trakking in nepal with kids


Add Extra Spice to Your Trip to Kathmandu with these Off-the-Beaten-Track Adventures

Let’s be honest – Kathmandu isn’t the first name that springs to most people’s minds when planning a trip with the kids. A history of political instability and a reputation for pollution and chaotic streets means many families leave it off their Asian itineraries, but families that do make the trip will find a whole host of family friendly adventures, and that sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’ve ventured where relatively few family travelers have gone before. This ‘City of the Gods’ is home to magnificent temples, deep shrine-filled valleys, and some of the most colorful street life anywhere on the planet – (think monkeys and bovine beasts jostling for space with pedestrians in bright religious robes).

Families in Kathmandu are unlikely to find themselves battling to escape the tourist masses, but escaping the thick pollution and the congested streets is more likely to be a concern. Luckily, fresh air is never far away – families can expect to spend time hiking and getting to grips with nature, without straying far from the city.

Spend a Day on a Farm

Kathmandu is better known for its chaos and congestion than its fertile farmlands, but families in the city need only delve a little deeper than street level to find that some enterprising locals are indeed raising vegetable as well as livestock at various semi-rural spots. Some companies such as Backstreet Academy arrange trips to urban farms, where families can spend the day learning how to work the land and see how a self-sustaining vegetable farm can work in a big city, and older children can even enjoy collecting eggs and milking cows. It’s hard work, but one which should work up an appetite to enjoy a meal made with freshly-picked produce. It’s not your average day in the big city, which is part of the appeal, and families prepared to put in the work will learn a great deal about traditional Nepalese farming methods.

Check out a Hermit’s Art Collection

Of all the off-the-wall things to do in and around Kathmandu, visiting the home and art studio of a self-declared hermit could perhaps be top of the list. At the Hermitage – an artist’s cottage set in grand gardens some 6km from the city at Pasang Lhamu Road in Bouddha – Manju Babu Mishra welcomes curious visitors. Those who make the trip can can admire his many very distinctive artworks and stroll around impressive gardens filled with fruit trees and sculptures. He may not choose to venture out himself, but the self declared hermit does enjoy welcoming visitors to his home, and waxing lyrical on his favorite subjects – art and literature. That might not sound like the most alluring prospect for kids, but a quick peek around the garden – and the novelty of the whole thing – should pique inquisitive children’s imaginations.  

Take a Hike

There’s no question about it, the air pollution in Kathmandu is an issue. The air quality ranks among the worst in the world (anti-pollution masks are advisable), and families are likely to find themselves literally gasping for some fresh air. Handy, then, that some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable surrounds the city on all sides, and taking a hike or jumping on a bike is a family-friendly way to explore it. It’s rare to see many other walkers even on well-known routes such as the Chisapani hike and Nagarjun hike, and the sunsets over the horizon are truly magical. Perhaps most stunning of all is the hill station of Nagarkot, which sits at 2300 feet above the Kathmandu Valley, and where the snow-topped mountains make a particularly picturesque backdrop to hikes and nature walks – the trekking route around the town takes some three hours, taking in traditional mud hut villages, bright wild flowers and dense forests. There are guided walks available, but experienced walkers will find it easy to navigate the trails by themselves. About one hour’s bumpy drive Northeast of Kathmandu, it’s possible to see Nagarkot as a day trip, but with plenty of inexpensive places to stay, it’s worth making it into a short side trip to make the most of the mountain air and fresh breezes.

Don’t Miss this Fried Ice Cream

OK, so this is no hidden gem, and it’s not going to win any healthy eating awards, but kids and their parents need a sweet treat sometimes, and the fried ice cream rolls at FunKey Delights rally deliver the goods. Stirred, fried and cooled ice cream is served up in all manner of drool-inducing combinations, many of which feature chocolate in diverse and abundant forms – anyone for the signature fried ice cream roll, featuring chocolate cookies, chocolate syrup, chocolate itself, and chocolate pie. Yes, it’s darned chocolatey.  Fruit puts in an occasional appearance, should parents need to convince themselves that there is a health element to be gleaned from a visit to this calorie-laden cafe, and kids can even set to work making their own ice creams to be devoured in seconds.


For the last few years I’ve been coming to Nepal with my kids for at least a few months a year. So I gathered for you all the things I thought would help planning a trip there. I tried giving you a more general image as well as going into detail, in points that I found important.


Neighbor to India and China, half an hour flight from Delhi, an hour and a half from Bangkok.

Budget for a family per month:

Low budget- cheap hotels, cheap restaurants, and one short trek, 1000-1200$
Medium budget- decent hotels, average restaurants, a trek and rafting, 1200-1400$
High budget- good hotels, expensive restaurants, good private transportation, treks and rafting, 1400-2000$

Getting there:

I recommend Turkish or Qatar airways.
You can also take a bus from India, but be prepared as it’s a grueling 30-40 hours’ drive.


In Nepal you get visa upon landing, 45$ a month or 100$ for three months. You can extend afterwards (up to a combined 150 days a year) in Pokhara or in Kathmandu at the cost of 2$ a day in the immigration office.
Children under 10 don’t pay (and don’t let them charge you for them).
There’s a machine at the airport through which you fill a form and have your picture taken, print the form and wait in line for the Visa.

Recommended seasons:

There are two good seasons a year, from early February until April, that starts cool and clear and gets warmer and wetter, and from late September to late November, that starts warm and a bit rainy and gets cooler and clearer. There’s also the winter, which is very cold but doesn’t get any rain, that’s in December to early February. Late December and early January are the best for view (the clearest visibility).

Exchange rate:

The Nepali currency is called Nepali rupee (npr), and it’s worth less than an Indian rupee in a ratio of 1-1.6 (1 Indian rupee is worth 1.6 Nepali rupees). 1$ is worth about 100 npr.

Central hubs:

Kathmandu- the capital city (the tourist zone is a neighborhood called Thamel). A noisy, bustling city.
Pokhara- the second biggest city. A calm, quiet city on a lake shore. (The tourist zone is an area called lakeside, and it’s right on the lake).

Places we recommend:

Lakeside Pokhara- a quiet, relaxed neighborhood on Pokhara’s Fewa Lake.

Australian base camp- a stunning village in the mountains, two hours’ drive from Pokhara, with amazing views, good guesthouses and restaurants.

Astham village- on the Himalayan foothills, the Annapurna range, a small village with a sweet eco lodge.

Fishling-Charoundi area- halfway between Kathmandu and Pokhara, an interesting point on the Trisuli River. You can stay in resorts and participate in extreme water sports (kayaking canyoning etc…) or just chill on the beach. Great local food, meeting with the local and an introduction to real Nepal.

Foods to try:

Dal-Baht- a meal consisting of rice, lentil soup, vegetable curry, steamed greens, and a type of “pickle”- what puts the spicy in it all- that can come in a number of ways (tomato sauce with chilly, spiced chopped radishes, etc…). Sometimes they add a plate of meat (chicken/fish/buffalo). The Nepalese eat it every day twice a day, breakfast and dinner.

Momo- steamed Tibetan dumpings filled with vegetables or meat.

Thukpa- a Nepali style noodle soup (there’s a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian version) and sometimes has momos inside.


-Nepal is home of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848m’ or 29,029ft). The first woman to get to the summit was Japanese, in 1975

-In Nepal there are many gorgeous rivers, and the Everest and Annapurna mountain ranges, both a part of the Himalayas. The villages still preserve an ancient culture, the houses are made of stone and mud, and the cooking on an open fire, the food taken straight from the field, shower is in the river, etc…

-Food is mostly rice or corn based.

-The national dish is Dal-Baht- a rice dish they eat with their hands, twice a day, every day.

-The national drink is a milk Chai tea they call Chia, and Alcohol – they have a few different kinds of homemade drinks made from Semolina or Rice- Roxi, Chang, Tumba.

-The most special Tikka is the “Tihar” (brother-sister festival) Tikka- given by the eldest sister to her younger brothers. This is one of the most important and holy festivals in the Nepali culture and is celebrated every year around October. (Joins the “Dasai”, the year’s most important festival).

The important holidays- are celebrated towards the end of October. That should be taken under consideration as most Nepalese like to go back home to their families (that includes taxi drivers and trekking guides…), traffic is high, roads are full to bursting, and there’s a shortage of manpower as they’re all celebrating.

Holidays in March-April: the two biggest ones are “Shiva Ratri”- where they smoke marijuana for the god’s birthday, and eat sugarcanes. In the evening they light bonfires and roast the sugarcanes on the flames and after it gets very hot, they slam it against the ground, which creates a loud bang. They afterwards eat the flowing syrup straight from the cane…

The other one is known as “Holy”- the color festival. A whole day where people throw colorful powder on each other in the street. Go with your spare clothes and be prepared for street color fights (they mix the powders with water and sometimes eggs…). Keep a close eye on the kids as there usually are hundreds out in the street on that day.

-clothing: most people wear regular western clothing. Bracelets on the wrists signify marriage.

-The Nepalese are charming, gentle and love kids. They’ll go to them straight away, play with them and carry them around in their arms. If that’s hard for you, put limits on thing and tell your kids it’s ok to refuse if they don’t like it.

Additional information:

Money and ATM machines: ATMs today are easy to find in any city. Usually they even work. The recommended bank is “Nabil Bank”- look for the green ATMs, they allow you to pull 35,000 at one go, for a 500 rupee commission per pull. And you can do that up to 3 times in a row.

Water: you can easily find mineral water in any store both in cities and villages at the cost of 25 rupees a bottle. Hot water for a shower- some places have only solar heating, others also an electric. There won’t always be hot water in the shower so better make sure before going in 

Rain: the rains in Nepal get very heavy, and come very suddenly. When it rains the streets turn to rivers. Take umbrellas with you, and waterproof jackets (easy to get anywhere) and it’s best to just go with flip-flops

Temperature: in Nepal they don’t really have any heater/coolers in most hotels. There’s a ceiling fan (that only works when there’s power) but it doesn’t help with humidity. If you come at very hot or cold seasons prepare accordingly.


Inside the cities you can get around by taxi or simply walking. You should always agree on the taxi price before getting in that taxi. Between cities- the tourist bus is fast, reliable and comfortable. A usual price per seat is 600-700npr (you can share a seat with your young children and not pay for them). The drive is 6-8 hours with 2 stops in the middle, but take under consideration traffic jams and road blocks. Always take some snacks with you.

Another option is a flight. A ticket costs 100-120$. It’s a short flight recommended for those short on time.

Communication – sim card and internet:

The biggest telecommunication company in Nepal is Ncell. To buy a sim card you’ll need a photocopy of the visa page on your passport. Or you can buy a ‘black market’ sim card in some stores. You get call minutes by buying a recharge ‘balance’ card (you can find those at most convenient stores, 20, 50,100, 200 rupees’ worth and so on). You can also buy 3G data, which is usually fast.

Wifi there’s almost everywhere and it’s usually a decent speed.
**plastic bags: it’s getting harder and harder to find simple a plastic bag. In stores they give ecological paper bags, and if you don’t want to have to buy them every time, it’s best you bring a bag with you to carry everything around. I recommend you bring a few plastic bags with you from home because sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Things to do with kids in Nepal:

Rafting: a must for every family. A trip of 2-3 days (or more if you want), on a river raft, high or low extreme levels (up to you). What’s wonderful about rafting is that it’s not just the river, but also the views, the encounter with nature, the little villages along the way, camping meals (that the stuff cooks with impressive competence!).

The rafting company I recommend for family trips is Adrenaline-Rush, their office in right on Pokhara’s main junction (Halown-chawk). They’re not the cheapest but their level of service is very high.

Trekking: of course, there are many routes, of varying difficulties. Go to an agency and check. There’s no need to learn it all in advance, it’s even preferable to get there and get all the info and explanation about the treks. They’ll also know which routes are open and safe, weather-wise. You can decide today to leave tomorrow. There are also trekking equipment stores everywhere. They also rent so everything is nice and organized.

Recommended trek with kids at a very low difficulty level- Dhampus trek, includes the Australian base camp. A short trek that doesn’t go into dangerous altitudes, with picturesque villages and excellent views of the Annapurna range.

For more adventurous families- “around Annapura” trek. I recommend consulting with a doctor before going about how to deal with high altitudes, correct behavior in high altitudes, signs are and warning signs.

**families with younger kids- it might be best to hire a porter to help you with the young ones. In some places, its better an experienced porter carry them (slick trails, steep stairs, river crossings, etc…).

Kathmandu: the monkey temple. Near the Thamel there’s also a very nice artificial rock climbing wall you should try.

Pokhara: the Mountain Museum (recommended before trekking), paragliding (right above the Himalayas!), rafting, mountain biking, the fishing village Pame, Bengas lake. The Tibetan refugee camp and their temple (highly recommended, there are also basic rooms, if you want to experience the temple on another level. There are children learning in the temple…).

Movie garden- open air cinema, great atmosphere. Sit on the couches, or on the floor, and get pillows and blankets if you want, big screen, popcorn, pizza and drinks (including beer). On Saturdays they play children’s movies, and kids get free admission. Movies start at 7:30, but get there half an hour ahead of time just to find a place to sit.

Volunteering: in the Organic Shop in Pokhara they recommend a number of farms ro volunteer in (free of charge), and there are also a few orphanages. More organizations can be found in Kathmandu (more info can be found in “Places” restaurant)

Chitwan- Nepal’s biggest and most famous national park with safari trips where you can see elephants (some safaris are done riding Elephants!), rhinos, tigers and more. Usually what people do is order a tour with one of the agencies that arranges them, including transportation, stay, and a number of activities, if you want to do it yourself you can take a bus, book a hotel and arrange activities through it or through a local agency. The packages offer good value. It’s not recommended to arrive at summer or winter because it gets both very hot and very cold there:-).

Nepal is also mentioned in my new ebook, “How to travel with kids for1400$ a month (or less), as a recommended destination for a low budget family trip. if you want to learn more, please click and download the ebook.

It’s fun to travel with kids in Nepal. It’s cleaner and cheaper than India. The Nepali people love kids so prepare them to an almost royal treatment. The views are stunning and (almost) everyone speaks English. And the biggest advantage over all the other southeast Asian countries is that there are almost no mosquito transferred diseases (other than in the south, on the Indian border).

I’ll write here a few tips for those planning a visit in Nepal in the hope they’ll help.

Landing there:

If you’ve never been to Nepal before- their airport looks like it’s taken from an old low budget film. After a long tiring flight, you stand in the very long line for visa. The Nepalese are very friendly and will take the younger kids (under 10 years old) to a shorter line for their free visas. the older ones will have to stand in line. Prepare a place for the kids to sit comfortably (maybe a small blanket to spread on the ground or something similar) because they’ll be very tired. If you have a cart- try to get it the minute you get off the plane, or if you have a Yuka use it.

Kathmandu is not an easy city to process. Make the trip from the airport to the hotel quickly, and stay in the Thamel area to begin with. I would recommend you leave Kathmandu and save it till the end of your visit, after you’ve had some time to get used to Nepal. It’s better to get to Pokhara as soon as possible, and start the trip there.

Make the way from Kathmandu to Pokhara in a hired minivan. It’s a long bumpy twisty road with high throw-up potential (7/10 by our measuring) so it’s best if the vehicle is hired by you, that way you could ask the driver to stop as needed. Invite other travelers to join you, they’ll pay their part and the kids could make a few friends.

Other option is the tourist bus, which is nowadays very comfortable and relatively safe. Few of them even have wifi that is actually working.

Food, water, showers…:

The water quality in the taps in Kathmandu is very low. In Pokhara it’s relatively fine. I wouldn’t drink it but they do go through some purification process.

Hot water- most places have hot water. Some only have a solar heater, which means there’ll only be hot water if there was sun.
Western food there is everywhere. Its quality- good. Pasta and pizza you can get anywhere. The local food in delicious and very nutritious, but don’t forget to ask not spicy if that might be a problem for you.

Here’s a Video showing the best breakfast in Nepal. and one about the well known local snack :-).

Electricity, weather:

In my opinion the best time to travel to Nepal with kids is in October-November-early December. The weather is amazing; it doesn’t rain the skies are crystal clear. March-April-May is also a good time, but less so as visibility is less good.

In Nepal there is a hydroelectric system, but for political reasons, the Nepali people don’t really get to enjoy it. Power cuts are a part of everyday life. The more water flows in the rivers, the more power there is. Hence, in the monsoon and a few weeks after (July-November), there’s power almost all day long. The further away from the monsoon you are, the longer the power cuts become. In March for example there’s no power for 14 hours a day(!). during the day it doesn’t really bother but at night it could be unpleasant. Most good hotels, restaurants, and shops have generators, but they turn them off at around 11pm.

Safety, health, transportation:

There are decent hospitals and ambulances. And pharmacies everywhere.
There are some (few) taxis with sit belts. Make sure to choose only those and insist they take them out of the trunk.
Sidewalks- there are more in Pokhara than in Kathmandu.
I would recommend putting very young kids in a Yuka so you won’t have to worry about them crossing roads or disappearing in an ocean of humanity. Hold hands with older kids when walking in busy streets.
Keep the kids away from the stray dogs and Monkeys (yes, you’re reading it right, Monkeys). In the event something happens- go to a private hospital they’re experienced in giving rabies shots.
A local bus can be an interesting experience…
There are bicycles for rent everywhere, and it’s fun to paddle, but it’s nearly impossible to find bicycles for the kids.


In the Thamel in Kathmandu you can find anything. But it’s not as cheap as you’d think.

That’s why it’s better to shop in Pokhara where it’s cheaper.

Or if you are looking for brands etc- there is a nice variety in kathmandu to choose from.

Books: in most book stores you can find a small but high quality selection of books in many languages. If your bags are already heavy, don’t bother taking books with you you’ll find some here. The deal is that you buy the book, read it, then return it to the store to get half your money back. few children’s book are also possible, as well as books for young kids and teens.


Have no fear. In Pokhara and Kathmandu there is everything you need. Diapers (not of a great quality), wet wipes, soaps, hand sanitizers (a large, high quality selection), cornflakes, mosquito repellents, bandages and wound disinfectants, sunscreen (a large selection, including naturals and international brands), tooth paste and brush, pacifiers, vitamins.

You should bring baby food and medicines with you from home. Even though now, slowly, is gets easier to find formula in the big cities.

Here’s an article with all you need to know about traveling to Nepal 

Things you can do that won’t be mentioned in the travel guides:

∴ A yoga course in Pokhara with the kids- warmly recommended.

∴ Go on a short easy trek to the village Astham. There is an amazing, friendly guesthouse there.

∴ You can visit Tara’s shop in front of Be happy restaurant in lakeside. It’s an organization that supports working women. See how they spin the strings, dye them, make them into fabric to use later in all sorts of bags, gloves, stunning hats, etc…

∴ Do a family Rafting.

∴ Taste organic Honey from wild flowers that grow only in high altitudes, or Butternut, or Mustard flowers in the organic shop in lakeside.

∴ Buy colorful Tikas in a stand just outside of Thamel in Kathmandu.

∴ Go to watch a movie at “movie garden” (pokhara) its awesome. On saturdays they show a children’s movie and kids can come for free.

∴ Go sit at “silkroad” in the evening. they have some local and international live bans on a low-volume levels, perfect for family bonding. they also have sweet momo and a pool table. the grownups can enjoy nice refreshing cocktails for a reasonable price.

here is a full article about how to explore the Nepali culture with your kids. 


Nepal is one of the destinations that i cover in my new ebook “How to travel with kids for 1400$ a month (or less)”. download and see for yourself how simple and easy it is.

A good high quality hotel in kathmandu 40$-80$ a night. In Pokhara 15$-35$.
Guesthouse (definitely good enough)- 5$-10$ a night.

A meal for five– Kathmandu- 2000 rupees (1$= about 100 rupees). Pokhara- 1000 rupees.
indian pants– 300-600 rupees.
Family pizza– 250 rupees.
Small hand sanitizer– 100 rupees.
Fresh squeezed juice– 100-150 rupees.
Coffee– regular- 50 rupees, High quality espresso- 250 rupees.
Laundry– 80 rupees per kg (about 2 pounds)