Located on a hillside between Kathmandu and Pokhara, Riepe village offers people a chance at staying in a relatively isolated homestay. Visiting Reipe can feel like you've stepped back in time to an undiscovered Nepali village with pristine mountain views.
The center of Riepe village contains only twelve rural houses. There are no hotels or guesthouses in Riepe, only homestays. Each household in Riepe is usually involved in farming or has a trade. A few households will have family members working in nearby Dumre. Most people are Magar though a few Newars living here when they left the Kathmandu Valley in the 18th century.
Riepe village looks similar to many of the older trekking villages you might encounter only without trekkers or tourists. There are plenty of day hikes around Riepe which can occupy your day between watching traditional farm life and lifestyles of the community in Reipe.
Visitors to Reipe staying in purpose build community cottages which are attached on to the traditional family homes. These cottages were built in 2017-2018 as part of project to help local households generate an additional income. Tourists can either book a stay in advance or indeed make their own way there independently. Riepe Village is an ideal place for people looking to get away from all forms of modern life. Those wishing to reconnect with a natural lifestyle. And those looking for a lovely village with mountain views to enjoy.
Riepe is located in Chisapani, Gandaki in Nepal. It's 125km west of Kathmandu and 85km east of Pokhara. In terms of geography Riepe is nearly halfway between the two popular destinations and very close to Bandipur and Dumre.
While Riepe only has an elevation of 1100 meters it's perched on top of wonderful hill e which gives it an excellent clear view of the impressive Annapurna Mountain range.
There are several towns nearby Riepe including Dumre and Bandipur. The former is the stopping point to reach Riepe. If you've visited Bandipur then Riepe is basically on the opposite hill across from Dumre. It's also close to Besisahar, the popular start of the Annapurna trekking trails.
One of the major attractions of Riepe is that the village is still well and truly off the beaten path. It means that the tour groups which are entering Bandipur still can't reach Riepe. There are no direct buses from Kathmandu or Pokhara. There are however several ways to reach Riepe.
The first is by taking a direct bus from Kathmandu's bus park in Gongabhu to Beshishar and get off at Kalimati (5-6 hours). From Kalmati where is a once a day bus to Riepe departing at 4pm. Otherwise you can hire a jeep from Kalimati to Riepe (2 hours) for 1500-1800 rupees.
From Pokhara you take a bus to Beshishar (4-5 hours) and then get off at Kalimati for the local 4pm bus to Riepe or again you could take a jeep.
The second option is to take a tourist from Kathmandu or Pokhara to Dumre (4-5 hours) on the highway and then take a frequent bus to Kalimati. Then from Kalimati take the local 4pm bus or a jeep to Riepe.
Reaching Dumre is easy by tourist bus. Everyday tourist buses from Kathmandu and Pokhara pass by. You simply hop of the bus in Dumre. The Journey time is about 6 hours.
Dumre itself is a dusty concrete town with local accommodation. You now have a choice of either taking the frequent buses and jeeps to Bandipur or taking the frequent buses to Kalimati.
There is a once a day bus to Riepe departing Kalimati at about 4pm. However it usually leaves earlier in the winter.
The bus from Kalimati goes over a broken bumpy road to Riepe which altogether takes about 2 hours.
Your next alternative is to take jeep from Dumre to Riepe which will follow the same route. However it's likely to cost about 2,500+ rupees.
If you are taking a jeep and want to lower costs you might try taking a frequent bus to Kalimati and then trying to hire a jeep from Kalimati to Riepe which costs arountd 1,500-1800. There is also a daily bus from Kalimati to Reipe at 4pm.
Buses depart Riepe in the morning at 8.30 am. Otherwise you can ask your host in Riepe to arrange a jeep for you to Kalimati or Dumre.
Finally you could also arrange a jeep from either Kathmandu or Pokahra to take you all the way to Riepe however it will cost you a full day jeep hire and driver which is around $100. Depending on the jeep up to 6 people can ride it.
You could also drive yourself via an off road motorcycle but knowing how to ride off road is pretty essential. Be warned, the road is off road in places. Rocky, bumpy and dusty. Monsoon travel via motorbike is not recommended.
Finally if you've booked a room at a homestay then they will be able to help you with jeep transport waiting for you in Dumre or Kalimati. Again, you'll be paying for a jeep but it is more comfortable than a bus.
This map shows you the main area of Riepe, bus stops in Dumre, Kalimati and Riepe village.
You may download a GPS/GPX of Riepe here.
Riepe's recorded history is very limited. It's known the area was inhabited by rural farming communities by the 18th century. Much like it's counterpart across the hill in Bandipur in the late 18th century the Newars arrived from Kathmandu following the Malla Empires collapse. Unlike in Bandipur the Newars did not fully occupy Reipe. Today the lower settlements in Riepe are still inhabited by a Newari community.
Reipe never joined the trade route from Kathmandu to Tibet via Pokhara. This was led mainly be the Newars in Bandipur. Riepe had a much lower population and so wasn't nor was interested in competing for trade.
The result of this is that Riepe never fully developed a road linking it to the main highway until the 21st century.
Riepe is "Discovered"
Contentious as it may be, Riepe has only recently come to the attention of the media. Most of this came about from an investment by Tony Jones who founded the Old Inn in Bandipur.
The idea was to help build cottages next to genuine local houses to encourage tourists to stay in Riepe and to encourage younger villagers to stay rather than looking for jobs in cities. Most of Riepe's population is an older generation so by offering the opportunity to earn money in Riepe though homestays and tourism it's hoped a younger generation will might stay home.
Today at least 7 of the houses in Riepe now have an additional cottage with attached bathrooms added on.
Riepe remains a relatively isolated village primarily because it lacks a sealed road. For those seeking the real Nepal this is a good thing as it keeps the big tour groups away. The price you pay is spending two hours on a bumpy bus or jeep. That's not putting off some package meditation groups or tour groups. But the numbers are still low.
The interesting note here is that investments have already been made in Riepe towards developing it into a tourist resort. How much this development will change Riepe is yet to be determined. The onset of change will likely occur when or if the road from Kalimati to Reipe is sealed. Residents say it's about 5 years away.
At the moment Riepe remains more untouched than many trekking villages high up in the mountains. And, the rewards from reaching Riepe far outnumber the hours on a bumpy road to reach the idyllic village.
Highlights Riepe Village include:
- Rural stone paved village on a hilltop
- Staying with a genuine local family
- Clear mountain viewpoints
- Dedicated cottages
- Traditional lifestyles
- Traditional farming
- Traditional local meals
- Natural walks
If rural life, peace and quiet along with blissful mountain views are what you are looking for then Riepe is one of the best places to find them. In case you haven't guessed by now there is virtually nothing modern in Riepe. Even the single shop in Riepe is randomly run from a local persons living room.
One of the key attractions in Riepe is relaxation in an age gone by.
The highlight of Riepe is the main village itself. If you've been trekking and noticed how even remote village will have wonderful stone pavements, walls and flower gardens then Riepe village is certainly one of best at showing off this style.
Set on terraces family homes dotted along green pastures in a quasi Newari style rise up along the hill. With mud plaster walls painted red complete with balconies and thatched roofs these are traditional homes. Large grey and sandstone colored slabs of stone have been used to create lovely pathways linking all the houses together along a winding trail.
Wooden arches have colorful flowers hanging and growing from them. Flower with yet more bright flowers adorn open areas in from of the homes. Little wooden tables and stools sit out beckoning you to enjoy the vast hill views that have a background of the Annapurna Mountain range.
Annapurna Mountain Range
The Annapurna Mountain Range seems closer in Riepe than it does in Bandipur. It's also right on your doorstep. Quite literally you spend the morning or evening in wooden chair right in front of your room looking out at snow capped mountain peaks.
If a walk to see mountains is your thing then Riepe has several look out points. All show the same range but with different foregrounds. Large majestic trees, traditional farmhouses or indeed quaint garden views.
While easy treks like Poon Hill have closer views of the same range it's in Riepe that you can see them without a trek nor trekker in sight. There's nothing but the sound of nature around you in Riepe helping you to relax.
The area surrounding Riepe is filled with forest, pastures, hillsides, fauna and the odd spot of wildlife. Each trail is unmarked and unofficial. But all the locals will point you to the upper hike or the temple hike.
There's a mix of stone steps, farming trails and village trails leading you up the hill behind Riepe Village.
It reaches a summit of 1400 meters near a temple to Shiva which is closed but for windows that let you look in at the shrine. This is known as the Koth Gau Hike.
Birdlife, butterflies are all abundant here. If you go with a local along the walk then they will no doubt fill you with tales of tigers visiting the village at night. Though it should be pointed out that no one has actually seen one in decades. Many younger villagers will say there's a wild domestic cat in the woods and no more.
The nature walk circles around the hill crescent and returns back to the secondary school in Riepe where their is one more small shrine to Shiva. If school children are out playing you'll be the center of attention. Meanwhile as you make the last corner to Riepe village you'll pass though farming lands that look down at the Newar community below.
Rural Traditional Farming
There are few places the you can visit in Nepal that offer you the chance to truly experience rural farming. While the likes of Pokhara or even villages you pass by when trekking have older farming techniques, Riepe's farming is as if you stumbled across a village time forgot.
Chicken's are free range and run around farmhouses at there on will. Eggs are collected from small shelters every morning.
Goat families equally roam around gardens with free will. Only raising the brief shout or grunt from a local when they try to nibble on favorite household plants.
Bee keeping is more of past time in Riepe than a mainstay. Local's will often have a bee hive on their property and collect fresh honey from it whenever they need to.
In the small fields around Riepe women pull rice from paddies. Men plant more and so the circle continues as it has for hundreds of years. Each house grows it's own vegetables. Onion, spinach, carrots, radish and potatoes all grow and are harvested just before dinner time.
In a nearby field a local villager checks on the new coffee plants. It will be a few years yet before they produce any beans but like it's tourism Riepe is investing in its future.
Inside the temple there's not a lot to see aside from some small statues in darkened corners. Nevertheless the enigmatic temple remains and impressive sight within the town.
If you've trekked in areas away from commercial development then you'll have noticed how incredible the fresh food tastes. Spinach in the mountains is has so much more flavor than in the big cities. Carrots are positively bursting with flavor an you might wonder why your organic carrots back home can't match their flavor.
The answer to all this lies with Riepe's organic farming. Each household has their own vegetable patch and each one is tended to with everything from buffalo dung to goat dung.
The result is fertilizer free vegetables ground next to each other seasonally. Nothing is force fed in Riepe and you'll come away wondering why food in the rest of the world can't be grown in the same way.
Dal Bhat is the stable food in Riepe as it is most of Nepal. But lunch and dinner time Dal Bhat will have variations. A potato curry or a cauliflower curry. Dal from another house or dal from the same house. Today local homestays are encouraged to expand their menus. However there are few tourists here to practice and so traditional foods take over as being the favorite. And the tourists benefit from this far more than a makeshift chicken sizzler.
There is no entrance fee to enter Riepe. However do be aware that several tour operators are offering tour packages to Riepe which may include extras. These include tours to Bandipur, hikes around Riepe or indeed meditation classes. Most of these are guided extras and not mandatory.
Most people how visit Riepe can do a lot of these activities by themselves or better yet with the host family you are staying with.
Riepe can be visited at any time of the year. However monsoon season will add delays as the road is not sealed for the last hour or so. Likewise mountain views will be harder during the monsoon season but if you are staying a few days you should get a morning or evening with snowy peaks.
Riepe Weather by month
|Precipitation / Rainfall (mm)|
There is no weather station on Riepe. The above weather charts is based on nearby averages. Riepe shares a very similar weather climate to nearby Bandipur.
Riepe is just two hours from Besisahar which is one of the main trail heads for the Annapurna Trekking Region. From a day hike in Riepe you can actually look down on Besisahar. If you've just finished a trek and want to stay in the same type of environment before going back to a city you could easily get transport from Besisahar to either Dumre or Kalimati before staying in Riepe.
For day hikes around Riepe it's important to realize that there are no trail markings. You'll be on your own. Otherwise you can hire or ask one of the locals to go with you. Altitude won't be a problem and the area is small.
The Koth Gau hike is a lovely morning hike which leaves Reipe towards the old Shiva shrine at the top of a hill near the village.
The first of the hike means taking a trail behind the last house on the hill and straight into forest. The smell of pine is immediate and the trail is open and obvious. There's a set of stone steps you can follow upwards at points. There are also small grassy breaks between the woodland areas.
The trees thin out and you'll emerge on a longer set of steps steeply leading up to a gateway. There's a small square building here which is the Shiva shrine. The views on a clear day show the entire Annapurna Mountain range. The trail by the shrine follows the stone path and trail back. However there is another route you can take back to go full circle. The route leads down to a larger trail used by local farmers.
There's a rest stop made here with another great views of the valley below. It's here there seems to be a road but it's not trafficked at all other than by farmers and buffalo.
You'll soon come to Riepe secondary school which as another small shrine. Following the trail around you'll pass through farmlands. You could trek down hill here or follow the farming path back to come full circle back to Riepe village.
There are none. You'll be eating with the host family you are staying with and basically eating what they will be eating. For those in fear of this worry not. The food is picked straight from the garden and could not be fresher.
Dal bhat is the staple meal in Riepe. It's good and it's varied which is even better. Rice is always present but in Riepe they have a large selection of fresh vegetables to choose from. I'd nearly go so far as to say Riepe's Dal Bhat is once of the best in Nepal.
Dal Bhat from Riepe Village - a mix of rice, fresh vegetables, soup, potatoes and egg
Vegetarians will be happy in Riepe as virtually every meal is vegetarian option. Meat is a luxury in Riepe and usually only used during festivals. However as tourist you can certainly pay for a meat meal, usually chicken. If you are with a large group then goat is also available. Eggs are readily available.
Meals are usually included in your room price. As above, if you want extras like meat you can pay an additional amount.
While Dal Bhat is the stable lunch and evening meal you can easily opt for meals like fried rice, noodle soup and even momo in some house holds.
Breakfast is usually porridge and or eggs. Rice is also available.
Soft drinks are available in Riepe, so too is tea and instant coffee. Nepali sweet are scarce and don't expect to find chocolate there. It's a case of bring you own and learn to share it like the locals would!
There are no hotels or guesthouses in Riepe, only homestays. Each homestay in Riepe has had an additional cottage added on to the family home where you can stay.
Cottages are build in the same style as the family home using traditional building methods. The walls are brick and mud plastered. The roof is thatched and the floor is hard mud lined. All cottages have an attached bathroom and hot shower. Toilets are western and there is bathroom is ventilated.
The cottages are spacious with large double bed and have the option of a third single bed. Towels are provided.
The cottages are attached to main family home but you will have your own keys and padlock for the door for peace of mind. Meals are usually served on an outside table which you can have either with the family or at a time of your choosing. In the event of heavy rain meals will be served in the main family room.
If you are part of a group then you'll be pleased to note that all of Reipe houses are within 30 seconds to 1 minutes walk from each other. Large group meals can be arranged either in a one family area or in a separate dining area.
Given that Reipe is off the beaten path it's best to make sure there is accommodation available before you arrive. I've stayed in Reipe and know one of the family members there well so you are welcome to get in contact with me.
Alternative you may contact the organization who set up the cottages and book through them. Annapurna Homestay - Tel: +977 1 4700012, Mobile: +977 9801158002 or +977 9851105063.
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