7 Best Places to Visit in Nepal

7 Best Places to Visit in Nepal

The mystical Himalayas, lush green forests, pristine valleys, breathtaking architectural marvels and, without a doubt, friendly warm people -- there are plenty of reasons to fall in love with Nepal.

The natural scenery is, of course, one of the major reasons to visit Nepal. The Himalayas offer some of the best-kept secrets for those who may be seeking a little adventure, while old towns provide a glimpse into a fascinating past for history buffs. Elsewhere, a plethora of outdoor activities await souls who wish to experience the peace of mind that comes from being close to nature.

To many, the inseparable spirituality of the country is a big factor that allures them from far off lands. Nepal is truly distinct in every way and words may not be sufficient to describe the feeling you get when you travel in this land.

There are lots to see and explore when you come here. So it might be overwhelming for the first-time visitor to choose from among the best. To make it easier, here’s my list of the 7 best places to visit in Nepal.

1.    Pokhara

If you are done with the crowded streets, traffic, honking and hustle bustle of Kathmandu, then it’s time to head to Pokhara. Located adjacent to the famous Phewa Lake, Pokhara is a beautiful city which is much less crowded, and with splendid views of the distant Himalayan snowy peaks. Boating on Phewa Lake is a very peaceful and relaxing experience.

Picturesque Phewa Lake in Pokara. Image: Simona Ri

The city is well known as the gateway to the Annapurna mountain range. This is a popular adventure destination among younger travellers, but still offers older travellers many opportunities for easy hikes and treks. The city is also home to plenty of temples, stupas and pagodas that will give you a glimpse of the country’s culture and heritage. Enrol for a yoga retreat whilst you are here to learn how to use mind-body relaxation to deal with stress.

2.    Annapurna Sanctuary

Apart from the ever-popular and renowned Everest Base Camp trek, there’s also a trek that takes you deep into the Himalayas amidst gigantic peaks, plunging gorges, desert plateaus, subtropical valleys and that is the Annapurna Sanctuary trek or Annapurna Base Camp trek. However, this trek is only suitable for senior travellers who have maintained a good level of fitness and do not have any serious health issues.

The rugged beauty of Annapurna Sanctuary. Image: kocsisa

The Annapurna Sanctuary trek lasts 8-12 days, and is your chance to experience the Annapurna Conservation Area with its varied fauna and flora. The best part about this trek is that it also gives you a unique opportunity to peek into the lives and culture of the traditional Nepali people living in the villages amidst the harshest of conditions.

3.    Nagarkot

For those who may not be able to handle a weeklong mountain trek, a good alternative is a village stay from which daily hikes can be taken. These don’t require camping out overnight, and the length of the hikes can be paced according to the level of fitness of the traveller.

The beautiful Himalayas from Nagarkot. Image: © Bae Zuejia | Dreamstime

Located in the central part of Nepal, Nagarkot is one of the best destinations for this as it offers beautiful views of the mighty Himalayan peaks. This small village houses around 4,500 inhabitants and is a great location for an idyllic vacation away from the chaos of the cities. You are likely to see many butterflies on the trails around Nagarkot. March to April and October to December are the periods for visiting this scenic village.

4.    Chitwan

How about some raw wildlife experience while in Nepal? If this sounds of interest to you, then head off to the Chitwan National Park, which is home to many different species of wildlife including the one-horned rhino, Bengal tiger, sloth bears, deer and crocodiles.

Rhinos in the Chitwan National Park. Image: Simon Steinberger

A jeep ride safari inside the dense forests of Chitwan is an experience that will stay with you for a long time. Apart from the National Park, there are plenty of shopping areas, lakes and palaces in the Chitwan district that you shouldn’t miss out on.

5.    Bhaktapur

About 13km from Kathmandu is the picturesque town of Bhaktapur. This ancient capital mesmerises travelers with its charming old buildings, beautiful temples and unique atmosphere.

Bhaktapur has many historic buildings. Image: Suman Maharjan

The best part about the place is that every house and every building is a sight to behold with intricate designs and architecture. Also, it is less crowded than other historical places in Nepal, which gives you the opportunity to walk at your own pace while experiencing the sights and smells of this quaint town. 

6.    Mustang

The isolated kingdom of Mustang is one of the hidden jewels of Nepal. The rugged barren valley of Mustang has many things to offer to visitors. Divided into two parts – Upper Mustang and Lower Mustang, this heavenly place is also called the ‘Mini Tibet of Nepal’.

The Mustang Valley near the town of Muktinath. Image: enbeeone3

You can enjoy hiking in Upper Mustang where you’ll come across old monasteries, Nepali tribes as well as awe-inspiring views.  Lower Mustang hikes, on the other hand, are more about natural beauty where you pass through rhododendron forests, apple orchards and small villages. One of the highlights of lower Mustang hikes can be seeing fragments of fossils from the Jurassic era.

7.    Lumbini

Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha and also a place that boasts of peace and tranquility. There are lots of important sites to visit when in Lumbini including the World Peace Pagoda, the Lumbini Monastic Site, the Maya Devi Temple and the Royal Thai Monastery.

World Centre for Peace and Unity, Lumbini. Image: © Siraj Ahmad | Dreamstime

Lumbini is quite different compared to other well-known destinations in Nepal with its paddy fields and laid back atmosphere. Enrol for a meditation course while you are here and experience bliss and inner peace. 

Nepal is truly a magnificent destination and wherever you step foot, you’ll find beauty everywhere. Visit it for yourself and you’ll fall in love with the country for sure.

Header image: scottinthailand

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