“Chisapani” means cold water in Nepali, and towns with springs in them share this name throughout Nepal. This particular Chisapani is found on the edge of the Shivapuri National Park, in the northern Kathmandu Valley. It’s a popular overnight stop for hikers on their way to other villages around the valley rim.
Located at an altitude of 7,217 feet (2,200 meters), Chisapani offers beautiful views of the Himalayas on clear days. You may be able to see the Annapurna Range, Everest, and the Langtang Range. It’s a common resting point for hikers crossing Shivapuri National Park from Budhanilkantha or Sundarijal.
Many visitors time their stay in Chisapani to coincide with sunset and sunrise. While Chisapani is not located on one of Nepal’s major hiking routes, it’s a good alternative for hikers who don’t have as much time, or who want to stay closer to Kathmandu.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Non-Nepali visitors need to pay a fee to enter the Shivapuri National Park, and register their names in a log book.
- Always hike with a guide, for safety and so that you can learn about the things you see along the way.
- The hike to Chisapani is challenging, but manageable for reasonably fit travelers.
- Bring appropriate clothing for the season, and good footwear such as hiking boots.
- There are several basic places to stay in Chisapani.
How to Get There
While Chisapani can be reached via a poorly maintained road from Sundarijal, most visitors hike there through the Shivapuri National Park. It’s easy to reach the park entrances at Budhanilkantha or Sundarijal from central Kathmandu by local bus or taxi. There are many paths through the park to Chisapani, but each takes several hours of walking to reach the town.
When to Get There
Spring and fall are the most popular times to go hiking in Nepal, because the weather is generally warm and dry. As Chisapani is not so high in altitude (compared to other Himalayan hikes), it can also be visited comfortably in winter, and the mountain views will actually be best then. Avoid the monsoon season (June–August), as trails to Chisapani will be muddy and slippery, and mountain views rare.
Visit the Budhanilkantha Temple
The town of Budhanilkantha, on the northern edge of Kathmandu, provides a gateway to the Shivapuri National Park. It’s home to a special temple that features a large statue of Lord Vishnu lying down and surrounded by snakes (Hindu gods are usually depicted standing up). If hiking to Chisapani, it’s worth a stop.