We love Nepal. Why? This tiny country offers so much to travelers in search of amazing vistas, trekking, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and fascinating cities. Despite its poverty, its gritty and overcrowded city streets, and its difficult living conditions, we instantly fell in love with this country. Nepal offers some of the best trekking options in the world, with both the Annapurna Circuit and the trek to Everest Base Camp. But there is more to Nepal than just the Himalayas. The Kathmandu Valley is home to one of the densest concentrations of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Pokhara is the adventure capital of Nepal but it is also a wonderful place to relax and to get your yoga fix. Walking the streets of Thamel in Kathmandu was one of our favorite activities.
Nepal is a budget traveler’s haven, offering world class activities at extremely low prices. In the aftermath of the earthquake of 2015, do not overlook Nepal as a travel destination. Nepal needs your tourist dollars. Consider visiting here this year…you will make some phenomenal travel memories.
Things To Know
Nepali (official), although English is widely spoken
220V 50Hz Power adaptors C, D, & M
Nepalese Rupee (Rs). Roughly, $1 USD equals 110 Rs.
All foreigners, except Indians, are required to have a visa. Visas are available upon arrival at Tribhuvan Airport and at border crossings. They are valid for three to six months from the date of issue.
When To Go
High season is October and November. The skies are clear and the weather is still relatively warm. This is when trekkers flock to Nepal, hitting the trails in the Himalayas. Shoulder season is in the spring during the months of March and April. If you trek to Everest Base Camp during this time you will be able to see the tents of Everest climbers at base camp. The monsoon brings rain from June to September, making trekking difficult. During the winter months, trekking in the Himalayas is possible, but be prepared for very cold conditions and snow.
Power Cuts, aka “Load Shedding”
Nepal does not have the infrastructure to provide electricity to all of its people all of the time. Be prepared for daily power cuts in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and other cities. There is a power schedule that is loosely followed.
Traveling Overland in Nepal
If you plan to travel in Nepal by car or bus, build extra time into your schedule. Travel in Nepal is slow. A 200 km journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara took us eight hours. Yes, traveling this way may be frustrating at times but it is an eye opening experience.
Nepal Since the Earthquake
Trekking and transportation are back to normal. Unfortunately, some of Nepal’s most popular monuments (such as Bouddhanath) in Kathmandu and surrounding cities were destroyed during the earthquake. These could take years to rebuild. Tourism is still down for Nepal, a great time to go trekking since the trails will be a lot emptier.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp. This is one of the main reasons people travel to Nepal. This is an epic travel experience, a multi-day trek through the Himalayas to the world famous Everest base camp. And yes, you can do it with kids! If you are traveling to Nepal as a family, you might like to read Trekking to Everest Base Camp with Kids.
Annapurna Circuit Trek. Believe it or not, this is Nepal’s most popular trek. Some say the views are more better here than on the journey to Everest.
Kathmandu. This city has got some serious character. The streets are narrow, dusty and crowded. Motorbikes, tuk-tuks, and people compete for space on the roads. Prayer flags flap in the wind. Shops filled with souvenirs compete for your money in Thamel. Kathmandu is chaotic, beautiful, dirty, overwhelming, energetic, friendly, loud, and tons of fun. Walking the streets here was so enjoyable for us, full of unexpected surprises
Lumbini. Lumbini is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. This holy site is home to numerous temples and is a place of pilgrimage for many people.
Elephant Safari in Chitwan. This is a controversial activity where tourists ride on the backs of elephants in search of rhinoceros and tigers. There have been reports of the elephants being mistreated but even so it is a popular destination for visitors to Nepal.
Pokhara. Best spot in the world to go paragliding? Some say it is. Pokhara is also a great spot to relax, do yoga, go shopping, and hike up to the World Peace Pagoda.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Patan and Bhaktapur. Both of these cities, located near Kathmandu, are home to ancient temples. Unfortunately, some of them have been badly damaged or destroyed by the earthquake of 2015. These are places still worth seeing…visiting here could be like watching history unfold as Nepal slowly rebuilds some of its holiest sites.