Despite being a landlocked country reclining between two Asian giants China – in the north and India – in the East, West and South, Nepal is blessed with beautiful scenic landscapes with an abundance of both natural and cultural heritage.
Nepal has the potentiality to become a tourist-hub like Switzerland with nine out of ten highest mountains in the world, including Mt. Everest (8848m), the highest peak and various other peaks at stray; hundreds rivers all suitable for adventure rafting and kayaking, unique trekking destination, ideal jungle safari and wildlife areas and many more to explore, that certainly make Nepal the most attractive destination for adventure tourism.
By any means, we have selected ten of the most amazing places you could visit if you are in Nepal or if you are planning to visit in near future. Being a Nepali citizen by birth, I have selected the places on my own discretion. If you have any other travel destination in your mind that you think should have been enlisted in this article, please don’t hesitate to mention them in the comment section.
The places mentioned in this article are in no specific order for all of these travel destinations are equally appealing and meaningful in their own circumstances.
1. Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)
Mt. Annapurna (8091m) is the 10th highest mountain in the world and the journey to its base camp is one of the most popular treks not only in Nepal but in the entire globe. Annapurna Base Camp trek begins from Pokhara and passes through cascading waterfalls, beautiful villages, terraced rice paddies, luscious rhododendron forests, and high altitude landscapes along with the Annapurna range in view most of the times, before reaching the base of the mighty Annapurna.
The trek is almost 7 to 11 days long, depending on the trekker’s itinerary and the length of walking days. ABC can be trekked almost any time of the year; however in the winters the base camp is sometimes restricted due to high level of snow. According to experts’ spring time (March to May) is the most appealing time to visit ABC due to the full bloom of the rhododendron forests which gives the trek a truly majestic feel.
2. Everest Base Camp (EBC)
It is well known to everyone that the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest lies in Nepal. It is not possible for anyone or everyone to climb the Everest itself, thus the trek to Everest Base Camp would be an appropriate option to conquering Everest, at least experience and feel wise.
A trek that lasts 16 days offers an exhilarating flight to Lukla, then a trek through lush rhododendron forest and stone walled traditional villages, to Namche Bazaar – the Sherpa Land, and all the way to the village of Phortse Gaon where one can witness magical peaks of the Everest, Nuptse and various other mountain ranges.
The camp that lies at an altitude of 5,364 meters is a more of a rest point for the Everest climbers and they rest there for several days for acclimatization to reduce the risks of severity of altitude sickness; however it makes for an extravagant adventure tourism spot for any adventure enthusiasts.
3. Chitwan National Park
Established in 1973, Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal and was granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. Formerly called the Royal Chitwan National Park, it was renamed to only Chitwan National Park after the deposition of the royal family. The park covers an area of 932 square kilometers and is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the district of Chitwan.
It is certainly one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal, with several lodges and hotels providing full accommodations inside the park along with jungle safari – elephant safari to be precise, rafting tours and guided jungle walks. The park is a sheer example of wildlife exploration and all the different kinds of birds and vegetation that provide importance to its existence.
4. Gosaikunda Lake
Gosaikunda, also spelled Gosainkunda and Gosain Kunda is an alpine freshwater oligotrophic lake in Nepal surrounded by spectacular mountainous view and is a significant place of interest in the Dhunche-Helambu trekking route. Situated inside Langtang National Park in the Rasuwa district, Gosaikunda lies at analtitude of 14,370 ft covering an area of 14ha and it is an adventurous travel destination that has been characterized as a religious site according to Hindu mythology. The Gosaikuna trek adjoins the Langtang Valley trek in the same district and the two treks can be combined, this trek can easily be done in teahouse style due to the availability of numerous hotels and lodges in the trekking route.
5. Khaptad National Park
The Khaptad National Park is a protected area in the Far-Western Region, Nepal that was established in 1984 from the inspiration of the region’s holy man Khaptad Baba. The Park is spread over four districts of Nepal namely Bajhang, Bajura, Accham and Doti holding an area of 225 square km. The landscape consists of steep slopes, streams and moorland, and is considered to be one of the best scenic landscapes in Nepal. With distinct species of birds and animals along with various kinds of vegetation, it certainly is a place full of true natural beauty where one can experience the true essence of tranquillity and peace.
Lumbini, listed as the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha by the UNESCO World Heritage Convention is another demanding tourist destination of Nepal. The Buddha was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Nepal. According to Buddhist tradition, it is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 623 BCE.
Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi Temple and several others which are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum – the Lumbini International Research Institute are also located within the holy site. Puskarini – the Holy Pond where the Buddha’s mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath is also located in Lumbini.
Mustang, synonymous with “Upper Mustang” is the former Buddhist Kingdom termed as “Kingdom of Lo” where traditional Tibetan culture stills prevails and Tibetic languages are still widely spoken. Lo used to be a part of the Tibetan empire and thus is very closely related to Tibet; not only the culture, but also the landscape is very much similar to Tibet.
Surrounded by rocks of different colours and bizarre formations, Mustang is mostly a barren landscape where the villages with their bright coloured fields are very much similar to Oasis in the deserts. Mustang is a complete desolate landscape that lies in the shadow of the Dhaulagiri region and the culture of the people living here is one of the major attractions for travellers.
Spread over 55.22 square kilometres, Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal situated in the centre of Kaski district, Gandaki zone and Western Development Region. Its pristine air, spectacular views of snowy peaks, serene lakes and greenery surrounding make it a place of remarkable natural beauty. Pokhara is blessed with stunning panoramic views of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. Pokhara owes its popularity to the enchanting Phewa Lake with the shadow of the mesmerizing Machhapuchhre (also called Mt. Fishtail) falling in it. Barahi Temple, located in the middle of Phewa Lake, is one the most important monuments in Pokhara.
Besides the view of Seti gorge, David’s Fall, Mahendra Gufa (Mahendra Cave), Worls Peace Pagoda, Saranngkot and many other places add flavour to your visit. For those who love to do recreational activities, they can enjoy Boating, Paragliding, Motor Biking, Ultra-Light Aircraft, Pony Riding, Mountain Biking and even Hiking around Pokhara. Apart from that one can also enjoy playing Golf in the city. Pokhara has the suitable climate and space for golf and the sport was introduced here many years ago. There are two world-class golf courses in Pokhara. Pokhara’s bewitching beauty has always been the subject of talks to all the travellers who visit Nepal.
9. Rara Taal (Rara Lake)
The Rara Lake is the biggest and deepest fresh water lake in the Nepal is the main feature of the Rara National Park, located in the Mugu and Jumla Districts. Situated an altitude of 2,990 m above sea level, Rara Lake covers an area of 9.8 square kilometres and is surrounded by Rara National Park in all the directions. The Park was actually established in 1976 to preserve the beauty of the lake and protect the unique floral and faunal importance of the rare and vulnerable species found around the lake.
Despite having a very rough route in the western part of Nepal, the trek to Rara Lake has been one of the most popular destinations for many trekkers. The trek begins with a flight to Jumla, followed by a mountainous trek, where one have to pass many villages untouched by all the hassle in the world and then comes the bank of the Rara Lake which was aesthetically described by GORP founder Bill Greer as ‘’A shimmering blue jewel set in a ring of snowy peaks.’’
10. Tilicho Lake
Tilicho Lake, lying 4,949 meters high in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas in Manang district of Nepal, is the lake situated in the highest altitude in the world. Tilicho Lake is the destination of one of the most popular side hikes of the Annapurna Circuit trek. The hike takes additional 3-4 days but no camping is required, as new lodges have been built between Manang and the lake. One can reach the lake in a day hike from the lodge at Tilicho Base Camp. Tilicho Lake and the trek as a whole is a very revitalizing experience, yet a very demanding and an extremely adventurous topography, not meant for everyone, only the adventure junkies to be precise.