Nepal is a beautiful country and a cheap place to visit. With so much on offer, from some of the worlds oldest temples, trekking in the Himalayas, rafting, kayaking, horse riding, cycling, or just lounging around lakes. Now is the best time to visit, before tourism takes over the country.
Landlocked between Tibet, China and India, Nepal is a country with it’s own culture and offerings. The people are a diverse mix of local hill tribes, such as the Sherpas, refugees from Tibet and migrants from India. Buddhism was once the dominant religion, and has left some of the worlds finest temples. Hinduism is now the major religion, which has lead to amazing re-use of temples and religions sites, as well as one of the world’s most religious tolerant countries.
Despite recent political problems, Nepal is a tourist friendly country. English is spoken everywhere tourism has a presence. The people are friendly and helpful. Costs are cheap, and tourist services are good. There are few real roads in Nepal, but a good bus service covers the countries bumpy roads. Flights are also available between the large settlements.
Since 1996 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has been waging a People’s War against the Nepal state in the hills of Nepal. They want Nepal to be an established communist republic, rather than the existing constitutional Hindu monarchy. Whilst their ideals will probably lead to a better Nepal, their methods of torture, blackmailing and extortion have caused turmoil in the country, and destroyed it’s tourism. However, the Maoist people have never targeted tourists, and few visitors have every experienced any problems.
In the last few years tourism has started to regain momentum, especially around areas such as Kathmandu and Pokhara. The slump has led to greatly discounted prices across the country.
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is a hectic place, but the home to some of the worlds oldest and finest temples. The Durbur squares of Kathmandu, and the nearby city of Patan are full of palaces and temples. Kathmandu has the worlds oldest Pagodas, and all of Asia’s Pagodas are derived from these original designs. The stupas (temples) of Swayambhunath and Bodnath are perhaps Nepal’s most famous images. Beautiful, grand whitewashed buildings topped with a tower with Buddha’s all seeing eyes.
Pokhara is Nepal’s second city, at least in terms of tourism. The grand lake of Phewa Tal, surrounded by beautiful green mountains is an idyllic spot to spend a few days, or the remainder of your visa! As if that wasn’t enough, the mighty Fish Tail mountain sits in the Himalaya range that is impossible to lose in this region. Pokhara offers so much, with some of Nepal’s best trekking, cycling, para gliding, some of the worlds best rafting & kayaking on various rivers, various temples, outrageous views and a beautiful lake to spend time floating around. It might be a bumpy 8 hour bus ride from Kathmandu, but it is definitely worth it.
Chitwan National Park, south of Kathmandu, is a incredible national park. Now well managed, ensuring great breeding problems for the animals, but also correct management of the forests and surrounding area. In particular the tigers, elephants and fresh water dolphins make Chitwan a great visitor experience.
Nepal is not only home to Mount Everest, but also 8 of the worlds 10 tallest peaks. Nepal is regarded as the ultimate trekking destination, with endless routes across the country, ranging from 1 hour to 28 days. The Everest Base Camp Trek offers some of the finest views of the worlds tallest peaks. But if the 2 week trek isn’t your thing, then take the bus to the village of Nagarkot. From here you can see Mount Everest, although it’s not much more than a dot in the distance, as well as some of the worlds other tallest peaks.