As the birthplace of Lord Buddha and home to 8 of the world’s tallest peaks, Nepal is clearly a land with deep ties to both religion and nature. Seeing Mt. Everest is high on the bucket list for adventure travelers, but the beauty of the country lies in the lush valleys peppered by ancient temples, the historic palaces of bustling Kathmandu, and the warmth of a fierce and proud people.
Those seeking a close connection to nature and to explore unspoilt wonders will feel at home in Nepal. There are countless treks through the Himalayas for serious trekkers and climbers but the lodges offer short tailored nature walks as well as longer hikes to suit any fitness level.
We believe the wildlife experience in Nepal’s national parks is not quite at the level our clients have come to expect, and therefore we suggest combining Nepal with India if game-viewing is a priority. Nepal is an incredible destination for history, local culture, and nature, and we simply suggest embracing those aspects.
There are a surprising number of flights to tiny Kathmandu airport so it is an easy starting or ending point to a larger trip within the region. If you are making your way north through India, there are direct flights from Banaras (Varanasi) certain days of the week or daily flights from Delhi. There are even direct flights from Hong Kong. You will likely have to start and end your trip with at least one night in Kathmandu, as flights from other parts of the country don’t arrive early enough for you to connect internationally the same day.
Visit during the dry season is to experience the best of Nepal's hiking trails.
If you want to see Everest but don't have the time or energy to climb, take a scenic flight.
Kathmandu and even Pokhara are an easy extension to any trip around the Indian sub-continent or Asia.
Try Nepali momo (dumplings with a spicy sauce) and wash it down with a local Everest or Gorkha beer.
Idyllic pastoral landscapes set against the dramatic Himalayas – Walk within living ruins in Durbar Square – Bask in the splendor of Mt. Everest
Kathmandu and the Pokhara hillsides are the highlights of a visit to Nepal. The ancient buildings and palaces of Kathmandu’s Durbar Square offer an incredible glimpse into the past and visits to Swayambhunath and/or Boudhanath stupas are essential when spending time in the city. Trekking, which can be anything from easy walks around the local villages to full-day outings, around the old farmhouses and up the terraced rice paddies of Pokhara is the best way to fill up your camera memory card with amazing memories to bring home. The Annapurna Range offers incredible panoramas from the right lodge and the lake is worth an afternoon visit.
If you only have time for a few-night extension in Nepal, we suggest spending your time in Dhulikel which offers Himalaya views and access to the historic sites of Kathmandu in addition to the charms of the town itself.
Nepal is a nature lover’s dream. A predominantly agricultural society, there are bright green fields as far as the eye can see, friendly people working the land, bright blue skies, and jaw-dropping vistas of the Himalayas. Nepal is the perfect respite after a bustling itinerary around the Indian subcontinent; but let it be known that the ancient Nepali architecture rivals even that of Rajasthan! Those who appreciate learning about world religions and cultures will stand in awe of Boudhanath and be fascinated by the fierce Gorkhas, though Nepal is first and foremost a land of gentle and generous people. If you enjoy authentic cultural experiences and a home-brewed cup of chai, Nepal will warm your stomach as well as your soul.
The chaos of a less-developed part of the world can either be endearing or daunting. Kathmandu is not a model of urban planning and although the ‘streets’ are smoother than those in some parts of India, it’s not for those looking for a smooth and peaceful driving experience. Unless you plan to devote your entire trip to trekking, Nepal is not a good choice if you are not interested in visiting temples and historic sites. If nature and being active isn’t for you, there is little for you to explore in Nepal that wouldn’t be a better experience elsewhere.
The weather in Nepal is quite typical for the region with two monsoons each year. The dry seasons between the monsoons are the best times to travel: September-November and March-May. October to November, the start of the dry season, is in many ways the best time. With the monsoon having recently finished, the countryside is neon green and lush, the weather is warm, the air is clean and the Himalayan views are near perfect. February to April, the tail end of the dry season, is the second-best time to visit. The weather begins to warm up so high-altitude treks are not trying. Visibility is not as good as earlier in the dry season, but the spring season means the flowers are in bloom.
The winter months of December-February are incredibly cold at high altitudes and the Annapurna passes are closed during those months due to snow. May and early June can be increasingly hot and dusty, building for the monsoons to come from mid-June – September when immense downpours come nearly every day. Absolutely avoid these months.
The exchange rate of the Nepali Rupee to the U.S. dollar is extremely high which makes even luxury travel in Nepal affordable. Even the best hotels don’t offer quite the standard of 5-star décor in other countries, but the service is excellent and the experience can’t be beat.
We recommend you consider staying at the fully inclusive properties if you can afford it to take advantage of all the area has to offer. As on safari, the property guides know the area and local communities quite well and will be able to give you a unique perspective.
The upmarket, exclusive properties can range between $200-$500 per person per night. Each trip will be different though, and we will certainly help you decide where is best to splurge or smart to save depending on your interests and travel style.
By plane, by foot, or by whitewater raft, Nepal is awesome in every way. For those without the time or stamina for a 3-week trek to Everest Base Camp, there are one-hour roundtrip scenic flights from Kathmandu that allow you to take in the entire Everest range. The Annapurna range can be seen from Pokhara and trekking the hillsides is the best way to take it all in. Whitewater rafting is the perfect prescription for the thrill-seeker, and Nepal’s rapids will not disappoint.
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