Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Ellen
Our world travel adventure in early retirement on a budget continued from Pokhara to Kathmandu for more views of the stunning Himalayan mountain range.
Pleasantly surprised by Pokhara, we (reluctantly) left that lovely small city for Nepal’s capital. We traveled by bus, as the Nepali airlines don’t have great reputations, and are even banned in some countries. (Theo previously wrote about that issue).
I’ve learned that going long distances by highways in Nepal requires patience and a sense of humor. These are things I have more of in my advancing age, thanks to years of fantastic experiences as a slow traveler with spouse Theo all over Earth.
Pokhara to Kathmandu
Theo bought bus tickets four days early for 1200 rupees ($14.60). Yet when we arrived the morning to leave, there were no seats for us on the bus! We took our tickets back to the counter, and the man at the booking office was rather rude about it. We did get seats on another bus, but it wasn’t a peaceful start to a long adventure.
The highway from Pokhara to Kathmandu is also under construction by Chinese contractors. It is not quite as bad as the road from Butwal to Pokhara, but that’s not saying much, since that was the worst highway we’ve ever been on. (I previously wrote all about that nightmare ride.)
To go 200 kilometers, it took us 10 hours. We watched another bus get stuck in mud after a rain, and we were grateful it wasn’t us. Also, this ride wasn’t as dusty because of that rain – but I shudder to think what will happen to this road in the coming monsoon season.
Our rental for five nights was a 10-minute walk from the popular tourist district called Thamel, and a 10-minute walk from the quiet area with some embassies called Lazimpat. I uploaded a quick video tour to our Facebook page:
And here is the link to the unit. We recommend this place – it was great and the family was awesome.
Chandragiri Cable Car
One of the first things we did was check out the Chandragiri cable car. Absolutely do this on a clear day — early in the morning! We actually went twice, but by the time we reached the hilltop to get the cable car the first time, it was so cloudy we couldn’t see the mountains at all. So we returned earlier the next day.
TIP: if you cannot see the mountains from the parking/drop off area/ticket counter on the hilltop, there is no reason to take the cable car up — you won’t see the Himalayan range. And it’s expensive for budget travelers!
Prices are pictured below. Chinese tourists get a discount. No comment.
The cable cars start running at 8:00 a.m.
I cannot stress this enough — go as early as possible — or you risk not seeing the majestic views. We were on car #8 of the day – and it was worth the early wake up!
It cost another 50 rupees (40 cents) for access to the view tower at the top. The views are literally breathtaking!
We stayed in the view tower for two hours or so, until the clouds nearly obstructed our view. By about 11:00 a.m. — the same time we had initially tried to go the day before — the views were mostly gone.
Chandragiri Hills is a nice tourist spot. There are reasonably priced snacks and drinks, including a beer garden, playgrounds for kids, a Hindu temple, even pony rides and zip lines.
And while these views are magnificent, I am partial to the unbelievable views from Hyangjakot Village near Pokhara — we were closer to the mountains.
If you missed that post, please visit it. It’s one of my favorite places on Earth as a budget world traveler in early retirement.