Putting Lakuri Bhanjyang on the tourist mapWith the opening of The Terraces Resort and Spa, Lakuri Bhanjyang, a village in Lalitpur, is getting the tourism push it rightfully deserves.
Tsering Ngodup Lama
The first time I found myself in Lakuri Bhanjyang was in early 2012. I reached the village in the waning light of the dusk and had no clue where I would be spending the night. Inside one of the watering holes that line the village’s entrance, I met a local who told me that I might find a room for the night at a resort a five-minute ride away.
I rode in the dusk on the dusty village road and ended up at Adventure Tented Camp and Country Cottages. I spent the evening watching the expansive Kathmandu Valley shimmering in millions of lights. The next morning, panoramic mountain views made up the view, and after breakfast, I went on a hike in the neighbouring forested hills. That afternoon, as I left the village, I told myself I would return soon to explore this quaint and scenic village properly.
But I didn’t, until last week.
The very moment we started riding the final uphill, winding, and forested stretch from Lamatar to Lakuri Bhanjyang, I was overcome with a strong sense of familiarity with the surrounding landscape. The bumpy road, the crisp fresh air, the scent of pine trees, and the shrills of cicadas reverberating through the forests, nothing seemed to have changed at all in the last ten years. It felt like I had entered a place that time had forgotten. Once we entered the village, the changes became more noticeable. There were more houses and restaurants than ever, but the village still had that unmistakable laid-back vibe I fell in love with all those years ago. The rows of watering holes that lined the village's entrance were still there.
Unlike ten years ago, there were now a handful of hotels in the village, so travellers rolling into the village late in the evening will now have no problem finding rooms to stay. But if you are in the mood to splurge, look no further than The Terraces Resort and Spa, which opened in October last year, and it was this opportunity to visit this resort that made me make my long overdue second trip to the village.
Ever since the resort opened, I have seen celebrities, influencers, and leading entrepreneurs post photos and videos of their visits to the resort. It’s fair to say that the property is a huge hit among the town’s movers and shakers, and the moment I walked into the resort, I knew why.
The 46-room resort has everything from an outdoor jacuzzi, a gorgeous swimming pool, a restaurant that emphasises organic and locally sourced ingredients, a spa that overlooks a lush protected forest, to a semi-outdoor yoga hut tucked away in the middle of a forest.
The rooms are divided into three categories—suites, deluxe, and standard. If you have serious money and do not mind splurging it, opt for one of the resort’s two suites. The spacious terrace and a private outdoor jacuzzi help set the property's suites apart. The most important differentiating factor between the deluxe (there are 16 of them) and standard (there are 28 of them) are the bathrooms. The former features a bathtub, while the latter has an overhead shower.
There are also plenty of activities for guests to take part in. For those who love the outdoors, the hiking trails in and around the village are a great place to get closer to nature. The resort also has mountain bikes that guests can use to explore the village.
But if outdoor activities are not your thing, you will still have plenty of things to do well within the resort’s confines.
The relaxing spa is a great place to let yourself unwind and entrust the experienced masseuses to knead you into bliss. There’s also a pool table and a library for guests to make the most of. But the majority of guests will most likely end up spending most of their time in the pool area, which has an infinity pool, a bar that serves an array of drinks, an outdoor jacuzzi, and plenty of lounge chairs and cabanas to laze around on. The resort’s general manager Suman Shrestha told me that on clear days, the deck adjacent to the pool offers views of the Kathmandu Valley with panoramic mountain views. On the day of my visit, Kathmandu was blanketed in a stubborn haze, and thick clouds blocked the mountain views. But I did get to view a beautiful sunset from the deck.
It was while sitting on the deck and trying to take in whatever view I could see of Kathmandu through the haze that I couldn’t help but shake the feeling of familiarity with my environment. I asked Shrestha if he knew of a property named Adventure Tented Camp and Country Cottages (ATCCC), and much to my surprise, he told me that ATCCC was demolished around 2014 and in its place, The Terraces Resort and Spa was opened. I didn’t know what to make of the fact that I had ended up at the same place during my two visits to Lakuri Bhanjyang.
After spending some time at the resort, it became clear to me why a high-end resort like The Terraces Resort and Spa makes sense in Lakuri Bhanjyang. While neighbouring hilltop getaway locations like Nagarkot and Dhulikhel have long served as the go-to getaway destinations near Kathmandu, Lakuri Bhanjyang (despite having spectacular mountain views, scenic forested trails, and quaint villages) has largely remained under the radar. But The Terraces Resort and Spa changes all that. Shrestha told me that the significant number of employees at the resort are locals, and as the village’s popularity as a tourist destination grows, it will bring in more jobs and encourage the more enterprising among the villagers to start tourism-related businesses.
After leaving the resort, I headed to the entrance of the village and peeked into one of the watering holes. I saw a few men sipping cups of sweet tea and milky white rice beer. Outside, a few children chased each other. Somewhere in the distance, I heard a rooster crow. As we finally made our way back to Kathmandu, I told myself that I wouldn’t let another ten years pass by before making my third trip to the village.