amazingly cooked and delicious momos. They were also the cheapest momos at only 160 NPR (about $2.00 Canadian). We paid, told the cashier how much we loved the momos, and left promising each other that we would come back.
Next, we had to get to Nagarkot. We continued down the main road for less than 5 minutes before coming across another bus stop. We asked around for a bus bound for Nagarkot, and someone pointed us to the right one. We got into what already seemed like a full bus, since people were already standing at the front, and found a place to stand with a good gripping handle. We thought we would leave soon, as the bus was nearing capacity, yet the bus stayed put for another 20 minutes or so, letting more and more people on. Not only were locals getting on the bus, so were their large shopping purchases such as boxes of beer, large bags of rice, and even live chickens! Finally, the driver seemed to look satisfied with his load, so he started up the bus and we went on our way.
We moved slowly through the rest of Bhaktapur towards the hills and countryside. Eventually, the road began to wind and we headed up into the treed area, stopping every few minutes to let people off. But, letting people off meant we had room to let others on, so we remained quite full for most of the trip. I had the chickens between my legs, and at one point an old man invited me to sit on a bag of flour. Despite conditions that would make most people very grumpy, all of the Nepali people were in good spirits and quite friendly towards each other and to us. Some of them likely had to take that bus often in order to supply their house with food. This was another way of life that people get used to, something I found very hard to believe yet highly respected.
The trees along the road were really beautiful and so different from those in the Kathmandu valley. They were slender, and tall with pines; a little similar to trees you would find in Canada. We enjoyed the views and the fresh, clean air as we moved higher.
Our stop was the second last on the bus route. We mistakenly walked down the wrong road thinking we were heading for a guesthouse we had searched for previous to leaving. Of course, the map on Jonny’s phone wasn’t loading and we were completely on our own. It was still early in the day, so we didn’t mind a walk. We were already outside of Nagarkot, and the amount of houses were slowly decreasing. After a good 20 minutes, we began asking people walking by about the guesthouse we were looking for; No one seemed to know about it. Still, small groups of people were walking away from the direction we were headed, so we thought that was a good sign. We asked another large group of adults going past us if there were any guesthouses higher up the hill, they all shook their head and said that there was only a tower.
We ended up walking all the way to the tower which is simply a place people go to for the view. Unfortunately, it was a very cloudy day so there was little to be seen. On a more positive note, we found a great little coffee shop that served excellent Amerianos and had a great ambiance.
Where We Stayed
After visiting the tower, we had to back track down the hill and back to the town. We found the road that lead to our place and finally arrived there after dark. It was called Hotel at the End of the Universe. There they offer full cabins, single-roomed cottages, or tents to rent. We went with the tent as they had no other vacancies available. We were quite happy with it as it was cozy, simple, and cheap!
The view from the outdoor terrace of the hotel is amazing, their food is delicious and it’s a a great place to chill and relax after experiencing crazy Kathmandu.
Tip: Try their hot toddy!
Things to Do
Walk to the View Tower
This is about 4-5 km from the center of little Nargokot. The hike is uphill and a gradual ascent doable for any able-bodied individual. It is a winding paved road, so remember to watch out for cars and scooters.
Tip: Make sure you go on a clear day so that you can fully enjoy the view!
Get a coffee at a cafe
Watch the sunrise and sunset
Relax with a book as you breathe in the mountain air
Explore the village and check out the locals
Grab a meal at Sherpa Alpine Cottage (An adorable white house with a killer view)
If you are lucky, enjoy the view of the Himalayas
Nagarkot is a sleepy little village with not much to do other than eat, relax, and enjoy the fresh air and its stunning views. It is a wonderful change from Kathmandu and a place I would highly recommend to spend a couple of nights in. Check out Hotel at the End of the Universe as a place to stay. The staff are extremely friendly, they offer a few accommodation options for different budgets, and it’s the perfect nature getaway for you to relax and rejuvenate.
If you have any questions about Nagarkot, do not hesitate to ask us about this beautiful hidden gem.