Chandragiri Hills Kathmandu Day Hike

Are you visiting Nepal and have limited time? Perhaps you are staying in Kathmandu and want away from the hustle and bustle? Whatever your reason is, the valley has some incredible hiking routes to offer. These are easily walkable in one day, if not an overnight stay. Unlike trekking with a licensed guide, these hikes are rather cheap. If you’re hiking for the day you’ll probably spend 15 dollars at maximum. Most recently I underwent the Chandragiri Hills Kathmandu day hike. Here is the route:

Chandragiri Hills- Champadevi-Hattiban Resort-Pharping

Start of Kathmandu Day Hike- Chandragiri Hills 

My friends and I got a taxi from Kalanki to Chandragiri for 8:00 AM. After some debating, we paid for a taxi which cost 400 NPR. Upon arriving at the cable car facility we discovered it didn’t open until 9 AM! We had time to kill. Which meant we could take photos at the ‘I love Chandragiri Hills stand’ and get breakfast. If you’re eating at the Chandragiri Hills cafe it can be quite expensive and there are limited options available. 

Breakfast Options

I recall there were options for oats, omelettes, paratha/puri, toast and a fruit bowl. Which was around 400-500 NPR per portion. Depending on your preference you may want to pack some food to take with you. 

Once 9 AM reached we went to pay for our ticket to go on the Chandragiri Hills cable car. Depending on your nationality, ticket prices differ there are options for Nepalese, residents from SAARC countries, Chinese and foreigners. Meanwhile, there are also discounts. Whilst writing this post, these are the prices for a one-way journey however do check as time goes on as they may be subjective to change.

Prices for one-way:

  • Nepalese: 415 NPR
  • SAARC: 664 NPR
  • Chinese: $9
  • Foreigners: $13

Discounts:

  • Expats: 25%
  • Students: 25%
  • Over 60’s: 25%
  • Disability: 50%
  • Under 3’s: Free
  • Children 3-4 feet tall: 40%

If you’re an expat don’t make the mistake I did. Bring an employee card or passport to show your visa. This way you will get a discount and don’t get stung with paying $13.

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Once paid, we joined the queue for the cable car. It was busy inside early on, however, the productivity and efficiency made it only a five-minute wait. When getting on the cable car it sat seven of us. It could have easily sat eight in one go, as there was just us four friends so we shared with three other locals. 

The cable car surpassed my expectations by how efficient operations were run and the facilities cleanliness! You could tell it was privately run. If only more investment was made into other Nepalese attractions like this… 

Reaching The Top of Chandragiri Hills  (2547m)    

Once on the car, the journey took around 10 minutes. The weather was overcast so the views were limited. However, it was still a nice way to start our morning and the journey on the cable car was so smooth.

Departing the cable car, we were a tad lucky to see a small glimpse of Langtang. I could imagine on a clearer day the views would be phenomenal! This is a great photo spot for those who like to preserve their memories. If you wish to absorb the moment you can sit on a bench.

You’ll notice there is a restaurant, food shops and an outdoor park for children. Likewise, there is a stunning temple Baleshwara Mahadev Mandir. Do make sure you worship and pay your donations for a delightful blessing towards your onwards hike.

To progress further you will need to go down past the restaurant towards the direction of the resort. You’ll notice the trail is not hard to follow, it’s well marked out. On the route, we passed two gravestones with empty liquor bottles on them. It’s believed they belonged to the Tamang Caste and as part of their rituals, they have their graves buried with bottles. Out of respect, my mobile remained in my pocket choosing not to take photos.

After about one hour 30 minutes from Chandragiri, we stopped at a local place. It was the only local place insight and served a tasty vegetarian dal baht. It’s not hard to miss as they have a farm behind owning several bison. 

Local Place to Simpani Dada (2400m)

After refilling and taking shelter from the rain we commenced onwards to Simpani Dada. This became quite the adventure as at one point we heard bushes rustling. Those bushes starting shaking further and to our surprise, we spotted a wild boar. For me, this was quite scary and I was close to running away. It wasn’t until my hiking companions told me to stay still and quiet as it would just attract more attention. However, the boar went another direction. If you come across a wild animal, remain calm and don’t display fear!

We also hiked through the side of Bhasmeshwor Danda and took a ten-minute rest. I’d recommend hiking this route as the view here is supreme. Afterwards, we arrived into Simpani Dada yet with even more gorgeous greenery.  

Simpani Dada (2400m) to Champadevi (2278m) 

After Simpani Dada the route became much easier and there was less of an uphill climb. Like us, you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous greenery and nature. You will also come to the Champadevi temple if you have a donation make sure you pay respect. Champadevi is also the third-highest hill amongst the Kathmandu Valley.

Champadevi to Hattiban Resort to Pharping

This route is all descent, the terrain is easier to walk on. You’ll come to Hattiban resort which is a place to consider stopping at if you want to put back those well-burned calories into your body. However, we chose not too as it was on the pricer side including a service charge. If you’re watching your money you can choose to eat in a local place at a fraction of the price. The main village in Pharping is only a 30 minutes descent. 

Once we reached Pharping we looked for a local bus to take us to Pulchowk.  Most local buses were full and luckily a local agreed to take us for 400 rupees. We had finished our hike at around 6:00 PM taking around 7.5 hours to complete. This could be a lot shorter if you choose not to rest or eat at local places like us. However, we wanted to take our time and immerse ourselves in the natural world. 

Finished the Kathmandu Day Hike!

I’d really recommend the Chandragiri Hills day hike to tourists, expats and locals as it’s a beautiful way to explore part of the Kathmandu Valley. At times Kathmandu can become so congested your mind is transported away from beautiful Nepal. It’s easy to get caught up inside the Kathmandu bubble. There are so much greenery, fresh air and unspoilt nature close-by it’s worth the visit. I can guarantee you, it will make you appreciate Nepal and remind you why this country is so special. If you have any questions comment below and I will try my best to answer them.

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