Wedged between the high Himalaya and the steamy Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras. Travellers prefer to see Nepal at a more refined pace, admiring the peaks over a gin and tonic from a Himalayan viewpoint, strolling through the medieval city squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, and joining Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims on a spiritual stroll around centuries-old stupas and monasteries. The Nepal Himalaya is the ultimate goal for most mountain lovers. Some of the Himalaya’s most iconic and accessible hiking is on offer here, with rugged trails to Everest, the Annapurnas and many more.
Kathmandu Valley offers an unrivalled collection of world-class palaces, hidden backstreet shrines and sublime temple art. Stroll through the backstreets and Kathmandu’s timeless cultural and artistic heritage will reveal itself in hidden temples overflowing with marigolds, courtyards full of drying chillies and rice, and tiny hobbit-sized workshops. The city’s other notable religious sites being rebuilt include Swayambhunath, a Buddhist temple known as the “Monkey Temple” for its main inhabitants, and Boudhanath, a massive Buddhist stupa. Pashupatinath, a Hindu temple dating to the 1400s, survived the earthquake. South of the Bagmati River is the city of Patan, renowned for metalsmithing and other crafts, and home to the Patan Museum, housing Hindu, Buddhist and Tantric artifacts. Regional food specialties are momos (dumplings), dal bhat (lentils, rice and vegetables) and Newari buffalo dishes. This endlessly fascinating, sometimes infuriating city has enough sights to keep you busy for a week, but be sure to leave its backpacker comforts and explore the ‘real Nepal’ before your time runs out.
Bhaktapur has the best-preserved palace courtyards and old city centre in Nepal and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artworks.
If you are tired by a long trek or a travel by bus or bored, Lakeside Pokhara is the perfect place to recharge your batteries and refresh your mood. One may enjoy boating and reading books observing the serenity of the nature, or enjoy a couple of drinks, either in local restaurants or at a blues bar, or may simply enjoy sightseeing or cycling around the city. Pokhara is Nepal’s number 1 adventure and leisure city, a trekking gateway to the Annapurna’s with plenty of entertainment for individual travellers as well as families with kids. In Pokhara you can experience the best in trekking, boating, hiking, pony rides, paragliding or simply relax at one of the lakes near the city with the stunning Annapurna mountain range at the background. You can also visit places like Phewa Lake, Shanti Stupa, Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, Davis Falls and Tal Barahi Temple.
Chitwan National Park is one of the must visit places in Nepal. Chitwan is famous as one of the best wildlife-viewing national parks in Asia, and you’ll have an excellent chance of spotting one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys and up to 544 species of birds. If you’re extremely lucky, you’ll see leopards, wild elephants and sloth bears – though it’s the once-in-a-lifetime chance to spot a majestic royal Bengal tiger that attracts people in their droves. At the end of the day add to the essence of the ultimate jungle experience and unwind next to a huge campfire, to the sounds of the intricate Tharu stick dance and local folk songs. The reserve was designated a national park in 1973 and was listed as a UNESCO world Heritage sites.