Sherry B Ortner quotes Nepal as a faraway dreamland, which does full justice to what it is. Nepal indeed is full of dreamy places. Such was the experience I can now recount from two years back while going for a hike in Chitlang. The hiking trail starts from Thankot, Kathmandu, which passes by concrete chaos to less noisy local villages, opening an entrance to jungles and homestays. The experience was just perfect as I was looking for an escape from the daily humdrum of Kathmandu.
Chitlang is a 20 km far neighborhood village from Kathmandu that offers such an ecstatic beauty on its way that you feel like you're journeying to a hidden world of pleasure. Actually, it is just another typical Nepali village with green hills, serene rice fields, small mud huts with newly sprung trees beside them, and locals in Nepalese dress gathered at the local “dhungedhara” (tap). Views of local cows grazing and the smell of mud from farms fill the morning cool breeze. But I always believe, it is the warmth and generosity of the people that makes Nepal really beautiful. The Nepalese hospitality makes every free spirit traveler fall in love with them. Maybe, the smile holds unlimited stories of struggle and hardships behind it, but it never fails to make the guests feel like they are the happiest people.
This trip got even better as I traveled with my cousins; full of hilarious jokes, petty gossips, and special moments that only the family can understand. What I mean is, there are things that you can talk only when your family is around. The silly jokes, gossips, and more than that, you can be totally yourself with your family. No matter how good friends you have, something just runs in the blood. You can sit with your legs spread in bed, laugh in the most hilarious tone, and talk in your typical mother tongue. At times you need to travel light by letting heavy realities and fear of uncertainties go. Family is about fun and countless shaggy dog stories. So basically, this trip was not just to escape the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu but to escape too much seriousness and so-called practicality of life. Personally, this trip has reconnected me with my loved ones with whom I grew up sharing every teenage story, and now it seems life has become difficult with each passing day and year. As we grow older, we are supposed to think about serious stuff and forget what is more important.
Anyway, this trip helped me to reconnect with my darling cousins. Six hours of walking, talking, and beers; catching our breathe at almost every shady spot, taking snaps and more laughing, this clearly sums up the hike. As we reached near the village and entered the trail through the local village, I felt what I explained in the beginning lines. It was an absolutely delightful place ,and we reached on an absolutely clear sky day. Spring that year started beautifully.
We stayed in the Goat Cheese Homestay. We tasted the oh-so-yummy and rich in taste cheese with homemade wine, which was a beautiful experience. Our room came with a stunning view, kitchen, a balcony overlooking the village, lovely food, and great service.
Goat Cheese farm and homestay is the first and only goat cheese farm and factory in Nepal run by a France-returned local family, who also provided homestay facility. As I explained above, you can enjoy goat cheese with their homemade wine, delicious lunch, dinner and breakfast ,and super-comfortable rooms. Everything for NRS 1100 per person. Another popular go-to place in Chitlang is Chitlang Organic Village Resort. It is the first resort in the place pioneering Chitlang as a tourist destination.
Route to Kulekhani-Markhu: While Chitlang village is itself a stunning destination; it leads to a more popular and serene hideout- Markhu, Kulekhani. Here you can enjoy the mesmerizing lake, do water activities like fishing and boating, and enjoy the local fish items. ThoughI haven’t been there yet, from what I've heard, I can assure you the place is amazing.
How to reach Chitlang?
Take a bus/micro bus to Thankot from Ratnapark. It will cost around NRS 30-40. Ask the driver to drop you at the stop from where you turn to Chitlang. There are many similar turns that can get confusing for first-timers. You can also opt for local jeeps (back in 2016, we got it for Rs 70 from Chitlang).
But, of course you want to hike to the place. So if you start walking at 10 AM and are a slow walker, you’d reach by 4 PM.
Have you ever been to Nepal, or precisely Chitlang, for a hike? Or some other place? If yes, do share your experience.