Nepal is a small but diverse country that offers a variety of experiences, from the cultural and historical attractions of its cities and towns to the natural beauty and adventure of its mountains and jungles. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway, a spiritual journey, or a thrilling challenge, Nepal has something for everyone. In this article, we will introduce you to the top 5 best places to visit in Nepal, and give you some tips on how to plan your trip.

Introduction

Why visit Nepal?

Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia, sandwiched between India and China. It is home to eight of the world’s ten highest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Nepal is also rich in cultural and religious diversity, with Hinduism and Buddhism being the main faiths. Nepal has a long and fascinating history, dating back to ancient times. It was once a powerful kingdom that ruled over parts of India and Tibet, and later became a federal republic after a decade-long civil war. Nepal is known for its hospitality and friendliness, as well as its colorful festivals and traditions. Nepal is a destination that will inspire you, challenge you, and touch your soul.

How to plan your trip to Nepal?

Nepal is a relatively easy country to travel in, as it has a well-developed tourism infrastructure and many options for transportation, accommodation, and activities. However, there are some things you need to consider before you go, such as:

  • Visa: Most foreign nationals need a visa to enter Nepal, which can be obtained on arrival at the airport or at the border crossings with India or China. You need to pay a fee in US dollars or Nepali rupees, depending on the duration of your stay (15, 30, or 90 days). You also need to have a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of entry. More details here.
  • Vaccination: It is recommended that you get vaccinated for hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus, and rabies before you travel to Nepal. You may also need malaria prophylaxis if you are visiting low-lying areas in the Terai region. Consult your doctor or travel clinic for more advice.
  • Altitude sickness: If you are planning to trek or visit high-altitude areas in Nepal, such as Everest Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit, you need to be aware of the risk of altitude sickness. This is a condition that occurs when your body does not get enough oxygen at high elevations. It can cause symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. To prevent altitude sickness, you need to acclimatize gradually by ascending slowly and taking rest days. You also need to drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and tobacco, and eat light meals. If you develop severe symptoms, such as confusion, chest pain, or difficulty breathing, you need to descend immediately and seek medical attention.
  • Weather: Nepal has four seasons: spring (March to May), summer (June to August), autumn (September to November), and winter (December to February). The best time to visit Nepal depends on what you want to do and where you want to go. Generally, spring and autumn are the most popular seasons, as they offer clear skies, moderate temperatures, and good visibility for trekking and sightseeing. Summer is the monsoon season, which brings heavy rain, high humidity, and landslides. Winter is cold and dry, especially in the mountains, where snowfall and freezing temperatures can make trekking difficult.

Pokhara

Pokhara is the second-largest city in Nepal and the gateway to the Annapurna region. It is located on the shores of Phewa Lake, surrounded by green hills and snow-capped peaks. Pokhara is a popular destination for travelers who want to enjoy nature, adventure, and relaxation.

What to see and do in Pokhara?

Phewa Lake

Phewa Lake is the largest and most scenic lake in Pokhara. It offers stunning views of the Annapurna range, especially at sunrise and sunset. You can take a boat ride on the lake, or rent a kayak or a paddle boat to explore its tranquil waters. You can also visit the Barahi Temple, a Hindu shrine located on an island in the middle of the lake.

phewa lake

Peace Pagoda

Peace Pagoda is a white stupa that stands on a hill overlooking Phewa Lake. It was built by Japanese Buddhists as a symbol of peace and harmony. You can reach the pagoda by hiking up from the lake, or by taking a taxi or a bus. From the pagoda, you can enjoy panoramic views of Pokhara city, Phewa Lake, and the Himalayas.

world peace pagoda

Sarangkot

Sarangkot is a hilltop village that offers one of the best vantage points for watching the sunrise and sunset over the Annapurna range. You can hike up to Sarangkot from Pokhara, or take a taxi or a bus. Sarangkot is also a famous spot for paragliding, as you can soar over the lake and the mountains with an experienced instructor.

sarangkot

How to get to Pokhara?

Pokhara is about 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu. You can get there by:

  • Flight: There are daily flights from Kathmandu to Pokhara, which take about 25 minutes. The flight is scenic and convenient, but also expensive and subject to weather conditions.
  • Bus: There are regular buses from Kathmandu to Pokhara, which take about 6 to 8 hours. The bus ride is cheap and comfortable, but also slow and bumpy.
  • Car: You can also hire a private car or a taxi from Kathmandu to Pokhara, which take about 5 to 6 hours. The car ride is fast and flexible, but also costly and risky.

Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal. It is a vibrant and chaotic metropolis that blends ancient and modern cultures. Kathmandu is home to many historical and religious sites, as well as museums, markets, and restaurants.

What to see and do in Kathmandu?

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is the heart of the old city, where you can see the royal palace and many temples and monuments dating back to medieval times. The square was severely damaged by the 2015 earthquake, but it is still worth visiting for its architectural and cultural significance. You can admire the intricate carvings, statues, and courtyards of the palace complex, or visit the Kumari Ghar, where the living goddess resides.

kathmandu durbar square

Swayambhunath Temple

Swayambhunath Temple is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal. It is located on a hilltop overlooking Kathmandu valley. It is also known as the Monkey Temple, because of the large number of monkeys that live there. You can reach the temple by climbing up 365 steps, or by taking a taxi or a bus. At the top, you can see the main stupa with its golden spire and colorful prayer flags, as well as many shrines, statues, and paintings.

Swayambhunath Temple

Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest and most impressive Buddhist stupas in the world. It is located on the outskirts of Kathmandu city, near Pashupatinath Temple. It is a major pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists, who come to circumambulate the stupa and pray at its surrounding monasteries. The stupa has a massive dome with a pair of eyes that gaze over the city. You can join the devotees in spinning the prayer wheels or lighting the butter lamps. You can also enjoy the Tibetan culture and cuisine at the nearby shops and restaurants.

Boudhanath Stupa

How to get to Kathmandu?

Kathmandu is the main entry point for most travelers to Nepal. You can get there by:

  • Flight: There are international flights from many countries to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, which is about 6 kilometers from the city center. You can take a taxi or a bus from the airport to your hotel or destination.
  • Bus: There are buses from India and China to Kathmandu, which cross the border at various points. The bus ride can be long and uncomfortable, depending on the road conditions and traffic.
  • Car: You can also drive your own car or hire a private car or a taxi from India or China to Kathmandu, which can be faster and more convenient than taking a bus. However, you need to have a valid driving license and insurance, and pay a fee at the border.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is one of the most popular wildlife destinations in Nepal. It is located in the Terai region, in the southern part of the country. It covers an area of 932 square kilometers, and hosts a variety of flora and fauna, including endangered species such as the Bengal tiger, the one-horned rhinoceros, and the gharial crocodile.

What to see and do in Chitwan National Park?

Wildlife safari

The main attraction of Chitwan National Park is the wildlife safari, which allows you to explore the park’s diverse habitats and encounter its amazing animals. You can choose from different modes of safari, such as:

  • Elephant safari: You can ride on the back of an elephant, which can take you through the grasslands and forests, and get close to the wildlife. The elephant safari is usually done in the morning or afternoon, and lasts for about an hour.
  • Jeep safari: You can drive in a jeep, which can cover more ground and reach deeper parts of the park. The jeep safari is usually done in the morning or afternoon, and lasts for about 3 to 4 hours.
  • Canoe safari: You can paddle in a canoe, which can take you along the Rapti River or the Narayani River, and see the aquatic life and birds. The canoe safari is usually done in the morning or afternoon, and lasts for about an hour.
  • Walking safari: You can walk on foot, which can give you a more intimate and adventurous experience of the park. The walking safari is usually done in the morning or afternoon, and lasts for about 2 to 3 hours.

Tharu culture

Tharu culture is another attraction of Chitwan National Park, as you can learn about the local people who live in harmony with nature. The Tharu are an indigenous ethnic group who have their own language, customs, and traditions. You can visit their villages, see their houses made of mud and straw, watch their dances and songs, and taste their cuisine.

Elephant breeding center

Elephant breeding center is a place where you can see how elephants are raised and cared for in Chitwan National Park. You can see the baby elephants playing with their mothers, feeding them with milk bottles, or bathing them in the river. You can also learn about the history and importance of elephants in Nepal.

How to get to Chitwan National Park?

Chitwan National Park is about 160 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu. You can get there by:

  • Flight: There are daily flights from Kathmandu to Bharatpur Airport, which is about 20 kilometers from Chitwan National Park. The flight takes about 25 minutes. You can take a taxi or a bus from the airport to your hotel or destination.
  • Bus: There are regular buses from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park, which take about 5 to 6 hours. The bus ride is cheap and scenic, but also slow and crowded.
  • Car: You can also hire a private car or a taxi from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park, which take about 4 to 5 hours. The car ride is fast and comfortable, but also expensive and risky.

Lumbini

Lumbini is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists around the world. It is located in the Terai region, near the border with India. It is believed to be the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Lumbini is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts millions of pilgrims every year.

What to see and do in Lumbini?

Mayadevi Temple

Mayadevi Temple is the main attraction of Lumbini, as it marks the exact spot where Buddha was born. The temple is a simple white building that houses a stone slab and a marker stone that indicate the birthplace. You can enter the temple and pay your respects to the Buddha, or meditate in the serene atmosphere.

visit in nepal

World Peace Pagoda

World Peace Pagoda is a white stupa that stands on a hill overlooking Lumbini. It was built by Japanese Buddhists as a symbol of peace and harmony. You can reach the pagoda by hiking up from the Lumbini Garden, or by taking a taxi or a bus. From the pagoda, you can enjoy panoramic views of Lumbini and the surrounding countryside.

Monastic zone

Monastic zone is an area where different countries have built their own monasteries and temples to honor Buddha and his teachings. You can visit the monastic zone and see the diversity and beauty of Buddhist architecture and culture. Some of the most notable monasteries and temples are:

  • Chinese Monastery: A large complex with a pagoda, a hall, and a museum.
  • Thai Monastery: A golden temple with a distinctive Thai style.
  • Myanmar Monastery: A replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.
  • Korean Monastery: A modern building with a lotus-shaped dome.
  • Tibetan Monastery: A colorful structure with prayer wheels and flags.
visit in nepal

How to get to Lumbini?

Lumbini is about 250 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu. You can get there by:

  • Flight: There are daily flights from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa Airport, which is about 22 kilometers from Lumbini. The flight takes about 30 minutes. You can take a taxi or a bus from the airport to your hotel or destination.
  • Bus: There are regular buses from Kathmandu to Lumbini, which take about 8 to 10 hours. The bus ride is cheap and scenic, but also slow and crowded.
  • Car: You can also hire a private car or a taxi from Kathmandu to Lumbini, which take about 6 to 7 hours. The car ride is fast and comfortable, but also expensive and risky.

Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp is one of the most challenging and rewarding places to visit in Nepal. It is located at an altitude of 5,364 meters, at the foot of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Everest Base Camp is not a single place, but rather two camps on opposite sides of the mountain: South Base Camp in Nepal, and North Base Camp in Tibet. Most trekkers go to South Base Camp, as it is more accessible and popular.

What to see and do at Everest Base Camp?

Trekking adventure

The main attraction of Everest Base Camp is the trekking adventure, which allows you to experience the beauty and difficulty of hiking in the Himalayas. You can choose from different routes and durations, depending on your fitness level and preference. The most common route is from Lukla to South Base Camp, which takes about 12 to 14 days round trip. Along the way, you will pass through Sherpa villages, Buddhist monasteries, glacial rivers, and alpine forests. You will also acclimatize at various points, such as Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche. The highlight of the trek is reaching South Base Camp, where you can see Mount Everest and other peaks up close.

Himalayan views

The Himalayan views are another attraction of Everest Base Camp, as you can witness some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. You can see not only Mount Everest, but also other famous mountains such as Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, and Pumori. You can also see the Khumbu Glacier and Icefall, which are part of the route that climbers use to summit Everest. The best time to see the Himalayan views is in the morning or evening, when the sun casts a golden glow on the snow-capped peaks.

Sherpa culture

Sherpa culture is another attraction of Everest Base Camp, as you can learn about the local people who live in harmony with nature. The Sherpa are an ethnic group who migrated from Tibet centuries ago, and settled in the high-altitude regions of Nepal. They are known for their mountaineering skills and endurance, as well as their hospitality and friendliness. You can visit their villages, see their houses made of stone and wood, watch their dances and songs, and taste their cuisine.

sherpa culture

How to get to Everest Base Camp?

Everest Base Camp is about 140 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu. You can get there by:

  • Flight: There are daily flights from Kathmandu to Lukla Airport, which is the starting point of most treks to Everest Base Camp. The flight takes about 30 minutes, and offers stunning views of the Himalayas. However, the flight is also expensive and subject to weather conditions and delays.
  • Bus: There are buses from Kathmandu to Jiri, which is another starting point of some treks to Everest Base Camp. The bus ride takes about 8 to 10 hours, and is cheaper and more reliable than the flight. However, the bus ride is also longer and more tiring, and the trek from Jiri to Everest Base Camp takes about 20 to 22 days round trip.
  • Car: You can also hire a private car or a taxi from Kathmandu to Jiri, which can be faster and more comfortable than taking a bus. However, you need to have a valid driving license and insurance, and pay a fee at the border.

Conclusion

Nepal is a country that offers a variety of places to visit, from the cultural and historical attractions of its cities and towns, to the natural beauty and adventure of its mountains and jungles. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway, a spiritual journey, or a thrilling challenge, Nepal has something for everyone. In this article, we have introduced you to the top 5 best places to visit in Nepal, and given you some tips on how to plan your trip. We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Nepal, and experience its wonders for yourself.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about visiting Nepal.

  1. Q: Do I need a guide or a porter for trekking in Nepal?
    • A: It is not mandatory to have a guide or a porter for trekking in Nepal, but it is highly recommended. A guide can help you with navigation, safety, information, and communication. A porter can help you with carrying your luggage, which can make your trek more enjoyable and less exhausting. You can hire a guide or a porter from a reputable trekking agency or an independent association.
  2. Q: What currency do I need in Nepal?
    • A: The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese rupee (NPR), which is divided into 100 paisa. You can exchange your foreign currency at banks, hotels, or authorized money changers in major cities. You can also withdraw cash from ATMs using your debit or credit card. However, you should always carry some cash with you, as some places may not accept cards or have limited access to ATMs.
  3. Q: What are the main festivals in Nepal?
    • A: Nepal has many festivals throughout the year, which celebrate its diverse religious and cultural heritage. Some of the main festivals are:
      • Dashain: The biggest and longest festival in Nepal, which lasts for 15 days in September or October. It celebrates the victory of good over evil, and honors the goddess Durga. People perform rituals, offer sacrifices, receive blessings, fly kites, and visit their relatives.
      • Tihar: The second biggest festival in Nepal, which lasts for five days in October or November. It is also known as the festival of lights, as people decorate their houses with candles and lamps. It celebrates the relationship between humans and animals, such as dogs, cows, crows, and brothers and sisters.
      • Holi: The festival of colors, which takes place in February or March. It marks the arrival of spring, and the triumph of love over hate. People throw colored powder and water at each other, dance, sing, and have fun.
      • Buddha Jayanti: The birthday of Buddha, which falls on the full moon day of May or June. It commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha. People visit Buddhist temples and monasteries, light candles and incense, offer flowers and fruits, and chant prayers.
  4. Q: What are the main souvenirs to buy in Nepal?
    • A: Nepal has many souvenirs to buy that reflect its unique culture and craftsmanship. Some of the main souvenirs are:
      • Pashmina: A fine woolen fabric made from the hair of Himalayan goats. It is soft, warm, and luxurious. You can buy pashmina shawls, scarves, sweaters, or blankets in various colors and designs.
      • Khukuri: A curved knife that is the traditional weapon of the Gurkha soldiers. It is also used as a tool for chopping wood or cutting meat. You can buy khukuri knives in different sizes and shapes, with ornate handles and sheaths.
      • Thangka: A religious painting that depicts Buddhist deities, scenes, and symbols. It is made of silk or cotton, and painted with natural colors. You can buy thangka paintings in various sizes and themes, such as mandalas, wheel of life, or Tara.
      • Singing bowl: A metal bowl that produces a soothing sound when struck or rubbed with a wooden stick. It is used for meditation, healing, and relaxation. You can buy singing bowls in different metals, sizes, and tones.
      • Nepali tea: A beverage that is made from the leaves of the tea plant grown in the high-altitude regions of Nepal. It is aromatic, flavorful, and healthy. You can buy Nepali tea in different varieties, such as black, green, white, or herbal.
  5. Q: What are the main foods to try in Nepal?
    • A: Nepal has a diverse and delicious cuisine that reflects its geographical and cultural diversity. Some of the main foods to try in Nepal are:
      • Dal bhat: The staple food of Nepal, which consists of rice (bhat) and lentil soup (dal). It is usually served with vegetable curry (tarkari), pickle (achar), and sometimes meat (masu). It is eaten twice a day, for lunch and dinner.
      • Momo: A type of dumpling that is filled with minced meat or vegetables, and steamed or fried. It is served with spicy sauce (chutney) or soup. It is a popular snack or appetizer, and can be found in many restaurants and street stalls.
      • Thukpa: A type of noodle soup that originates from Tibet. It is made with wheat or rice noodles, vegetables, and meat or eggs. It is seasoned with garlic, ginger, chili, and herbs. It is a hearty and warming dish, especially in winter.
      • Sel roti: A type of sweet bread that is made from rice flour, sugar, ghee, and cardamom. It is deep-fried in a circular shape, and has a crispy texture. It is a festive food that is eaten during Dashain and Tihar.
      • Yomari: A type of dessert that is made from rice flour dough, filled with sweetened sesame seeds or coconut, and steamed. It has a soft and sticky texture. It is a special food that is eaten during Yomari Punhi, a festival that celebrates the end of the rice harvest.

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