Sometimes it can be necessary to get away from Kathmandu for a day or two. Everybody knows about Nagarkot and Dhulikhel, but a lesser-known destination for a short trip out of the capital is Kakani. It’s 23 km to the north-west of Kathmandu, right next to the Shivapuri National Park. The small village has a lot in its favor and is definitely worth a visit.
The road to Kakani leaves Kathmandu at Balaju and then passes the Nagarjun Forest. After one to one-and-a-half hours (depending on the road conditions), visitors reach Kaulethana, where they have to take a right to drive the last 15 minutes to Kakani. On the way you will pass by many trout fish restaurants. This area is perfect for farming this kind of fish, as there is cold and clean water that does not get too hot in the summer. If you want to enjoy fish with a view, wait until you reach the top though.
The view from Kakani is terrific. On a clear day, you feel like you can touch the Langtang and Helambu mountain range if you just spread out your arms a little bit. Especially when the sun goes down, the vista is breathtaking – one by one, the peaks are dipped in pink light. When you turn around, you can look down on the Kathmandu Valley. From far away, the city looks almost peaceful. If you’re lucky you can even see the mountains on the south side of the valley. At night, the entire city sparkles with lights.
There’s also a lot of peace and quiet in Kakani. Because it is a bit more challenging to reach than Nagarkot or Dhulikhel, and the fact that there is no substantial tourist infrastructure yet, chances are that you will only meet local tourists when you go up there. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, a stay in Kakani is really grounding. The road ends in the village so that there is no passing traffic.
The small village has a couple of places that you can visit. It is home to a memorial park for the victims of the 1992 Thai Airways crash. It is beautifully kept and there are name plaques for all the victims. There is also a memorial park for mountaineers that is close to the picnic ground. It’s a little climb to get to the monuments, but they are lovely. The village also has one small stupa and a shrine on a hill that offers fantastic views towards the mountains, the Kathmandu Valley and over the settlement itself.
If you want to get active, Kakani is also the start of a couple of hikes through the Shivapuri National Park. From here you can either take the southern route that leads towards Budhanilkantha or the northern path that hugs the ridge and leads hikers to Gurje Bhanjyang and eventually to Chisopani. Also, the mountain bike trail through the National Park ends or begins in Kakani.
If you are seeking peace and quiet and do not want to travel far from Kathmandu, Kakani is the ideal destination for a weekend getaway. Enjoy the view, read a good book surrounded by nature, and enjoy the delicious local food – the perfect ingredients for an enjoyable stay.