For the people who have few days to spare in Nepal, the 3-day Balthali Village trekking will give you a sweet taste of trekking in Nepal. The trailhead of this trek is easily reached within an hour drive from the capital Kathmandu. You’ll have the option to stay either in very nice accommodations , or more standard teahouses.
This Balthali Village Trek is a short drive from Kathmandu, on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley rim. It passes through small farming villages, where you can experience the lifestyle of local people, along with lush green forests, ancient temples, and terraced farmland. Add to this the stunning snowy peaks visible in the distance, and this is the perfect introduction to trekking in the Himalayas!
Day 1: Arrival in Nepal, sunset in Dhulikhel
After arriving at the airport, head to Dhulikhel, a town high on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. Stay at one of Nepal’s premier resorts, Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel, or one of the simpler guesthouses around the town if you’re on a smaller budget. Dhulikhel’s location means it’s a great spot from which to enjoy sunrises and sunsets over the Himalayas, which aren’t too far away.
Day 2: Trek to Namo Buddha
After a lazy morning with a late breakfast with stunning views, head to Namo Buddha, one of the most sacred Tibetan Buddhist sites in Nepal. Lunch today will be picnic-style along the trail.
Today’s walk will be around three hours, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the high-quality accommodation, both at Dwarika’s Dhulikhel and the Namo Buddha Resort, your stop for the night. Arriving here around mid-afternoon, you can just relax, or head to a lookout point close by for a stunning sunset. The resort is a sustainable, eco-friendly place that is famous for its excellent food, all organic and grown on-site. Day-trippers come from Kathmandu just for the food!
Day 3: Trek to Balthali
After a delicious breakfast with a panoramic view, take a short walk downhill to the famous Namo Buddha stupa. It is only small, but it is extremely important to Tibetan Buddhists, as it commemorates Siddhartha Gautam’s act of offering his body to a hungry tigress, which is said to have contributed to his ability to achieve enlightenment and, ultimately, Buddha-hood. A short walk above the stupa is the newly built Tibetan Buddhist monastery perched on the hilltop.
From here, continue walking through fields and orchards to the quiet village of Balthali, with a picnic lunch along the way. Here again there are amazing views of the mountains, farmland, and villages. Overnight at the Balthali Village Resort.
Day 4: Trek to Panauti, drive to Kathmandu
After one last breakfast with this spectacular view, start the trek to Panauti. Most of today’s trail is along a dirt road, passing beautiful small villages, terraced fields and amazing views. Finish at the Newar town of Panauti, where you can explore before or after a delicious local lunch, depending on how quickly you trekked down from Balthali.
Panauti is one of the best-preserved Newari towns in the country, and has been spared any earthquake damage over the years because of the popular belief that it is built upon a single, large rock. The town is built in the signature Newar style, with pink brick and carved wooden temples beside the river. After exploring, give your feet a rest by hopping into a car for the drive back to Kathmandu.
En route, stop at Bhaktapur, one of the three ancient cities within the Kathmandu Valley. Lying 14 kilometers east of Kathmandu city, Bhaktapur was founded in the 9th century, and the old city plan is shaped like a sacred conch shell. Not only because of its famous carved peacock windows but also due to its museum, Bhaktapur is the centre of traditional Nepalese wood carving.
After touring Bhaktapur, continue to Kathmandu and check into one of the nicest hotels in town, Dwarika’s Hotel. The place is not just a hotel, but practically a museum of traditional arts and crafts, with unique antique furniture and fittings in each room. If you’re on a tighter budget, there are numerous other boutique hotels around the city that offer a similar charm without the price tag.
Dwarika’s is conveniently located a short walk from the Pashupatinath Temple. Head there for dusk, to see local Hindus performing their evening puja, before heading out for a final dinner in the city.
Day 5: Departure
Depending on the time of your flight, there may be some time for souvenir shopping in the morning. The tourist hub of Thamel is a great place to head, as here you can find all kinds of products, from traditional handicrafts to outdoor clothing. Don’t forget to bargain!