Bethanchowk – the king of the hills is one of the best nearby destinations for trekking and camping lovers who are looking for a short yet worthwhile and budget-friendly hiking and camping spot close to Kathmandu Valley. This is the highest hill in the Mahabharat range; located in the southern part of the Kavre district. At an elevation of 3,000m above sea level, astounding and breathtaking vistas encircle the Bethanchowk ridge.
The vistas from the top of Bethanchowk Hill are just beyond explanation. As we would be sighting it from above the clouds; the dramatic movements of clouds wandering and the mesmerizing sunset are the major highlights of this trek. Whereas, the mountain ranges from east Makalu to Dhaulagiri in the west can be sighted from Bethanchowk. The sunrise view and the mountain ranges from Bethanchowk early in the morning are remarkable as well.
Besides, this place has a religious significance as well. The actual name of this place is Bethanchowk Narayanthan. Named after the name of the Narayan temple on the top of this ridge. Likewise, there’s a belief that Lord Shiva himself resides here on this ridge. And every year on the auspicious occasion of Falgun Purnima, the local Tamang people celebrate a special Mela (fair) on this holy ridge.
From Kathmandu Valley, the distance up to the last checkpoint of this route i.e., Dhungkharka is approximately 50-60 KM only. And the drive of about 4-5 hours will get us there. From Dhungkharka, we can either choose to drive the off-road trail up to the starting point of stairways to the Bethanchowk Hill. Which is approximately a 1-hour hike via the stairs to the top. Or, you can start hiking from Dhungkharka via the same off-road trail up to the top. There’s also a jungle trail for hiking which is somehow shorter and more exciting to walk through. The jungle trail is approximately a 4-5 hour hike.
As there are no settlements along the way and this trail is not so popular yet. Hence, it is totally a remote and wild experience over there. We cannot even get safe drinking water on the top of the hill. And hence, we should be well-equipped with all the necessary items for camping along with sufficient drinking water and food.
This trip is a completely remote and “into the wild” experience on the top of a hill surrounded by jungles so make sure that the essentials for camping are double-checked before starting the trek.
Day 1 : Kathmandu to Dhungkharka by Drive and Hike to Bethanchowk:
Early morning after breakfast, we will reassure that we got all our essentials packed and head towards the base of Bethanchowk i.e. Dhungkharka. After a 5-6 hours drive (or less depending on traffic) we will reach Dhungkharka. Upon reaching there, we will have our lunch and start hiking towards the top and experience the jungle hike. It will take us about 3-4 hours to ascend to the top of Bethanchowk and we will stay overnight there in a tent camp.
Day 2 : Bethanchowk to Dhungkharka Hike and Drive back to Kathmandu:
We will wake up early in the morning and get ready to welcome the sun rising over the high hills and mountain ranges. After sighting the astounding sunrise and the mountain panorama, we will start descending toward Dhungkharka and have our breakfast/lunch there. And with all the memories and moments that we made on this short but remarkable hiking and camping trip, we will drive back to Kathmandu.