Nepal travel allows you to explore one of the most dramatic countries in the world. Nepal trekking is superb and as such it's a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Holidays to Nepal have much more to offer though than simply soaring peaks and snow-capped summits.
The capital Kathmandu, a chaotic array of cows, bikes, cars, beggars, pilgrims and vendors, is a fascinating and friendly city. At the heart of it stands Durbar Square, named after the royal palace and home to the city's living goddess. Other highlights include the Bagmati ghats, a throng of riverside temples and statues that stretch along the shore.
Venture out to Swayambhunath, a magnificent hilltop temple complex, teeming with Tibetan exiles and Buddhist pilgrims. Alternatively, clamber aboard an elephant to spot tigers or rhino in the Royal Chitwan National Park or head to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve for some exceptional bird watching.
Trekking in Nepal is big business. The easiest treks to access are those in Langtang. Trekkers should also consider the legendary Annapurna Circuit, a 300km track that climbs to 5,300m and touches the edge of the Tibetan plateau. Nepal's second city Pokhara is the end point for the famous trek. If this sounds too strenuous, just enjoy short hikes from Jomsom. The trek up to Everest Base Camp is also popular and a great way of experiencing the thrill of being close to the world's highest peak.
Away from the mountains, raise your pulse by white water rafting down the Bhote Kosi River, kayaking or mountain biking amidst world-class landscapes.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) are the most pleasant seasons. June to mid September is the monsoon season.
Festivals take place in Nepal throughout the year. Many of these are performed in honour of the gods and goddesses. Others mark the seasons or important points in the agricultural cycle. Some are simply family celebrations. The festivals in the Kathmandu Valley are the most spectacular. In late September to November two major festivals occur, Dasain and Tihaar. In August or September, Kathmandu celebrates Indra Jaatra, which sees the city indulge in a wild eight days of festivities to honour the god Indra, with chariot processions and masked dancers.
Dal Baht - lentils and rice - is eaten most days. Newar cuisine includes spiced vegetables, chapatis and sweet snacks like jelabis (spirals of batter soaked in syrup and fried). Tibetan cooking includes thukba (a hearty soup) and momos (ravioli). Meat is commonly goat, pork, chicken or buffalo, as beef is forbidden. The national drink is chiya (tea with milk, sugar, and spices, and sometimes yak butter). Chang (beer made from barley, maize, rye, or millet) is popular in the mountains. Arak (potato alcohol) and raksi (wheat or rice spirit) are also available.
Visitors must be careful to respect local customs in order not to cause offence. Nepal is primarily a Hindu country, although ethnic groups in the mountainous region, such as the Sherpas, are Buddhist. Temples and religious sites are found throughout the country. Take off shoes before entering a place of worship and never enter a Hindu temple wearing leather (shoes, belts etc). Always pass religious sites and prayer flags on the left. Shaking hands is not a common form of greeting, instead it is polite to say namaste, while joining the palms together.
Kathmandu (KTM) is 6.5 km from the city.
The road system is of unpredictable quality. Local buses are slow and safety records bad. Tourist buses run between Kathmandu. Pokhara and Chitwan. Trains run from Janakpur to the Indian border (although passage across the border may be restricted). Car hire with driver available in Kathmandu. In the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, buses, auto-rickshaws and tempos (three-wheeled buses) are also available.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Nepal. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Charlie Gordon - Asia Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0613