Top 10 Community Homestays in Nepal

Spoilt for choice, if you want to stay in a family/community homestays in Nepal, then there are now more than 20 listed on the Community Homestay Network; with new ones joining all the time.

Mainly managed by women, they are given training and support from Royal Mountain Travel to be able to welcome guests into their homes in a sustainable and well-organised manner. Set up by Royal Mountain Travel is a corporate giving strategy, CHN works on a non-profit basis and is now working with 21 community homestays all over Nepal.

The diversity in Nepal means that no homestay experience is the same. Scattered all over the country, there is a wide range of cultural heritage, traditions, scenery, things to do and cuisines!

I have had the opportunity to visit many of these communities in the early days. Obviously the priorities of guests – tourists who usually have little idea of life in these rural villages – is that most need access to clean, comfortable beds and good bathroom facilities. 

While some homestays in small villages tend to be more basic, generally those located in the Kathmandu Valley. Likewise, in towns such as Tansen tend to be more comfortable. However, even in the most rural and simple accommodation, outside toilets will not be far and everything is clean. 

Depending on your time duration and how far you want to go, and perhaps the level of comfort, you have a wide choice. There are seven community homestays in and around Kathmandu, all within about two hours drive from Kathmandu. 

Community Homestays in Nepal 

There are a few new ones, added during the pandemic, that I have not yet had the opportunity to visit. But here I will describe my top 10 personal favourite community homestays in Nepal. These community homestays are the places where I have been and of which I have special memories. 

Panauti Community Homestay

Panauti Community Homestay in Nepal
Panauti Community Homestay in Nepal

The first and the flagship, Panauti community homestay started out when the wife of an employee working for Royal Mountain Travel was encouraged to help organise a group of women to make available one or two rooms in their homes for guests to stay in. At the time, many of the women spoke very little English. They had to rely on their children to translate and help teach them the basics of English. Panaulti itself has much to offer visitors. About two hours from Kathmandu, this small historic town is home to the lush countryside of the Kathmandu Valley. Panauti is easy to reach and has lots of interest in its beautifully preserved old town centre. I first visited Panauti in 1994 on my first trip to Nepal. Apart from some changes in dress and perhaps the number of vehicles, not much has changed; it is still possible to see girls winnowing the rice in the streets.  

Every time I return to Nepal, I always try to fit in a visit to Panauti. Just to say hello to old friends and to bring my friends here.   

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Top 10 Day Trips You Must Not Miss while you are in Nepal

This is the ultimate collection of the ten days trips you must not miss while you are in Nepal. It does not take very long to see all the sights Kathmandu has to offer. However, there are lots of day trips out of the city too. 

Within about two hours’ drive – by bus from Kathmandu, if you are feeling adventurous (these are very frequent but often crowded), you can be in a completely different world. It does not take long to get away from the dust of Kathmandu, into the Kathmandu Valley.

Top 10 Day Trips You Must Not Miss while you are in Nepal

Here there are many places worth visiting in Kathmandu. I have tried to list places outside or just outside Kathmandu. Obviously, there are many other places within the city that you could easily spend all day like Boudhanath and Pashupatinath, Kopan Monastery, Asian and Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Square, depending on your interest.

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Best Time to Visit Nepal for Trekking, and Travelling

The best time to visit Nepal for trekking and traveling is in the spring or fall. During this period, the temperature is warm and the sky is clear making it the best season to visit Nepal. But due to the land topography, geographical features, and awesome climatic condition, one can visit Nepal throughout the year.

Here’s our awesome guide to the best time to visit Nepal for trekking, traveling, and enjoying some of the main festivals of Nepal.

Best Time to Visit Nepal for Trekking

Mid- September- November

Upper Mustang- Best time to visit Nepal
Upper Mustang, The Kingdom of Lo
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Women and Travel: Women in the Lead initiative catering to underserved women’s travel needs.

Women empowerment is a long way to go in Nepal. However, companies like Royal Mountain Group are taking leaps that may seem small, but go miles for the women who work there. Women in the Lead is one of the social ventures coming out of the Group and is led by the women who work there. Women in the Lead hosts various events to raise awareness about women empowerment. 

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Staff photography for Sustainability ‘Creativity Unleashed’

Photography is the story I fail to put into words! ~ Destin Sparks.

We conducted a Photography session by Mr. Sudan Budathoki, for our colleagues (Royal Mountain Travel and Community Homestay Network) on October 27th, followed by a challenge in which the participants were divided into 6 teams and were assigned to submit 12 best shots and tell a story on different themes. We had Tihar (Deepawali) coming up, so the teams seemed excited with quite challenging themes! They got ample time to present what they could capture and what story needs to come across. And as a result, everyone did their part and we got good results. On November 15th, the teams presented their photographs and the Best photos were chosen based on Good Composition and Messages well received.

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Gai Jatra in Bhaktapur

Taha- Macha photo by Junu Shrestha

Today ( 04 August 2020 ), Gai Jatra is celebrated at Bhaktapur. Gai Jatra also known as “Sha paru” in native Newari language, where “Sha” means “cow” and “Paru” means celebration. The whole festival is celebrated for 7 days till Krishna Janmashtami on the main street of Bhaktapur.

Gai Jatra is one of the biggest festivals among the indigenous Newari communities living in the valley and is also celebrated by all the Newars living in different parts of the country in a different way.

Gai-Jatra here in Bhaktapur is celebrated in an exciting way. The festival is celebrated to commemorate the demise of the loved ones during the year. A chariot, known as Taha-macha made of bamboo decorated with flowers and colorful threads and dressed up in cloth with the picture of a dead person at the centre is carried around the old main street of Bhaktapur.

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Guni Punhi and Offering to Frogs

“Offering to frog” photo by : Junu Shrestha

Today ( 03 August 2020 ) we are enjoying “ kwati” at our house, with our family. “Kwati” is one of the traditional Newari soups which is prepared by indigenous Newari people living in the valley on the occasion of Guni Punhi festival.  The word kwati is derived from two words where “kwa” means hot and “ti” means soup, so it’s the hot soup, with a mixture of 9 types of sprouted Beans Black Pea, Green pea, Chickpea, Soya bean, Filed pea, Garden pea, Cowpea, Rice bean.

After the traditional method of rice plantation and a lot of physical work in the farming season, the farmers require proper nutrition to regain their body energy. Kwati, therefore, acts as the supplier of nutrition to the tired farmers. kwati was particularly consumed among Newari communities but with time, it also has been popular among other ethnic communities here in Nepal.

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Utilizing lockdown time to preserve an important cultural heritage site in a Himalayan village

The worldwide lockdown meant that people like myself who had been working in the tourism sector had no work to do and were forced to stay at home. The lockdown brought an abrupt halt to the daily lives of many people. With all this time in our hands, it seemed like there were many things we could do. I chose to go back to my hometown to create my own lockdown adventure. Continue reading