Nepal is a beautiful country, blessed with nature’s choicest attractions. Some of the most popular locations outside of the capital are Chitwan National Park for wildlife viewing, and the lakeside town of Pokhara, a popular area for starting treks. Trekkers will find a variety of options, with the most popular areas being the Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang regions.
Here, we bring you a list of some of the best tourist places in Nepal.
Kathmandu, the capital and largest city in Nepal, is like no other city in the world. The smell of incense wafts from the stores while street sellers push their wares, and people go about their daily lives, all against a backdrop of historic temples and carved statues.For several hundred years, Kathmandu was one of three rival royal cities, along with Bhaktapur and Patan. The highlight of Kathmandu has long been Durbar Square, the largest of the palace squares in the three royal cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bhaktapur, the third of the “Royal Cities,” lies on the old trade route to Tibet, just outside of Kathmandu. For Bhaktapur, the trade route was both an arterial link and major source of wealth. In contrast to Patan and Kathmandu, the population of Bhaktapur is primarily Hindu. The best place from which to begin a tour of the city is Durbar Square, where in addition to the royal palace, several temples are also situated. The whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Boudhanath Stupa (Bodhnath)
The Bodhanath Stupa, just outside of Kathmandu, is one of the largest stupas of its kind in the world, and dates to sometime around the 6th century, possibly even earlier. Like Bhaktapur, it lies on the old trade route to Tibet and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stupa itself is a symbol of enlightenment but at Boudhanath the symbolism is particularly clear. Each different shape represents one of the five elements, earth, water, fire, air, and sphere, which are also the attributes of the five Buddhas. Brought together in the form of the stupa, their unity reflects in abstract fashion the structure of the universe itself.
Pokhara, at the base of the foothills, is 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu and surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world – Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Annapurna I. For many trekkers, Pokhara is the gateway to the Himalayas. It is the starting point for treks to Jomsom and the Annapurna region.By population, it is the second largest town in Nepal after Kathmandu but still does not feel like a big city. People coming from the Kathmandu Valley notice the much cleaner air and pleasant climate almost immediately. Lake Phewa, with its cluster of lakeside hotels, restaurants, and shops, is ideal for those looking for relaxation and for day excursions.
Trekking in the Annapurna Region
The Annapurna Region is one of the most popular trekking regions in Nepal, with trekking options of a few days to a few weeks. There are three main routes in the Annapurna Region, which intersect and combine in places, but trekkers can opt to do a portion or a variation on the routes. This route is sometimes called the “Apple Pie Circuit,” in reference to the fact that most of the teahouses along the route serve their own version of fried apple pie. Muktinath is on the way to Annapurna but has since become a destination in its own right. The Muktinath route runs in the Kali Gandaki Valley on the east flank of Annapurna and takes seven days. In many regards, the Annapurna Region, north of Pokhara, is an ideal walking area. The people and cultures are also very different: facial characteristics, houses, lifestyles, customs, and religion. The paths are well maintained, and food and lodging are guaranteed.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is the place to come to experience a different side of Nepal. This is the place for wildlife viewing and a safari-type atmosphere. This area has a tropical monsoon climate, usually quite different than what most people expect to find in Nepal. Visitors come here primarily to see wildlife. Tours from the lodges take visitors out into the park, either on foot, or more often, on elephants for close-up views of the animals. The park is home to rhinos, Bengal tigers, leopards, sloth bears, gaur (buffalo) deer, and many other critters. Freshwater dolphins (gangetic) and crocodiles inhabit the rivers and streams but are rarely seen. More than 500 species of birds make Chitwan a paradise for ornithologists. Chitwan lies southwest of Kathmandu close to the Indian frontier and is included in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage sites. The best time to visit Chitwan is from October to February.
Lumbini is famous for being the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, the historic Buddha, known as Buddha Shakyamuni. Lumbini is a worthwhile detour on the route from Pokhara to the Chitwan National Park. In this pilgrimage town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is a feeling of tranquility. Most of the visitors are Buddhist pilgrims from around the world, retracing Buddha’s footsteps through the stations of his life. The Maya Devi Temple, dedicated to Buddha’s mother, is believed to be the spot where Buddha was born.