Nepal is home to eight of the worlds ten highest peaks, providing some of the best trekking trails on earth. It is also a place where Lord Buddha was born, 2500 years ago. Long, rich history can be seen on every corner, from the capital city, Kathmandu to the beautiful laid back town Pokhara, Nepal offers activities for everybody, not just mountain climbers. Here’s a list of Nepal attractions – the top 10 things to do in Nepal!
1. Trek to Everest Base Camp
The summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth, the mother of all mountains, reaches incredible 8,848 meters! This incredible mountain attracts many visitors to Nepal. A two week long trek to the base camp is a truly unforgettable experience. Many travel agencies offer a number of trekking tours (a private tour with porters, guided groups…), however all trekkers are technically required to have a guide. The main hiking seasons are in the spring and fall, from March to May and September to December. Spectacular views of surrounding Himalayan peaks, local villages and friendly, warm people are worth all the altitude sickness you’ll probably suffer.
2. Roam the streets of Kathmandu
Nepal’s largest city is a place full of Buddhist and Hindu temples, pagodas and shrines. Don’t miss historical Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (Monkey temple), Boudnath (one of the largest stupas in the world) & Pashupatinath temple on river Bagmati (cremation site full of Hindu holy men).
Kathmandu was one of the places that suffered the most from the horrible earthquake in April, 2015. Over a year later the country is still struggling to recover, and many buildings are still destroyed.
3. Enjoy Phewa Tal lake in Pokhara
Everywhere you look in Pokhara is like a postcard, from the Phewa Tal lake to the scenic views of the Annapurna Himalayan peaks, this laid back charming town simply has it all! Don’t miss it!
4. Go on safari in Chitwan National Park
Experience ‘a taste of Africa’ in Nepal! Nepal is not just about mountains, Kathmandu and Pokhara. It’s also a great place to ‘take a walk on the wild side’. Chitwan National Park is Asia’s best safari parks to spot rhinos and tigers. Go on an elephant safari and enjoy close-up views of the animals in the park.
5. Visit the birthplace of Lord Buddha
250 kilometers from Kathmandu, lies a small place, Lumbini, where 2500 years ago was born Lord Buddha or Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism. This peaceful, pilgrimage town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place of worship to Buddhists around the world. Visit The Holy Temple of Maya Devi, a temple dedicated to Buddha’s mother, and enjoy the peacefulness and tranquillity of this amazing place.
6. Visit Bhaktapur & Patan
For several hundred years, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan in Kathmandu Valley were royal cities. Bhaktapur is renown as being a city of culture, temples and craft work while Patan is filled with wood and stone carvings, metal statues, ornate architecture, including dozens of Buddhist and Hindu temples, and over 1200 monuments.
7. Trekking in the Annapurna Region
This is definitely the most popular trekking region in Nepal. Many visitors first stay few days in Pokhara and then hit one of the many trekking options in this area. To complete the whole Annapurna Circuit around Annapurna Mountain you’ll need at least 19 days! On your way you’ll enjoy stunning, diverse scenery and remote villages.
8. Celebrate one of many Nepal’s festivals
If you are into colorful, spectacular festivals than Nepal is where you wanna be! Nepal is crazy for festivals and it seems like every day there is some kind of festival going on. Time your trip right and participate one of the most awesome celebrations in the world!
9. Visit remote villages and hang out with locals
Nepal has a population of more than 28 million people, made up of over 60 different races and tribes! This melting pot is a result of a long history of migration, conquest, and trade. Most of the people still live in the countryside. Farming and trade are their main occupations. Although the mystic beauty of the Himalayas attracts people from across the world, warm, welcoming and friendly Nepali people are the real treasure of the country! Visit remote villages ‘off the beaten track’ and see what Nepal is all about!
As one of the least developed countries in the world, Nepal is a destination that seeks for volunteers from all over the world (especially after the earthquake last year). You can contribute in so many ways. Teaching English in schools or Buddhist monasteries around Nepal, providing education and care for the disabled children and orphanages or help construct basic infrastructure in local communities, there are so many ways in which you can help!
Be careful! There are a lot of scams in Nepal when it comes to the volunteering. It’s sad, it should be an honest and nice thing, but some people take advantage of it by earning money on volunteers fees. Nepal has many volunteer opportunities that you shouldn’t pay a fee to volunteer (it’s ok to pay some reasonable price to cover your accommodation and food in host family).
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to become a part of a local community. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being able to help such an amazing and positive people who are materially poor, but spiritually one of the richest people in the world!