Top 14 Best Things to Do in Nepal
Positioned between the two biggest countries India and China, Nepal is a country where things like yaks, yetis, Mountain Peaks and hidden monasteries appear to be seemingly common. Ever since the country opened its borders to foreigners, it emerged as an enchanting destination for hikers and trekkers of all types, many venturing to the popular Everest Base Camp. Its rugged trails proved unparalleled trekking opportunities while the appeal of climbing Mount Everest was more than enough to attract mountain climbers from all over the planet.
Over the years, Nepal has also managed to invent itself into a popular travel destination. Its rich natural beauty, historic attractions and vast cultural heritage has proven to be the perfect mix between the ancient and the modern, slow paced lifestyles and frantic city life. No wonder then that Nepal is featured high on the list of travel trends for 2016 and beyond.
Just for the anxious ones, Nepal’s earthquake did not destroy the country, although it was almost portrayed that way in the various medias. Old monuments were laid down and many local villages suffered, however, many monuments, buildings etc remains 100% intact and all the trekking destinations have already opened up again.
We would like to share with you here at below the top 14 best things to do in Nepal:
01. Trekking in Nepal
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trekker Nepal is the land of trekking, hiking, climbing and mountain expedition offering some of the best trekking trails in the world. The 3 days Poon Hill trek is one of the best short treks in Nepal and the Everest Base Camp trek is a great trek if having 12 days available including Kathmandu; while the Everest Base Camp with 3 Passes trek or the Manaslu circuit trek or the Annapurna circuit trek are some of the best adventure treks in Nepal, taking you on unparalleled trekking trails amidst pristine nature.
If you are interested in climbing the peaks in Nepal but no experience we recommend Island Peak or Lobuche East Peak or Mera Peak. All three peaks reach +6,500 meters and can be summited by people with no prior climbing experience, yet promising a challenging adventure and memory of a lifetime!
02. Visit to Chitwan National Park
visiting to Chitwan National Park, the first national park in Nepal, is considered to be another must-see destination in Nepal. More than 500 species of migratory birds call the park their home, as do one-horned rhinos, Bengal tigers and Asian elephants. It covers almost 332 sq. miles and is supposed to be your best chance of seeing animals such as bears, tigers, crocodiles, elephants and rhinos while in Nepal. The most common bird sightings include kingfishers, paradise flycatchers, egrets and brahminy ducks.
Insider Tip – The ideal way to explore the Chitwan National Park is to go for a 3 day package trip and stay for 2 nights at one of the lodges in Chitwan. This also gives you a chance to explore a typical Tharu village while in Nepal.
03. Mountain Flight Over the Himalayas
Hiking/Trekking the great Himalayas may not be something that everyone is cool with. But that doesn’t mean that you must miss out on meeting the most majestic peaks on the planet. A stunning mountain flight tour is the perfect way of enjoying unparalleled eye-level views of those majestic mountain peaks and watch true Himalayan beauty unfold right in front of your eyes, including Mount Everest. Some of the most popular peaks that can be seen through a panoramic flight include Mt. Makalu, Mt. Ama Dablam, Mt. Dorje Lhakpa, Mt. Gauri-Shanker, Mt. Pumori and the majestic Mount Everest.
04. Mount Everest Helicopter Tour
If a panoramic flight around the Himalayas doesn’t sound exciting, a helicopter tour across Mount Everest certainly will. This tour lets you get up close and personal with some of the most traditional Himalayan cultures and admire majestic peaks such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Cho Oyu, Mt. Ama Dablam and Mt. Pumori at the same time.
Insider Tip – The base camp of Kala Patthar is famous for its 360-degree panoramic views of fascinating mountains from ground level.
05. Exploring Pokhara – The City of Lakes
The beautiful Pokhara, popularly known as the city of lakes and caves and mountains, attracts explorers, nature lovers and adrenaline junkies with its spectacular natural beauty, an array of fishing opportunities, mountain biking, exciting treks such as Ghorepani Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp and Mardi Himal, visiting the peace pagoda, paragliding and Sarangkot hiking. It is one of those destinations that you certainly wish to visit for the second time in your life. Boating and strolling down the lakeside in Pokhara is definitely two of the top things to do in Pokhara.
06. Bungee Jumping
When it comes to adrenaline-rushes and extreme sports, Nepal does not disappoint! Not far from Kathmandu is the adventure sports complex The Last Resort – where you would find the world’s ninth highest bungee jump. It is a 160 meters high jump into a tropical gorge above a raging river. Would you be brave enough?
07. Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour
The best way to explore the ancient Kathmandu valley is to have an experienced tour guide and conduct a real Kathmandu sightseeing tour. Almost each and every turn in the valley introduces you to intricate carvings, delightful pagodas and humongous stone images. The area is teeming with temples and shrines and seems to be a living history museum. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand what to explore and what to leave out, given your interests and time constraints. A tour guide helps you choose the right destinations and also provides non-stop entertainment in the form of history and local folklore. Some of the must-see attractions in Kathmandu Valley include Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa, Boudhanath Stupa, and the Temple of Kumari.
08.White Water Rating
Yet another way to get wet and wild in the Himalayas is with white water rafting. Nepal has numerous rivers to explore on rafting trips ranging from one day to a week or ten days. Try something new, and discover the beauty of the Himalayas from raging rivers fed by snow-melts and monsoon rains. White water rafting in Nepal is a real challenge, but it’s a serious thrill and a great way to test your limits! Find white water rafting tours here.
09. Visiting Birthplace of Buddha (Lumbini)
No doubt, Buddha was born in Lumbini Nepal. In the southwestern lowlands lies the city of Lumbini, where you’ll find the Buddha’s birthplace. It’s a sprawling complex of gardens, temples, and monasteries – and at the heart of it lies a small white building inside which are the archaeological remains of Buddha’s birthplace. The woodlands behind the building are smothered in colorful chains of fluttering prayer flags, and the gardens are beautiful.
Lumbini (World’s peace destination) is well known all over the world as the birth place of Prince Siddhartha Gautam who later on became the Buddha. It is situated on the foothills of the Churiya range in the district of Rupandehi, 300km southwest of capital Kathmandu. Being the birth place of the Buddha, Lumbini has long been exalted as a great centre of pilgrimage for both the Hindus and the Buddhists. It is incidentally the first and foremost site of pilgrimage among the Chatumahasthana. Much of the Buddhist scriptures proclaim that the newly born Prince Siddhartha took seven steps and uttered some precious words as epoch making message to the suffering humanity. It happened in the beautiful sal grove of Lumbini, Nepal. Lumbini is also famous for its garden. Legend has says that Maya Devi, the queen of Sakya King Suddhodana of Kapilavastu, on the way to her maternal hometown Devadaha, gave birth to Prince Siddhartha in this garden.
10. Visiting Bardia National Park
Bardia National Park is the largest wilderness area in Terai. It boasts of beautiful wildlife and is considered to be what the Chitwan was about 30 years ago, before it became commercialized due to tourism. The park covers about 968 sq. kms. of grasslands and Sal forests and is famous as one of the biggest stretches of tiger habitats in Asia. Apart from tigers, you can also check out 30 different species of mammals such as one-horned rhinos and elephants, Gangetic dolphins, crocodiles and more than 250 species of birds such as sarus cranes and the Bengal floricans.
11. Hiking Nagarkot to Changu Narayan Temple – UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hiking from Nagarkot to Changu Narayan Temple is one of the most popular hiking route around the Kathmandu valley. It is a very beautiful hike to see both culture and nature. The first part of the trail passes through the traditional mountain villages, terraced farmlands with local settlements and the another half way passes through the pine forests with occassional valley views on the south side before the temple premises of Changu Narayan, one of the 7 World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley.
It is a 15 kms walk (4 hr) with an altitude drop of around 450 metres and we arrive in a Changu Narayan temple. The entrance fee is Rs. 100 per person (1$) and the temple is well known for its artistic beauty in the wood carving rather than religious one. Changu Narayan Temple is located 6 km from Bhaktapur and every 30 minutes, one local bus to bhaktapur. There are decent restaurants in the temple area for lunch. Nagarkot to Changu Narayan temple hiking is a very recommended hiking for those returning back to Kathmandu or Bhaktapur and have a leisure day to do some green escape from Crazy Kathmandu.
The temple of Changu Narayan, which is a Unesco World Heritage site is located about 6km north of Bhaktapur and 22km from Kathmandu on the top of the hill. It is the oldest temple of the Kathmandu Valley dating back to the 4th Century however the present structure dates back to 18th Century when it was rebuilt after a fire. The most impressive feature of this temple are the stone sculptures dedicated to God Vishnu dating back from the Licchavi period (4th to 9th centuries).
Why this temple is so special !!!
The double-roofed temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu, god of protection. This temple is built in a pagoda style which is typical Nepali style with four doors in four sides of Nepal. is exceptionally beautiful, with many artistic wooden struts showing multi-armed Tantric deities. According to legend, as god Vishnu is the god of protection, whenever there is some troubles on earth, he takes different avatars for the protection of humankind. So, we can see lots of beautiful and artistic stone sculptures depicting different incarnations of god Vishnu such as Universal form, sleeping Vishnu, Nar singh avatar (half-man and half lion), etc.
These idols are masterpieces of stone sculptures and are praised by experts from all over the world. This is also known as open museum.
On the west side there is kneeling figure of Garuda said to date from the 5th century. Garunda is the mystical creature which is the vehicle of Vishnu and is also the national flag carrier of Indonesia. The man-bird mount of Vishnu has a snake around his neck and kneels with hands in the namaste position facing the temple. Stone lions guard the wonderfully gilded door, which is flanked by equally detailed gilded windows. Two pillars at the front corners carry a conch and disc, the traditional symbols of Vishnu.
12. Visiting Bhaktapur & Patan Palace Squares
Among the three Palace squares of Kathmandu valley, the Bhaktapur is by far the most elegant with its large open space facing south and the 15th century Palace of 55 Carved windows and the palace entrance, the Golden Gate – a masterpiece in art have added splendor to this palace square which consists of buildings dating from the 13th century to the 18th century, the extraordinary Durbar Square with its extraordinary monuments reflects the glory days of the Malla dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley and In front of the palace building are innumerable temples and architectural showpieces like the Lion gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla mounted on a giant stone pillar and the Batsala Temple. The stone temple of Batsala Devi is full of intricate carvings and is a beautiful example of Shikhara-style architecture. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple, which is also known as the Bell of Barking Dogs in Bhaktapur Durbar Squire.
Like its counterpart in Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square is located in the heart of the city and was once the palace of the kings of Patan, the square is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples, a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of the Malla kings and among its numerous courtyards, the renovated Keshav Narayan Chowk has been converted into a bronze artifact museum, the Sundari Chowk with the sunken bath of Tusha Hiti is a showcase of exquisite woodcarvings, and stone and metal sculptures. The magnificent Krishna temple with its 21 gilded spires, built in 1637, and the Manga Hiti, the sunken stone water spout, found in the palace complex are but a few examples of its opulence. The Krishna Temple, built entirely of stone, is said to be the first specimen of Shikhara-style architecture in Nepal.
Bhaktapur and Patan Visit Highlights:
Visit of Bhaktapur Durbar Dquire.
Visit of Golden gate and the 55 windows palace.
Visit of Pottery Squire in Bhaktapur.
Visit of Taumadhi Square- Nyatapol Temple.
Visit of Dattatreya Square.
Visit of Golden Temple (Hiranya Varna Mahavihar) in Patan.
Visit of Kumbheshwor Temple and Krishna Temple.
Visit Patan Durbar Squire.
13. Visiting Bandipur
Halfway on the 200km drive between Kathmandu and Pokhara lies the hilltop settlement of Bandipur, a Newar town with its age-old flavor still intact. Climb through pristine forests on the historical trail at Dumre Bazaar to a town that has hardly changed. Well preserved Bandipur today invites travelers to experience its unique offerings: rich hill culture, mountain views, and hiking.
Unlike most trading posts in the Nepal hills, Bandipur has retained its age-old cultural attributes – temples, shrines, sacred caves, innumerable festivals, and a Newari architecture that harks back to the Kathmandu Valley of old.
Located on a wide saddle at a height of 1,030 m the surrounding hills of Bandipur are ideal for hiking along trails that take you through tribal villages, verdant forests, and hilltop shrines that once doubled as fortresses.
Following the conquest of the Kathmandu Valley in 1768 by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, many of the valley’s Newar inhabitants fanned out to establish trading posts in the hills. Some traders made their way to Bandipur, from where they began to meet the needs of an increasingly mercantile British India and the Himalayan hinterland.
An obscure mountain village was transformed into a bustling commercial center, and Bandipur became a funneling point where all trails from central Nepal (and Tibet to the north) converged to head southward, crossing the great Narayani River and the Chitwan jungle to reach the Indian railhead of Narkatia Ganj.
In the 1800s, this bazaar town grew in wealth and importance. Traders came from Tibet with musk pods, mountain herbs, animal skins, and horses. Calico, tobacco, glassware, and kerosene came in from British India. However, when Nepal opened her doors to the world in the 1950s, Pokhara with its airfield began to gain importance, and in 1972 the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway by-passed Bandipur.
However, when Nepal opened her doors to the world in the 1950s, Pokhara with its airfield began to gain importance, and in 1972 the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway by-passed Bandipur altogether.
But, the road’s alignment was a blessing in disguise – while many Newar hill towns lost their distinctiveness after joining the highway grid, Bandipur retained its originality. Because Bandipur’s merchant class had built sturdily, their buildings have stood firm and are used today once more to house shops, cafes and lodgings.
The place names around Bandipur indicate that Magars, whose chieftains ruled numerous principalities of today’s central Nepal, originally inhabited the surrounding region, known as Tanahun. When Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha set out to expand his dominion, Tanahun was a powerful adversary that was overcome only after a hard battle.
Majority of the current residents are originally traders from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley who made their way to Bandipur and settled here. While the Newars are predominant in Bandipur, the Magar and Gurung ethnic groups inhabit the hillsides growing rice, millet, corn and mustard on terrace fields.
14. Yoga & Meditation
Yoga classes contribute to the development of a healthy body, a healthy mind, and healthy thought. It also helps one achieve a balanced, harmonious and integrated development of all the aspects of their personalities. Yoga is a pathway to true, happy, and healthy living.
The Eight Fold Path of Yoga (not to be confused with Buddha’s Eight Fold Path), from sage Patanjali’s yoga sutra delves deeply into the mortality of living and explores the human psyche. It consists of: Yama (self restraint), Niyama (self observance) Asana, Pranayama (breathing techniques), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (identification with pure consciousness).
To most people yoga means postures (Asanas) to develop flexibility, general body health and of course, awareness. However, this is merely the beginning. While yoga’s central theme remains the highest goal of the spiritual path, yogic practices can give direct and tangible benefits to everyone regardless of their spiritual aspirations.
Yoga and meditation are inter-related. Part of Lord Buddha’s contribution to humanity was to focus on meditation to develop Samadhi (while focusing on a platform of ethics and morality). You can choose whether to focus wholly on yoga, or more specifically on meditation, or get your fill of both of these.
We organize Nepal spiritual yoga tour with Dhampus hike which is a special interest tour that offers a magic blend of spiritual treatments and natural beauties.