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Introducing Nepal

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Mt Everest © Scott Yost

Nepal Travel Guide

Famously well-endowed with glorious scenery, Nepal is home to verdant terraced valleys, rushing rivers and ice-blue lakes that originate in the 'abode of snows', the Himalayas. The uplifting sight of soaring mountains is a magnet for mountaineers and trekkers, offering some of the greatest challenges and most scenic walking opportunities on earth. Nepal's diverse terrain offers tremendous opportunities for adventurous activities, and although mountain climbing and trekking are the most popular, there is also superb white water rafting on steep mountain rivers, as well as elephant-back safaris or tiger tracking in the Royal Chitwan and Royal Bardia National Parks situated within the jungles of the southern Tarai belt.

This gluttony of natural attractions is combined with cultural curiosities including a wealth of temples and shrines, some wonderful handicrafts, and glorious religious festivals. The Nepali people are friendly and interesting and the country, despite its increasing popularity with tourists, still feels delightfully unexplored. Kathmandu still has a certain mystique in the global imagination and this chaotic capital is the gateway to Nepal for most visitors.

Best time to visit Nepal

Early spring (March and April) and late autumn (October and November) are the best times to visit Nepal, offering the clearest mountain views and good weather for trekking. Most travellers prefer to avoid the rainy monsoon season between June and September. Read more on Nepal's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Nepal

-Marvel at the magnificent 5th-century Swayambhu Stupa, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal.

-Explore the historic buildings and temples of Kathmandu's Durbar Square.

-Visit the old royal cities of Patan and Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley.

-See the Pashupatinath Temple, one of the most famous Hindu shrines in the world. Read more on Nepal Attractions.

What to do in Nepal

-Go 'teahouse trekking' in the stunning Annapurna region.

-Take an elephant-back safari to seek Bengal Tigers in the Royal Chitwan National Park.

-Hike to the Mount Everest base camp in the Himalayas.

-Enjoy a multi-day white water rafting adventure from Pokhara. Read more on Nepal Activities.

Getting to Nepal

It is still difficult to find direct flights to Nepal but the country is becoming steadily more accessible to tourists. International flights land at Tribhuvan International Airport, situated four miles (6km) east of Kathmandu. Get more information on Nepal Airports.

Read

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer, The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen, and Little Princes by Conor Grennan.

Listen

Dohori (Nepali folk songs).

Watch

Himalaya (1999), Little Buddha (1993), The Wildest Dream (2010), and The Golden Child (1986).

Drink

Raksi (similar to tequila) and chiya (a milky, spiced tea similar to Indian chai).

Eat

Momo (dumplings) and different varieties of the national dish, dal bhat, the basic ingredients of which are rice and lentil soup.

What to buy

Popular souvenirs from Nepal include tourmaline gems, pashmina shawls, prayer flags and tea.

What to pack

Comfortable walking shoes!

What's on in Nepal

Those wanting to experience Nepali festivals should visit the country in late February and March, when Holi, the Festival of Colour, is celebrated, and Maha Shivaratri attracts millions of Hindu pilgrims to the Pashupati Temple. More information on Nepal Events.

Did you know?

-The local name for Mount Everest is Sagarmatha, meaning 'goddess of the sky'.

-Freak Street, in Kathmandu, was a famous hippie hangout in the 1960s and 1970s.

-Eight of the world's highest mountain peaks are in Nepal.

A final word

Combining an atmosphere of 'Never Ending Peace And Love' with some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, Nepal is a must for adventurous travellers.

Become our Nepal Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Nepal travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Nepal or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.