Nepal is almost synonymous with the Himalayas, and rightly so because almost half the landmass of the country stretching from the eastern to western borders is mountainous terrain. When a traveller thinks of Nepal tourism, it is inevitable that the first thing that comes to mind are the Himalayas and how to best experience the magnificence of these mountains and the people who inhabit them. What we’ve done here is compile a list of all the things that anyone travelling to Nepal must do – so save yourself the trouble of pondering on what travellers to Nepal should do and read on. 🙂
1. Climbing & Trekking
Not everyone is made for adventure sport but word on the street among mountaineering and hiking circles is that if you visit Nepal and do not go for a trek/hike through the Himalayas, it’s akin to visiting Thailand and not visiting any of the beaches. Well, there you have it, this is probably the first thing you should keep in your itinerary. Fret not if you aren’t the hardcore adventurer because there are several treks for those with limited time and low threshold for physical endurance, the most popular being the Poonhill Trek which can be customized to anywhere from a 2 day trek to a 5 day one. For those all pumped up to push themselves, the Annapurna circuit and the Everest Base Camp are the hot favourites.
2. Adventure Sport
Excluding mountaineering of course as that’s reserved for professionals and isn’t something a traveller just visiting can partake in. Having the Himalayas cover half the country has it’s benefits as it makes a perfect location for paragliding, bungy jumping, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking and the list goes on. And very often you’ll find extreme adventurers from all over the world congregating in cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara to plan their next extreme adventure. It’s almost as if the country was tailor-made for adrenalin junkies!
They say to understand a people and their culture you have to eat their food, it’s no different for Nepal. Momo is the name of the most popular dish in Nepal, both among travelers and locals alike. A Nepali will probably take offense if you travel through Nepal and not have eaten momos, but at the same time any traveller who has been to Nepal will also tell you that it’s an almost impossible task to not eat momos when you’re in Nepal – every city street corner has a momo stall and even in the remotest parts of the country sometimes the only food you will find are momos. What are momos? Why don’t you sign up for a momo-making class and find out for yourself. 😉
4. Chill by the Lakeside, Pokhara
While Kathmandu is the starting point for all travellers making their way through Nepal, there’s an overwhelming consensus that Pokhara is the place to be. Kathmandu has it’s ancient charms but there’s nothing like sitting by Lake Phewa in Pokhara with a cold beer (or coffee) with the Himalayas right there as you contemplate the multi-day trek you will soon be going for or have just come back from. Although the lakeside in Pokhara is the hub for all tourism there’s something oddly calm and serene about this place. Pokhara is also the gateway to some of the most popular treks in Nepal.
5. Temples in Kathmandu
Yes, you read that right, but we’re of the opinion that there are only three that you should consider visiting. The daily lives of Nepalis or so steeped in religion that visiting the religious sights will give any traveller a glimpse into culture and history of Nepal. The two major religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism, both have co-existed peacefully for millennia and the primary worship sites for these religions in Kathmandu are Pashupatinath, Swoyambhu and Boudha. Pashupatinath is among the most sacred sites for Hindus all over the world is a must. Between Swoyambhu and Boudha, both are spectacular buddhist stupas and if you’re short on time then you should at least visit one of them.