30 Best Natural Places In Kathmandu For A Breath Of Fresh Air
All throughout our childhood, Nepalis learn that our country is full of natural and geographical diversity. We learn about our many national parks, our hills, and plains. But very few of us truly make it a point to venture out and see all of this magnificent natural beauty for ourselves.
There’s always one obligation or another, and we’re always too pressed for time! But Nepal is sprawling with natural places — no matter where you live, there are bound to be a few places of natural beauty within an hour or two of travel.
The same goes for people living in Kathmandu. So, here is a handy guide full of 30 best natural places in Kathmandu for a breath of fresh air.
1. Shivapuri National Park
Nepalis are quite lucky in that they can easily find the lap of nature without traveling too much in any direction. Shivapuri National Park is within easy reach of Kathmandu residents and lies less than 7 km away from Ring Road.
This place is one of the most famous natural places in Kathmandu, and you can see why. It is a moderately easy hike that offers you a lot of sights and experiences within a few short hours. You will definitely get to see rivers and waterfalls here. It is the perfect choice to enjoy the dense forests and greenery without too much effort.
Situated 6.8 km north from Narayan Gopal Chowk, Ringroad. You will pass by Shahid Gangalal Hospital and Budhanilkantha Temple on the way.
Phulchowki is easily one of the most rewarding hiking locations in the vicinity of Kathmandu. Situated to the south of Kathmandu near Godawari, the Phulchowki trail offers some of the best views in Kathmandu. This is also a popular destination to enjoy the snowfall during the winters.
This destination offers a natural setting in the form of a vibrant tropical forest. For those who are new to hiking, you can find numerous stairs to help you in the 1500-meter climb. On a clear day, you can also have a chance to view some magnificent mountain ranges.
Take a bus from Satdobato to Godawari Bus Stop, situated 9.4 km to the south. The Phulchowki trail starts right here.
3. Godawari Botanical Gardens
Situated right near Godawari Bus Stop is yet another destination in Kathmandu to experience some greenery. The National Botanical Gardens situated in Godawari is operated by the Department of Plant Resources. It offers a rich variety of Nepal’s flora, having been built especially for this purpose.
If you are a plants nerd, it is simply the best natural place to visit in Kathmandu for you. The Botanical Gardens is spread across enough land area that you can explore it for an entire day, and has grassy plains where you can settle down for a picnic.
A bus or micro from Satdobato will drop you off straight to the gate, which is situated in Godawari Bus Stop, 9.4 km south.
4. Taudaha Lake
Situated on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley, Taudaha Lake is a fantastic destination for those who love water bodies. A location associated with the origin myth of Kathmandu valley, Taudaha Lake is also a haven for wildlife. You can have a sit-down on the side of this lake to watch many varieties of birds. During the turn of seasons, it is also the preferred location for many exotic migratory birds to have a rest.
The lake is well-known but not oft-visited by valley residents. Given its size and area, you can hang around in the quiet, placid environment all day without getting bothered by crowds.
Taudaha Lake is located to the south of Ring Road area, about 4.9 km from Ekantakuna. You can also follow the main road straight south of Balkhu, which is a distance of 6.5 km.
Sundarijal is a natural place in Kathmandu with many different attractions. The most popular attraction of this place is the gorgeous waterfall. The name, Sundarijal itself means ‘beautiful waters’. But if you want to pack in a lot of activities on a trip, Sundarijal is also situated near a forest that is full of hiking trails.
You can also engage in a few different adventure sports there, including canyoning and canoeing.
Situated in the dense Gokarneshwor forest, Sundarijal is 9.9 km to the east of Chabahil.
Nagarkot is by far the most preferred destination in Kathmandu for a good view. It is situated about 21 km to the east of Koteshwor. People typically choose Nagarkot for an overnight stay with friends and their significant others, making it a great natural romantic destination in Kathmandu. Accordingly, Nagarkot has many well-facilitated hotels for a memorable stay.
The view from Nagarkot is one of the best in the valley as well, and you can also watch a gorgeous sunrise from a nearby view tower!
Located 21 km to the east of Koteshwor. Turn left from Jagati and take the Nagarkot Road to the right from Kamalbinayak, and you should be there within half an hour.
Chobar is easily one of the most rewarding and unique nature destinations within Kathmandu. The Chobar gorge is a geographical wonder, unlike anything you’ll see in Kathmandu city. Meanwhile, the architectural wonder and natural setting of the Jalbinayak Temple is simply breathtaking!
In addition to that, you can also go visit the Chobar caves if you’re feeling adventurous.
Chobar is located a mere 3 km south of Balkhu, Ring Road.
8. Hippie Hill
Hippie Hill is a small haven that sits on the outskirts of Gokarneshwor Forest, near Budhanilkantha Temple. To be fair, this place is named after an extremely popular restaurant with a unique, rustic atmosphere.
Nestled in between tall hills densely packed with trees, it's completely hidden from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The fact that the Hippie Hill establishment is literally attached to the wooded hills is simply another plus point.
Hippie Hill is situated around 6.7 km north of Narayan Gopal Chowk, Ring Road. Take the second right after Shree Krishna Temple and you should be there within a few minutes.
Bhotechaur village is often called Mini Ilam because of its sprawling tea garden. It is actually situated in Sindhupalchowk district, but can be reached within a two-hour drive from Kathmandu. You can easily find local teashops here to taste some authentic teas — grown in the local lands, and prepared by the locals.
This natural place is perfect if you want to have relaxing long strolls down tame hills or if you want to take a long drive.
Bhotechaur is situated 30 km east of Chabahil Chowk. Take the main road east past Boudha Stupa and Kageshwori Manohara. Take a left on the fort at Jarsing Pauwa, and you should be there within an hour.
10. Changunarayan Forest
Changunarayan Temple is one of the oldest temples in all of Nepal, often visited by families as a cultural tour. However, few know of the beautiful forest that sits right behind Changunarayan Temple. Full of varied terrain and beautiful pine trees, you can traverse the entire area on two-wheelers. If you want to explore more, and there’s definitely lots to explore, a hike is a better option.
Changunarayan is situated just 10 minutes north of Dekocha, Bhaktapur which falls on the Nagarkot Road. Coming in from Koteshwor, turn left at Jagati, and another left at Kamalbinayak. Once you reach Dekocha, it's a right from there.
The forest area has something of a hidden entrance, situated to the right of the long entrance to the temple. Reach the area within a few minutes of taking this road.
11. Switzerland Park, Indradaha
Looking for a picnic spot that’s easily accessed via a road? Switzerland Park is the place you’re looking for. This picnic spot also comes with a lot of natural greenery around and a great view of nature and Kathmandu Valley. From this vantage point, you can see Swayambhunath Stupa clearly in the distance. The best part is the road leading to this place is well-pitched so you don’t have to worry about hiring a Tata Scorpio.
Switzerland Park is located 6.7 km west Of Kalanki. From Naikap, head towards Drigung Kagyud Rinchen Palri Monastery. Just keep following the pitched road until you reach the park.
12. Kalu Pandey Park, Dahachowk
If you go a few kilometers ahead of Switzerland Park, you’ll reach another naturally beautiful place called Kazi Kalu Pandey Park. For those who don’t know this place has a stone cremation of Kazi Kalu Pandey who was one of the leaders of the army of King Prithvi Narayan Shah. When the clouds are clear, enjoy a good view of the mountains from this place.
Kalu Pandey Park is situated 9.1 km west of Kalanki. You’ll just have to pass by Switzerland Park and follow the pitch road until you rich the top of the hill.
13. Lakuri Bhanjyang
Well, if you want to see the entire Kathmandu valley i.e. all three Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur then head to Lakuri Bhanjyang. The place is not just famous for its sunrise view along with mountains, but also for hiking, cycling, and bike rides. People also go along with their families for picnics.
Lakuri Bhanjyang is located 14.3 km south-east of Gwarko. You can get a bus from Lagankhel, but you have a small hike ahead of you. Motorbikes are best for reaching here.
Champa Devi is a famous hiking trail that leads you to the top of the third highest hill surrounding the valley. Champa Devi offers you a quality time as the trail is fully of grassy land and gorgeous forests. For Hindu devotees, this is also a religious hike as you can visit Champa Devi temple which is a famous Hindu pilgrimage. If you’re not tired of climbing the 2278m high hill, you can even head towards Chandragiri which is right next to it.
Champa Devi is situated 11.7 km south of Balkhu. You need to start hiking from Pharping village, and the trail is easy to follow and should easily lead you to the top of the hill.
15. Trishul Danda
For bike enthusiasts and hikers as well as pilgrims, Trishul Danda has it all. With Changunarayan neighboring this natural place, it is a religious destination in itself. As the name suggests, this place has a huge trident, a rare five-faced Ganesh idol, Gorakhnath temple, Shiva lingas and many shrines. If you're lucky you might also get to meet the caretaker of the place, the famous Kali Baba
It is located 8.5 km north from Bhaktapur Durbar Square. You’ll have to go towards Changu Narayan until a point and head east towards the Telkot-Changu road to get here.
Heading to the top of a hill just to enjoy nature might not be a thing for everyone. If you’re one of these people, then head on to Gundu which is not very far nor a hard place to find. This place was quite famous last year in Tiktoks after people posted videos of a crashed plane located here. In reality, the plane is a fake lookalike used by the Nepal Army in the past for training.
The great thing about this destination is that the model airplane isn’t the only attraction here. This place is actually a large, grassy meadow that offers fantastic views of nearby hills and some farmlands.
Gundu is located 4.9 km south of Sallaghari, Bhaktapur. You’ll need to take the right from the main highway from Suryabinayak towards Pilot Baba. At the very next intersection, take a right. A two-wheeler is the best option to reach this location.
Another great place for hiking or cycling is Dandagaun. You’ll have to pass through several army checkposts to reach the place as it falls inside Shivapuri National Park. The place offers a great view and if you’re lucky, you might even run into some exotic wild creatures.
Dandagaun is 5.5 to the north of Narayan Gopal Chowk. You will pass by Budhanilkantha Temple and a few army checkposts on the way. Make sure to take your own vehicle as the road is quite unkempt.
Tare Bhir lies on the outskirts of Shivapuri, which is a great place for a day trip. Going there via vehicle might be quite tricky for beginners and it will be next to impossible if it is raining. But, the place can be seen as an adventure ride for cyclists and dirt bike riders. Not only does the place give a great view of Kathmandu Valley, but it also has the perfect natural touch to it.
Tarebhir is located 6.1 km to the north-east of Budhanilkantha. The road only leads a little bit further from Tarebhir Primary School. You'll have to walk from there to reach the viewpoint.
19. White Gumba
If you want to wander off to nature in a serene place of worship, then White Gumba might interest you. White Gumba is a monastery with Tibetan architecture that is open to the public on selective days. The place is beautifully built and situated right in the middle of nature. Your mind will be at peace just walking around the monastery.
It is located 3.6 km north-west of Sitapaila. Be sure to watch out for Sitapaila temple and Red Monastery on the way to this destination.
20. Jarsing Pauwa
Jarsing Pauwa is a perfect picnic spot at an isolated location, and situated on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The location might be a bit of a drive, but you can easily reach here by road — or make it a hike too. The place is also close to a tea garden which lies at Sindhupalchowk district. Lush green environment, view of the mountains and some fresh air — what more do you need?
Jarsing Pauwa is situated 19 km north-east of Bouddha. Reach Sankhu and take a left to reach Jarsing Pauwa. You can even get a public bus from Jorpati bus stand.
21. Jamacho Gumba, Nagarjuna
For the perfect escape on your one weekend off, run to Jamacho Gumba located in Nagarjuna. For Nepali citizens, you’ll only have to pay Rs. 100 to enjoy every perk nature has to offer. The hiking trail has a fair few checkpoints reminding you of the distance you have walked.
Jamancho Gumba is situated within the Nagarjuna National Park, so you might even spot some wild animals in this natural place. And if you climb the view tower in the gumba, you’ll be blessed with a picturesque view of Kathmandu.
Turn north from Balaju Bypass and you’ll reach an army gate in no less than 1km. You need to buy tickets for entry, which cost only Rs. 100 for Nepali citizens and a bit more for foreign tourists.
If you’re specifically looking for a natural place to visit in Kathmandu with your family, Namobuddha is the best choice for you. Namobuddha Monastery is also considered to be of great historical significance, as it is said that on that spot, Lord Gautam Buddha provided a hungry tigress with his own meat since he couldn’t bear to see her suffering. Not only will you be fascinated with the story related to Namobuddha, but the view will also captivate you too.
After visiting the monasteries, you might witness some elderly people perform a traditional Tibetan Circle dance called ‘gorshey’. You can experience all of this in just one day since it’s only 50km away from the heart of Kathmandu which is only a 2 hours ride.
From Dhulikhel chowk, turn towards Prithvi Raj Marga where you’ll see a police checkpoint. Turn right here and keep going until you reach Namobuddha.
Situated only 30 minutes from the dusty roads of Kalanki, you’ll reach an unbelievable haven of natural beauty in Kathmandu. To enter Chisapani, you’ll have to buy a ticket from the Shivapuri National Park ticket counter. Then, you’ll need to hike ahead from the breathtaking Sundarijal towards Chisapani. Since it’s a fairly long walk, many people prefer to have a night stay here and hike back the next day. Staying over will also be worth it since you can witness the mesmerizing sunset view.
From Kalanki, drive along Jorpati until you reach Sundarijal. After passing the Gosaikunda entrance, you’ll reach the ticket counter.
Suryachaur is also known as ‘Suryachaur viewpoint’. So, we know it must be picture-perfect. But you have to be careful if you’re taking your bikes as the roads are quite narrow beyond the army checkpoint, and slippery too if it rains. Once you reach the top, though, you’ll see the mesmerizing view of the whole Langtang Himalayan Range. You can buy a cup of tea and enjoy the chilly wind along with the best natural view in Kathmandu.
To reach Suryachaur, you have to turn right towards Tokha from Samakhusi. Then, after you reach Jhor, drive ahead until you arrive at an army checkpoint where you’ll need to buy tickets.
Kakani is quickly gaining popularity as a natural place in Kathmandu and a must-visit destination for sightseeing, picnics, and camping. Once you reach Kakani, you can see the blissful wide view of snow-capped mountains. In many cases, you’ll even feel like you’re touching the clouds. But again, if it’s raining you’ll have to be extra careful with the slippery roads.
You’ll be amazed and ask yourself if this really is Nepal. Also, don’t forget to taste the fresh trout fishes if you’re into that! If you don’t want to eat anything at the moment, you can instead buy some fishes and enjoy it at home.
To reach Kakani, you have to take the Balaju Bypass highway which leads to Nuwakot. After an hour and a half ride, you’ll reach the Osho Ashram. A further half an hour from there, and you’ll have to take a right from the Kakani Bajar.
Chandragiri is already a popular destination and after seeing the delightful natural view of this place, you’ll see why it’s a must-visit place. Most people visit Chandragiri to take a ride on the cable cars and if you too are thinking of it, then we suggest you buy an online ticket which is a way easier process. Once you’re on the cable car, you’ll reach another hill and enter a whole new world. If the day is clear, you’ll be able to see Mt Everest from the height. Just a 5 minute walk away is Bhaleswor Mahadev Temple. If you’re religious, you must visit this heavenly place at least once.
Benches are laid out all over the place so you can take a rest anytime you want. And if you have kids with you — you'll get a rest from them too as the destination has parks for adults and children too. The children’s park has toys of all kinds in a safe environment. But one thing to be aware of is that no outside food is allowed in there so you might have to carry some extra cash for lunch.
From Kalanki, turn right and drive for 30 mins then you’ll reach Satungal. From there, turn left then you’ll get to Chandragiri where you can park your vehicles.
Not many people know this but the Pashupatinath Temple has a secret park that is absolutely stunning! Once you enter the temple, you’ll have to walk up some stairs and while enjoying the peaceful view of flying birds and the rustic buildings — you’ll reach the park in no time. Many people choose to have picnics there or simply relax. But, if you want to avoid the commotion and just enjoy a peaceful, religious setting then we suggest you visit the place early in the morning.
You can have an undisturbed meditation session in the early light with only the sound of birds chirping. The best attraction of this place is the numerous deer preserved in the area. So, you can even treat it as a mini zoo and take your kids to watch the deer!
From Koteshwor, go straight towards Sinamangal and in 10 minutes, you’ll reach the Pasupatinath Temple.
Bishnudwar must be one of the most appealing places in Nepal filled with natural beauty. If you’re trying to hike for the first time, this trail will be ideal since it’s known to be beginner-friendly. If you’re taking a bike with you — you’ll have to pay an extra Rs.150 along with the normal fee of Rs.100 per person.
Along the way, you’ll cross through refreshing, tiny ponds, and mini waterfalls. If you’re tired, there are benches where you can give your legs a rest. Then, you’ll have to climb some more until you reach the lovely Bishnudwari. The waterfall is the main attraction here, so you can go right under the waterfall and free yourself of all the exhaustion you faced to reach there!
Go towards the Budhanilkantha temple from Maharajgunj and you’ll reach your destination in only 5 to 10 minutes.
29. Manichud Daha
Manichud Daha is a beautiful Buddhist Pilgrimage site, only a little ahead of the dense forest of Manichud Dadha. Manichud Daha is a peaceful pond covered with prayer flags and a beautiful reflection of the vast blue sky. This place really feels like heaven if you just want a relaxing and breezy time with your loved ones. If you’re looking for a camping night out or picnic, you can make yourself at home in the huge Manichud Dadha.
But you might have to be very cautious since there are dense jungles surrounding you. You won’t believe that this place is only an hour away from Boudha. Also, don’t be tempted to pluck the Laligurans there because you might be fined!
Starting at Jorpati Chowk, turn east towards Kagshwori. Take a left at the fork on Barmakhel Bus Stop, Sankhu Road. Keep following the road and you should be at Manichud in about 40 minutes.
30. Jhor Waterfall
Jhor Waterfall in Tokha has recently been a bit more popular amongst people of Kathmandu. From Chakrapath, you’ll have to take a ride for around an hour to reach there. So, if you want a crowd-free and calm place, definitely give it a visit on the weekdays. The roads leading to this place are all pitched and you don’t even have to hike much. Once you reach Jhor, you’ll only have to take the stairs for 5 minutes and you’ll be met with huge stones, and bridges.
Here, you will find two waterfalls which are the main attractions of this place. Most people jump into the waterfall with joy so you might make some new friends as well since the environment is always so jolly there. Also, there’s a Jhor Mahadev Mandir which you can visit if you’re religious.
From Chakrapath, travel through Grande Hospital straight towards Tokha. Twenty minutes ahead from Tokha, you’ll reach Jhor.
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