It is one of the most diverse and exciting destinations that should be on every traveller’s list. Here are the top reasons to visit Nepal!
1. Humble home of the Himalayas
A landlocked nation, Nepal shares the Himalayan mountain range with India, Tibet, Bhutan, China, and Pakistan. It is home to Mount Everest, one of the eight majestic peaks that are accessible from Nepal. Trekking is an awesome way to see the stunning sierra, with the Annapurna and Everest base camps being the most popular circuits. Views of the beautiful snow-capped peaks are also visible from Pokhara and Nagarkot, both a favourite holiday destination for locals and tourists alike. For the extreme adventurer, conquering the 8,848-metre tall Everest would be the ultimate dream but alternatively, a one-hour mountain flight around the tallest mountain in the world is worth every penny spent.
2. Awesome adventure sports
Blessed with bountiful nature, it’s only fitting for a myriad of adventure sports to be available here in Nepal. One activity that should not be missed when in Pokhara is paragliding, where you’ll be treated with amazing views of the mountains, lush greens, as well as the serene Pokhara Lakeside. Up for more challenge? Try parahawking, where you will be paragliding alongside hawks! Other exciting activities include whitewater rafting, mountain biking, canyoning, bungee jumping, and of course, sky diving!
3. Blessed birthplace of the Buddha
A few millennia ago, a queen gave birth to a healthy boy underneath a sala tree. That prince would turn out to be one of the most significant beings in the history of mankind, paving the path to many individuals seeking to connect with the universe. The exact birth spot of Siddharta Gautama Buddha, located in the southern town of Lumbini, has been immortalised inside a temple fringed by a sacred ancient pond, archaeological remains, and a beautiful Bodhi tree. The surrounding area was gazetted as the Lumbini Development Zone, where visitors are free to roam on foot, by bicycle, or via a rickshaw ride to visit the Lumbini Museum, as well as monasteries from Japan, Korea, China, Australia, and Myanmar.
4. Stunning stupas and tranquil temples
With Buddhism and Hinduism coexisting in harmony, there are plenty of interesting religious sites to visit in the capital city Kathmandu alone. The stupas are certainly not to be missed, including the Boudhanath Stupa which is one of the largest in the world, and Swayambunath Stupa, located on top of a hill with great views of the city. An early morning visit to these stupas presents the peaceful sight of worshippers walking clockwise around the structure, chanting the ancient mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”. For a dose of Hinduism, be sure to include the Pashupatinath Temple that is located on the banks of Bagmati River in your itinerary. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is the oldest and one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the city.
5. Timeless Tibetan heritage
To quote a line in the 1986 Eddie Murphy movie The Golden Child, Kathmandu is the gateway to Tibet. All over Nepal, traces of classic Tibetan heritage such as prayer wheels, singing bowls, as well as thangka (delicate scroll paintings that depict religious deities, astronomy, and mandalas) can be found in their everyday life. For travellers, the sight of the iconic Tibetan prayer flags in yellow, red, blue, green, and white, add much character to this amazing country and make for gorgeous photos. But for the locals, it is simply their way of life as it is believed that with each blow of the wind, the prayers that are printed on the flags would bring good energy to the atmosphere.
6. Wonderful wildlife
Put your Indiana Jones hat on and get ready to see some of the most exotic wildlife in their natural habitat! With an abundance of nature that is relatively untouched, Nepal is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts. At Chitwan National Park, there are currently more than 68 species of animals including Bengal tigers, leopards, sloth bears, striped hyenas, and honey badgers to spot. And if you’re ripe and fit to trek up to 10,000 feet or above, there’s high chance that you’ll encounter yaks. Yup, those big and shaggy-haired mammals from the bovid family that call the Himalayas their abode.
7. Fascinating festivities
What’s your favourite colour? Not that it will matter if you are here during Holi Festival, as you’ll be splashed with coloured dust in various shades! Taking place in March to celebrate love and the coming of spring, the festival is one of the best times to visit Nepal. All year long, there are a plethora of events to look forward to in this country, including Dashain, a fifteen-day festival to honour Goddess Parvati’s victory over evil, and Bisket Jatra, a merry celebration that takes place in Bhaktapur to welcome the Nepali new year.
8. Amazing ancient civilisation
To say that Nepal is a poor country is myopic, as it is undeniably rich with culture and heritage. We recommend spending at least a night in Bhaktapur, the old royal city located just an hour’s drive away from Kathmandu. A tour around the city feels like a walk within an open-air museum, with pretty cobblestone paths, old temples, and intricate carvings. Amongst the many interesting sites here include the Bhaktapur Durbar Square (which houses the 55 Windows Palace, the Golden Gate, and the Naga Pokhari royal bath), the five-storey Nyatapola Temple that honours Siddhi Laxmi (an incarnation of Goddess Parvati), as well as the charming laneways that occupy lovely shops, cute cafes, and humble homes.