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Places to visit in Nepal

Discussion in 'Nepal' started by GahlotMah, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. GahlotMah

    GahlotMah New Member

    I would like to go to Nepal with my friend where we would be celebrating his birthday and take some days out to visit places in Nepal.
    We would like some idea of the places to visit Nepal, so we know how many days we should prepare the holiday for and what can be covered in the days we plan to be there for which is around 5-7 days.

    To be realistic A day would be spend taking some rest and a day would be gone in celebrating his birthday which leaves us with five days, so it would be good if places to visit in Nepal would be mentioned according to importance or popularity.

  2. vkar

    vkar Member

    Kathmandu and Pokhara are among the common most popular destinations. If you want to go backpacking Lukla is a great place. Ilam is very scenic and popular among tourists. If it's your first time though, I would suggest you to visit Kathmandu and Pokhara as there are many things to see and do there. 3/4 days in Kathmandu and Pokhara and may be rest 1/2 days in other nearby destinations like Chitwan national park etc.

  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Did you know that eight out of the ten highest mountains in the world are located in Nepal? This includes the Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu and many more. It's not surprising that at almost every view point, you can find clear views of these high peaks. It's also no wonder why Nepal has long been a favourite destination of trekkers and adventure seekers. Yet it doesn't end here as the country also has the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, evidence of its rich history and past. With its wide variety of landscapes, high points and low points, wildlife, there's a never-ending list of places that you need to explore in Nepal. But out of all of these places, there still stands out a few which need special mention.

    Top Ten Places to Visit in Nepal

    Almost a city...

    1. Kathmandu - Almost a city certainly fits Kathmandu, with its combination of modern and ancient structures. This unique contrast between the old and the new can open your eyes to a new world. The smell of momos, at one hand, and yet the pollution at the other hand, it might prove to be too much at first. So relish in the beauty of Kathmandu, take it slow until you can see beyond the chaos that it is. The most famous attraction here is the Swayambhunath Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple. It is imposing with its white facade, quite a contrast to the surroundings. It is visited not only by pilgrims but also by tourists around the world. Another must visit temple here is the Pashupatinath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and revered so holy by pilgrims that even being cremated here means that you would be reincarnated as a human again. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Durbar Square, is home to many structures such as palaces, temples and halls. If you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the only living goddess in the world, known as Kumari Devi. Laid-back attractions like Ratna Park, Taudaha Lake and Sundarijal Waterfalls provide you with natural scenic views, making you rethink whether you really are in a city.
    • Must visit attractions - Swayambhunath Temple, Pashupatinath Temple, Durbar Square, Ratna Park, Taudaha Lake and Sundarijal Waterfalls.
    2. Pokhara - About 200 kilometres away from Kathmandu is your breath of fresh air, Pokhara. It is one of the most developed cities in Nepal yet continues to remain unpolluted and scenic. It is also known as the City of Lakes, as several lakes can be found here, with Phewa Taal being the most popular. There are numerous bars and restaurants around the lake. The backdrop of the mountains and jungles add to the serenity of the place. There are also boating facilities that are available here. The Begnas Taal is a bit smaller than the former lake, but also more serene and less crowded. You can even enjoy a swim in its water. An underdeveloped lake is the Rupa Lake, but the variety of bird species that you can see here are quite plenty. You can also indulge in trekking here, some of the most popular ones are the Poon Hill trek and Sarangkot trek, both would provide you with clear views of the Annapurna Mountain. There are many options for hotels and guest houses around Pokhara too and they're very modern. In a way, you are closer to nature without compromising on certain modernities of life.
    • Must visit attractions - Phewa Taal, Begnas Taal, Rupa Lake, Poon Hill and Sarangkot.
    Begnas Taal in Pokhara (Image Courtesy of Wikimedia)

    Witness religious rituals...

    3. Lumbini - A visit to Nepal won't be complete without adding Lumbini to your itinerary. This is the auspicious place where Buddha was born, although at that time, the location wasn't known as Nepal. The place where the Buddha was born specifically now has a temple within its premises, known as the Maya Devi Temple. The temple encloses the supposed exact place where Buddha was born. The gardens surrounding the temple adds to the tranquility of the place and is actually perfect for meditation or self-introspection. You can also find the Ashoka Pillar, located just nearby the temple. This pillar was built by Emperor Ashoka during the 3rd century as a tribute to Buddha. Make sure to explore the stupas around the temple too. There's also a small pond here, although it's not well-maintained anymore.
    • Must visit attractions - Maya Devi Temple and Ashok Pillar.
    4. Bhaktapur - Out of all the main cities of Nepal, Bhaktapur is home to most number of temples. The city is only about 12 kilometres away from Kathmandu and it also has its own Durbar Square. Much like the former, you can spot old palaces, temples and halls here. But the difference is that this central square hasn't been as affected by the earthquake unlike Kathmandu. You can spot the Palace of 55 Windows here, well-known for its intricate woodwork, quite stunning especially considering the time it was built. Another must visit square here is the Pottery Square, where you can watch the locals actually create pots from clay. You can even watch whole families engaged in the activity, which can be fascinating to see. In the Taumadhi Square, there's the Nyatapola Temple, one of the highest temples in Nepal with its five storeys. Before leaving Bhaktapur, make sure to visit Siddha Pokhari, located on the outskirts of the city. It is mainly a reservoir teeming with wildlife such as birds and fishes.
    • Must visit attractions - Durbar Square (Palace of 55 Windows), Pottery Square, Taumadhi Square (Nyatapola Temple) and Siddha Pokhari.
    Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur (Image courtesy of Stock Footage)

    Wildlife spotting...

    5. Chitwan National Park - Once the hunting ground for the royals of Nepal, the Chitwan National Park is now a world-renowned wildlife sanctuary. It is also the first ever national park to be established in the country. With big animals like royal Bengal tigers, leopards, rhinoceroses and hyenas, as well as small animals like langurs, pangolins and flying squirrels, the diversity of wildlife here is quite apparent. Also in the national park is the Narayani River, where you can indulge in a boat ride and spot animals like crocodiles and birds. There are also numerous resorts outside the national park that you can stay in for the ultimate wildlife experience.
    • Animals to spot - Royal Bengal tigers, leopards, rhinoceroses, hyenas, pangolins, flying squirrels, crocodiles and birds.
    6. Khaptad National Park - This national park is best for bird watching, with bird species such as pheasants, falcons, vultures, flycatchers and eagles. For the big mammals, try to spot animals like the leopard and Himalayan black bear. It is best visited during the summer season though, when the landscapes are suitable for trekking. During winter, the national park is covered in thick snow, which is also quite a stunning landscape to see. The landscapes in the national park differ, from grasslands, lakes, forests of pines and sals, hills, peaks and small streams. For this alone, the national park provides one with a refreshing journey into the untouched regions of Nepal. You can also visit the ancient Shiva temple here known as the Khaptad Baba Ashram.
    • Animals to spot - Birds (pheasants, falcons, vultures, flycatchers & eagles), leopards and Himalayan black bears.
    Somewhere thrilling...

    7. Annapurna - When in Nepal, provided that you are physically fit, it's a must to indulge in trekking. And one of the most popular treks here is the Annapurna Circuit, which begins in Besisahar. From this city, you would indulge in the most terrifying but thrilling trek of your life, with varying depths and terrains. Yet it doesn't come without risks, as there's about a 32% fatality rate for this trekking route. As such, only the fittest people can partake in this trek and even then, they are not assured that they can reach its peak. For safety reasons, it's best to do this circuit only in summer as winters can be very dangerous due to avalanches. You can also just opt to reach the Annapurna Base Camp, which is milder as compared to the Annapurna Peak trek. Depending on the covered route, this trek can be finished within 20 days or less.
    • What to do - Trekking and camping.
    8. Rara National Park - Basically an untouched and unexplored national park, home to the Rara Lake, is the Rara National Park. Unlike the Annapurna Base Camp circuit, it is not as well known by many adventure seekers or tourists. The trek itself is not that difficult but you would be in a remote part of Nepal. Hence, interacting with locals might be more difficult and even finding accommodation options might be difficult. It's better to bring your own tent in order to be able to camp at the lake side. The Rara Lake itself is your reward, its pristine beauty is worth all your efforts. Its water is so clear that you can spot the fishes swimming under it.
    • Must visit attraction - Rara Lake.
    Remote and unknown...

    9. Tsum Valley - A little bit of Tibet in Nepal? That would be Tsum Valley, it is only accessible after a five-day trek from Manaslu. Hidden behind two boulders is a pathway leading to Tsum Valley. And its sight would make you wonder immediately whether you're in Nepal or China. Around the valley are numerous important Buddhist sites, like Milarepa's Cave, Rachen Gompa and Mu Gompa. All around the valley there are numerous stupas and chortens too, which most locals pay respect to. The simplicity of life here, along with glorious mountain views and untouched forests, can certainly make your trip memorable. While you cannot include Tsum Valley in a short trip, make sure that you include it the moment you return to Nepal.
    • Must visit attractions - Milarepa's Cave, Rachen Gompa and Mu Gompa.
    10. Upper Mustang - Yet another little piece of Tibet in Nepal is Upper Mustang. Its main distinction though is that its landscapes are dry and desert-like. It also falls into a rain shadow area, so it isn't affected much by monsoons. Reaching it is a bit more challenging though as you need to allot at least nine days for the trek. The trek itself is not that difficult especially for seasoned trekkers. The region is so isolated from the centre of Nepal that even the residents here don't seem like Nepali. The influence of Buddhism is also apparent in this region, with the numerous monasteries and stupas that can be found here. A must visit place here is the Kali Gandaki Caves, quite incredible and stunning. These caves were carved out of cliff-side rocks, but how it was done back then still remains a question. Even now, accessing the caves can be quite difficult despite the modernities that we have. Some caves even have exquisite murals inside them. Ah, the beauty of Nepal seems never-ending and there are more places to explore like this one.
    • Must visit attractions - Buddhist Temples and Kali Gandaki Caves.
    Kali Gandaki Caves in Upper Mustang (Image Courtesy of Why Nepal)

    The last four destinations might not fit your schedule though so just consider the first six ones. However, if you would ever return to Nepal, consider the last four offbeat destinations, to have an out-of-the-world experience.