Phulchowki (2782m) is the highest hill around Kathmandu valley towards the south and towers above the Godavari Botanical Garden, a rare collection of varied vegetation. The hill is renowned for breathtaking views from its top and lies among the few places with snowfall during winter around the valley.
Our hike starts from Godawari which is a 40-minute drive from Thamel. Godawari contains over 570 varieties of flowering plants and lies at the foot of the Phulchoki hill. The trail gradually elevates through thick sub-tropical trees, ideal for bird watching. After walking leisurely for a couple of hours, scenic views of Annapurna and Gaurishanker above and Kathmandu valley below grow fascinating. The altitude gain in the latter part is strenuous but equally rewarding with outstanding views from the top. Buddhist prayer flags can be seen flapping with the cold breeze. At the shrine of Phulchowki Mai, the month-long religious celebration goes on from March-April every year. The hike downhill after lunch to Godawari takes around two hours where a vehicle awaits us for the drive back to Kathmandu.
Phulchowki is best known as a viewpoint both for the Himalayan peaks and the Kathmandu valley. The place is also preferred for bird watching. So a camera and binoculars are probably all that you would need to keep you busy.