Nagarkot is a funny little place. I would have loved to see it 20+ years ago before mass tourism took hold. Was there anything there back then? Today it seems that every building is a hotel.
Precarious-looking multi-story guest houses cling to the mountain sides promising spectacular Everest range views. Other than these there are a few wood and corrugated iron shacks, a handful of shops, military installations and a selection of chickens, goats, puppies, schoolkids and vehicles.
There are views, for sure, but you need to time your visit right or just be lucky. There are also some nice walks, short hikes and day treks and…a cheese factory. Is it worth coming ? We think yes.
We came to Nagarkot because we could. It was our third visit to Nepal and we’d never been so we went to see what it was like.
Of course, my secondary motive was to get Nagarkot on the blog, the more destinations in Nepal I can cover, the better, right?
I’m fully intent on making our site the most comprehensive in existence on travel in Nepal.
A few days at 2000m is a good idea for our Everest acclimatisation too, we could immediately feel the benefit in climbing steps with packs when we got back to Kathmandu.
We stopped a few days in Bhaktpur on the way and totally loved that ancient city, then travelled on to Nagarkot by local bus. That was quite the experience, see below.
The hotel we’d booked online ( after much research) turned out to be smelly, dirty, dark, dank and generally unpleasant.
It was near the Nagarkot main crossroads where the local bus stops.We checked in, dropped kids and packs and went for a wander. Just 100 m down the road we found a row of new sparkly guest houses and thought,
“Stuff this, let’s stay somewhere nicer.”
We took a look at the rooms at the spangly-looking Nagarkot Holiday Inn, not only were they cheaper ( $14 each for 2 double rooms) they were far more spacious and this hotel had a view. So we moved.
We headed back up to Smell Skanky Bed and Breakfast and nicely explained that we were moving because their hotel wasn’t quite what the internet had implied. It had good reviews, I’d thought that many were fake, but not all, now I’m convinced they were all equally dubious.
They were very nice about it, as was I, and we moved, to Nagarkot Holiday Inn ( opens in new tab). It’s nice, not perfect, but nice. The owner is very friendly and helpful and the food ( Indian, Nepali and Western style) is good and cheap enough. Give it a go.
That evening we walked the 4 km to the Nagarkot lookout but didn’t quite make it. We were just a hundred yards or so away when we stopped to take the photo below. Shortly after taking this I slipped in the mud falling heavily on my right buttock and took D’s knees out in the process. He fell on top of me giving my ear and head a good bashing. We thought it best we go home at that point. It was cloudy anyway.
Next day dawn was spectacular but still no mountain views. Our very enthusiastic guest house owner took me up to his roof where we could just make out a few peaks of the Langtang range if I stood on a chair. At least I saw the snows briefly.
Unless I blow the picture up to grainy and pixelated you probably won’t be able to see them, it was much better with the naked eye and on a clear day those mountains must be spectacular.
Chef and D both felt a bit rough so we skipped the long trek we’d planned for today in favour of a short 5Km ” Nature Trail” through thick forest on narrow paths. The kids whined and whinged but also laughed and joked. That is the nature of travel with kids.
A quick solar powered shower, yet another dal with rice, a Gorkha beer and bed, before hopping on the bus back to Kathmandu to get ready for our Everest trek.
Is Nagarkot Worth It?
Yes, we thought so. Particularly if you have plenty of time in Nepal and won’t be trekking but want to glimpse the mountains. It’s also handy for acclimatisation.
Just remember that the road up to Nagarkot, once past Baktapur are unbelievably bad. If you’re going to brave the potholes, mud, switchbacks and alarming drops, you’d better make it worth your while by staying a bit longer.
Taxis and private vehicles are pretty expensive ( 2000 Rs). The bus is 50-70s each for the 2 part trip, depending on how much they want to charge you.
Nagarkot Admission Fee
There is a booth near the bus stop where they would like to charge you 300 Rs just for the honour of visiting Nagarkot.
This kind of defies belief but at least it’s not $15 ( 15,000 Rs) as we payed in Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is a historic ( UNESCO listed ) city in much need of repair post-earthquake, so that charge is understandable ( if steep). 300 Rs to enter Nagarkot, what exactly for? There is nothing historic here just guest houses.
Luckily, the guard was busy on his phone when we strolled past from the bus and we didn’t get stung. I’ve seen reports of an official government letter stating that such charges are illegal. It’s only a couple of bucks, but if you feel strongly there is a letter in Nepali you can show that states this illegality.
Where to Stay in Nagarkot
Nagarkot Holiday Inn. ( opens in new tab) rooms from $12, decent wifi, doesn’t include breakfast but a full breakfast will cost you around $2 and it’s good. Not luxury, but does the job.
More Hotels in Nagarkot, see here ( also opens in a new tab)
So all up., yes, Nagarkot through the win. I enjoyed the walking, the food, the views and this quirky little town. The bus ride up the Nagarkot hill is…an experience. I’ll post about that when we’re back from Everest and indeed, fully finish this post. Just a couple more days before we fly to Lukla. Game on!