This Balthali Village Trek is a short drive from Kathmandu, on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley rim. It passes through small farming villages, where you can experience the lifestyle of local people, along with lush green forests, ancient temples, and terraced farmland. Add to this the stunning snowy peaks visible in the distance, and this is the perfect introduction to trekking in the Himalayas!

Highlights

  • Stay in some of the finest hotels and lodges in the Kathmandu area
  • Explore well-preserved Newari architecture in the village of Panauti
  • Relax amid traditional farming villages with spectacular Himalayan views
  • Experience the sacred atmosphere of Namo Buddha, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest sites

Planning Your Trek

Rated one of the best short treks in Nepal, this itinerary has been specifically designed for the traveler looking to experience some of the best accommodation in Nepal. While much of this could be done on a smaller budget — by substituting Dwarika for cheaper options — this would, in a way, detract from one of the main highlights of this trip. That being said, Namo Buddha Resort and Balthali Village Resort are fairly affordable, so this trek is a great way to experience some top-notch accommodation at a moderate price (excluding Dwarika's!).

Detailed itinerary

While the trek itself takes 3 days, this 5-day itinerary includes your arrival and departure days.

Day 1: Arrival in Nepal, sunset in Dhulikhel

View from breakfast

After arriving at the airport, head to Dhulikhel, a town high on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. Stay at one of Nepal’s premier resorts, Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel, or one of the simpler guesthouses around the town if you’re on a smaller budget. Dhulikhel’s location means it’s a great spot from which to enjoy sunrises and sunsets over the Himalayas, which aren’t too far away.

Day 2: Trek to Namo Buddha

Namo Buddha
Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery

After a lazy morning with a late breakfast with stunning views, head to Namo Buddha, one of the most sacred Tibetan Buddhist sites in Nepal. Lunch today will be picnic-style along the trail.

Today’s walk will be around three hours, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the high-quality accommodation, both at Dwarika’s Dhulikhel and the Namo Buddha Resort, your stop for the night. Arriving here around mid-afternoon, you can just relax, or head to a lookout point close by for a stunning sunset. The resort is a sustainable, eco-friendly place that is famous for its excellent food, all organic and grown on-site. Day-trippers come from Kathmandu just for the food!

Day 3: Trek to Balthali

Villages
Orange groves and villages

After a delicious breakfast with a panoramic view, take a short walk downhill to the famous Namo Buddha stupa. It is only small, but it is extremely important to Tibetan Buddhists, as it commemorates Siddhartha Gautam’s act of offering his body to a hungry tigress, which is said to have contributed to his ability to achieve enlightenment and, ultimately, Buddha-hood. A short walk above the stupa is the newly built Tibetan Buddhist monastery perched on the hilltop.

From here, continue walking through fields and orchards to the quiet village of Balthali, with a picnic lunch along the way. Here again there are amazing views of the mountains, farmland, and villages. Overnight at the Balthali Village Resort.

Day 4: Trek to Panauti, drive to Kathmandu

Village fields
Trekking through fields and villages

After one last breakfast with this spectacular view, start the trek to Panauti. Most of today’s trail is along a dirt road, passing beautiful small villages, terraced fields and amazing views. Finish at the Newar town of Panauti, where you can explore before or after a delicious local lunch, depending on how quickly you trekked down from Balthali.

Panauti is one of the best-preserved Newari towns in the country, and has been spared any earthquake damage over the years because of the popular belief that it is built upon a single, large rock. The town is built in the signature Newar style, with pink brick and carved wooden temples beside the river. After exploring, give your feet a rest by hopping into a car for the drive back to Kathmandu.

En route, stop at Bhaktapur, one of the three ancient cities within the Kathmandu Valley. Lying 14 kilometers east of Kathmandu city, Bhaktapur was founded in the 9th century, and the old city plan is shaped like a sacred conch shell. Not only because of its famous carved peacock windows but also due to its museum, Bhaktapur is the centre of traditional Nepalese wood carving.

After touring Bhaktapur, continue to Kathmandu and check into one of the nicest hotels in town, Dwarika’s Hotel. The place is not just a hotel, but practically a museum of traditional arts and crafts, with unique antique furniture and fittings in each room. If you’re on a tighter budget, there are numerous other boutique hotels around the city that offer a similar charm without the price tag.

Dwarika’s is conveniently located a short walk from the Pashupatinath Temple. Head there for dusk, to see local Hindus performing their evening puja, before heading out for a final dinner in the city.

Day 5: Departure

Depending on the time of your flight, there may be some time for souvenir shopping in the morning. The tourist hub of Thamel is a great place to head, as here you can find all kinds of products, from traditional handicrafts to outdoor clothing. Don’t forget to bargain!

Accommodation

Dwarika
Inside one of Dwarika's suites

While cheaper lodgings can be found in some of the villages passed through on this trek, it is recommended not to scrimp on accommodation on this itinerary. The hotel and resort options listed in this itinerary are among some of the finest in Nepal. They are not just a place to rest at night, but beautiful all-round experiences, with peaceful grounds, prime views and delicious food. You will likely remember the accommodation on this trek as much as the beauty of the surroundings—and that’s really saying something!

However, if you are looking to do this trek but would like to cheaper alternatives for accommodations, one of our specialists will be able to make a few good recommendations. 

Best season

This trek can be done year-round, although during the monsoon (June-August) the air will be hazy and you will be less likely to get good Himalayan views. Because this trek does not climb very high in altitude (the highest point is Namo Buddha, at 1750 meters) it is an ideal trip to undertake in the winter, when the skies will be clear and the lodging cozy.

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists
Vidushi

Balthali village trek via namo buddha and panauti, Nepal - Apr 30 - May 5, 2018

Traveler: Vidushi G. - Local specialist: Kripa Sunuwar

our guides - Dawar & Naresh - were so kind and helpful. We loved that they joined us in the evenings before/after dinner, it felt really personal the whole time, they were our local friends telling us so much about the culture, region and country. They did a fantastic job and are a credit to the team.

Most memorable place was Namobhuddha - the tranquility of the resort made us book an extra spontaneous night, it was a beautiful place! The monastery had us mesmerised and we've since learnt... read more

our guides - Dawar & Naresh - were so kind and helpful. We loved that they joined us in the evenings before/after dinner, it felt really personal the whole time, they were our local friends telling us so much about the culture, region and country. They did a fantastic job and are a credit to the team.

Most memorable place was Namobhuddha - the tranquility of the resort made us book an extra spontaneous night, it was a beautiful place! The monastery had us mesmerised and we've since learnt a lot more about Bhuddism. The only tip I have for future treks is to have one rest day in Namobhuddha so you can fully enjoy the resort as well.

Bhaktapur took us by surprise entirely - we weren't expecting such an ancient, artistic town on the outskirts of Khatmandu! Pratiksha is a very warm, smiley, amicable person with huge amounts of knowledge on the place. We really respect her passion and devotion to her country and religion and thoroughly enjoyed our city tours with her.

Balthali village trek via namo buddha and panauti, Nepal - Apr 4 - Apr 7, 2018

Traveler: Jessica G. - Local specialist: Amanda Delecca

I can not say enough how amazing our experience was with Kimkim. I worked wih a Amanda who customized our trip to fit the very limited time we had in Nepal. We did a 3 day trip and were able to hike and explore the Kathmandu area which would have been very difficult to do on our own. We had a hiking guide and a city guide and both were amazing, knowledgadble and super friendly. We loved the hotels Amanda reserved for us. The Namo Buddha Resort was beautiful and very peaceful. If and when I go back to Nepal I will use this company. I highly recommend them!

Kelly

Balthali village trek via namo buddha and panauti, Nepal - Apr 6 - Apr 12, 2018

Traveler: Kelly W. - Local specialist: Kripa Sunuwar

Overall the planning process was smooth - Kripa was responsive and addressed my questions. My guide, Rishi was great! He was knowledgeable, friendly, and a pleasure to trek with.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the route (Balthali Village Trek) designed by kimkim. Based on the descriptions on the site (and research I did online), I was under the impression I would be trekking between quiet hillside villages, off the beaten path, near mountains. This was not the case. While Rishi... read more

Overall the planning process was smooth - Kripa was responsive and addressed my questions. My guide, Rishi was great! He was knowledgeable, friendly, and a pleasure to trek with.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the route (Balthali Village Trek) designed by kimkim. Based on the descriptions on the site (and research I did online), I was under the impression I would be trekking between quiet hillside villages, off the beaten path, near mountains. This was not the case. While Rishi made every effort to take alternative routes that took us off main roads, most of the trek was in earshot of bus and truck horns, loud music, and general city life. I wish kimkim had been upfront about the type of trek this was and had more accurate descriptions of where I would be trekking (ie, between cities, on roads). I would not recommend this trek to anyone interested in a peaceful trek through the mountains or countryside.

In addition, while I walk fast, I thought the trekking time estimates were really off. One day, the trekking time was listed as 5 hours, but I completed the distance in 2.5. Adding distance to the descriptions would be helpful.

Balthali village trek via namo buddha and panauti, Nepal - Mar 24 - Apr 5, 2018

Traveler: LeaAnn F. - Local specialist: Kripa Sunuwar

The 8 days we spent with Tendu were very memorable. He was very knowledgeable with the areas that we were trekking. He was very personable, professional and his sense of humour kept us motivated when we needed motivation. He was very attentive to our needs at the various tea houses. Lapka and Kazi were a delight to have along on the trek. I would highly recommend Tendu as a guide to anyone coming to Nepal.

Doug

Balthali village trek via namo buddha and panauti, Nepal - Jan 7 - Jan 11, 2018

Traveler: Doug K. - Local specialist: Mads Mathiasen

To be honest, we put a lot of trust in Kimkim as we weren't paying a great deal of attention to the finer details prior to heading OS. So in reality, it could have all gone very poorly!

Luckily for us our faith and confidence in the service was not misguided and we had a great time. Being unfamiliar with a place like Nepal can be very daunting when it comes to planning a hike / trek so we appreciated the insight and experience offered by kimkim. I would also recommend the specific hike we... read more

To be honest, we put a lot of trust in Kimkim as we weren't paying a great deal of attention to the finer details prior to heading OS. So in reality, it could have all gone very poorly!

Luckily for us our faith and confidence in the service was not misguided and we had a great time. Being unfamiliar with a place like Nepal can be very daunting when it comes to planning a hike / trek so we appreciated the insight and experience offered by kimkim. I would also recommend the specific hike we went on for beginners; it's low altitude and not too rough with regard to physical capability (climbing lots of steep stairs etc!). I imagine that experienced hikers could cover this distance and climb in around 2days if they were rushing it but the additional time was welcomed so we could enjoy each location and also have some rest.

We had opted for a more budget option with regard to accomodation and even then, the places we stayed were quite good. We had 4 nights in the below locations:
-Guest house in Dhulikhel; Amazing roof top view of the valley and mountains but the room was very cold and the shower cold. Beers were 600 NPR each.
-The Monastery was an overall highlight and had a superb hot shower! (it takes some working out as there are several taps which feed into the shower tap.. you'll work it out!. We had dinner and breakfast with the monks and they also had a little cafe for coffee, tea and other extras you might want. Surprisingly, there was secure and very good quality wifi throughout the location (cost 30NPR per day) no beers here of course!
-The Balthali Guest House was also very good. We had a relaxing afternoon with a few beers on the roof in the sun and then enjoyed getting amongst the local ladies to strip the dried corn for a couple of hours. The farm fresh and local food was excellent and we may have had a few too many local Rum's before bed.
-The homestay in Panauti was cool, we very much enjoyed the cooking class and the guided tour of the town. It was super cold here and the evening fire was very welcomed! The hot shower greatly appreciated before our long flights back top Australia.
All in all the trip was great fun, was well organised and our guide was great, thanks Ļāmā Ťãmãņğ Đāwâ !