Great trekking routes, spectacular natural landscape, and great food are only some of the reasons that will make you want to travel to Nepal now. Read on and get inspired to visit this beautiful Asian country and discover the many things to do and places to visit in Nepal.
Top 10 reasons that will make you travel to Nepal
**Guest post by Miguel of Travelsauro
Nepal has been unfairly forgotten for decades by many travelers. It’s surrounded by giant countries like India and China, and some people still don’t give Nepal the attention it deserves. On the other hand, those who visit Nepal become real fans. Because it’s located right in the heart of the great Himalayas, it’s the perfect destination for hikers and adventure lovers. However, that’s not all. Nepal offers a wide variety of architectural styles, landscapes, cultures, tribes, and religions. It’s one of the most interesting countries you can visit in the world! I’m sure if you visit Nepal, you’ll want to go back.
Nepal is actually my favorite country in South Asia. That’s why I wanted to create a list of the best reasons to visit Nepal.
1. It has awesome UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Nepal’s architecture is incredible, and includes seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu area alone! Decorated streets, sacred temples, pagodas, palaces, monasteries, mosques, ancient cities, medieval complexes … the list is endless! Be careful with the traffic when walking the streets because you won’t be able to keep your eyes off the buildings.
The most spectacular sites are located in the capital and the valley around it. You’ll find that Kathmandu offers many places to visit. However, you won’t want to miss Durbar Square, Bhaktapur, and Patan to admire the finest Newari architecture. Durbar Square was built as part of a complex of royal ceremonies, while Bhaktapur and Patan were some of the greatest cities in the Newar Kingdom. These places have a very interesting history, so it would be a good idea to hire a guide and learn about it.
Other spectacular structures are the Boudhantah Stupa and the Monkey Temple. These sacred temples are visited daily by hundreds of Buddhists (including the large Tibetan community), making them perfect places to watch Buddhist ceremonies.
2. It has amazing people
Most people in Nepal are friendly and hospitable. There might be a language barrier sometimes, but even so, they’ll greet you with a smile and help you when they can. The farther you get from the big cities, the more hospitality you will find.
I had the chance to visit a few places out of Kathmandu, and I couldn’t believe how amazing they were. I was traveling completely off the beaten path with a few buddies, and we reached a small village. It was a bit dark, and they told us there were no hostels. The guy I talked to invited us to his house, where we felt like guests of honor! He introduced us to several of his friends while his mum provided us with a room, dinner, and breakfast the next day. Upon leaving, we wanted to thank them by paying them a few rupees, but they refused to take any money. Great people!
3. It’s full of spirituality and mysticism
The culture in Nepal is so rich that you can find almost any major religion represented there. Eighty per cent of Nepal’s population is Hindu, 10 per cent is Buddhist, and four per cent is Muslim, while the rest are mainly Christian, Sikh, and Jains. Thus, religion can be found in almost every corner of the nation, and there is great tolerance among believers of different religions. You’ll find ceremonies going on in most temples and hear mantras throughout the streets. It’s so beautiful to observe how they pray and make their offerings; you could spend hours watching it.
If you go to the mountains, you’ll find several Buddhist monasteries. It is said that the gods reign over the Himalayas and that whenever one wants to access them, he must ask permission. I asked permission myself and went up the mountains to visit villages and temples. It really looked like a sacred land.
4. It contains amazing hiking trails
Nepal is the country of the Himalayas, boasting some of the world’s highest mountains and finest hiking trails. From easy walks around Pokhara to Mount Everest itself, options are available for all ages and levels of experience. You’ll find a variety of landscapes with well-preserved flora and fauna. You’ll also encounter several areas to hike and countless trails to get lost in the mountains.
A multi-day hike is undoubtedly one of the best experiences one can have while visiting Nepal. I decided to hike the Annapurna Base Camp Trek, which can be completed in about seven days, and no doubt it was the highlight of my trip – walking along green valleys surrounded by huge peaks, sleeping in small villages, and watching the sunrise over the Annapurna Base Camp at 4,130 meters high. It was the most stunning sunrise I’ve ever seen.
5. You won’t spend much
It’s a very cheap country! You can easily travel around Nepal on a budget and have a great experience. You can even explore mountains by yourself without breaking the bank. This depends on the type of accommodation and transport you choose, of course. However, unless you go to only luxury hotels and expensive restaurants, you can hike and travel the country for less than $20 a day. Not bad, huh?
6. Getting off the beaten path is fun
I recommend that you get off the beaten path when you visit this country. I had amazing experiences myself. When you get out of the main cities, you notice two things: 1) the people are extraordinarily friendly, and 2) nobody speaks English!
However, that was part of the fun. Despite the communication problems, we took only local transports, we were invited to sleep in locals’ houses, and we shared meals with them. We had three unforgettable days full of adventure and great experiences.
7. It offers amazing food, combining different influences
Nepal’s cultural and geographic diversity offers a wide variety of dishes from different ethnic groups. Nepal’s cuisine tends to be simple (but delicious), although it is seasoned with spices and seeds such as garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, chilies, onions, and sometimes yak butter.
In Kathmandu and Pokhara, you can find international food. In small towns, you’ll have more chances to find dal bhat, the national dish. Dal is a soup made of lentils and spices and is served with cooked cereals, bhat, rice, and curry. It can be accompanied by an extremely spicy sauce, which can be made with fresh ingredients or with fermented brine.
Ahh … and don’t miss the momos (flour dough filled with meat and spices) and the sekuwa lamb (roasted in a wood-fired oven with natural herbs and other spices). They are delicious!
8. It’s not only about hiking, there are plenty of other adventures
Pokhara is the adventure capital of Nepal, offering activities such as paragliding, mountain biking, bungee jumping, zip-lining, and more. Paragliding in Pokhara is by far the most popular of these options and allows you to fly over a lake with spectacular views of the Himalayas. Prices start at about $70 US.
In addition to those activities, you can go on a jungle safari in Chitwan National Park. You’ll have a chance to see all kinds of animals, like spotted deer, elephants, reptiles, mammals, and many birds. However, the highlights of this park are the Asian one-horned rhinoceros and the nocturnal Royal Bengal tigers that live in the park’s dense forests.
9. It’s safe to visit
Nepal is a very safe destination. Like in any country, you’ll have to use common sense, but that’s all. Even big cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara are by no means dangerous. Some sellers might try to rip you off with the prices, but even that is quite unlikely. Out of the city, you’ll find quiet villages that preserve their rural way of life, surrounded by valleys and mountains. It is very unlikely that you will have any problems.
Crime is almost non-existent in the country. You’ll see that the Nepalese are happy to receive tourists, and they’ll make you feel at home.
10. You can help them by visiting Nepal
After the double earthquake of 2015, Nepal suffered another catastrophe: being forgotten. Whether out of fear or ignorance, many travelers stopped visiting Nepal. However, the country is slowly recovering from the damage; structures are being rebuilt and the Nepalese are smiling again.
Tourism has always had a positive impact on the Nepalese economy, and we, as travelers, should never stop visiting it. By traveling to Nepal now, you can contribute your grain of sand to help rebuild this wonderful country. Seriously, now is the best time to go!
Bio: Miguel is an adventure traveler and hiking lover. He has been traveling the world for the last seven years, always trying to explore and hike some of the most remote regions. Follow him on his blog Travelsauro and enjoy exciting adventures in places like Papua, Timor, the Himalayas, Africa and the Caribbean!