Kathmandu Valley has the kind of terrain that makes cycling around the outskirts a healthy pastime. Not many insurmountable climbs, not too many steep downhills either, but there’s a lot of ups and downs, which means heart-healthy exercise that builds a hearty appetite, and brings the color back to those cheeks made pallid by long sedentary hours in cubicles with a laptop in front. Yeah, that’s the general lifestyle of today’s city folks. But, now that you are in Kathmandu, make the most of your time building stamina and strength while seeing and experiencing a lot more than the usual tourist does.
Pedal your way around the valley on a sturdy cycle that you can easily hire for a couple of days from quite a few rentals around the city. Won’t cost you much, and by all accounts, those two-wheelers are pretty well maintained. Now, if you are convinced about what I am saying, then let’s see where you can pedal to around the valley. Here are some suggestions.
If you are the sort who wants to go full blast, and are fit enough, then the Kathmandu Valley round trip shout fit the bill perfectly. The route begins from Kakani, goes through Chisapani, then enters Nagarkot, and carries on to Dhulikhel, from where you cycle on to Namo Buddha, and finally reach Lakhure Bhanjyang. Wow! That’s quite a ride, but like said before, it’s perfect for those adventurous folks with confidence oozing out of their ears, and a body that’s in pretty good shape.
It’s a challenging ride, too, with some good climbs, and covering quite some distance. But, just imagine, you’ll be visiting places good enough to be on picture postcards. This trip should take around three to four days, with stops in, maybe, the lovely resorts of Nagarkot and Dhulikhel, if you time it right. Both have gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and panoramic views of the majestic Himalayan peaks. Of course, you could also opt to camp wherever your heart desires, in which case you will have to have a tent and sleeping bag with you. But, it’s bound to be a great experience.
For those with less time on their hands, but still in good physical shape, overnight trips would be ideal. One route starts from Patan Durbar Square, goes through Dhobighat, then Chobar, Taudaha, Chalnakhel village, and Shree Narayan Pharping, before coming to an end in Dakshinkali Temple. This route is not that difficult, and it will take your through some lovely countryside around the valley.
Another route starts from Koteshwor in Kathmandu, carries on along the Arniko Highway to the road going towards Changunarayan Temple, then to Chailing and Telkot, and ending in Nagarkot. This ride is harder because of longer distance, with a good deal of uphill rides, especially to Nagarkot.
Similarly, another ‘hard’ route is the one ending in Kakani, a very scenic place, with beautiful views all around. You begin your ride from Kathmandu Durbar Square, pedal your way to Sorahakhutte, Balaju Chjowk, then Dharmasthali, and along the Trishuli Highway to first Kaulethan, then Kakani.
The ride to Shivpuri is also considered to be quite challenging. It starts from Kathmandu Durbar Square, goes through Thamel, then Samakhusi, on to Baniyatar, Tokha, the Nepal Army camp of Shivpuri, and finally to Shivpuri hill, from where you get a gorgeous eyeful of the valley below and mountains above. This route goes through a forest, so that makes it all the more exciting.
Another route that’s as exciting is the one ending in Lakhure Bhanjyang. It begins in Patan Durbar Square, goes through Gwarko, Lubhu, and Lamatar Phedi, before reaching Thakuri Gaon Road, and on to Lakhure Bhanjyang, where there’s a view tower from where you get spectacular scenery all around, including the Himalayas.
Now, we come to those with less time, and perhaps in less than tip-top physical shape. Let me hasten to say that there are quite a few options for them too, and good ones at that. Rides will be around two hours on average, but they will be hours well spent, that’s for sure! Just remember to start early so as to avoid traffic pollution.
You can take the route starting from Kathmandu Durbar Square, on to Nayabazar, then Balaju and Mudkhu, and end at Tokha. Or, starting again from Kathmadu Durbar Square, ride to Lazimpat, Golfutar, Chapali, then Budanilkantha and Nangki Gumba, and finally, a place known as Helipad. You’ll be riding through the Shivpuri National Park, so plenty of greenery around. This ride is very popular with local cyclist enthusiasts.
Another two-hour ride is the one starting from Kathmandu Durbar Square, going through Sitapaila and Ramkot, before reaching Bhim Dhunga. The scenery is awesome on this ride. Similar is the case with the route starting from Patan Durbar Square and ending at Chobar, passing through Ekantakuna, Nakhu, and Jal Binayak on the way.
One route takes you to a place called Khokana that’s famous for its mustard oil which is made using ancient traditional ways. It starts from Patan Durbar Square, goes to Ekanatakuna, Nakhu, and Bhainespati, before ending at Khokana. Similarly, the ride to the ancient Newar town of Kirtipur starts at Patan Durbar Square, goes over the Dhobighat suspension bridge, before reaching first, Chobar gate, and then, Kirtipur.
It goes without saying that all the above-mentioned rides allow you to explore the valley in a very leisurely fashion, interacting with locals on the way, and stopping wherever you fancy. All of which goes towards a better understanding of the local communities and their culture and lifestyle.