Between the soaring peaks of the Himalaya and the steamy expanses of India, Nepal is a nirvana for hikers, trekkers and lovers of mountains. Some of the world's best and most iconic trails lead you to Everest Basecamp, around the Annapurnas and beyond. Besides the mountains, there are the temple-lined medieval city squares and centuries-old stupas of the Kathmandu Valley and the jungles of the south, where you can search for rhinos and tigers on foot, by canoe or by jeep.
best time to travel
The best time for visiting or trekking in Nepal is October - November (when skies are clear) and March - mid-May (when rhododendrons are in bloom). Winter, while cold, can be a sublime time too - trails are quiet and skies are crystal clear.
places to go
Nepal's capital is a city of neighbourhoods. Get everything a traveller needs in Thamel, visit the old city's jumble of temples and ancient architecture, or explore Patan's quieter and better-preserved historic district. And everywhere there are shantytowns and shopping malls, suburbs and bustling bazaars, hidden temples and courtyards making Kathmandu a great city to explore!
Surrounded by a bustling market selling religious paraphernalia Kathmandu's, Pashupatinath is Nepal’s holiest Hindu pilgrimage site. A smoky and exhilarating affair, Pashupatinath is at its most photogenic early in the morning or during evening prayers.
One of the world’s largest stupas, and the most important Tibetan Buddhist monument outside Tibet, Boudha (Bodhnath) is only one of a few places in the world where Tibetan Buddhist culture is accessible. Walk the prayer flag–decked streets absorbed in a cacophony of ritual music and watch monks, locals and pilgrims spin prayer wheels and perform their ritual circumnavigation together.
With its narrow streets winding past red-brick houses, this beautiful city was heavily damaged in the 2015 earthquake. But there is still plenty to see here, including three squares with magnificent temples, boasting some of the finest religious architecture in the entire country.
Halfway between Kathmandu and Pokhara lies Gorkha, the cradle of the Nepali nation and a quintessential hill town. A must-see here is the Gorkha Durbar, the palace of the former rulers offering superb views over the valley and soaring peaks alike.
Chitwan's forests, marshland and rippling grasslands boast over 500 rhinos and about 120 tigers, 400 gaur (Indian bison), nearly 50 wild elephants and well over 500 species of birds. Take a guided walking safari, step into a canoe, or board a jeep and enjoy the ride!
Get up early in Pokhara and you will feel like you can almost touch the 8000m-plus Annapurna and Manaslu ranges, soaring in to the clear-blue skies. This lakeside town boasts a laid-back atmosphere and is the perfect place to recharge your batteries.
The natural amphitheatre known as the Annapurna Sanctuary is ringed by such giants as Annapurna 1 and Machapuchare. The trek into the basin is a stunning combination of towering peaks and dramatic valleys.
Offering incredible cultural and geographical diversity this trek takes you from green foothills dotted with lowland villages past inspiring views and across Thorong La Pass to the stark and rugged landscapes of the Tibetan Plateau.
Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp has captivated the minds of trekkers around the world ever since the 1920's and the trek to basecamp offers some of the most breathtaking scenery you will see in your life. In addition, the fascinating culture and a personal sense of achievement will make this a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Be sure to make detours to Kala Patar or Gokyo Ri, where unbelievable mountain panoramas await.
Trek the Himalaya
Trekking is the main reason travellers come to Nepal. Hike through green valleys, forests and villages and gaze up at stunning mountains in the Annapurnas, walk along babbling rivers in Langtang, marvel at high Alpine scenery in the Everest area or climb the snowy Thorung La Pass on the Annapurna Circuit.
See the Himalayas
Even when you decide a trek is too much, you can see some fantastic mountain views in Nepal. Be it from a sightseeing flight over the Everest region, or from a hilltop viewpoint in Pokhara, the views are simply unforgettable. If you find yourself in Pokhara, get up early for a dawn view of Machapuchare and Annapurna, mirrored in the still waters of the town's lake.
Like its neighbour Bhutan, Nepal has a thriving festival scene. Many of them take place during the trekking seasons. Shiva raatri is celebrated around the full moon in February/March at the famous Pashupatinath Temple, while in the fall during Dasain masked dancers perform grand rituals in both Bhaktapur and Kathmandu.
Climb into a jeep, into a canoe or walk with a guide and experience the wildlife of Nepal's national parks. Chitwan's forests, marshland and rippling grasslands boast over 500 rhinos and about 120 tigers, 400 gaur (Indian bison), nearly 50 wild elephants and well over 500 species of birds. Further away, Bardia National Park is quieter and offers an even wider range of habitats.
Hot and sweet, milky and spicy, tea in the form of chiya is Nepal’s national drink.
World-class rapids and epic rivers conspire to make Nepal one of the best rafting destinations in the world. Aside from the thrills, it is also a wonderful way to experience rural Nepal.
Yoga and meditation
Inspired by both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Nepal offers plenty of yoga classes, meditation sessions and retreats. If you are lucky, your trekking guide may show you some moves amidst the soaring peaks of the Himalaya!
Sunrise from Poon Hill
Both shorter and longer treks in the Annapurna area will give you the chance to see the sunrise from Poon Hill, where the entire Annapurna range will lay stretched out before you. This truly is an unforgettable view!
Taking off from Lukla
To get to and from the Everest region you fly to Lukla Airport, considered the most dangerous in the world. The 460 metre long runway ends at a 2760 metre drop. Not for the faint at heart!
Whether you climb Gokyo Ri or Kala Patar, the views towards Everest, the world's highest mountain, and nearby Lhotse, are simply breathtaking and heart-stopping.
These Tibetan steamed dumpling filled with meat or vegetables are a real treat!