The hilltop village of Nuwakot is home to Nuwakot Fort, a beautiful and historically important fortress and palace built in 1768. While the fort is the area’s main draw, visitors also come to stay in charming boutique hotels or homestays and hike in the forested hills around the village. Nuwakot makes an ideal destination for a peaceful 2- or 3-night getaway from Kathmandu.
The Nuwakot Fort was built by Prithvi Narayan Shah, the first king of unified Nepal. Located on the ancient Tibetan trade route, the village of Nuwakot was once a bustling hub and was even briefly the capital of Nepal. While it’s now a small, out-of-the-way place, Nuwakot is proud of its importance in Nepali history. Nowadays it’s a quiet place to visit to enjoy fresh air, mountain views, rural life, and traditional Nepali architecture and culture.
The fort is a spectacular sight, and while it did suffer significant damage in the earthquakes of 2015, its seven stories, intricate carvings, thick stone walls, and ornate temples still make it a must-see attraction. Visitors normally go to Nuwakot for a couple of nights, as it’s too far to go for a day trip from Kathmandu.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The road between Kathmandu and Nuwakot is rugged, and best traveled in a sturdy 4-wheel-drive vehicle.
- Although a small village, Nuwakot has a boutique farmhouse hotel in town and a community homestay nearby for overnight visits.
- If you want to learn about the history of Nuwakot, go with a guide from Kathmandu, as you will struggle to find a guide in Nuwakot itself.
How to Get There
Nuwakot is about 48 miles (77 kilometers) northwest of Kathmandu. While there’s a bus that travels between the locations several times a day (the journey takes about four hours), the poor condition of the roads means that taking a private vehicle is much more comfortable. Alternatively, for a more adventurous route, take the bus from Kathmandu to Trishuli Bazaar and hike the last four miles (seven kilometers) uphill.
When to Get There
For the best hill and mountain views, visit between October and March. The road there is likely to be in poor condition during the monsoon season (June-September).
Hiking in the Langtang National Park
Nuwakot is on the way to the Langtang National Park. The Langtang Valley hike, the Gosaikunda hike, and the Tamang Heritage Trail are some popular routes within the park. Visitors can see snow-capped peaks, alpine pastures, and rhododendron forests. Stop at Nuwakot for a couple of days before or after a hike for a trip that combines nature and culture.