One of the writers of Lonely Planet described Nepal as a place where ‘there is always another adventure,’ and one couldn’t agree more. Nepal is full of opportunities, not only those that deal with adventure but in every aspect, right from pilgrimage to sightseeing. This bustling tourist destination is something that can push your limits, surprise you sometimes and make you fall in love with it on several occasions. However, to get the best of this country may need a few trips but one can still manage to stuff one visit with multiple hues of Nepal if planned right. Here are 20 top places to visit and things to do in this ethereal country that can make each trip of yours here memorable.
Kathmandu is the bustling, slightly dusty and never boring capital and usually the first stop to find some of the best places to visit in Nepal.
One of the best things about Kathmandu has to be the eclectic mix of temples, historic sites, shrines, restaurants and bustling streets.
Once you’re in the city, make sure to head over to the; stunning Pashupatinath Temple, the UNESCO site of Boudhanath Stupa, the (monkey temple of) Swayambhunath and the Kopan Monastery.
The beautiful city of Pokhara is on the shores of Lake Phewa and is best known for its unparalleled views of the snow-capped Annapurna Himalayan range… which, honestly, is more impressive than anything that can be shown in a picture.
I have so many great memories from Pokhara, it truly is one of the best places to visit in Nepal – especially if you’re on a trip around the country.
Besides Pokhara being an amazing place to explore, it often acts as the gateway to the Himalayas.
With green forests, underground caves, beautiful waterfalls, the Valley of Orchids, and the Massif Glaciers, Pokhara literally spoils us, visitors. Especially for the epic sunrises which you can see from this point.
For a tasty bite in the city, pop into Mo2’s Delights who have a whole load of freshly made momos that you’ll love.
Want the best views of the Himalayan Range from Nepal? Nagarkot is the place for you. Surreal and strategic, this hill station of Nepal promises breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains not only from the viewpoints but from the windows of your hotel room as well. Situated at a short distance from Bhaktapur and on the suburb of Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot is a picturesque destination that allows you savour every mood of the Himalayas. The place is famed for its stunning sunrise and sunsets as well. In fact it can also pass as a honeymoon destination in Nepal with such dreamlike settings and views on offer.
4. Khumbu – Mount Everest
Each year, the determination to trek to the summit of Mt. Everest brings thousands of adventurous travelers to Khumbu, the Everest Region located in northeastern Nepal. The journey begins at the Lukla airstrip where a clear two-lane trail eventually leads hikers to Everest Base Camp. Located primarily within the Sagarmatha National Park, Khumbu is home to the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar where most expeditions to the mountainous peaks are staged. The country’s foremost Buddhist center, the Tengboche Monastery, is located in the Khumbu as well. There’s a variety of comfortable accommodations available at the monastery, many of which offer stunning views of the tallest mountain on the planet.
Situated across the Bagmati River from Kathmandu, Patan is as well known for its artisans as for its stunning display of Newari architecture. Built in the 17th century, the palaces, courtyards and temples of the Patan Durbar are the city’s star attractions. With its multi-columned façade and gilded spires, the recently restored stone Krishna Temple is particularly striking, as is the recently restored Sundari Chowk, a courtyard with an elaborately carved sunken bath as its centerpiece. Patan is one of the best places in Nepal to buy the gorgeous handmade silk saris that once were the garment of choice for the country’s royalty and aristocracy.
One of three ancient capitals in the Kathmandu Valley, beautifully preserved Bhaktapur experienced a fair share of damage during the 2015 earthquakes. Fortunately, most of the city’s temples and shrines, which are the main attractions in this place known as the City of Devotees, escaped unscathed. Less crowded and hectic than bustling Kathmandu, Bhaktapur invites leisurely walks through medieval squares, winding streets and pedestrian-only thoroughfares. The city’s Durbar Square, or “noble court,” features a must-see site known as the 55-Window Palace, a 15th-century structure that is now home to the National Art Gallery.
Crowds of Buddhist pilgrims are an everyday sight in Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, Lord Buddha. With archeological finds that date back to around 550 B.C., the legendary site attracts scholars, scientists and curious visitors as well. It was here that Buddha’s mother, Maya Devi, gave birth near a tree in the garden, which is now a temple bearing her name. Set in the center of a small park designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, the complex also features multiple monasteries, sacred ponds, meditation centers and cultural facilities.
8. Chitwan National Park
This national park is said to be the best place for wildlife tour in Nepal. Spread in an area of 934 sq km, Chitwan is recognized as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and that kind of says it all. The park is home to a wide and rich variety of flora and fauna and is believed to be a safe shelter for unique animals like one-horned rhinoceros. Chitwan also houses 544 species of birds and it would demand your two days to explore this national park. For luxury travellers who by the way are also interested in wildlife tours, there a number of high end resorts situated right at the edge of the park. Along with pampering you with all the state-of-the-art services, these hotels and resorts arrange excellent wildlife safaris for their guests. For backpackers on the hand, Sauraha is the place to find accommodation, this small village is replete with budget-friendly hotels that are ideal for anyone on shoestring budget and want to explore Chitwan National Park.
9. Jomsom Muktinath
The Jomsom Muktinath Tour is considered as one of the most unforgettable and the most popular tour in Nepal. It not only provides a view of diverse landscapes with mountains, cultures and rural habitat of Nepalese people along the route but also a peace of mind, soul and spiritual happiness. The place itself is so pure and loving that nobody remains unhappy, bored and unemotionally attached. It is rich not only in natural beauty but also for trustworthy and innocent people.
Start your journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then stayed overnight at Beni, a small town where there is fine lodging and food. Begin your tour from Beni to Jomsom and enjoy the way a lot. There are many restaurants, hotels and lodges on the way which provide fine food and tea. On the way places like Ghasa,Tatopani, Lete, Tukuche and Marpha make you feel that you moving towards your home.
Tukuche is the place where traveler can find mixed traditions. It is the largest Thakali village offering an interesting view of the rural part of Himalayas. Visitor can also have spectacular view of Tukuche peak in front of Dhaulagiri First and the Annapurna range. Marpha is popular for liquors like Marpha brandy produced from local fruits and high qualities apples. Besides apple farming, people survive here mainly based on tourism, mule rearing, lodges and restaurants. Lete is another beautiful village of Mustang district in northern Nepal with great sceneries of mountains like Dhaulagiri, Annapurna,Nilgiri and Tukuche peak.
The magnificent and heart touching views of Mt. Annapurana, Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Manasalu, and Mt Machapuchere are one of the most amazing views along the way. Since, experience the different rural habitats and cultures of Gurung and Thakali. View mountains, small Jomsom runaway, and do rock climbing.
Located in south-central Nepal on the Terai plains, Janakpur was once the capital of a millennia-old Indian kingdom known as Mithila, and the Maithili culture still thrives here. Hindus believe Janakpur is the place where Lord Ram wed Sita, also known as Janaki, and thousands of Hindus from all over the world flock to the temple of Janaki Mandir each year to celebrate the anniversary of their marriage. With its three-story construction and 60 rooms, the massive 19th-century marble structure is the largest temple in Nepal. Janakpur is known for the more than 100 sacred pools and ponds scattered around the tranquil city as well.
11. Langtang Region
The Langtang Region, home to Langtang National Park, is an incredible area for hiking, with high passes, extensive views, old monasteries, and beautiful mountain scenery. Rhododendron forests bloom during the spring hiking season adding color to the vistas.
The region, home to the Sherpa people, is less developed than some of the other popular trekking areas in Nepal and generally less busy on the trails, despite its close proximity to Kathmandu. Villages with guesthouses and food can be found along the route, although somewhat more spread out than in other trekking regions. Some villages in this area were completely devasted by the 2015 earthquake.
This area can be reached easily from Kathmandu by jeep in seven to eight hours. On a clear day, the peak of Langtang Lirung (7,245 meters), which dominates the surrounding area of the same name, is visible from Kathmandu.
Trekking lengths and duration in Langtang range from a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the routing. Some trekkers combine Helambu and Langtang for a longer trek.
12. Tilicho Lake (The highest Lake)
Tilicho Lake is located in the Manang District of Nepal. It is a lake that stretches 55 kilometres (34 mi). The origin point of Tilicho Lake is located at the city of Pokhara. Tilicho Lake is located at the height or altitude of 4,919 metres (16,138 ft) in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas. The lake is frequently referred to as the highest lake in the world for its size.
13. Khaptad National Park
It is a mid-mountain national park in western Nepal. According to an age old story Khaptad Swami had moved to this are to undergo meditation which makes this place even more prominent for people with a spiritual bent of mind. You should be carrying you own tents as there are no lodges here.
The national park is described as a living garden of herbs and a museum of natural history for its 224 species of medicinal herbs. It reportedly harbors 567 species which accounts for 11 percent of all the flowering plants of Nepal.
The park offers excellent bird-watching opportunities, with 270 species of birds, the common ones being: Impheyan pheasant, partridges, flycatchers, bulbuls, cuckoos and eagles. Khaptad National Park is also home to a rich variety of wild animals, such as barking deer, wild dog, wild boar, ghoral, Himalayan black bear, yellow-throated marten, rhesus macaque and langur monkey.
14. Rara National Park
Rara Lake at 2,990m, is the deepest lake in Nepal and also one of the most pristine. Surrounded by green hills on all sides, covered in juniper trees, one can camp by the sparkling waters of the lake. Go boating in the clear waters, hike to nearby hills for a closer view of the mountains and lake, get acquainted with the charming local people, or just walk around the large lake watching out for wild flowers or a rare bird along the way.
The park is surrounded by alpine coniferous vegetation and offers a representative sample of the region’s flora and fauna. More than 500 different kinds of flowers, 20 species of mammals and 214 species of birds can be observed in the Rara National Park. As for life in the lake, the snow trout is one of the fish varieties recorded here so far.
The rich vegetation of the park supports diverse species of wildlife including the endangered red panda, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, leopard, jackal, Himalayan tahr, Yellow-throated martin, wild dog, wild boar, common langur, rhesus macaque and the common otter. During winter the park abounds in bird varieties like coots, great-crested grebe, black-necked grebe, red crested pochard, mallard, common teal, merganser and gulls. Migrant water fowl and gallinaceous birds can also be seen during certain seasons.
Rara in the far north western part of Nepal is the smallest national park in the country, while the Rara Lake is Nepal’s biggest lake. The lake is 167m deep at some places, and drains into the rivers Mugu Karnali via Nijar Khola. Chuchemara Hill at 4,087m is the best vantage point to enjoy magnificent views of the deep blue lake, the forested hillsides and the snow capped peaks.
The journey begins with a flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla, from where it is a 2-3 days hike to reach Rara Lake. Jumla is known for its fine apples and walking through these orchards can be an interesting experience.
The trek leads through remote countryside toward the Tibetan border. A journey into the Jumla region and the beautiful Rara Lake is probably one of the most fascinating treks in the Himalaya undisturbed by hordes of trekkers as one finds on other trek routes.
15. Upper Mustang
The Upper Mustang is the ultimate gateway to the mysterious world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Once forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world for decades, the area was able to evolve within its own distinctive culture and rich traditions closely tied to Tibet. This moderate, lesser-known trek passes through one of the driest regions of Nepal and provides spectacular mountain scenery.
Ilam is one of the hill districts lying in Nepal’s eastern development zone. The hill station is best known for its tea gardens, and it is one of Nepal’s most populated regions. The unique nature and biodiversity of the place draw a great many tourists.
Ilam is famous for its export-quality tea-gardens and milk. Ilam’s most outstanding tea is shipped into many European countries. In addition to the beverage, the place is also regarded as the leading producer of cardamom, ginger, potato, and broom.
Ilam’s climate is tropical, subtropical, and temperate, attracting several holidaymakers to this area.
Rare birds and animals such as red panda, black bear, tahr and trees such as rhododendron, Chimal, chaap, and sal are present at the hill station.
Ilam is also renowned for its cultural richness and is host to ethnic groups such as Limbu, Rai, Tamang, Magar, Lepcha, Sunuwar, Kulung, Sampang, Gurung, Newari, Sherpa, Bantawa, Chamling, and Yakkha.
The charming picturesque British settlement of Dharan lies in the eastern part of Nepal. Similarly, the broad roads, decorated homes and natural beauty attract many visitors to Dharan. Hence, the city grew because of the British Gurkha Recruitment Centre in 1953. Hence, the Rais and Limbus are two ethnic groups which have a large inhabit in Dharan. These two groups constitute the majority of Gurkha Regiment.Most noteworthy, the Dharan trip is one of the best trip for nature lovers.
Dharan is the gateway to some of the best touristic attractions and Dharan has many more to offer to everybody. Buddhasubba Temple, Dantakali Temple, Vijayapur Hill, Pindeshwor Temple and Panchakanya Temple in Dharan is best to fulfill spiritual needs of any individuals. Dharan too offer some sort of night life with the abundant number of pubs, disco and hotels operating at night. A short 20 minutes hike to Namche from Dharan is highly preferrable for both nature lovers and adventure seekers. Shopping at market and enjoying barbecue are some common things that can be done in Dharan.
The first thing most people notice when they arrive in Nagarkot is just how breathtaking the views are. The snowy peaks of the Himalayas rise up along the horizon to unfathomable heights, creating one of the most astounding landscapes most people are ever likely to encounter. Well aware of its assets, the village has designed itself to cater for those who come in search of these vistas. Many hotels are perfectly positioned facing the mountains and have balconies where guests can sit with a cup of yak butter tea as they soak up the sight of the world’s most impressive mountain range. Aside from the dreamy scenery, there are plenty of activities to do in Nagarkot, including mountain biking, horse riding and hiking. If you are looking to get away from the crowds and chaos of the cities and relax for a while then look no further.
19. Bardiya National Park
Bardiya National Park is an unspoiled habitat of over 250 species of birds, 30 species of mammals and several reptiles. In contrast to the Chitwan, the probability of encountering royal Bengal tiger during jungle safari is more at Bardiya because it receives very fewer visitors. Apart from the wildlife, the culture of Terai people is sublime in this region. The Tharus are proud of their unique way of living by fishing and their dances are startling. Explore this isolated (apparently) habitat of wildlife in Nepal.
Dolpo is a culturally rich remote region of far-western Nepal. This place is isolated from the rest of the world, and the people living here are the nomadic traders. During the summer, they grow millet, barley and other commodities in the soil and when the winter approaches, they travel across the Himalayas for trading purposes. In the meantime, the Dolpo becomes vacant. The lifestyles of these people greatly correspond with the ancestral way of living such as for the firewood, they use yak dung, etc. To explore these unique vivacities of Nepal is in itself an adventure. Let us venture together.