What is there to do and see in Nepal? Let me tell you my perspective on this wonderful place that I discovered some time ago. There is much more to Nepal than you may imagine. Here are the 8 main reasons that will make you want to visit Nepal and even to return with the same enthusiasm as the first time.
Nepal is mostly famous for being home to the highest point on Earth: Mt. Everest (8848m). However, even if you don’t have in mind climbing Everest, there are many adventures for you to experience if you decide to visit Nepal.
1.Trekking into the Himalaya mountains
The Himalayas are not only about Everest and Everest Basecamp. Everest Basecamp trek is probably the most famous and advertised. If you also appreciate discovering and exploring other places, not necessarily the most touristic and famous, then you will adore Nepal. Overtourism is a real problem, and there are so many other wonderful wild places to discover in a destination such as Nepal. While you are here, reading my blog, we might have some things in common, and for sure, you are looking for something more than the mainstream experience. 🙂
If you are curious about finding interesting ideas for treks in Nepal (no matter the difficulty), you can check out the blog of Nepal Social Treks & Expeditions. In 2019 I went on a holiday in Nepal with this tour operator. We made a short and easy trek to the Australian Basecamp (around 2000 m altitude). I was pleased with their services and can’t wait to go on the next trip with them.
Nepal has just opened its borders to vaccinated foreign tourists and so you can plan your next adventure there now. However, you must show a negative PCR test before entering the country. You must repeat the test once you arrive at your destination and stay in your hotel until the result is out. You can read more about the travel conditions to Nepal here.
Unfortunately, when I visited Nepal, the weather was not great. I arrived at the Australian Basecamp, but I couldn’t have a clear view of the mountains.
Let me tell you that the views won’t disappoint regardless of the difficulty level of your trek. Here is a photo I took from Australian Basecamp, on a rainy, cloudy day:
2. Diverse climate and fauna
Did you know that if you visit Nepal, you will also find a tropical and sub-tropical climate? There are several jungle-forests and wildlife reserves that you can visit in the southern part. I visited Chitwan National Park while I was there. Even though it was a two-day stop only, I loved the diversity of the landscape and the animals. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to explore something more than the mountains. You can read more about my experience in Chitwan National Park on my blog.
There is a lot to discover in Nepal when you think of cultural heritage. Take, for example, the beautiful Bhaktapur city.
Even though the 2015 earthquake had a devastating effect on the architecture, the city is still being rebuilt. For this reason, visitors have to pay a tax to enter the city. Here you will find some magnificent temples, markets, shops, and artisans specialized in pottery or wood carving, and also the Royal Palace, or the 55 Windows Palace.
The entrance to the palace, the Golden Gate, is an impressive work of art, as well as the Royal water tank, that every visitor can admire.
4. The kind people
It was a real pleasure to get to know the locals. And of course, being an introvert, it doesn’t come naturally to me to start a conversation with strangers. Anyway, when I arrived in Bhaktapur, a part of my group, including myself, stayed late on the hotel’s terrace. At some point, the hotel owner came to see if he can close, as we were the only ones still there. So we invited him to join us, and it was so much fun! We spent hours chatting, telling jokes, and laughing with him until late at night.
Another great experience was at the Australian Basecamp. We spend one night there, and then we descended back to Pokhara. The locals were super friendly. There was some unplanned party that we started after dinner, and all the people in the teahouse joined. They even searched for Romanian music online. There was a diverse mixture of people and nationalities, but everyone was so friendly! Our Nepali host seemed a little shy initially, but they enjoyed themselves along with the others in the end.
If you fancy adventurous sports, then Nepal is the place to be! You can do paragliding in Pokhara and see these incredible views over the city, mountains, and lake. It is pretty amazing. I took some photos from the take-off point. I was too scared to try it at that moment, but it got me curious, and I did it some months later, back home.
Apart from this, in Pokhara, you can find the longest and most extreme zipline in the world (you can get as fast as 140 km/hour). It has a vertical drop of 600 m and is 1.8 km long. Other cool activities include bungee jumping and rafting.
Food in Nepal is purely delicious and spicy. One traditional dish I particularly enjoyed is Dal Bhat. It consists of lentil soup, rice, steamed vegetables, spinach, popadoms, pickles, meat curry, and chilly sauce (couldn’t even touch that one).
Momos are another food specialty I appreciated while traveling to Nepal. They come in many versions, fried or boiled, vegan, or filled with different kinds of meat, more or less spicy. Either way, they are addictive. Once you start eating them, you cannot stop!
Up in the mountains, you will also find Yak cheese for sale. It is quite delicious!
7. Helicopter/plane tour around the mountains
Unfortunately, this is an activity I didn’t do during my holiday. For sure I think it can show you a more spectacular view of this beautiful country in a short time. It can be the right choice for those who can’t go trekking for many days. Seeing all the mountains from above must be a fantastic experience. Several tour operators offer such trips. You can find some options here.
8. Spirituality – holy places
The birthplace of Lord Buddha is situated in Lumbini, Nepal. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a location for pilgrimage. You will find in Nepal a great spiritual wealth and many temples and monasteries. It is beautiful seeing that many religions and ethnicities live in harmony and respect each other (Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Bon).
The two most remarkable holy places I visited were the Pashupatinath temple (UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site) and Boudhanath Stupa (part of UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The Pashupatinath temple is the largest complex of temples in Nepal. Here the Hindus are practicing many ceremonies. One of them is the cremation of the dead. The ashes are spread into the holy Bagmati river to set the soul free of any attachments it may still have with this world.
Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world. Around it, you will find many monasteries, small shops, and a colorful crowd of people. Buddha’s eyes on each side of the temple symbolize awareness and watch towards the four cardinal points.
If you were thinking of visiting Nepal for the first time, I sure hope that this article gave you a glimpse of what you may find there and the necessary motivation to do it. The visiting season starts in March and lasts until May and then again from September until late November.
If you already visited Nepal, feel free to mention in a comment what else you would add to this list. What did you see and found fascinating about Nepal?