Nagarkot, Oct 2017

Nepal

A short getaway from busy Kathmandu defines what enough means: magnificent enough, roughed enough.

Himalayas Viewed from Nagarkot

From Nagarkot on a clear day you will have a chance to admire the Himalayas standing from afar.


Looking at my old photos 4 years ago (it’s thought to be that long, but felt like a blink of an eye), I realized that many travelling skills have sunk into oblivion. The pandemic is tough. It’s strange to feel more experienced back then than now.

The First Stroll

For every trip I will choose one location for resort-like days which feature good weather, chilling vibes and exquisite sightings, with relaxing pace most of the time. Nagarkot is that one for my Nepal trip.

If looking for some information of Nagarkot, here it is: 30km from Kathmandu (around 2 hours of driving due to bumpy ride on twisting roads). If you are not going for mountaineering, Nagarkot is the place having the broadest view of Himalayas (8 ranges out of 13) as well as Kathmandu Valley.

A Clear Day in Nagarkot
A Clear Day in Nagarkot

The ride from Kathmandu right after my landing in Nepal was arduous, however, once reached Nagarkot, the highland atmosphere instantly hit me with a refreshing gust. Take a quick late breakfast buffet at my generous hotel Peaceful Cottage & Café du Mont, sip a cup of coffee and enjoy the mist on its terrace, truly wonderful.

The First Encounters The First Encounters
The First Encounters
The First Encounters

The first thing I would do was to leisurely (but actually not) walk southwards to see Nagarkot Geodic Survey Tower. It’s a 5km walk with ups and downs so not easy at all, but what’s achieved throughout would boost your adrenaline. I could see local vendors selling hand-crafted ornaments, carefree children and the singing pines. Some parts were covered with pine shades, and some uncovered the valley beneath.

Overseeing The Valley Overseeing The Valley
Overseeing The Valley
Shape of Hill

All the encounters on the road felt familiar and friendly, yet mesmerizing to the sightseer.

Twisting Roads, Horse and Dump Truck Twisting Roads, Horse and Dump Truck
Twisting Roads, Horse and Dump Truck
Twisting Roads, Horse and Dump Truck

Watching the colorful flying prayer flags like a rainbow in the midst of azure sky brings up your hope and inner tranquillity.

Prayer Flags

I dropped by a food stall on the road to quench my thirst, enjoyed the simple silence as I was the only guest there and happily brought back home one of the shots of all time:

The Nagarkot Girls
The Nagarkot Girls

Reached the Survey Tower and had wonderful time interacting with the locals. And the fried curry finger food was an unforgettable comforting lunch treat after that long journey.

A Man at Survey Tower
A Man at Survey Tower
Fried Curry Finger Food
Fried Curry Finger Food
Nagarkot Geodic Survey Tower

The way back was much easier, and as you know, the same road will always look different when you travel back and forth. There I had a chance to meet those carefree kids selling postcards that I still keep in my vault as a token of memoir from Nepal.

The Nagarkot Kids

Actually you can rent a motorbike and experience the hair-rising ride on this path; I don’t know how the road condition has changed at the time of writing, but in 2017 most of the rural roads were unpaved and dusty.

Motorbikes Maneuvering Motorbikes Maneuvering
Motorbikes Maneuvering
A Wall Painted Pink

A Chillin’ Afternoon

Remember Nagarkot was meant to be my resort days? I spent the whole afternoon sleeping, bathing and relaxing on the hotel terrace, with the songs by Joakim Karud echoing in my head. The sunset shone over Himalayas from afar, radiating a smooth curtain of purple - orange colors.

From the Hotel Terrace
From the Hotel Terrace
Sunset over Himalayas

Nagarkot Panoramic Hiking Trail

I was back to the road on the second day with an awesome trek along Nagarkot Hiking Trail. From my hotel going a bit up north and started the trek by crossing the jungle towards Kartike, and went east north, then closed the loop by walking south on the Nagarkot main road (Nagarkot Dandagoan Highway).

But foremost, just enjoy the vibes of morning first.

The Morning Vibes The Morning Vibes The Morning Vibes The Morning Vibes
The Morning Vibes

The trek was pretty easy, it seemed that I was the only one on the route that day but when noon approached I could hear more locals’ or backpackers’ voice.

Trekking the Jungle

When it’s near Kartike, the space opened up and what’s shown ahead was like the surprising gift to the patient solo backpacker: the lusty green terrace fields, the lonesome tree atop the hill…, all were wrapped up in one panoramic camera shot.

Surprising Gifts Surprising Gifts
Surprising Gifts

I actually spent an hour sitting by the road, taking off my shoes, putting down the trekking pole, contemplating the meaning of existence. I felt lonely, but happily lonely.

As the sun was ascending, the fog was cleared to reveal the breathtaking shape of ridges and the spectacular life in miniature down the valley.

Nagarkot Scenery Nagarkot Scenery
Winding Mountain Road

Now back to the road! After the traveller had been pampered by the feast for his eyes, the road ahead was a breeze more or less. Now I could see other trekkers on the same path and the appearance of local activities.

Other Trekkers
Other Trekkers
Local Activities Local Activities

For now I feel surprised at my past self that I could navigate back safely as the Google Maps provided modest information for rural area. I could appreciate my own effort a little bit more, but at the same time wonder when I could do that again.

The Road Back
The Road Back
The Proud Highland Trees

The Last Resort Night

A big take when being in the countryside is majestic sceneries never get blocked by nasty city buildings. To achieve this special feeling, try glueing your eyes at the desktop wallpaper from a very short distance.

The same as first day, I spent long hours on the terrace, enjoyed a hearty meal, climbed up and down the stairs to hunt the golden moment of sunset.

Nagarkot Sunset
Nagarkot Sunset

…last but not least, Nagarkot was the place I first tried taking long-exposure photos, the photos of our marvelous starry night.

Starry Night of Nagarkot

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This post is a part of the Nepal series.

Written in Dec, 2021 © Zuyet Awarmatik.

About

Zuyet Awarmatrip is a subsidiary identity within the personal ecosystem of Zuyet Awarmatik, focusing on travel and photography.

A Vietnamese currently and not permanently based in Singapore, he usually regards himself as a carefree solo Eastern backpacker, alongside with his main profession as a UX designer & developer. His photos shall always deliver the colorfulness of this worldly reality, rather than monotony and cheerlessness.

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