Is Nepal worth visiting? If you’re interested in adventure tourism, unique cuisine, and love to explore rich cultures, then Nepal is worth visiting time and again. To help you know about this underrated South Asian destination, we’re going to provide you with some epic activities to do while visiting Nepal.
While Nepal does boast the mighty Mount Everest, we’re going to reveal the secret gems this country holds in addition to its beloved Himalayas.
Therefore keep on reading if you want to know more about having the most memorable and magnificent experience in this country.
Birthplace of Buddha
There are so many UNESCO world heritage sights throughout Nepal that it would take a good few weeks to visit them all. One place that’s definitely worth checking out is Lumbini, in the South part of Nepal. What makes Lumbini special is that Lord Gautam Buddha was born and is now a holy site for many Buddhists across the world.
The area itself has well preserved ruins and a cast of Buddha’s footprints! Across from the main site, there’s also a separate area where many Buddhist countries have paid their respects and built 34 temples and monasteries in honor of Buddha.
Here you can find temples from Myanmar, Cambodia, Japan, China and more. Also, if you’re not a Buddhist, you can take the time to admire the different structures and architecture of each country’s temple. Do note that this in itself could take a whole day to accomplish!
Bardia National Park
Many people feel they need to visit countries like Thailand or Sri Lanka to see elephants and tigers when traveling. That’s not the case with Nepal. While the country has 10 national parks, one that is often the most diverse in flora and fauna but visited by tourists the least is Bardia National Park.
Now, if you want to get real up close and personal to some wild Bengal tigers and one-horned Rhinos, this is the place to go. Here you get the opportunity to go on jeep safaris, jungle walks, camp and have sundowners in nature. Bardia also has a breeding center for crocodiles, Rhinos and elephants.
Earlier, we mentioned that this group has so many ethnic groups. One ethnic group, Hindu’s make up the main bulk of this country’s population. If you’re not familiar with Hinduism, there are over 33 million Gods, and that’s just one religion alone!
Amongst all different types of cultures, there are over 50 festivals celebrated each year. That’s more than your typical Easter, Christmas, Eid, or thanksgiving. What’s unique about such festivals is that there are different rituals and foods to eat.
Plus, as a visitor, you don’t have to worry about not knowing the locals, as the Nepalese culture is so inclusive they’ll openly share their festivals with you.
Nepal is a fantastic destination if you are a carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, or even have specific dietary requirements. There’s just something for everyone! Even better is that all their food is a fusion between India, Tibet, and China. The staple food everyone eats in Nepal is Dal bhat takari (rice, lentils, and curry), but that’s just standard.
Each culture in Nepal has its own food groups that vary, making an abundance to try. For example, the Newars of Kathmandu have Sel roti, a mouthwatering doughnut type bread made of rice flour. They also have chang a rice-based beer and an incredibly strong homemade rice wine known as aila. Be careful, though; it’s around 60% and can get you drunk after a few swigs!
There’s also Tibetan cuisine where they have sucha, a buttered milk tea, and it tastes divine! Then, of course, there’s the ultimate comfort food known as momos. These are scrumptious dumplings filled with either chicken, buffalo, pork, or vegetables inside of them. They also come steam, fried, in a jhol (gravy), or chili. Momos are universal food for many Nepalese and foreigners, as you can have them anywhere at any time. Is your mouth watering yet?
If trekking or hiking is not your thing, then there are plenty of opportunities to see the amazing scenery this country boasts. One fun way of doing this is by visiting Pokhara that has Phewa lake and stunning scenery of the Annapurnas.
While in Pokhara, you can visit Sarangkot and go Paragliding for up to 1 hour to breathe in the clean air and see the mountains. On average, it’s around $60-$100, depending on the tour operator you book within Pokhara. All pilots are licensed and often have a go pro to keep videos and photos of your time in the sky as a souvenir.
Nepal is the only country in the world that has its own living Goddess! Yes, that’s right, in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square lives a Goddess known as the Kumari. This is a goddess worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists both. The girl is often prepubescent and receives power from two goddesses known as Taleju and Kal.
This Goddess rarely leaves the palace, and it’s only for ceremonial reasons when she does. It’s believed that the Goddess stays in her body till she has her first milk tooth fall out and then finds a new Kumari.
The girl is also not allowed her feet to touch the floor; she must be carried everywhere. You can visit the Kumari and see her in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kathmandu Durbar Square. She only comes to her window once a day, so it’s best to check with ticket guides in the area.
If you’re wondering is Nepal worth visiting for trekking purposes, then it’s an absolute yes. While many trekkers visit the Khumbu (Everest region), one of the lesser-explored and less crowded trekking destinations is The Forbidden Kingdom, known as Upper Mustang. This is because it has the last Raja king’s home in the ancient capital Lo-Manthang.
This destination is also sacred, as you have to get permission from the home ministry in Nepal to trek this region. This area is so stunning to trek in; it has monasteries, local tribes, apple fields, a strong Buddhist culture, and a cool, dry landscape, unlike any other trekking destination in Nepal.
If you’re earning outside of Nepal and coming to have a vacation there, then you’ll find it very cheap to travel. On average, in the capital alone, you can expect to pay for a hostel between $3-$10 a night, there are also options to volunteer with accommodation and food included, and even hotels you can get for less than $20. Similarly, if you eat in local restaurants, you could be paying $2-3 for a meal, and that’s just the capital!
Practice yoga and meditation
If you want to practice or become more experienced in yoga or meditation, then Nepal is worth visiting as it’s the country to do it in. Across the country, there are so many retreats that have gurus teaching you different practices. Some like Dhamma Shringa provide you with accommodation, two meals a day, and teaching, with a nominal fee instead of just a donation.
Nepal is one of the Asian countries with an extremely low crime rate in comparison to places like India and Myanmar. Many people seem curious in Nepal, but the main reason why this happens is that the locals want to go out of their way to help you. The only danger you may face is when trekking on a lesser known route, but don’t worry; there are always guides available for that.
There’s lots of lakes
If you’re the type of person who loves water more than mountains or likes both, then you have to visit Nepal just for the lakes alone. There are so many to choose from scattered all over the country, such as Tillicho lake, Begnas lake, Phew lake, Shrey Phoksundo, and Gosainkunda. You can even visit the world’s highest lake, Rara, situated at an altitude of 3000m.
It’s an adventure lovers paradise
Nepal is definitely a country for the daredevils with so many adrenaline-fuelled activities like zip lining, bungee jumping, rock climbing, white water rafting, motorbiking, and more! You don’t have to visit one set location either to do these; these activities are available to do all over the country, with stunning landscapes to take in.