The historic trail to Bandipur was immortalized in a poem by King Mahendra, who observed how remarkably long and steep it was. In fact, it takes two to three hours, beginning 500m east of the main Dumre intersection, and climbing through shady forest punctuated by very civilized rest shelters and waterspouts. It arrives at the tudikhel (if you’re heading down, note that the path drops to the left of the tudikhel’s avenue of trees as you approach from the bazaar). An alternative route starting from Bimalnagar, on the Prithvi Highway 1km east of Dumre, takes you past the Siddha Gupha cave complex after about half an hour.
Other, longer hikes go through pretty, cultivated hills and traditional Magar villages, and are worth considering as alternatives to leaving Bandipur by bus. The Magar village of Rankot, two hours’ hike from Bandipur, is one of the most scenic, with its wooden balconied houses – and even a few, rare thatched roundhouses. You can walk on to Damauli via the pilgrimage place of Chabda Barahi Mandir, two hours from Ramkot – with panoramic views of the Annapurnas from the crest of the hill along the way. The last hour to Damauli is on a paved road.