2-8 October 2015 #778

Easy escapism

The Nepali Times reviews some of the most talked about getaway spots in Kathmandu and outside.

Kasara Resort, Chitwan

Are you a traveler who likes to snapchat your vacation and wonder which Instagram filter would best enhance the picture of the delicious dessert you just ate? Do you like to be out in nature, but can’t bring yourself to compromise your own comfort? If your answers are yes, then the Kasara Resort is the place for you.

This luxury resort, located in the lush setting of the Chitwan National Park, is both minimalistic and modern, offering guests a relaxing, mosquito-free, stay in the jungle. Every section of this property is so well-designed and the scenery so spectacular that it would be selfish not to share your pictures on social media.

Once you are done with social media uploads, you can join jungle activities to explore this exotic locale. For those who value their privacy and prefer a more secluded stay, Kasara offers two private villas with (oh-la-la) private pools.

We heard on Twitter that the last king stayed here recently. You may even bump into ex-royalty at Kasara.

Dasain packages start at Rs 8,000++ per person on double occupancy. Packages include one night accommodation, all meals, and a selection of wildlife activities.




Gyan Farm, Hetauda

This newly opened farmhouse at the base of Chure Hills is only a four-hour drive from Kathmandu. Gaining popularity among Valley denizens, the Gyan Farm in Hetauda is the ideal vacation spot for those who love outdoor activities. There are lots of cycling trails around the farm and for those who prefer water sports, there is tubing on the nearby Rapti River. If you are not really the active type, but prefer just to lounge around, Gyan also has a natural spring-fed swimming pool and hot tub. The farm uses fresh organic produce from its garden for all of its meals, service is excellent and the staff super-friendly. You read about it first here.



Famous Farmhouse, Nuwakot

The Famous Farmhouse in Nuwakot is a fabulous stopover on your way from Kathmandu to Pokhara. It has converted some of its old buildings into family friendly lodging and is home to many animals including white rabbits, a turkey (get there before Thanksgiving), a rescued donkey, ducks, sheep and dogs. The lodges, each filled with antique furniture, are surrounded by beautiful gardens. There are also a number of cozy, small hotels on the main road in Bidur town. Spend a night or two here to recharge and detoxify, and move on to Pokhara. Follow the Trisuli River to Galchhi on the Prithvi Highway, stop at River Side Springs Resort or Brigand’s Bend across the river for lunch.

Robin Marston

www.ruralheritage.com, (01)4422617

Milla Guest House, Bhaktapur

The three-story refurbished Milla Guesthouse in Bhaktapur is one of Bhaktapur’s (and the Valley’s) best kept secrets. The same architect who designed the Patan Museum and the Garden of Dreams in Thamel (Gotz Hagmuller) also remodeled this place. With its low wooden ceilings, brick walls and terracotta tile floors, Milla has preserved the Malla period ambience but with solar panels, fast wifi and a small kitchen.

As a guest, you will enjoy plenty of privacy. The guest house only has two spacious rooms, each with its own bathroom. There is a top floor dining room (which also doubles as a living-room) with a kitchen and open terrace. Here you can relax on the deck chairs and take in the views of the southern hills of the Valley.

Laxman and Sanu, the friendly Nepali couple who look after the guesthouse, make your stay truly memorable AND make you feel right at home. Elaborate, western-style breakfast in the morning sets you in the right frame of mind to explore post-quake Bhaktapur.

The impeccable service is what makes the $70 per night well worth it.

Toh Ee Ming

Prices start at Rs 7,000++ per night.



Himalayan Height Resort, Hattiban

Himalayan Height Resort (formerly Hattiban Resort), 20km south and 800m above Kathmandu Valley, is the place to be this Dasain for a retreat amidst pine forests and spectacular views. You can have a foretaste of this serene place if you start walking from the main Pharping Highway which may be a bit steep if you take the shortcut but quite pleasant if you follow the gravel road.

The hotel is nestled in the middle of a wide lush ridge with bungalows laid out in a row – all facing north for a view of Kathmandu below and the mountains beyond. Each bungalow has a small and intimate terrace. The rooms are wide, varying in space to welcome couples as well as families with children. Wifi and/or sauna for those so inclined. The dining building is situated near the entrance of the compound, the food is not something to write home about but, hey, you came here for the view – including Mt Everest on a clear day. You can also hike up to Champadevi (2249m) for an even better panorama of the Himalaya.

Packages start at Rs 4,000++ and include one night’s accommodation and breakfast.

(01)-4371537, 9801151167

Chhuksang, Mustang

Surrounded by spectacular views of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri, with the Kali Gandaki river running right through it, travellers have used Jomsom as a base to acclimatise before moving on to Kagbeni or Muktinath. But if you want an even bigger challenge, go beyond Kagbeni to Chhuksang.

Getting to Chhuksang is an adventure on its own. While you can hire private jeeps to take you there from Jomsom, it is better, and cheaper, to go in local cars. On the way to Chhuksang, you drive through the river, climb steep roads and often change vehicles more than once. But once you have caught the first glimpse of Chhuksang’s majestic cliffs, you forget all about the uncomfortable journey. For those who decide to hike from Jomsom to Chhuksang, the trek takes around 3-4 hours altogether.

Located right beside the massive Kali Gandaki river, and surrounded by the dry, rugged terrain that Upper Mustang is famous for, Chhuksang is highly underrated. A small village with a tight-knit community, it gives visitors a taste of what the rest of the region is like. Although it is not littered with hotels and lodges like Jomsom or Kagbeni, Chhuksang has a small selection of clean and cozy guest houses.

Gurja Khani, Myagdi

Gurja Khani in Myagdi, also known as the Hidden Village, is home to 250 farming households. This Dalit village is a week-long trek from Kathmandu and offers splendid views of the Dhaulagiri range. The more adventurous can choose to forego an easier trail and tread on a challenging circuitous route, which involves crossing a 3900m high pass. For those hikers who find steep passes and deep canyons unappealing, there are horseback riding trips up to the honey-hunting cliffs.

The Himalayan Map House recently published a map of the Gurja Himal and the Hidden Village with a detailed trail guide that includes photos and additional information about the surrounding area which would be of great help to anyone planning a trip there this October.

Tiger Mountain Lodge, Pokhara

This mountain lodge, situated 1,000 feet above the Pokhara Valley, offers spectacular views of Machhapuchchre, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu. This month the lodge became the first hotel in Nepal invited to join Secret Retreats, a group of individual, small, unique hotels throughout Asia.


(01)4426427, 9849194874

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