Dhulikhel is a naturally and culturally rich destination for tourists seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Kathmandu and an ideal stop-off point on your way to the Tibetan Border. Straddling a ridge with breathtaking views of the eastern Himalaya, the town is easily accessed from Kathmandu by the Arniko Highway, now a modern road; it was at one time an ancient trade route, with Dhulikhel being a main trading hub between Kathmandu, Tibet and India.
Historically, Dhulikhel is a Newar settlement. The Newars are an ethnic group of Nepal who inhabit the Kathmandu Valley. They are renowned for their outstanding craftsmanship and woodcarving which is evident in all the traditional homes around the old town and the beautiful temples and market bazaars around the area. Newars are also perhaps the oldest and most traditional of Nepal's ethnic groups and have a culture strongly based on religion, celebrated with a calendar of festivals that would even put New Orleans to shame.
Aside from the breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalaya stretching from Langtang to Everest and beyond, there are plenty of interesting sites to see in the town. Take a short walk and delve into the heart of the old town where you can lose yourself to time in the tangle of cobbled laneways, discover ancient houses with sagging wooden frame works, intricate carvings, hidden temples and thriving market squares. Discover the color and culture of this vibrant place as you wander past old men smoking pipes, women hand spinning wool, traditional wood carving workshops and hidden gardens through ancient archways. To the east of the town, past a local art gallery you can find the picnic ground and rest awhile before climbing the "Hazar Sindhi" (one thousand steps) to the Kali Temple, where you can be inspired by the snow capped peaks rearing above the steeply terraced foothills.
Dhulikhel is a great place to base yourself as a quieter less polluted option than the capital, Kathmandu. The peaceful atmosphere and ample hotels and resorts leaves Dhulikhel open as a tourist destination that certainly stands out in Nepal. There is plenty to do around the area to keep yourself entertained and it is also the perfect place from which to kick off you trek into Langtang or Everest regions.
Namo Buddha Trek – A full day trek takes you on a loop away from the resort and through the picturesque farming villages along the ridge above Dhulikhel to Namo Buddha-a holy site for Buddhists. This revered Stupa and Monastery is set in the place where the Shakyamuni Buddha fed his own flesh to a starving Tigress. The scene is elegantly depicted in a stone carving found in a small shrine on the hill top.
Whitewater Rafting – One of Nepal's most celebrated rivers, the Sunkoshi, is just a stone's throw away from the Resort. Take a day trip on this spectacular river as it winds its way through steep gorges and open farming valleys, with plenty of adrenaline pumping rapids to keep your mind on the job! Be back at the resort in time to toast a spectacular sunset over the Himalaya.
Panauti – A few hours trek or a short drive takes you to Panauti, another Newar settlement and interesting rural village. The temple complex here sits on the conflux of three rivers, one of which is mystical. The rambling overgrown temples are interesting places to explore.
Bhagwati Temple – Just half an hours' drive takes you to the temple of the eighteen armed Goddess Bhagwati. Here you can spend time exploring the temple or take an approximate two hour hike down to the Panchkhal Valley.
Tatopani Hot Spring – Head towards the Tibetan border and soak in the hot spring amidst the lush sub tropical jungle.
Jiri – Make an overnight trip to Jiri, the trekking gateway into the Everest region. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery and traditional farming villages.
Dhulikhel certainly has a lot to offer as a place to visit and stay in its own right and is a much preferred option to Kathmandu.