Newari House - Bandipur

Bandipur : The ‘Europe of Nepal’

Winding up the hillside, squashed into the front seat of a local Nepali bus to Bandipur, I was reminded that any ideas I had about personal space needed to be firmly put out of my head when travelling on local buses in Asia.  I don’t speak fluent Nepali, but I do understand some and I’m pretty sure that the woman at the end of the row just told the man next to me that we are squashed because he was fat and ate to much buffalo, or  maybe she was just talking about an actual buffalo?  She definitely used the words ‘fat’ and ‘buffalo’.

As we wound up the steep hillside towards Bandipur I realised that although squashed, the trip was unusually umbumpy.  The road was actually new and devoid of the usual potholes.  On arriving in Bandipur I was even more pleasantly surprised, clean, washed, paved streets surrounded by delightful little Newari guesthouses.

Bandipur, I have heard labelled as the ‘little Europe’ of Nepal, and it’s not far from the truth.  I don’t mean to offend the rest of Nepal with this statement, but Bandipur is clean, clean even by Western standards.  Bins are strategically placed and signs on the walls encourage people to use them.

Newari Culture

Bandipur is a Newari town. The Newari people are one of over 40 ethnic groups of Nepal and are the most prominent, and indigenous people of the Kathmandu Valley.  The term ‘Newar’ has been in use since at least the 1600′s and refers to ‘people of Nepal’.  Their buildings often consist of tiny little carved wooden windows and tiny little doors and can be seen a lot still in Kathmandu itself.  I find these building just adorable.  The inside is the same, even I have to duck my head and the different floors are connected by wooden foot ladders.

Newari house

The little tiny doors and windows of a Newari house

Bandipur Village

The road ends when you reach the start of Bandipur, which means the village itself has no cars and no motorcycles!  The peace and quiet was remarkable.  Bandipur, it appears to me has been setup for tourism.  Nearly every building on the main street is a guesthouse.  This is good news as it means you get to stay in an authentic Newari house pretty much whichever guesthouse you choose.

While I was able to find a reasonably priced room (400 rupees with outside bathroom), the majority of the places seem aimed at the more up market tourist and are definitely more expensive than what you might be used to paying in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

What to do in Bandipur?

Paragliding is possible and popular from here and there are several day hikes to surrounding villages and temples.

For me, it was a relaxing, peaceful weekend break from the noise of the cities that was my favourite part of the town.
Newari food is also worth a mention and is abundant supply in Bandipur.

Getting there

Bandipur can be reached by a local bus from Dumre for 50 rupees, if you prefer not to get to intimate with your fellow man you may prefer to hire a taxi which will set you back about 400 rupees.
Micro vans and local buses regularly leave from Kathmandu and Pokhara for Dumre for around 300-400 rupees..

Should you go?

If your looking for a quiet, peaceful, dust free place to relax and re-charge, Bandipur is a great and easily accessible option.  If your looking for an action packed adventure you probably won’t find it here.

Come for the serenity and fresh air and you won’t be disappointed.
Bandipur Village

Bandipur Village