Things To Do In Nepal
One of the most alluring places on earth, Nepal is famous for its natural beauty, cultural diversity as well as adventure sports. From the majestic, snow-capped summits gleaming in the sun to the Terai plains with their rich biodiversity, modern amenities of the cities to the still traditional lifestyles of the rural villages, Nepal is a wonderful mix of diversity in all things.
The friendly people with their warm hospitality, adequate amenities and a wide array of options for the trek of your choice ensure that you have the most unforgettable experience of your life. These are the top 10 things you can do during your visit to Nepal.
Trekking is one of the most favorite sports pursued by adventure seekers from all over the world. The treks range from easy to difficult ones and short (2 – 5 days) to long (few weeks) ones. The short and easy treks are perfect for families or novice trekkers. These include trekking to close vantage points at low altitudes that are not so exhausting. These are natural treks where you get to explore the nature and cultural aspects of these places. Ghandruk, Ghorepani, Poonhill, Chisapani, Dhampus, and Langtang short trek are some of the short treks in Nepal.
The more difficult and lengthy treks challenge even the most experienced trekkers. With eight out of fourteen mountains above 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) being in Nepal, treks to mountain summits are one of the most challenging and exciting in Nepal. Trekkers pass through glaciers, icefalls, high passes and lakes at the highest altitudes in the world. Chance to see or even climb the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, makes every step of the trek worthwhile. Annapurna circuit trek, Everest trek, Mustang trek, Langtang and others are famous long treks. Such cold, snow capped mountains combined with beautiful sceneries, diverse wildlife and rich cultural settlements make trekking a top contender in this list.
Even though hiking is the shorter and easier version of trekking, it can be equally fun and exciting in Nepal. Hiking is an even better way to explore the nature, the settlements and their cultures at your own pace. There are defined trails that take you to the best vantage points for sunsets, sunrises and the sceneries of varied landscapes. Hikes are usually around the hills of Kathmandu and Pokhara valley that have the best views of hilly landscapes, rivers, lush forests, mountain peaks and green vegetation. Such views combined with the serene environment of the hills provide a quick getaway from the busy lives.
Nagarkot, Shivapuri, Chisapani, Chitlang, and Kakani are some famous hiking routes of Kathmandu whereas Bandipur and Sarangkot are famous in Pokhara.
The most famous places for sightseeing in Nepal are Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan and Pokhara. Due to the historic, religious and cultural monuments of great significance, Kathmandu valley is a heaven for lovers of art and culture. With seven world heritage sites that include Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Changunarayan Temple, Kathmandu provides a wide variety of options to explore.
The monuments are of great historic importance built by different dynasties that ruled the cities long ago. The temples are built with unique Newari architecture and craftsmanship of artists from long ago. There are different palaces, courtyards, stupas, Chaityas, shrines and relics all over the valley. Pashupatinath is a holy site for Hindus whereas Boudha and Swayambhu are religiously important for both Hindus and Buddhists. The pagoda styled temples with golden roofs, silver doors and wooden carvings are beautiful and serene with their religious environment. There are feasts and festivals going all year round that can be enjoyed with the diverse group of ethnic people living in harmony in the valley.
In Pokhara, sightseeing includes exploring lakes, caves, waterfalls and vantage points. One can relax along the Phewa lakeside or take a boat ride. Pokhara is also famous for its musical nightlife.
Paragliding has been gaining its name as the favorite adventure sport of local and foreign tourists alike. The starting point is Sarangkot of Pokhara. It is a beautiful vantage point from where the gliding begins. First you hover over Sarangkot for a while, and then doing aerobatics in the air above Pokhara valley, you slowly descend down to Phewa Lake. The glide is a hair-raising activity with the breathtaking views of Annapurna range, Fishtail, the turquoise lakes and fields of the valley below.
Thousands of adventure junkies visit each year to experience the longest freefall of 100 meters (328 feet) into the deepest gorge (160 meters deep) of Bhotekoshi River in Nepal. The surrounding lush forests, terraced fields and the plunge into a raging river make the experience unique from anywhere else in the world. Once you experience the raging plunge and amazing free falls, you can relax with facilities such as spa, massages, dip in the pool or a short hike provided by the resort. Bungee is one exhilarating experience you can boast about and cherish for life!
White water rafting in Nepal is another sport that is highly sought by water sports lovers all over the world. Rafting in the raging rivers that flow straight from the Himalayas as they twist and turn over stones and curves is one of the most exhilarating experiences one can have. Trishuli and Bhotekoshi rivers are famous for the exciting rapids and challenging journeys. Mixing the excitement of the rafting with the beauty of the surrounding is a truly breathtaking experience.
The jungle safaris of Chitwan are considered to be one of the best in South Asia. The hotels and resorts are located amidst the thick jungles and from there you get on elephant backs for a safari of a lifetime. As the elephant slowly paces, you get an up close view of the inner forests, its vegetation, wild animals and birds. While deer, leopard, monkeys and crocodiles are usual sightings, one can also witness the one horned rhinoceros and Bengal tiger if you are lucky enough. Safaris are great ways to experience the beauty and serenity of nature from close range.
This is the best option for those with time and other constraints to explore the Himalayas without any hassles of trekking. The flights take you up close for panoramic views of Everest and other ranges in the area. As you admire the breathtaking view, you will be provided all the details about the peaks within sight by the crew. It is a heavenly sight and experience to be so close to the majestic mountains. You will fly over lakes, rivers and fields and witness the diverse terrain of Nepal as you approach the highest peaks in the world. Some flights even land in vantage points to refuel where you can rest and enjoy the sceneries. The photographs of the flight are memories to cherish all your life.
With the varied terrain and long, winding trails that are perfect for mountain biking, it is another way to explore the different treasures of beautiful Nepal. From the plains of Terai to rocky hills and then steep mountains, mountain biking is the best way to explore every nook and corner and discover diverse landscape, flora and fauna and cultures of the unique yet diverse country.
Kathmandu and Pokhara are the main cities for biking as only they have rental options. The trails range from difficult ones with challenging ascends and descends to easy, flat ones in the plains. One gets to enjoy the lush green sceneries, mountain views and vegetation with the excitement of biking. With new trails being explored and opened all the time, it is a fun adventure to try out while in Nepal.
Sarangkot–Pame, Phewa Taal Loop, Rides along Begnas Taal and Rupa Taal in Pokhara and Kakani, Budhanilkantha and Bungmati in Kathmandu are famous for mountain biking.
For the history and culture enthusiasts, Nepal is a heaven with rich, diverse history of different dynasty rulers and even now the people of different races and ethnicity living together in harmony.
Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan are the most famous cities as they were ruled by Malla and other dynasties who built various temples, palaces and other monuments that can be explored even now. These monuments are famous for their architecture and craftsmanship. The cities are full of temples, Gumba, stupas, Chaityas in every nook and corner. The history of different dynasties and how they were conquered by Prithvi Narayan Shah to give rise to a great nation is a topic of great interest.
Another historic city is Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. The conservation area here has a number of monasteries, stupas, statues and relics related to the life of Buddha, preacher of peace. Mayadevi temple, Ashokan pillar, China temple, world peace pagoda and other monuments have huge significance to Hindus and Buddhists and the history and culture of the world.
A visit to all these cities can be a truly enriching and educational experience for tourists trying to understand the history and culture of Nepal.