Nepal - a land of incredible mountain scenery, adrenaline-filled outdoor activities, temple-lined city squares, and national parks lush with wildlife. Get a taste of its diverse cultural and natural attractions for an epic and unforgettable adventure.
Marvel at the extraordinary architecture of Kathmandu's Durbar Square and the twisting backstreets of the Old Town. Shop and people-watch around the buzzing hotspot of Thamel and the old backpacker enclave of Freak Street, before catching a cultural show at a Newari restaurant. Watch the sunset from the Monkey Temple of Swayambhunath.
Visit Pashupatinath, a Hindu temple on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Experience Patan's Durbar Square and the religious art of Patan Museum. Explore the perfectly preserved medieval town of Bhaktapur, walk clockwise around the Bodnath Stupa, see views of the Himalayas from Nagarkot, and stroll the quietly atmospheric temples of Panauti.
In Pokhara, get on the hippie trail at chilled-out Lakeside, experience traditional life around Old Pokhara, and row on the peaceful waters of Phewa Tal. Ascend the World Peace Pagoda, visit the fascinating Gurkha Museum, and view the Annapurnas from Sarangkot. Ride elephants and spot rhinos at Chitwan National Park, and visit the cobblestone streets of Tansen and the tea plantations of Ilam. Make a pilgrimage to holy Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.
Nepal offers an astonishing variety of hiking trails for every level. Classic multi-day walks include the iconic Everest Base Camp trek and the popular, cultural Annapurna Circuit. To get away from the crowds, take the quieter Langtang and Helambu treks, both easily accessible from Kathmandu.
Nepal, with its tough terrain, poor roads, and changeable weather, isn't the easiest place to get around. Be prepared for delays, and avoid travelling during major festivals, or at least book your transport early.
The air network is fairly extensive, with most flights coming out of Kathmandu. Several companies also offer charter helicopter services. Buses go everywhere, but tend to be slow, crowded, and make a lot of stops. For added convenience, take the slightly pricier tourist buses or express buses.
Your own vehicle is of course faster and more comfortable, but driver hire goes hand-in-hand with car rentals, and you'll have to pay for the driver's return trip, food, and overnight accommodations. There are taxis in larger cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara; otherwise city transport is limited to old city buses or three-wheeled tempos.
Nepal's natural wonders hold some high-altitude world records. These include the highest lake (Tilicho Lake at 4800m), the highest valley (Arun Valley at about 3500m), and of course, the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest at an incredible 8848m.
Throughout Nepal, a basic meal is made up of dal, bhat and tarkari - literally, lentils, rice, and curry vegetables. But do also try the delicious momo - a dumpling filled with meat or vegetables, and served with a dipping sauce. And if you're trekking in the hills, it's common to celebrate the completion of your hike with some locally-brewed, potent alcoholic beverages, known as chang and tongba.
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