thumbnail image

Trip to the gorgeous city of Ilam

Imagine yourself relaxing in a quiet corner of your home, reclining on your chair, and looking out at this wonderful scene. Stunning views surround a hilly region covered in sloping tea plantations. The hilly district of Ilam, which lies in Nepal’s eastern development zone, is known for its tea gardens. The place’s natural beauty and biodiversity draw thousands of tourists every year. Therefore, if you’re from abroad, the luscious green hills of Ilam will surely take your mind off any stressful instances in your life.

Ilam, one of Nepal’s popular hill stations, is geographically located on the country’s eastern side. It occupies an area of 1,703 square kilometers. It is internationally bound by Darjeeling, India, to the east, Dhankuta, India, to the west,, and Panchthar, India, to the north. The altitude of Ilam ranges from 140 m to 3,636 m.

The city of Ilam is one of the most popular attractions for tourists who travel to eastern Nepal. Located between the Himalayan ranges, it offers a variety of places for tourists to enjoy in the summer months. Imagine walking until you reach a dense forest filled with beautiful trees and other attractive flora. As you walk through the forest, listen to the sound of a rushing river crashing against rocks. While you envision all of this, inhale the fragrance of a warm cup of tea. In order for the best experience in Ilam, the following are the ten best places to visit in Ilam for out-of-towners.

Ilam Tea Garden

Historically, Ilam is an entire garden with tea roots dating back to Jung Bahadur Rana’s tenure as Nepal’s Prime Minister. The Chinese Government provided tea saplings to Rana, and that’s how tea came to Ilam. Ilam Tea factory was established in 1868 and was active until 2010. Currently, Ilam has tea estates that are located between 4,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level.

Kanyam and Phikkal Bazaar

Kanyam in Ilam is accessible to inbound and outbound visitors alike for photo opportunities, sightseeing, and picnics. Fikkal and Kanyam in Ilam were planted with tea shrubs over 140 years ago. The weekly Fikkal haat is a place where local farmers and vendors can sell their wares every Thursday. It is one of Ilam’s commercial hubs and the first stop for visitors from Darjeeling, India.

Antu Danda

Antu Danda is a beautiful hilly region within the town that provides a perfect vantage point for viewing sunrise and sunset as well as the Himalayan Mountains. It provides the perfect viewing point for panoramic views of the Terai flatlands, tea gardens, thick forests of pine, and terraced hills of cash crops. On a bright, lovely, sunny day, the hill also provides views of Indian hill cities. These cities include Mirirk, Kurseong, and Darjeeling town.

Mai Pokhari

Ilam has more to offer than just tea estates and plantations. The quiet hill town is home to the pristine Mai Pokhari Lake, surrounded by thick juniper, pine, fir, and birch forests. In addition to the flora, the forest contains rare birds and insects, including herbs, orchids, rhododendrons, and jackals. Furthermore, you can see some unusual animal species if you are fortunate enough.  These include red pandas, musk deer (Kasturi), porcupines, leopards, and more. It is the best time to visit the lake between October and November when the lake is the site of an annual fair in honor of Goddess Bhagwati, whose abode is the lake.

Ilam Bazaar is 18 km away from Mai Pokhari, which can be reached in 30 minutes with a private taxi.


Sandakpur lies along the Nepal-India border at an elevation of 3,665 meters. In India, it is located in the Darjeeling region in West Bengal. A private cab can take tourists from Ilam to Maimajhuwa Khorsanitar. We will ultimately arrive at Sandakphu after a 5-hour trek.

Our visit to Sandakpur allows us to enjoy breathtaking views of the world’s highest mountains. These are Mt. Everest (8,848 m), Mt. Kangchenjunga (8,586 m), Mt. Makalu (8,485 m), Mt. Lhotse (8,516 m), and Mt. Kumbakarna (7,710 m). Additionally, it is well known for bird watching, and the region is home to the endangered Nepalese bird, the Danfe (Himalayan Monal), as well as endangered species like the musk deer and red pandas.

The Pathbhara Devi Temple

Goddess Pathibhara’s temple in Ilam is the most visited holy place in that part of the country. It is considered a sister temple to Taplejung’s original Pathibhara Devi temple, and those who are unable to travel to the original temple at 3,794 m can visit this one just above Sunmai. The site is located just above the highway to Ilam-Mechi, just above Hanspokhari.

Siddhi Thumka

At a height of 1,693 meters above sea level, Siddhi Thumka is located roughly 18 kilometers from Ilam’s Ajambare Danda. There are spectacular sunrises and sunsets at the spot, as well as views of the mountain peaks of Everest and Kangchenjunga and the Mahabharat and Churia ranges.

Among the other famous Siddhi Thumka destinations, one must also visit the Khnadrung Cave, Singhadevisthan, Fulbari, Namthala, Pankhelung falls, Ratopani, and Falgunanda Manghim Temple. A significant draw for agricultural tourism is the rice paddy fields is visible. So is orange cultivation on the southeastern side of Siddhi Thumpka.

Mai Beni

Located near the confluence of two rivers, Mai Khola and Jogma Khola, Mai Beni is home to a Shiva temple, which receives thousands of visitors on the occasion of Maghe Sankranti in January. Visitors can reach Mai Beni from the Ilam bazaar, which is located about 3 km away.

Gajurmukhi Devisthan

In eastern Nepal, Gajur Mukhi is a revered Hindu shrine located at an altitude of 500 meters alongside the Deumai River. It is the most prominent Hindu pilgrimage site in the region. There is a belief that pilgrims who visit this holy place will be rewarded with a boy, while the voiceless will be given a voice. Gajur Mukhi Devisthan is located approximately 40 kilometers from Ilam Bazaar. Every year, on Kartik Purnima (November), a large fair is held at the Devisthan.

Choyatar and Hangetham Forests

Hangetham is the destination for forest protection campaigners as well as nature lovers alike. Built on the northeastern edge of Ilam, Hangetham stands 2,170 meters above sea level in the Jamuna VDC. Ilam’s spectacular vistas, as well as changing weather patterns and thick fog, are notable for the area.

There are many animals in the forests of Hangetham and Choyatar, including red pandas, leopards, thars, chair bags, black bears, thakthakes, and rajpankhis. Among the many species of birds that inhabit the forest are munal, hawks, kandevaccur, rhododendrons, chaps, sunakharis, bante, katushs, and others. During your stay in Hangetham, you can also visit nearby Buddhist temples as well as Naya Bazaar and Thumke.

Todke Jharna

Todke Falls is the second-longest waterfall in Nepal, with an 85-meter height. It is situated about 40 meters west of Mai Khola or Mai Beni and sits at 1,600 meters above sea level. The area is popular with visitors who come here to capture pictures of the waterfall that looks as if it has fallen from the heavens. Another waterfall in the area is Dhappar Todke, which is located in the Mai Majhuwa Dhappar district.

For interested travelers, the full tour of Ilam, including the attractions mentioned above, can be arranged along with accommodations and a vehicle to travel to and from these locations here at Pokhara Info.

Cost includes:

  • Arrival & Departure transport via private Car/Van/Bus.
  • Three meals per day throughout the Trekk(Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • Accommodation in lodges and tea houses during the trek.
  • Nights’Nights’ accommodation in Kathmandu with B/B.
  • Trekking Guide and a porter (Shared by two clients) with Insurance, food, and accommodations.
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu or Pokhara valley with a car and tour guide
  • First Aid kit.
  • Trekking permit (Conservation fee).
  • TIMS card (Trekking information management system) is like a permit.
  • All needed government tax/vat.

Cost excludes

  • International Airfare.
  • Your travel insurance.
  • Sightseeing entrance fees
  • Nepal Visa fee (US$ 50 for 30 days and US$ 30 for 15 days; you should get a visa open your arrival)
  • Any kind of drinks, items of personal expenses like hot shower, battery charge, telephone, missing meal, WIFI Porters, etc.
  • Tips for Guide and Porters


The itinerary mentioned above is the general plan arranged by Pokhara Info. The above itinerary is only a guideline; it might change due to the availability of lodging and campsites, fluctuating weather conditions, unforeseen political, trail, and environmental, or any other factors beyond our control. After consulting with the group, your trek leader will decide the best way to reach a final decision if this occurs.

If the itinerary is unsuitable for you, please let us know, and we will customize it. We will be able to make changes to the itinerary if clients want to do so.


thumbnail image

Visiting Bandipur: Underrated Gem in Nepal

Experiencing Nepal is a wonderful experience. It might be tiring, yet enjoyable to experience the real Nepal. There can be many things we might not know about the gorgeous nation before actually visiting Nepal. Taking bumpy roads over gravel or dirt, riding on motorbikes to avoid crowds in Kathmandu’s temples, and climbing high altitudes in the Himalayas are all part of the real thrilling experience.

If you are looking for a peaceful retreat with traditional culture and a serene, pleasant day filled with rural walks, wildlife, and spectacular mountain vistas, Bandipur is a great choice. It is no wonder that we consider it one of the most beautiful destinations in Nepal.

About Bandipur

If you haven’t heard of this place, you will be surprised to learn it represents one of the most underrated cities in Nepal. It is a tiny town that is reached by climbing a particular road on the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway.

Take time to relax, enjoy a cup of tea, and learn why Bandipur is one of Nepal’s top tourist destinations. It’s a visitor’s dream; it’s the perfect place to relax after trekking in Nepal, and it’s almost like it was built just for visitors! After becoming a trading post in the 1700s, it became a commercial hub for Tibetans and British Indians traders, a position it held until the Pokhara-Kathmandu route bypassed it one hundred years later. To tourists’ benefit, it has steadily become a center of Newari culture as well as a retreat from the city.

Bandipur is a perfect place to take a break since it is easily accessible from Pokhara and is one of the best places to visit in the Kathmandu Valley. Stopping here to escape those bumpy roads is a great way to break up long journeys.

Do not be fooled by the distance. Although it may appear short on the map, the road conditions and traffic will make travel time longer. The distance between Kathmandu and Bandipur is approximately 140 kilometers (it should take 5 to 7 hours), 73 kilometers to Pokhara (3-4 hours by bus), and 2.5 to 3.5 hours from Chitwan to Bandipur.

Draw of Bandipur

Bandipur is known as Nepal’s warm heart. It’s because of the wonderful hospitality as well as the relaxing location of the hilltop. Furthermore, there are several reasons why you should visit Bandipur during your trip to Nepal.

  • It is peaceful to see Buddhist and Hindu temples coexist. With no crowds, you can easily explore many temples.
  • Those who miss out on Kathmandu’s greenery, mountains, and pure air should plan a trip to Bandipur to refresh their lungs and spirits.
  • In addition to the wooden balconies and magnificent Bougainvillea trees characteristic of traditional Newari architecture, there are also a lot of cafés, restaurants, and places to stay.
  • You won’t have to haggle or wheel and deal with shopkeepers here, so you can roam around at your convenience during your free time without any pressure from them. The prices aren’t exaggerated here. You can eat, stay, and drink here for much less than in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
  • It is prohibited to drive on the main streets, including motorcycles. Thus, you can stroll down stunning cobblestone streets while admiring the traditional wooden and brick houses that are characteristic of the Newari culture.

Enjoying Bandipur

Bandipur has plenty to offer. While in Bandipur, initially, you can relax and appreciate the relief from Nepal’s hustle and bustle. The second category includes the following enjoyable activities:

Wander around the Temples: 

Numerous Hindu temples are located throughout the town of Bandipur, such as Bindebasini temple, at the north end of the Main Street or market. You can even find these temples on your own, even if you’re a first-time visitor. The temple is said to be dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga. Furthermore, you’ll appreciate the temple and the old wooden entrance that are decorated with intricate stone carvings.

Explore Siddha Guffa: 

You will need a guide to accompany you through the cave, which is 437 meters deep and 50 meters high and is one of Nepal’s largest caves. Start hiking halfway down Bandipur village hill for the Siddha Cave. The tour guide, who charges a modest fee, carries a lantern and guides you down ladders and along rope swings into the cave. The cave is decorated with stalactite formations, and whistling bats are often heard above the gloomy walls.

You can observe native prayer places and meditate at the swimming pool in the rainy season. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a headlight. However, this is not a trip for people with weak hearts.

Getting to Thani Mai Temple:

The stairway that leads to the hill above the town has a well-marked path and handrails. It is a beautiful walk when the sun rises in the morning or when it sets late in the afternoon. At the summit, there is a tiny Hindu temple of Thani Mai that is an excellent place for enjoying the views, although it isn’t a major attraction as others.

As you hike over the mountain range to Gurungche Hill, you will have a full 360-degree view of the entire area. The journey takes about 30 minutes, but it is a gradual, slightly strenuous climb yet mentally fulfilling.

Visit the Boudha Sadan Shakyamuni Monastery:

Also known as Bandipur Monastery, you can have some of the best times visiting the monks and Buddhist people in the monastery. Walking up the stairs past the main square would take you near the monastery; however, traveling up to the monastery is equally relaxing and enjoyable.

As we walked around during our visit to Bandipur, a monk living there invited us in for tea and informed us of plans for the monastery’s temple extension, and as a result, we ended up spending almost the whole day there. While meditating on the temple steps, he left us to gaze out at the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas beyond the horizon. The visit turned out to be a peaceful and spiritually fulfilling experience.

Hiking and Shopping at Bandipur Bazaar:

While hiking around the countryside in Bandipur, you’ll come across interesting houses and temples in any direction. Additionally, T-shirts, Newari presents, and refreshments are for sale. Since there is no haggling, you can roam as much as you want.

Enjoy Local Delicacy:

Bandipur has many tasty and fresh local places to eat. There are no fast food franchises here; instead, there are small eateries run by local families that are delightful.

Nepal’s most famous dish is Momos, and there is no shortage of them in this town. As you walk around, you’ll find a variety of fried and steamed dumplings. The most frequent and common dishes here are chicken, buffs, and vegetables. However, they are rarely offered by default and are typically requested ahead of time. Dhal Bhat is a tasty and filling traditional Nepali dish that includes rice, beans, lentil soup, pickles, and generally unlimited refills. 

While there, you can visit local restaurants such as Loving Spoon or Hill’s Heaven. Located a few blocks north of Bandipur village resort, Loving Spoon is a charming little eatery designed by its owner. The traditional Dhal, Bhat as well as momos here are delicious.

Cost includes:

  • Arrival & Departure transport via private Car/Van/Bus.
  • Three meals per day throughout the Trip(Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • Accommodation during the trek.
  • Nights’ accommodation in Kathmandu with B/B.
  • Guide and a porter with Insurance, food, and accommodations.
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu or Pokhara valley with a car and tour guide
  • First Aid kit.
  • Trekking permit (Conservation fee).
  • TIMS card (Trekking information management system) is like a permit.
  • All needed government tax/vat.

Cost excludes

  • International Airfare.
  • Your travel insurance.
  • Sightseeing entrance fees
  • Nepal Visa fee (US$ 50 for 30 days and US$ 30 for 15 days; you should get a visa open your arrival)
  • Any kind of drinks, items of personal expenses like hot shower, battery charge, telephone, missing meal, WIFI Porters, etc.
  • Tips for Guide and Porters

Finally, the trip to Bandipipur can be an extraordinary experience because of the stunning scenery, stellar views, thrilling Journey, and the warm hospitality of the locals. We hope you enjoy and take in every moment that you spend there.