Bandipur is a beautiful and small village of old trading houses, some of which have been tastefully renovated and converted into small hotels, restaurants and cafes. It has very quiet tourism and there is no traffic in a large part of the village. In a rural setting, it breathes a lot of local life at a leisurely pace and without too many worries.
Bandipur was once an important trading village where merchants on the route between Tibet and India traded their goods. When the highway was open in the valley, Bandipur lost its importance and many of its inhabitants migrated to Kathmandu. The village fell into neglect. Years later, many of them returned and the old trading houses were judiciously rehabilitated for the sustainable tourism of today’s Bandipur.
It is sited on a mountain pass from where, on clear days, you can enjoy good views of the Himalayas in the north, especially in the early morning. The centre of town is a wide street where no traffic is allowed, making it a perfect place to relax. The old renovated commercial houses are now cafés, restaurants and small hotels, with pleasant terraces on the street or at the back of the houses. It is a quiet tourist town, never with large groups, and it breathes a lot of local life, with people taking care of their business or working in the fields. It’s a town to wander around at your leisure and beyond the main street, you can explore here and there (there aren’t that many streets!).
Although there is no set route to follow, there are a few. There is a nature trail known as the Rani Ban trail, which runs for about 30 minutes through a pine forest. Or you can hike up to the Purano Kot fort, now known as Thani Mai, which sits atop a nearby elevation about 20 minutes up a steep path where there are two small temples. From here the views are very wide, overlooking Bandipur and the Himalayan peaks, and it’s a good place for sunset. There are also some silkworm farms in the area to visit. But as we have said, you don’t have to take any fixed route, just let your own steps take you there.
A longer route can take you to the Magar village of Ramkot, a very interesting circular route through rural Nepal. See the description of this route.