Things to do in Nepal
Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Nature has bestowed the country with unlimited riches like mountains, waterfalls, rivers, caves and forests. Moreover, Nepal is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic groups. Each culture has a special heritage and way of life. This makes the tour of Nepal a cultural extravaganza. With the blessing of nature and the marvels of various cultures, Nepal is really a tourist’s paradise. There are many things to do while you are in Nepal. However, it is not possible to do each and every thing during a single tour. We have compiled a list of some of the most important things to do in Nepal during your visit. Please go through them and see how many of it can you squeeze in your bucket list during the next visit.
15 things to do during your Nepal visit
Trekking is the most popular tourist activity in Nepal. Nepal is home to some of the highest mountain peaks in the world. Moreover, most of the country is covered in the mid range Mahabharata hills. These series of hills lie on the lap of the gigantic Himalayan mountain range. The Himalayan mountain range and the Mahabharata hills cover more than 80 percent of the area of the country. The valleys and the foothills of these peaks are settled by people who live in exotic little villages. Sprawling forests thriving in rare and endangered flora and fauna connects these far flung villages. This wonderful combination makes trekking in Nepal one of the most beautiful things to do while in Nepal.
There are many types of trekking options available while staying in Nepal.
Long and extensive trekking in Nepal: These are trekking routes that take more than 10 days to cover. Most of these treks also take us closer to or over 5,000 m in altitude. Most of these treks are difficult to complete as the terrain is tough and atmospheric oxygen is thin. You will need the help of professional guides and porters to complete these treks. Some popular treks include Everest Base Camp Trek, Gokyo Valley Trek, Manaslu Circuit Trek, High Passes Trekking, Annapurna Circuit Trekking and Kanchenjunga Circuit Trekking.
Mid range trekking in Nepal: These treks require about seven to ten days to complete on average. We will trek around or over the altitude of 4,000 m for most part of these treks. Most of the trekking will take place in the verdant green forests and national parks of the Mahabharata hills. The atmospheric oxygen is considerably higher during these treks. Some most popular mid range treks in Nepal are Langtang Valley Trek, Gosaikunda Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Mohare Danda Trek, Khayar Lake Trek etc. These treks are much easier to accomplish than the longer high Himalyan treks but nonetheless require acclimatization and prior trekking experience.
Short and Easy Treks in Nepal: These treks are delightful voyages that can be accomplished within a duration of single day to a couple of days. These treks take us to altitude around 3,000 m in altitude at most. The climate is cool and devoid of snow. Because of the greenery and absence of snow, the forests at this altitude are full of rare and endangered flora and fauna. Some of the most popular short trekking options in Nepal are Phulchowki Hiking, Shivapuri Hiking, Balthali Tour, Helambu Valley Trek, Panchase Trek, Chandragiri Trek, Chepang Trail Trek etc.
Nepal is the home of the mountains. Nepal hosts eight of the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world. This includes Mount Everest (8,848 m), which is the highest altitude mountain in the world. There are hundreds of mountains over 7,000 and 6,000 m in altitude in Nepal. All of these mountains are part of the Himalayan mountain range. Mountains between 5,000 m to 7,000 m in altitude are classified as climbing peaks by the Mountaineering Association of Nepal. Mountains above this altitude are classified as mountaineering peaks.
Some of the most famous trekking peaks in Nepal are Island Peak, Mera Peak, Lobuche Peak, Chulu West, Yala Peak, Pisang Peak etc. These mountains are relatively easy to climb. It takes one day to climb most of these peaks from their respective base camps. Mountains above 7,000 m in altitude are reserved for experienced climbers. You will need special permits and assistance to climb these peaks. It takes a lot more time to climb these mega peaks. For instance, the average time required to climb Mount Everest from its Base Camp is 40 days. Some of the most famous mountaineering Peaks are Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Manaslu, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Kanchenjunga.
Kathmandu Valley sightseeing
Kathmandu Valley is not only the administrative capital of Nepal. It is also its cultural capital. Kathmandu is the oldest city in Nepal. Kathmandu valley is in fact an amalgamation of three ancient cities – Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. These three cities were distinctly separated until a few decades ago. However, rapid urbanization has caused the merger of the three cities into a single one today. Sightseeing in Kathmandu valley is one of the highlights of the trek in Nepal.
The Kathmandu Durbar Square, Lalitpur Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square are the prime attractions during sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley. These Palace squares were the seat of the Malla Kings. These squares are home to classical palaces. Temples like Nyatpola, Kasthamandap, Krishna Mandir, Taleju Bhawani, Bhairav Temple and Golden Temple are the standout temples in the vicinity of these palaces. Other must visit places in Kathmandu Valley are Pashupatinath Temple, Swyambhunath Stupa, Boudhanath Stupa, the four Vinayakas of Kathmandu Valley, the four Narayans of Kathmandu Valley, the giant Shiva statue in Sanga, Chobhar gorge etc.
Exploring the rich food culture of Kathmandu
You can reward your taste buds with the exotic and time tested food menu of Kathmandu. The food platter of Kathmandu is so unique that Chinese President Xi Xinping was welcomed with these delicacies during his visit of Nepal in 2019. Some of the most popular food items in Kathmandu are Bara (bread made up of lentils), Chatamari (rice bread), Mo:Mo (Nepali dumplings), Chhoila (Spicy marinated meat), Kachhila (Raw spiced up meat) and Alu Tama (Potato cooked with young bamboo shoots).
You can enjoy these delicacies in five star hotels and other fine dining restaurants of Kathmandu. However, if you want to experience the best taste, you will do well by exploring the local eateries in the alleys of Patan, Basantapur and Bhaktapur. Also don’t forget to taste Juju Dhau, which is a special curd made primarily in Bhaktapur.
Jungle Safari and wildlife view
Nepal is a haven of rare and endangered animals in the world. Most of the country is protected as either national parks or wildlife reserves. You can pay a visit to protected areas like Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, Langtang National Park among others and get close with the magnificent wild animals. The highlight in Nepal are the national park in Chitwan and Bardia.
The Chitwan National Park was established in 1973. It is one of the top tiger and one horned rhinoceros sanctuaries in the world. The park is also home to other rare animals like leopard, wild boar, asian black bear, several species of deer, python, alligator etc. You can go inside the national park on a jeep safari, elephant safari or a foot safari. You will need to go with licensed guides to do so. Bardia National Park is another famous tiger sanctuary. It is the rustic version of Chitwan National Park with little commercialization.
Another highlight of the visit to Nepal is a sweeping view of the mountains from the sky. This can be accomplished via mountain flight. Most commercial airliners in Nepal provide mountain flight services. Most of these flights take us towards the eastern region of Nepal. The reason for this is because three of the highest peaks in Nepal – Everest, Kanchenjunga and Lhotse are located in the eastern part. The mountain flight also gives us an opportunity to view the mountains in the central and western part of Nepal.
Mountain ranges on view include the Annapurna Range, Dhaulagiri Range, Langtang Range and the Mahalangur Range. The Mahalangur Range is the home of Everest. The early morning view of the mountains in the backdrop of the rising sun is surely not the experience you would like to miss while on your visit to Nepal.
Visit famous temples and stupas outside Kathmandu
There are many famous temples and shrines located outside Kathmandu. Some of the most popular religious destinations are Manakamana Temple, Devghat Dham, Vyas Gufa in Tanahun, Pathibhara Temple, Muktinath Temple, Tengboche Monastery, Janaki Temple, Balmiki Ashram etc. The Vyasa Cave in Tanahun is the place where the ancient sage Vyasa stayed for most of his life. He was a son from a marriage between Sage Parashara and a fisherwoman named Matsyagandha. His mother was from a supposed lower caste tribe but Vyasa went on to become one of the most revered sages of Hindu history.
He is credited as the person who first transcribed the Vedas. He is also believed to be the creator of most the Puranas. It is thus believed that Nepal is the root of old classless and casteless Hinduism, allowing people like Vyasa and Balmiki to flourish. Balmiki was another ancient sage who wrote the epic Ramayana. He was also from the nomadic Naga tribe, a supposed low caste person. Balmiki Ashram is located in southern plains of Nepal between Chitwan and Nawalparasi district.
Lumbini is a place which deserves a separate mention on its own merit. It is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. It is one of the most visited places in Nepal. The famous Maya Devi Temple, ruins of old palaces of Shakyamuni, the Ashok Pillar and many other majestic newly built monasteries lie in a sprawling area in Kapilvastu district in the south of Nepal. The entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lumbini lies in the southern part of Nepal in Kapilvastu district.
Visiting the beautiful Nepali countryside
The most beautiful part of visiting Nepal is the visit to the wonderful countryside of the country. Most of Nepal outside of big cities is rural. Typical Nepali villages make more than two-thirds of the population of Nepal. These villages from east to west are settled by people of various ethnicities like Kirats, Newars, Magar, Sherpa, Tamang, Khas Pahari, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu etc. Each of these villages have their own cultural taste and history. We will get to experience exotic and different food, music and way of life in each village we pass along our way in Nepal.
Nepal is the capital of bird watchers. At least 907 different species of birds are found in this tiny nation. The national bird of Nepal is Danphe or Lophophorous (Impeyan Pheasant). The Spiny Babbler (Turdoides Nipalensis) is only found in Nepal. Nepal also hosts flocks of Siberian birds each winter. These birds migrate south from Siberia, Russia each winter and settle in the warm terai plains of Nepal. The Koshi Tappu wildlife reserve, Chitwan National Park and Shivapuri National Park are the top bird viewing destination in the country.
Yoga and Meditation (Spiritual Experience)
You can try your hands into the esoteric Buddhist meditations and Yoga exercises whole in Nepal. Most monasteries in Nepal are open for visitors and they can take part in meditation with the Lamas and Gurus there. You can also become a monk while in Nepal if you have enough time. However, that is not the experience everyone is looking for. Moreover, you can take part in mass Yoga routines. These exercises have been verified to hold many physical and mental positive effects. Yoga is gaining popularity all over the world now. You can also take special classes with experts if you have time.
Nepal is a tailor made destination for adventure sports like Bungee, Paragliding, Canoeing, Canyoning, Skiing, Rafting etc. The Bunjee Jump over Bhote Koshi river in eastern Nepal is the first of its kind in the country and the most thrilling one. Rafting in the thunderous Bhote Koshi River is also a world renowned adventure. You can also raft in other rivers like Trishuli and Seti. Rock climbing and canyoning are other adventure sports that are gaining in popularity. Paragliding over the famous Phewa Lake in Pokhara is another thrilling adventure.
For more daredevil people there are other adventure sports options like Skiing from the top of Everest, Base Jumping from the top of Everest and Paragliding from the top of Everest. Each of these deeds have already been performed by people in the past. Other less arduous options include mountain biking, taking part in the Himalayan Marathon and scuba diving in the mountainous lakes.