Nagarkot is just over 32km from Kathmandu city and offers some the best mountain views in the entire valley. With nearly the entire hillside village dedicated to these views, Nagarkot makes for a very popular 1 or 2 night stay.
Weekends during peak season are often full of locals on weekend getaways and of course tourists trying to catch a glimpse of Everest. There's no shortage of accommodation, though independent restaurants are in short supply outside of hotel restaurants.
If you've been visiting temples in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur then Nagarkot offers a great alternative as the the air is clean, cool and fresh.
The most popular trek starts at 5am to get good views of the mountains so expect at least one early morning! The sunrise in Nagarkot is possible to see by leaving Kathmandu that morning (unless you are taking private transport).
Did you know?
Nagarkot has several very short green treks and walks that are suitable for all ages.
You can see three mountain ranges at Nagarkot including Mount Everest - but be warned Everest is only a dot on the horizon.
Nagarkot is one of the few places near Kathmandu city (32 km) where clear views of the Himalayan range can still be had. It’s also one of the great remaining green belts in the valley.
The main activities around Nagarkot are:
- Sunrise views of the Himalayas
- Sunset views of the Himalayas
- Mountain biking (limited)
- Horse riding
Forest walks, hikes, mountain views and a much needed break from the big cities of the valley are what makes Nagarkot a great choice for a one or two night stay.
The hikes are nowhere near trekking levels and can be taken by young and old alike. For those who just want a glimpse of the Himalayas you can either stay on your rooftop hotel or make the predawn 4km trek out to a lookout platform along the main road. While mount Everest is claimed to be visible expect more of a dot than an eyeful.
Early morning risers will be rewarded by the best views after this 4km trek through a forest path. There’s a high viewing platform where views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang Lirung, Shisha Pangma, Dorje Lakpa amd Guari Shankar can be seen. The panorama stretches from Dhaulagiri to the west, the barely visible dot of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga is to the east.
The trek takes about 1-2 hours and a predawn start ensures the best views once you arrive. During peak season it can get crowded with tour groups. The best thing to do in this case is to make use of the grassy mounds nearby instead of the lookout tower itself.
There are mountain bikes available from tour agents (or hotels) that can be used around the hike known as the "loop". It's a relatively new activity so bikes are not always available during the peak season.
There are also horse/pony rides available but again only through selected agents. Most hotels and guesthouses can steer you in the right direction. Booking ahead helps.
Mountain views are very susceptible to weather conditions. Choose the time of year carefully if you really want those mountain views and are not going trekking.
Monsoon season is near permanently cloudy and the hot season is hazy.
During peak season you can see the Himalayan range with morning and evenings being the best times of the day.
Here's a page about the weather in Nepal that will help you plan ahead.
In 2017 Nagarkot introduced a 339 rupee tourist tax for "foreigners" visiting the "Heritage Site". It was a controversial tax as Nagarkot is not a heritage site in any shape or form. The tourism board denounced the fee to no avail. Locals questioned where the money was going and were not happy with the answer.
It seems an unplanned road was being build with the money that served little purpose.
Local protests took place and the fee was abolished in 2018.
However, in 2019 the "tax" has once again returned though not officially It seems "illegal" groups are setting up payment booths in Nagarkot demanding the 339 rupees and even issuing receipts. This payment and the process in collecting it has been noted as being illegal. However nothing at all has been done about it.
As of this publication date the 339 rupees fee is being collected from all foreigners near the bus stop. It is unknown how this will proceed in the future.
To add insult to injury nobody has 1 rupee change either. So the end price of the Nagarkot tourist tax is 340 rupees.
If you only have a limited amount of time in Nepal then you need to consider if Nagarkot is worth a visit or not.
If you've been trekking in either the Annapurna mountain range or Everest/Langtang regions and are hoping to see equally good mountain views you will simply will not get them here. If however you've not been trekking and are in Nepal during good weather then it's worth a visit!
If you are only visiting the Kathmandu Valley then it's definitely worth at least one night in Nagarkot or a day trip to get some fresh air or a glimpse at the mountains. However, the 339 rupee fee is a turn off.
If you are on a budget visit to the Kathmandu Valley alone then visiting Nagarkot by bus is very easy and cheap from Bhaktapur. Good value guest houses can be found near the Nagarkot bus stop. Others might say "just go to Dhulikhel instead".
Dhulikhel is a great alternative to Nagarkot is you want to avoid the crowds and get some mountain views. Dhulikhel itself does not have as many hotels (though there is plenty) and most restaurants are located in the hotels around the main town.
It's worth noting that tour agents usually try to avoid Dhulikhel as they don't make as much commission from the hotels or buses. Dhulikhel is easily visited independently though as it's only about an hour outside Kathmandu.
Do read my online guide to Dhulikhel
And here is a comparison between Nagarkot and Dhulikhel.
By Taxi from Kathmandu (2 hours- 2.5 hours): This is probably the easiest way coming from Kathmandu though it will set you back up to 3000 rupees. The return journey is best booked through your hotel.
By Bus from Kathmandu (2.5 hours-3 hours): The easiest and cheapest way to take a bus to Nagarkot is via Bhaktapur bus park which is just before Ratna bus park. It drops you off at the main Bhaktapur entrance while the Ratna sometimes do but more often will pass by the main road. From Bhaktapur’s main entrance you’ll need to make your way to the eastern terminal near (see below).
By bus from Bhaktapur (1 hour - 1.2 hours): The small terminal to Nagarkot is located at the north east of Bhaktapur near Kamal Pokhari tank along the main road. Frequent mini-buses circle Bhaktapur and can drop you there. Avoid entering into the old streets of Bhaktapur unless you want to pay for a hefty entrance ticket.
By Taxi from Bhaktapur (45 mins -1 hour): At the main entrances to Bhaktapur any number of taxi’s will be happy to bargain with you for a price. Some will take 800 rupees for a one way journey with a bit of bargaining. However most will want 1000+ rupees especially during peak season.
Map of Nagarkot
Hotels are mainly spread out from the bus stop on up Nagarkot hill. There are a few along the main road before the bus stop. separated by and budget. Several paths branch off around the hill. If you have trouble finding you guesthouse just ask any local person and they will point you in the right direction.
NB: My Kathmandu Valley Guidebook is fully up to date however many others are not when it comes to accommodation after the 2015 earthquake which were damaged. Do call ahead to be sure they are open ... or just get my guidebook to be sure :)
High-end hotels in Nagarkot
These hotels range from resorts to hotels. Price range: USD $80+ per night
|Club Himalaya Resort: One of the more luxurious hotels in Nagarkot. A pool & Jacuzzi await with mountain views from many rooms. It’s worth it in the peak season but in the off season things a little lackluster. ★★★★☆||
Mid-range: USD $20-80 per night
|Resort Eco Home: With a strong emphasis on being “family run” you’ll feel right at home here. The staff are lovely, the rooms clean and the service good. There are no great views though still visible, but everything else more than makes up for it. ★★★★☆||
|Peaceful Cottage: This is as close as you’ll get to boutique accommodation in Nagarkot. Charming clean stone rooms await along with great views. The restaurant also serves good good at reasonable prices. Ask for a pick up as it’s hard to locate. ★★★★☆
Budget hotels in Nagarkot: USD $5-20 per night
|Hotel Mount Paradise: Located closer to the main bus stop than the top of the hill this is favorite vegetarian hotel for many. The staff are all family & very friendly offering tidy good value rooms. There are rooftop views & budget hikes are also available here. ★★★★☆
Looking for more bargains or options?
Try this dedicated Kathmandu city hotel search - remember to click through to see discounted room rates!
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