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How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

Minneapolis, MN
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How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

I've been reading my guidebooks, and I have been following a lot of threads here. I have some idea of places to visit and what to see, so I am trying to make some calculations about how much time to spend in Nepal. We may do some day hikes and we may do a rafting trip of a few days and we may visit one of the wildlife parks. But, forget time for those things because I will add that on to the recommendations of how long to allot for Nepal.

We are also not just looking for a vacation where we sit around and relax and look at views while we read with drinks in hand. So, without trekking, rafting or wildlife parks, about how much time should I allot for Nepal? We want to get more of a flavor for the country than just dutifully moving from one tourist site to the next. Thanks for your opinions.

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1. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

I think you need to say what time of year that you are thinking of visiting.

We were in Nepal in Mar 4-19 last year and loved Pokhara partly because the pollution and haze was so bad in Bhaktapur (though it is a great place to stay in and see) and Kathamndu. (We already had pollution chest infections, though not too serious, from India) The haze was bad in Nagarkot and we saw little of the mountains. We say the Himalayas clearly in Pokhara and had seven great days in the Sacred Valley Inn there. Here is our trip itinerary

– Bhaktapur (4), Nagarkot (2), Pokhara (7), Kathamndu (2)

I think I have to add that we were quite happy to delay a return to the northern European winter in Nepal after 6 weeks in India that is why Pokhara was so good

Get back to me if I can help further

Edited: 27 January 2014, 21:51
Minneapolis, MN
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2. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

I'll be traveling at exactly the same time of year that you were there, so your comment about the terrible pollution gives me pause. Did you do a lot of other sightseeing from Braktapur or just things right there? Were the two nights in Kathmandu sufficient (or too much), and is it as crazy, dusty, dirty, noisy as many people say? I certainly understand your desire to stay in a warmer climate than northern Europe. Right now where I live in the US it is -23C with anticipated wind chills this night of -45C. Back to Pokhara: what did you do there for a week?

Finally, one other question since you just spent six weeks in India. Two years ago we spent six weeks in northern India and really enjoyed it. The more I work on planning this Nepal trip, I am slowly starting to realize that if one does not trek in Nepal, perhaps Nepal is only good for maybe two weeks. I am asking because we can take a trip of four to six weeks, and I am starting to think that perhaps our plan should be to add in a lot of time in India,

Thanks so much.

Kathmandu, Nepal
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3. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

Hello,

The sightseeing attractions in Kathmandu are of course dirty but still they are interesting and lots of travelers visit there. Basically, you can conclude most interesting things within 10-12 days depending on your interest. Kathmandu, Pokhata, Chitwan and probably a hill station like Bandipur or Nagarkot will be enough to experience first trip in Nepal.

Here are the things to see:

Kathmandu and around: Swyambhunath, Bouddhanath, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Kopan Monastery, Thimi, Patan Durbar Square, White Monastery etc.

Pokhara and around:

Boating in Fewa Lake, Paragliding, Begnas Lake, Bat Cave, Gupteshowr Cave, World Peace Pagoda, Sarangkot sunrise or sunset, Devi's Falls, Seti River Gorge, International Mountain Museum etc.

Chitwan: Jungle safari and activities

Bandipur or Nagarkot

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4. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

Hi Juliest

Here is my annotated response to your post. Get back to me if you need to. Send me a PM if you want any photos. Also see my reviews of places in Nepal.

All the best

Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

Jan 27, 2014, 8:23 PM

I'll be traveling at exactly the same time of year that you were there, so your comment about the terrible pollution gives me pause.

The pollution was really bad. When we were leaving KTM for the airport visibility was really poor because of the thick yellow smog which gets trapped in the KTM valley. This is caused in part by the diesel generators that are used to provide electricity for places that would normally have power for only 4 to 6 hours a day. And then there are the brickworks and the old trucks

Did you do a lot of other sightseeing from Braktapur or just things right there?

We stayed for 4 days. That allowed us to really soak up the atmosphere. Bhaktapur was also polluted and there was only power there for 4 hours a day, but it is very special. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You pay 20$ to get in but this is valid for 7 days. The guys on the gates got to know us and waved us through or never tried to stop us. It is great up to 1100 before the day trippers arrive and after 1700. We walked into the countryside a couple of times, once up to the temple.

From Bhaktapur we went to Nagarakot – here is what I said –

Hotel at the end of the Universe -- 3 star. OK – nothing special. No view of the mountains when it is hazy

We had Room 3 which was OK. The room seemed a bit small and basic at first. The bed was comfy. The location was fair, despite the number of steps to climb, though there are so many other places to stay in and around Nag. We didn’t see any views apart from 30 minutes of Lantang. We had a good walk two hour walk up to Tower and back but did not see very much, certainly no snowy mountains, and we took another nice short 70 minute walk round the hills which one of the staff in the Universe kindly drew us a map for. Overall, the Universe was a bit primitive but OK. Interestingly it was quite possible to have a shower using candlelight. Again some of the people were very nice. We were not 100% convinced about the cleanliness of some of the bedding and towels.

Unless the weather is going to be clear enough, I do not think it is worth going up to Nagarokot. We ate there both nights and the food was quite good and reasonably priced.

Were the two nights in Kathmandu sufficient (or too much), and is it as crazy, dusty, dirty, noisy as many people say?

We liked KTM and could have stayed there 3 or 4 nights. For us, after India it was not as crazy, dusty, dirty, noisy as many people say. We stayed in the Sacred Valley Inn – see my review - in KTM in a quiet location in Thamel but visited Durbar Square, Patan etc and walked around Thamel – good fun and great shopping for Pashminas. I certainly understand your desire to stay in a warmer climate than northern Europe. Right now where I live in the US it is -23C with anticipated wind chills this night of -45C.

Back to Pokhara: what did you do there for a week?

Someone else asked me the same question and here is my response –

We spent 7 days in Pokhara and really enjoyed it, particularly after the pollution in Bhaktapur and KTM.

We stayed in a top floor room at the Sacred Valley Inn ( see my review of the Sacred Valley Inn). We got up at about 06.30 to watch the sunrise. We had a big pot of coffee on the terrace watching the spectacle. There was table and chairs outside our door and other tables and chairs on the terrace which did not intrude on our space to have coffee at 06.45 in the morning. What was amazing was that almost every morning the mountains (Fishtail and Annapurna South) appeared to put on a display as we had coffee and watched the sun rise across and over them. We then had breakfast either at the Sacred Valley Inn or elsewhere, worked or read for two hours, went out for walk along the lake and a coffee, came back an accessed the internet. We had another walk in the afternoon and ended up at the Bamboo restaurant on the lakeside for a happy hour beer at about 1600. The Australian people who run it were very nice. We would then go home and have a gin and tonic on the terrace having picked up some cold tonic. We would go out about 1845 to eat. For 6 nights we went to the excellent and very cheap Pokhara Thakali kitchen. We then returned to the Sacred Valley Inn, accessed the internet and had another gin and tonic. (We were never gin and tonic drinkers until we met some people in India who sold us on the idea. Blue Riband Gin was our favourite.) We would be in bed by 2200 and roughly repeated the schedule the next day.

It was a great relaxing time and we were avoiding the cold northern European winter very cheaply. We met lots of people who were hanging out in Pokhara for a number of days. Our major activity was to walk up to Sarnagkot for the sunrise on a lovely clear morning. The highlight of our stay in Pokhara.

Finally, one other question since you just spent six weeks in India. Two years ago we spent six weeks in northern India and really enjoyed it. The more I work on planning this Nepal trip, I am slowly starting to realize that if one does not trek in Nepal, perhaps Nepal is only good for maybe two weeks. I am asking because we can take a trip of four to six weeks, and I am starting to think that perhaps our plan should be to add in a lot of time in India,

If you are not trekking, I would stay a maximum of 15 to 18 days in Nepal – perhaps take in Chitwan, which we did not – and spend the rest of the time in India. We had 18 great days exploring Rajastahn and could have spent more. We also missed Varanasi which we regretted.

Hope this helps. It has been nice to think back to our trips.

Minneapolis, MN
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5. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

Hi Nomad--

If you return to India, make sure to see Varanasi; we found it absolutely fascinating! On our last trip we spent three weeks in Rajasthan and want more. We are contemplating adding time there and in Amritsar and Himchal Pradesh to our time in Nepal.

The comparison of Kathmandu to places you visited in India also helps since I have a frame of reference after having visited India.

Now that you say the pollution was just as bad in Bhaktapur I am a bit disappointed. I had hoped that it was just the immediate vicinity of Kathmandu where this would be a big issue, and it sounds as though this is a problem in the entire valley. Bhaktapur is definitely on my list though of places to visit.

This info is very, very helpful to me about how to allocate my time. I can understand why you just decided to hang out in Pokara where the weather is so much better than in the more northerly climes at this time of year.

Cumbria
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6. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

Lots of good info already posted

I would say that this is a difficult question to answer – But if you allocated a good month for Nepal then that would give you a fair amount of time to see at least there more popular places.

I have been travelling regularly to Nepal for 20 years (10 trips) with the average trip duration of around 6 to 8 weeks, but ½ of my time was spent trekking – However, I feel that I have barely scratched the surface and can’t wait to get back again :-)

If you want a few more ideas of what Nepal has to offer ten please feel free to browse the tips sections and travelogues in the link in my sig – Then you might have a better idea of a timeframe to work around ;-)

Good Luck and Happy Safe Travels

Rob

My Nepal Blog members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/6ec/

Edited: 29 January 2014, 09:30
Denmark
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7. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

I totally aggree with Rob!

I can easily spend 4 weeks in Nepal without any real trekking at all...might take a walk in some hills though for sunrise wieving etc.

It seems that the whole body system slows down after a few days in Nepal and spending a day walking around Bodnath, having a cup of tea, do a little shopping, talk to strangers, eat a lunch, sit for a while in the sun, drink a beer and walk a little more doesn't seem like little to do for a day.

For me Nepal is - among other things - very much about filling the senses! Not because everything around me is beautiful, but nepal seems to wake up my ability to find the beauty of life in the little things.

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8. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

I understand, Lisbet

We just like to hang out to. Many people were so surprised that we stayed for 7 days in Pokhara, but as you see we just chilled out and we could have stayed longer. However, there are a lot of places where it is nice to chill out to escape the northern winter. For instance, we really liked Udiapur and could have stayed longer and there are places in East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam ......) where you can do the same (without the pollution that afflicts parts of Nepal).

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9. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

Juliest,

"Now that you say the pollution was just as bad in Bhaktapur I am a bit disappointed. I had hoped that it was just the immediate vicinity of Kathmandu where this would be a big issue, and it sounds as though this is a problem in the entire valley."

It seems that the polluted air gets trapped in the whole KTM valley. In Bhaktapur it is not helped by all the brick factories in the immediate vicinity.

10. Re: How much time to spend in Nepal for the non-trekker

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