Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Nepal
Nepal is surprisingly diverse country that draws visitors for several reasons. Some are lured by the decision of the mountains and seeking to climb or trek within the Himalayas, others are intrigued by the culture and therefore the famous city of Kathmandu, and yet others come hoping to seek out some kind of spiritual awakening. Nepal is often an adrenaline adventure, a cultural eye-opener, a life-changing experience, or all of the above.
Most travelers spend a while in Kathmandu visiting sacred and historic attractions, then head bent other parts of the country. a number of the simplest places to go to outside of the capital are Chitwan park for wildlife viewing, and therefore the lakeside town of Pokhara, a well-liked area for embarking on treks.
Trekkers will find a spread of options across Nepal, with the foremost important areas being the Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang regions.
In 2015, a serious earthquake struck Nepal, causing severe damage in Kathmandu and other areas, but restoration is underway, and progress has been substantial. Much of the damage has been repaired, although some historical treasures were lost forever.
To find the simplest places to go to, have a read through our list of the highest attractions in Nepal.
Kathmandu, the capital and largest city in Nepal, is like no other city in the world. The decaying buildings within the heart of the town are a stark contrast to the lively atmosphere that permeates the streets. The smell of incense wafts from stores while street sellers push their goods, and other people set about their daily lives, all against a backdrop of historic temples and carved statues.
For several hundred years, Kathmandu was one among three rival royal cities, alongside Bhaktapur and Patan. Situated in close proximity to every other, today these three almost run together.
The highlight of Kathmandu has long been Durbar Square, the most important of the palace squares within the three royal cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Temples and monuments of varying shapes, sizes, styles, and faiths are often found here.
Kathmandu’s Durbar Square was severely damaged within the 2015 earthquake, with many buildings destroyed beyond repair, but it still remains a special place to go.
Bhaktapur, the third of the “Royal Cities,” lies on the old trade route to Tibet, just outside of Kathmandu. For Bhaktapur, the trade route was both an arterial link and a major source of wealth. Its relative remoteness at the time allowed the town to develop independently and in ways that distinguish it from the opposite two cities.
In contrast to Patan and Kathmandu, the population of Bhaktapur is primarily Hindu. the simplest place from which to start a tour of the town is Durbar Square, were added to the royal palace, several temples also are situated. the entire area may be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Many of the buildings in Durbar Square in Bhaktapur were damaged within the 2015 earthquake, most temples are on the brink of being repaired fully, but progress on much of the encompassing area has not proceeded as swiftly.
3. Boudhanath Stupa (Bodhnath)
The Boudhanath Stupa, just outside Kathmandu, is one among the most important stupas of its kind within the world and dates to a while around the 6th century, possibly even earlier. Like Bhaktapur, it lies on the old trade route to Tibet and may be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The stupa itself may be a symbol of enlightenment but at Boudhanath, the symbolism is especially clear. Each different shape represents one among the five elements, earth, water, fire, air, and sphere, which also are the attributes of the five Buddhas. Brought together within the sort of the stupa, their unity reflects in abstract fashion the structure of the universe itself.
The stupa sustained minor damage during the 2015 earthquake and is now fully repaired.
Set at the bottom of the foothills and surrounded by a number of the very best mountains within the world – Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Annapurna I – Pokhara is one among Nepal’s most scenic cities. For trekkers, Pokhara is that the gateway to the Himalayas and therefore the start line for treks to Jomsom and the Annapurna region. it is also an exquisite spot to relax for a touch, either before or after a hiking trip.
By population, it’s the second-largest city in Nepal after Kathmandu but still doesn’t desire an enormous city. As you travel from Kathmandu, 200 kilometers to the east, you’ll notice the much cleaner air and pleasant climate soon. Lake Phewa, with its cluster of lakeside hotels, restaurants, and shops, is right for those trying to find a touch of relaxation.
5. Trekking in the Annapurna Region
The Annapurna Region is one of the foremost popular trekking regions in Nepal, with options that range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Three main routes within the Annapurna Region intersect and mix in places, and you’ll prefer to do some or a variation on the routes. The routes are well-marked and straightforward to follow.
The Annapurna Circuit around Annapurna Mountain takes about 21 days to finish and is incredibly fashionable for people that have enough time. This route is usually called the “Apple Pie Circuit,” in regard to the very fact that the majority of the teahouses along the route serve their own version of fried pie.
A popular hiking destination during this region often offered in hiking packages together with the Annapurna Circuit, is that the trek to Poon Hill (3,210 meters) near Ghorepani. Most hikers attempt to get on Poon Hill early to ascertain sunrise and a shocking view of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna South, Machapuchare, and Singa Chuli.
The Annapurna Sanctuary nestles between the peaks of Annapurna and takes five days to succeed in. Muktinath is on the thanks to Annapurna but has since become a destination in its title. The Muktinath route runs within the Kali Gandaki Valley on the east flank of Annapurna and takes seven days. North of Muktinath is Mustang, a little region that was only opened to tourists in 1992. This area has its own fascinating culture.
In many regards, the Annapurna Region, north of Pokhara, is a perfect walking area. The dramatic contrasts of the Nepalese countryside are especially visible, from the subtropical vegetation of the Pokhara Valley to the dry area, with features of the Tibetan plateau. The people and cultures also are very different: facial characteristics, food, houses, lifestyles, customs, and religion.
The Annapurna region was declared a protected area in 1986. most significantly, it’s an honest infrastructure to support the various trekkers that come through this area. The paths are well maintained, and food and lodging are plentiful.
6. Chitwan National Park
Chitwan park is that the place to return to experience a special side of Nepal. this is often an exquisite place for wildlife viewing and it’s a safari-type atmosphere. At an altitude of only 100 meters in some areas, much less than Kathmandu at 1,400 meters, Chitwan features a tropical monsoon climate, quite different than what you’d expect to seek out in Nepal.
Travelers come here to ascertain wildlife. The park is home to rhinos, Bengal tigers, leopards, sloth bears, gaur (buffalo), deer, and lots of other critters. Freshwater dolphins (Gangetic) and crocodiles inhabit the rivers and streams but are rarely seen. quite 500 species of birds make Chitwan a paradise for ornithologists. Tours from the lodges take you out into the park, either on foot, or more often, on elephants for close-up views of the animals.
Chitwan lies southwest of Kathmandu on the brink of the Indian frontier and is included within the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage sites.
The best time to go to Chitwan is from October to February. Average temperatures hover around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), with high humidity, although the mornings are often quite cool. June to September is that the monsoon season, with frequent and heavy rain.
7. Trekking in the Langtang Region
The Langtang Region, home to Langtang park, is a fantastic area for hiking, with high passes, extensive views, old monasteries, and delightful mountain scenery. Rhododendron forests bloom during the spring hiking season adding color to the vistas.
The region, home to the Sherpa people, is a smaller amount developed than a number of the opposite popular trekking areas in Nepal and usually less busy on the paths, despite its close proximity to Kathmandu. Villages with guesthouses and food are often found along the route, although somewhat more opened up than in other trekking regions. Some villages during this area were completely devasted by the 2015 earthquake.
This area is often reached easily from Kathmandu by jeep in seven to eight hours. On a transparent day, the height of Langtang Lirung (7,245 meters), which dominates the encompassing area of an equivalent name, is visible from Kathmandu.
Trekking lengths and duration in Langtang range from a few days to a couple of weeks counting on the routing. Some trekkers combine Helambu and Langtang for an extended trek.
8. Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple)
Set on a hilltop to the west of Kathmandu, Swayambhunath is that the second most vital shrine within the Kathmandu Valley after Boudhanath. thanks to the resident monkeys that inhabit parts of the temple, it’s more affectionately referred to as the Monkey Temple.
The Swayambhu Stupa, painted with the eyes of the omnipresent god, forms the centerpiece of the temple complex. it had been originally a prehistoric cult site, but the temple complex dates to the 5th century. Swayambhu plays a serious part within the lives of the Vajrayana Buddhists of Northern Nepal and Tibet, but especially of the Newari Buddhists of the Kathmandu Valley.
The 2015 earthquake caused some damage to the Swayambhunath temple complex; however, repairs are now complete, and therefore the temple is back to its original condition.
9. Everest & the Trek to Base Camp
The summit of Everest, the very best mountain on earth, reaches 8,848 meters (29,028 feet) high. Trekking within the Everest area became popular following the now legendary first ascent of the height in 1953 by Hillary from New Zealand and therefore the Sherpa Tensing Norgay.
Since that point, more have summited the mountain, but much more trek the route to Everest Base Camp simply for a glimpse of the height far above. In recent years the mountain has seen its justifiable share of tragedy and drama. The 2015 earthquake and former avalanches, alongside disputes between climbers on the mountain, have left their mark on Everest trekking and climbing.
The Everest Region is usually not considered the foremost scenic region within the country for trekking, but the allure of Everest makes it a well-liked destination, both for climbers and trekkers. There are various routes to access the base camp and a number of other options for organizing a visit.
Many trekking companies offer a guided hike, either with Nepalese companies or western-based companies. it is also possible to rent a personal guide or porter and roll in the hay yourself, however, all trekkers are technically required to possess a guide. most hiking seasons are within the spring and fall, from March to May and September to December.
For those not looking to trek to Everest but still eager to see the mountain, it’s possible to ascertain it on clear days from Capitol Hilltown of Nagarkot near Kathmandu. Hotel staff will play guests’ doors on clear mornings if Everest is visible. This could be the lazy traveler’s best chance of seeing the world’s highest peak.
10. Lumbini, Nepal
Lumbini is legendary for being the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, the historic Buddha, referred to as Buddha Shakyamuni. Situated off the most tourist track, almost 250 kilometers from Kathmandu, Lumbini may be a worthwhile detour on the route from Pokhara to the Chitwan park.
In this pilgrimage town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s a sense of tranquility. Most of the visitors are Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, retracing Buddha’s footsteps through the stations of his life. The Maya Devi Temple, dedicated to Buddha’s mother, is believed to be the spot where Buddha was born. It contains an ancient stone relief from the 2nd century AD depicting Buddha’s birth.
11. Helambu Trek
The Helambu region may be a popular trekking area, particularly with trekking companies offering guided hikes. this is often largely because it’s on the brink of Kathmandu, doesn’t reach astoundingly high elevations, and offers some beautiful mountain scenery.
For many of those same reasons, it’s often touted by tour groups as being easy. However, many hikers who come here on tours find it’s more demanding than they feel they were led to believe and harder than they anticipate.
Trekking within the Himalayas is usually demanding, and although it’s not as high as other treks, it’s still a physically demanding hike and trekkers should be in good fitness. thereupon in mind, this is often a gorgeous trek and well well worth the effort.
The Helambu region is inhabited by the Sherpas and situated within the upper part of the Malachi Khola valley. The Helambu Trek is often started in Kathmandu and completed in five to eight days. the standard seven-day itinerary is circular, with the primary day’s section being repeated at the top of the walk. The sudden contrast between the lower and upper lying regions and their characteristic cultures is striking. Accommodations are often found in lodges and village guesthouses.
12. White Water Rafting
With towering mountains and rushing rivers, Nepal is a superb place for foam rafting. Several options are available counting on what proportion of time you would like to spend on the river.
An easy trip for travelers only trying to find a one-day adventure is that the Trisuli Rafting excursion from Kathmandu. Unlike many rafting trips, which are seasonal, this one is out there year-round. After your day of rafting, you’ll either return to Kathmandu or on to Chitwan or Pokhara.
If you’re looking to spend longer on the water and curious about more serious rapids, one among the foremost popular places to travel is that the Bhote Kosi River.
Bhote Koshi River Rafting trips take two days and are intense. you will find yourself within the foam shortly after put in, and along the way, you’ll blast through class IV and V rapids. The trip is 25 kilometers long and includes camping on the riverbank for one night. Meals are included.
Other multiday trips to think about are on the Tamur, Karnali, Arun, and Bheri rivers.