My favourite little day walk, while staying in Kathmandu would be walking from Nagarkot to Sankhu (the easy way). I always love walking in general. And sometimes when staying in Kathmandu for a while, you really feel like getting out of the noise and stress of the city, and find some mental refreshment in nature. Somehow this walk is very peaceful and calming for me – there is always a point where this warm happiness to be alive right here and now comes over me, and I just feel like buying some piece of land (which in fact is not possible for foreigners) and build a house and spend the rest of my days here.
This little day-walk, you can easily accomplish with local transportation and your feet only:
I take the local bus to Bhaktapur, then take the bus to Nagarkot, walk down to Sankhu, and then take the microbus to Chabahil on the ring road, from where I either take another tuktuk and/or microbus, going to Ratna Park or just take a taxi directly from Chabahil.
Only one time I did not take the local bus up to Nagarkot, because the bus drivers were on strike. Taking a taxi up to Nagarkot, especially on a strike day turned out to be kind of expensive. I think I paid something between 2000 and 3000 Rupees back then, while the local bus fare stays below 100 Rupees.
Nagarkot is this pretty relaxed hotel-settlement up on a hill ridge of the eastern border of the Kathmandu valley. It is famous for its mountain views, especially because it allows a tiny glimpse of Mt. Everest, when the air is particularly clear.
Once the bus stops in Nagarkot, you have the choice to take the road to the right or left. Right leads you in about 1 hour walk further up the hill to the Nagarkot view tower.
But for walking to Sankhu you will take the right and keep on the road (which eventually turns into a gravel road). If you are not sure if you are still on the right trek, you can ask the few people that you will pass for the road to Sankhu via Kartike (“Yo kartike bhaera sankhu jaane baato ho?” – Is this the road that goes to Sankhu via Kartike?). Cars rarely take this road – I have only ever encountered one local school bus in the 4 or 5 times I have walked this way. Even the people you encounter are rare – people who want to walk from Nagarkot to Sankhu usually would take a shortcut and follow this “time-wasting” leisurely path.
All the way to Kartike you are still walking along the ridge and therefore get views of the Kathmandu valley as well as the Indrawati river valley to the east. Once you get to the little settlement Kartike, you need to take the right road again – if you are not sure, just ask for Sankhu. After about 3 hours total you will arrive in this little old Newari Town Sankhu in the Kathmandu valley. It is a very nice little town, that is not swamped by tourists. You don’t have to pay any entrance fees or anything. You can enjoy yourself roaming around a bit and then eventually take the Microbus back towards Kathmandu.