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Guide to Chandragiri Hill Day Hike
Kathmandu is an incredible city but its business can get a bit too much sometimes! Chandragiri Hill, at 2555m, is the perfect break from all the hustle and bustle with some incredible hiking routes to offer. You can do this trip in a day and you don’t need an expensive guide! Read on for all the details on how to get there and what to expect on this free hike!
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Also read: Guide to Sightseeing in Kathmandu
How To Get There
You can take organised tours to Chandragiri Hills which can turn out to be quite pricey. We opted for public transport to get there as it was cheap and much more interesting. To reach Chandragiri, you first have to get to Thankot which is an hour’s ride from Kathmandu city bus station. No idea what bus to get, we walked around the station asking people. We saw the sign for Thankot and just asked the driver to stop. We then walked through the town to the drive through arch way for the cable cars.
Getting to the Trail
Chandragiri cable car distance is 2.5 km uphill, which takes 10 more minutes. You can apparently trek from behind the attractions at the top (we didn’t know about this). We did the 3 hours trek from the bottom of the cable cars. There was a guy at the gate who pointed us to the not so established hiking trail! If there’s no one there to point you in the right direction, look for the little building below and follow that road.
Nature of the Trail
Some parts of the trail are pretty well established but some are SUPER overgrown!! You’ll mainly be hiking through tall shrubbery and wooded areas up several sets of steps. It’s a sweaty, tiring plod to the top but a rewarding one, especially if you hike on a clear day. If your timing is right, there’s panoramic views of Kathmandu valley and the Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest. Unlucky for us the Himalayan ranges were completely covered by fog. That said, when we emerged from the bushes we had amazing views of the valley and surrounding hills.
Attractions at the Top
Every guide we read said it would take 3 hours to get to the top of the cable car station but we got there in 2 hours and had plenty of time to explore the attractions. We took the obligatory pictures under the Chandragiri Heart and then wandered around the multitude of eateries. There’s lots of option here but it’s a bit pricey. We opted for the buffet restaurant as it gave us the most bang for our buck. It was ok, filling but not the best thing we’ve ever eaten. You should think about packing your own lunch. You can pay to go to the viewing tower, however it wasn’t worth it for us as the fog covered everything! We then went for a sit down and a treated ourselves to a hot choccy in Bar@2520, definitely worth it! You’ll also find a play area, shops, amphitheatre and resort!
The Long Way Down
After a mooch around the top we toyed with the idea of taking the cable car down but then decided to get more steps in if we were going to be talking the Annapurna Circuit in a few days. We would definitely recommend getting the cable car because the walk back down is long and boring! It’s a never ending dirt track to the bottom, views aren’t amazing and when bikes/ cars go past it gets pretty dusty. If you do want to walk down then bring some music, Spotify made the plod more fun!
We’d definitely recommend this hike for people thinking about doing the Annapurna Circuit but have NEVER done any kind of trekking (us) as it gave us a really thought that we could do it! It’s a steep 2 hour climb on varying kinds of ground but definitely doable for averagely fit people. It’s free to hike (apart from food), it’s a great break from the crazy city and an interesting way to fit in some well needed exercise after stuffing your face in Thamel! Check out our guide on some other great ways to spend your days in Kathmandu.