Discovering Nepal

Nepal is much more than a hiker’s paradise – it’s a varied nation that boasts incredible history and culture, as well as astounding wildlife. To make sure you don’t miss out on the attractions that interest you the most, we’re going to give you some ideas about how you can experience all Nepal has to offer during your trip.

 

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Go on a city tour

For many hikers, Kathmandu is simply the way in (and out) of Nepal, but it’s worth taking a few days to discover the vibrant capital and its many historical attractions. The best way of doing so is to take a city tour – Kathmandu is big and its streets are bustling with cars, mopeds, trucks and bicycles.

There are several outstanding cultural sites to visit here, including the impressive Buddhist stupas of Swayambhunath and Boudhanath, the beautiful Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan and the remains of the historic medieval cities of Bhaktaphur, Hanuman Dhoka and Patan.

All of these places are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects the most significant monuments in the Kathmandu Valley. These are spread out across the city and getting from one to another is much easier if you have a guide to lead the way. Taking a guided tour will also mean you have someone on hand who can give you information about the various sites you visit.

 

Take a safari

Nepal may not be somewhere you traditionally associate with safaris, but Chitwan National Park – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a wonderful place to explore if you’re keen to see some incredible wildlife. This reserve in the foothills of the Himalayas protects habitats that used to cover much of the region but that have sadly been all but destroyed.

It’s one of the few places in the world where Bengal tigers can be seen in the wild, while other creatures such as sloth bears, leopards, wild dogs, sambars, jungle cats, Indian pythons and yellow-throated martens are among those you may spot in the forest.

The national park spans an impressive 93,200 hectares, with many areas completely undisturbed. There’s no guarantee of wildlife spottings, but there’s a chance you could get lucky and see some of the hundreds of incredible species that inhabit the region.

 

Go hiking

As one of the world’s premier walking destinations, you can’t really book a holiday in Nepal and not go trekking in the Himalayas. This vast mountain range is one of the most impressive natural sights on the planet, particularly Everest – the world’s highest peak.

Even if you decide to tackle one of the routes that doesn’t give you views of this amazing summit, you’ll still see mountains that are over 7,000 m high towering above you – a truly breathtaking sight. There are some excellent vantage points from where you can enjoy wonderful mountain views. In the Annapurnas, one of the best places to head to is Poon Hill. It’s advisable to arrive here in time for sunrise so you can see the snow-capped peaks in the distance turn golden and pinkish hues as the sun comes up.

The trek to Everest Base Camp will lead you up Kala Patar, one of the most famous viewpoints in the Himalayas. This spot is 5,545 m above sea level and boasts amazing views of Everest, Lhotse and many of the range’s other staggering peaks.

 

photo credit: Stephan Geyer via photopin cc

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