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.
Medieval Cities & Sacred Sites
Other 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. Even after the 2015 earthquake, Nepal remains the cultural powerhouse of the Himalaya; the Kathmandu Valley offers an unrivalled collection of world-class palaces, hidden backstreet shrines and sublime temple art.
Further south lie Nepal’s wild and woolly national parks, where nature buffs scan the treetops for exotic bird species and comb the jungles for rhinos and tigers from the backs of lumbering Indian elephants. Choose from a luxury safari lodge in central Chitwan or go exploring on a wilder trip to remote Bardia or Koshi Tappu. Whether you cross the country by mountain bike, motorbike, raft or tourist bus, Nepal offers an astonishingly diverse array of attractions and landscapes.
There are few countries in the world that are as well set up for independent travel as Nepal. Wandering the trekking shops, bakeries and pizzerias of Thamel and Pokhara, it’s easy to feel that you have somehow landed in a kind of backpacker Disneyland. Out in the countryside lies a quite different Nepal, where traditional mountain life continues at a slower pace, and a million potential adventures glimmer on the mountain horizons.
Many people have spent a lifetime exploring the mountain trails of the Himalaya and the atmospheric temple towns of the Middle Hills, and they still keep coming back for more. The biggest problem you might face in Nepal is just how to fit everything in.
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 beyond, and most trekking areas escaped with only minor damage in the 2015 earthquake. Nowhere else can you trek for days in incredible mountain scenery, secure in the knowledge that a hot meal, cosy lodge and warm slice of apple pie await you at the end of the day.
Then there’s the adrenaline kick of rafting a roaring Nepali river or bungee jumping into a bottomless Himalayan gorge. Canyoning, climbing, kayaking, paragliding and mountain biking all offer a rush against the backdrop of some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes.