Fikkal Travel Guide: 10 Best Things to Do in Fikkal Ilam


Decorated by picturesque tea gardens and serving a bustling market, Fikkal is arguably one of the most beautiful towns in Nepal. Located in the Eastern region, Fikkal is a small town that serves as a base point for a romantic vacation over the dreamy tea plantations of Ilam. On a quick stroll, you can see vendors trying to sell Ilam’s famous chhurpi and signature long chocolates, people meandering from one shop to another trying to find their style, and many tin-roofed restaurants selling some of the best mo:mo and thukpa. You will receive the sweetest welcome in Fikkal with the melodious accents of the locals.

I first visited Fikkal in 2012 during my dad’s job posting and stayed for a month. Five years later, I visited Fikkal again, this time as a teaching fellow for Fikkal Secondary School, serving for two months. During both my visits to this beautiful town, I tried to explore the best bits of the place. In this article, I will share a variety of top things to do in Fikkal that cater to the needs of travelers from all age groups.

Note: Most of the photos shared here are amateurly taken from an old camera in 2017. I will replace them with updated images soon.

Best Things to Do in Fikkal

1. Shop at the Fikkal Bazaar

Fikkal Bazaar is a vibrant market that’s constantly growing and rightfully makes Fikkal a bustling market town. The market area is always eventful, with locals strolling around to find what they like. From fresh vegetables and street foods to clothing and electronics, you will find most of your needs met in Fikkal Bazaar. The mixture of traditional and modern gives the place a harmonious blend.

You could wander around this lovely place in the evening, buy some local items, interact with the locals, and eat as you please. I have found the people of Fikkal to be really friendly and kind, and I’m pretty sure you will enjoy having a few conversations with them.

Fikkal Bazaar hosts its weekly Haat Bazaar (open-air market) every Thursday, where local farmers and vendors put up their fresh products for sale.

2. Explore the hidden gem, Simpani

Simpani is more of a local place that remains a hidden gem. I came across this amazing spot as it was part of my daily route to reach Fikkal School. Simpani has a small football field and lovely hills on each side. Just near Simpani lies a dreamy house atop a tea garden, and trust me, it is a perfect Instagrammable spot. Walk around this place and take a seat at a nearby tea shop to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

You can reach Simpani by either walking along the main road for 45 minutes or by taking a jeep for 5 minutes.

Google location: Fikkal Simpani

Isn’t this house dreamy?

3. Go for a picnic in Kanyam

Kanyam, a rather popular destination in Eastern Nepal, is just 5 minutes away from Fikkal by jeep. Kanyam has been gaining increasing popularity over the years for its beautiful tea gardens that are visible as far as your eyes can see. As you visit Kanyam, you will understand why it’s rightfully regarded as the “Queen of Eastern Nepal.”

Whether you are a couple looking for romantic destinations, families seeking picnic spots, or individuals and friends looking for a scenic place to wind down, Kanyam is the perfect destination for you. There are also plenty of activities on offer, such as guides offering horseback riding and vendors providing Nepali cultural dresses for people to wear and take memorable pictures.

You may also choose to hike to Kanyam. If you start your hike from Fikkal School and continue along the hillside roads, you will walk on one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the area.

Kanyam is just a lovely place to visit. My last visit to Kanyam was when I picnicked with my students from Shree Fikkal Secondary School, and that memory has always remained precious to me.

Being a teacher has its moments.

4. Feast on chhurpis and signature long chocolates

Chhurpis are famous in Fikkal. Chhurpi is a hardened cheese made from the milk of local cows (and yaks in some places) and sold as long sticks. This snack food is notable for its dense and chewy nature, which is hard at first but softens as you hold it in your mouth longer, allowing you to finally chew and savor it. Its long-lasting nature might be frustrating at first, but you will start to love it after a few tries.

Picture credit: JoeldeGraaf

Fikkal chocolates are also quite famous delicacies that you must try when you’re in town. These chocolates come in the form of long sticks and are quite colorfully wrapped. The chocolate has a sweet, gooey nature and is irresistibly suited for binge-eating. I honestly cannot get enough of this chocolate.

A legend once said that you should buy a lot of these chocolates and chhurpis and take them back to your friends and family so they don’t envy how much you travel. ; )

5. Explore the neighborhood of Karfok School

Karfok Vidyamandir Secondary School is a spacious school located just 5 kilometers away from Fikkal Bazaar. The school has a large land area, and nearby is a small forest full of pine trees that offers a relaxing walk.

Located on the opposite side of Karfok School are beautiful tea gardens that will invite you for a short hike. A resting place on top of a hill overlooking those tea gardens offers a great vantage point if you’re in the mood to capture some photos.

You may choose to reach Karfok School by jeep (7 minutes) or by walking uphill along the curvy roads for about an hour and a half.


6. Visit Shree Antu

Shree Antu is another popular destination in Eastern Nepal. The place is mainly known for its iconic tea gardens, and Shree Antu Danda is regarded as a perfect spot to appreciate the sunrise and sunset.

From Fikkal, you can book a shared jeep or a Toyota with other people to reach Shree Antu. The best way to find a ride is by inquiring at the many ticket counters in Fikkal’s main station. They will guide you through the booking process. You may also fully reserve the taxi for an additional price.

Consider staying a night as you might want to check out the sunrise view that many people are talking about. You can stay in one of the many resorts available in Shree Antu. We stayed in Antu Cottage for a night and were enchanted by the scenic location of the resort.


7. Take a leisurely hike off the main road

Fikkal is full of tiny neighborhoods that are equally as beautiful as what meets your eye in the touristic places. You can just pick a trail in any direction from the Fikkal station and walk along to see more of the culture and lives of people and spot surprisingly beautiful places on your way. Off the beaten path lies a goldmine of beautiful tea plantations.

One such road I can recommend would be the Fikkal Arubote road. Try to walk through these roads, randomly wander across and make your way until Fikkal Simpani. It is a lovely, soothing walk.

Another similar walk could be to start from Fikkal Simpani and make your way along the inner residential areas, returning to the main road through the Sagarmatha Green Tea Processing, Nayachowk, Nepal. This hike also offers a ton of scenic vistas and a bit of hiking adventure.

Tried my shot at photography during my time there.

8. Try the popular local foods in Fikkal

A trip to any place in Nepal is hardly complete without a plate of delicious Mo:mo.

Mo:mo in Fikkal is different. It is tomato-rich in chutney and offers an ideal spicy blend that is hard to resist overindulging on. For me personally, this style of mo:mo is my favorite. 

Thukpa is also a common and popular dish in Fikkal. Thukpa is a noodle soup, often featuring vegetables and meat, making it a comforting meal. You can visit any local shops or hotels in the area for lunch or dinner.

9. Explore the border town, Pashupatinagar

Just 25 minutes away from Fikkal is Nepal’s eastern border town with India, Pashupatinagar. Pashupatinagar is also a market town and a comfortable place to stay overnight for people looking to travel to India.

There is an India gate marking the border, which is a point of interest for many. You can cross the border and take a picture to mark your presence in India, albeit only in technicality.

10. Take a day trip to Darjeeling, India

With only 1.5 hours of ride away, it is also possible for you to take a day trip to Darjeeling from Fikkal. You can reserve a Jeep if you are a few people or share the Jeep with others if you’re traveling alone. As the fare is set by negotiation and differs from one driver to another, it might be helpful to ask for help from the locals.

I loved my visit to Darjeeling, even though it was full of rain pouring all over us and shivering all day with no mobile battery. We were rescued by the same taxi driver who had dropped us in the morning. He found us stranded during our lousy attempt to make our day better with a visit to the zoo, and he waved us to join him back to Fikkal, and we followed him without giving a second thought.

Luckily enough, he was carrying his relatives with him and took us to Batasia Loop. The rain had now stopped, and I saw one of the most marvelous scenery that still remains vivid in my mind. As the sky cleared and Kanchenjunga appeared in a faraway landscape, a train made a round just in front of me, creating a scene that gripped me at that moment.

How to reach Fikkal

By bus: Every day, various tourist buses leave from Kathmandu to Ilam. You can book your ticket at the bus counters in Koteshwor and board one of those buses to reach Fikkal. The journey takes around 16 hours.

By plane: You can fly from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur Airport, which is located in the Jhapa district of Nepal. From Bhadrapur, you can take a jeep to Fikkal. The journey takes somewhere between 1.5 to 2 hours.

Best areas to stay in Fikkal

Fikkal is a small town, so you should be able to inquire and stay in any of the hotels or resorts in the main bazaar. There are a variety of accommodation options available, from traditional homestays to new and modern resorts, so you can choose the one to your liking. You can check Airbnb or to explore the available accommodation options in Fikkal.

Best time to visit Fikkal

Fikkal is a cool place and tends to be colder in the winter months. The best time to visit Fikkal is from March to November.

The weather in Fikkal is really unpredictable, and you may find the place foggy most of the time. It can go from clear to foggy to clear to rainy in just 10 minutes. Spring, summer, and autumn months would be your best bet to explore the place in the best conditions.

Thank you for reading. If you have visited Fikkal and know of more interesting places, you can let me know in the comments or send me a message on my Instagram account, and I will review and add them to this blog post.

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I love traveling and I love writing about it. It's my sincere hope that through my content, you will find some helpful information and inspiration for your own travels. :)

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