Alot of people associate intensive mountain trekking with traveling to Nepal, however there is loads to offer those travelers who don't have the kind of physical stamina needed for a trek to Everest Base Camp.
Autumn is actually one of the most popular times to travel to Nepal, which makes it a perfect destination to consider for this year's October Golden Week. To get a taste of the kind of things you can see and experience, check out our Nepal page on Pinterest, or read on for our Nepal Guide.
GUIDE TO NEPAL
POPULAR PLACES TO GO
As the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu will be the starting point for your Nepal adventures. Thamel is the popular tourist district and hub for backpackers and guesthouses, whilst most upscale accommodation is outside this area. You’ll find narrow bustling streets filled with temples, statues, restaurants, bars and stores selling hiking equipment, silver, rugs and Nepalese trinkets. Must sees include the ancient Durbar Square and Kumari Chowk, the home of the ‘Kumari’, a little girl chosen as the living incarnation of the Hindu goddess. Also see the stupa of Boudhanath, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Kathmandu, and the Garden of Dreams, a peaceful landscaped garden retreat.
For the ultimate aerial experience, you can also try a mountain flight that goes from Kathmandu airport over the eastern Himalayan ranges. This is a great way to see and experience the incredible mountain scenery without the need to pull on any hiking boots!
This national park was the country’s first, and gained World Heritage status in 1984 for its incredibly diverse ecosystems. Unlike the soaring mountains and altitude Nepal is typically known for, this region consists of low-lying subtropical jungle, popular for safaris and wildlife spotting. This area is the last known refuge for the endangered Bengal tiger and single-horned Indian rhinoceros. An elephant safari is an unbeatable experience for wildlife lovers here, as well as a canoe cruise through crocodile-infested waters and a guided jungle walk to find the elusive tiger!
This lovely lakeside town has grown in popularity for its proximity to trekking and adventure sport opportunities and its laidback vibe set against the backdrop of spectacular mountain vistas, including the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu ranges. Peaceful Phewa Lake makes for a popular spot for boating, or you can hire a bike to explore the local area, or hike up to the World Peace Pagoda for amazing views of the town. Head to the beautiful village of Sarangkot at sunrise or sunset to get a taste of mountain trekking and panoramic views.
This quaint hill station close to Kathmandu is a great option for those who want sweeping mountain and valley views with only some light trekking required. Sunrise and sunset on a clear day are the best times to see the widest view of the grand Himalaya ranges, including the legendary Mount Everest.
This ancient town in the Kathmandu Valley is easily combined with a visit to Nagarkot or on a day trip out of Kathmandu, or consider staying overnight to really absorb the atmosphere. The UNESCO site is famous for its ancient temples, culture, pottery, and intricate wood, stone and metal work. No vehicles are allowed in the city making the well preserved buildings and quiet dusty lanes a joy to stroll through and get lost in. Look out for the signature carved peacock windows, or pick a spot in one the many temple and pagoda-filled squares to watch the local activity.
On the way back you’ll get to Kunming in the evening with no connecting flight, so a night in Kunming is required. We suggest taking advantage of your time in Kunming by exploring the city or checking out the incredible Stone Forest the next day, before hopping on an afternoon flight back to Shanghai.
When to go
- Visas on arrival are available for citizens of most countries, however if you want to save queuing time during peak periods getting a visa in advance is recommended. You’ll need 2 passport photos and US$25 for a multiple entry visa valid for 15 days.
- Water is not safe to drink from the tap in Nepal. Stick to bottled water which is readily available and avoid salads and ice unless you can be sure the water has been properly filtered and boiled.
- Check with your doctor and get the relevant vaccinations before you arrive. There are clinics and hospitals in Nepal but the level of care and hygiene may not be up to international standards, particularly outside of Kathmandu. Make sure you are adequately covered by your travel & medical insurance policy.
- Driving is the easiest way to get around Nepal, however be prepared for some long drives, honking traffic, and roads that are not all in good condition.
- An airport tax is payable when departing the country from Kathmandu airport. For most international departures this is Rs 1130.
- Wherever you go, respect local customs and holy places, and protect the natural environment. Avoid giving candy and trinkets to local children or be mindful not to encourage begging. If you’d like to give back, consider donating to a responsible local charity or NGO instead.