Grab a hold of the world map. Spread it out on your desk. Look over the tract of Asia. You see China and India? Now look closer at their boundary and you will see a tiny sketch of Nepal. Nepal in terms of how much land it covers in the world is as small as it looks. But when it comes to the beauties laden in its land, it is an unparalleled cornucopia of wonders!
From the eastern belt to the west and from the northern stretch to the south, the splendors in its land make Nepal a gem in the planet. Known for being an abode to the imposing Himalayas including the world’s giant, Mount Everest, Nepal nurtures marvelous natural auras. Sublime river valleys, high altitude lakes, ethnic settlements with opulent history, lush forests in the south and quaint heritages all over, to name a few. This gorgeous country is a holy land where Lord Gautama Buddha was born. Adding charm to its natural stature are the Nepali people. It’s amazing how these humble these beings see divine in every creation of nature. There is so much glory in this place, you may flock here for the 100th time, and you would have barely scratched its surface!
Here, we present you top 20 best places to see in Nepal:-
The happening city of Kathmandu is the administrative capital of Nepal. This will be the first place you’ll be at when you enter Nepal. The stack of skyscrapers built in an attempt to add opulence to the valley might give you a substandard first impression. But this city has long preserved its cultural and historical riches. The concentration of Temples in Kathmandu is surreal. The grand reflection of religious and cultural ethos has given Kathmandu its pet name of ‘city of gods and goddesses. Moreover, Kathmandu valley holds seven out of 10 \UNESCO world heritage sites of Nepal, four in the city alone: Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Swyambhunath Stupa and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square are located in the city of Patan and Bhaktapur respectively. If you are a shopping freak, then the commercial markets of Kathmandu is totally your kind of place! Itself at the verge of modernization, Kathmandu awaits to take you back in time. How ironic!
Pokhara is probably a tourist’s paradise in Nepal. Located 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu, this gorgeous city can be reached either via road trip or via flight. Pokhara has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world. The valley floor is a home to pristine Phewa Lake, Begnas Lake and timid Seti River that disappears into a gorge. Surmounted at the backdrop of this valley are peaks from the Annapurna Massif. Pokhara -the gateway to Annapurna region- opens the door to amazing trekking routes of Nepal such as Annapurna Base Camp Trek and Mardi Himal Trek. One can stop by in this city for dares like paragliding and bungee jumping. If you are someone who loves rain, then you might want to experience monsoon in Pokhara. It is the rainiest city in the country. Witness the sunrise from Sarangkot and enjoy hiking around the outskirt hills. Pokhara, you beauty are a blessing to Nepal!
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is one of the pioneer National Parks of Nepal. It is located in the lowlands of central Nepal and adorned with rich biodiversity in its lush forest. The buffer zone of this park is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit the park in leisurely holidays and enjoy the jungle safari. You can even ride the back of elephants. The lush vegetation of the park is a home to a total of 68 species of mammals and 554 species of birds. In addition, different varieties of reptiles have been recorded in the park. If the day is in your favor, you might come across one-horned rhino and even a Bengal tiger. You can also visit the elephant breeding centre here.
Khaptad National Park
Khaptad National Park is the highlight of far-western Nepal. It is a protected area covering four districts of Bajhang, Bajura, Achham and Doti. The remote setting of this area is rich in alpine vegetation of Oak, Rhododendron, Pine and Cedar. The area is a realm of medicinal herbs; 224 species of medicinal herbs have been recorded to have grown. Moreover, the park grows 11% of the total flowering plants found in all of Nepal. This ornamental vegetation is a home to 270 species of birds, including Impeyan pheasant, partridges, flycatchers, bulbuls, cuckoos and eagles. Likewise, the area has been protecting rate mammals like barking deer, Himalayan black bear, yellow-throated marten, and rhesus monkey and languor monkeys. The Khaptad National Park is a reward to the lovers of nature out there.
Everest Base Camp
Located at an altitude of 5,364 meters, the Everest Base Camp is basically a rudimentary campsite for courageous climbers of the top of the world, Mt. Everest (8,848 meters) during their ascent and descent. But for the high spirited trekkers from all over the world who make their way to the Everest region, the base camp is a victorious landmark in their Everest Base Camp Trek. The sight of Khumbu icefall from here is heavenly. The sight of icy terrain from the base camp never fails to do justice to the soaring guts of the trekkers.
Located in close proximity of Pokhara, Ghandruk village is a beautiful ethnic settlement of Gurung people at the lap of Annapurna. Dotted with quaint houses and stone paved paths, trekkers usually prefer to stop by this village while on their way to Annapurna Base Camp and Poon Hill. This village offers both traditional hotel stays as well as sophisticated services for the visitors. The brimming of Machhapuchhre Himal and the Hiunchuli Peak during sunrise adds charm to this place. Likewise, you will also get to see how passionately the locals have preserved their culture and traditions.
Annapurna Base Camp
Annapurna Base Camp is a celebrated foothill of the Annapurna massif. Unlike in Everest Base Camp, a trekker can stay the night at Annapurna Base Camp. This has to be the utter reward for those who make it to Annapurna Base Camp Trek. The base camp itself is an ellipsis plateau at an elevation of 4,130 meters. Earthed at the glacial basin of Annapurna sanctuary, the base camp is the perfect place to overlook the arresting peaks from the Annapurna range standing lofty at altitudes over 7000 meters; some even cross the 8000 meters bar. The journey to Annapurna Base Camp is a relinquishment to those who dare to dream big!
Nagarkot is a quick escape into the hills from chaotic buzz of the city. Its hilltop location at the rim of Kathmandu valley makes it a favorable view point. On a clear day, the sight of mountains from Nagarkot is heavenly. Away from the chaos of the city beneath, locals too prefer to visit this place every now and then. During winter, the hill receives occasional snowfall which is one rare sight to the valley dwellers. A day hike up the hill is totally worth it regardless of the season.
Kala Pathar literally stands for ‘black rock’. Just as suggested by its name Kala Pathar is a rocky peak enveloped by blackish terrain at an elevation of 5,643 meters. This is the highest point of Everest Base Camp Trek; higher than the base camp itself. An uphill hike from Gorakshep takes you to Kala Pathar. Trekkers usually prefer to take an early morning hike to witness the golden hour in the Himalayas. This is an unparalleled vantage for an up close view of the south Pumori and the almighty Everest.
Mustang is already a heaven of a destination and Muktinath makes it more holy. The diving heart of Mustang district, Muktinath is a pilgrimage of dreams for both Hindus and Buddhists. The temple is visited for a sacred encounter with Vishnu (Hindu god of protection) and deities such as Muktinath, Sri Devi Thayaar and Sri Murthy. There is a wide belief that if a pilgrim takes shower in the 108 stone faucets of the temple all his sins shall be forgiven.
In addition to the religious faith, Muktinath holds immense natural auras as well. Seated at an altitude of 3,710 meters beneath the Thorong La pass, the entire valley of Muktinath is an escapade into the glory of nature. Its dry landscape has the power to soak one’s heart in utter awe!
Kyanjin Gompa/ Cherko RI
Kyanjin Gompa, a dated Buddhist monastery is the hallmark of Langtang Valley Trek. Located in rapid vicinity to Kathmandu Valley, the Langtang valley has to be one of the most accessible trekking destinations in Nepal. Kyanjin Gompa is strategically located in the Kyanjin village, which is a beautifully small settlement of Tamang at an elevation of 3,870 meters. The village is also the last settlement of the Langtang region. You will need a full day to explore the monastery and stroll around the village. You can also stop by a cheese factory which is near to the monastery and relish in the delicacy of Yak cheese.
Furthermore, from Kyanjin Gompa, you can take a hike up to Kyanjin Ri (4773m) – also known as Cherko Ri. This is an idyllic point to gaze at the marvelous landscape of the area and a dramatic icefall at the Langtang Lirung.
The capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang was a completely restricted area until 1992. This region still has the vibe of an isolated capital of the kingdom of Lo (former name of the Mustang region). Today this secluded land remains sandwiched between Tibet in the north and Dalome rural municipality in the south at the northern edge of Mustang district. Merged in the Trans Himalayan region, the entire region remains as dry as a landscape can get. The weather is not extreme there but the wind blow gets serious at an altitude of 3,840 meters.
Although a part of northern Nepal, Lo Manthang is completely different than the Nepal of one’s imagination. Lo Manthang is an alien land to outlanders and makes its visitors travel back to ancient times. The stone built royal palace, the Tibetan settlement, carven holes in the mud hills are some of the major attractions here. Lo Manthang is also the hub for celebrating Tiji Festival.
While Lumbini is soaring into popularity as a tourist attraction in the south-western belt of Nepal, it has long remained a pilgrimage to Buddhists from across the world. Expanded over massive are of nearly 5 acres, Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha – the pioneer of Buddhism. The area is lush in vegetation and decorated by the architectural monasteries stood in an honor of various countries. The major structure is a white building that preserves the ruins from centuries ago. The ruins are where Lord Buddha was born. The entire Lumbini is marked as a symbol of peace and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Janakpur Dham is a Hindu pilgrimage site at Dhanusa district in the lowlands of Nepal. The place has a huge palace of Janaki Mandir, inspired by Arabic architecture. This palace is dedicated to Hindu legend, Sita. She was the goddaughter of Mithila (Indo Aryan heritage) king Janak. Janakpur used to be his empire back in time. The place has long remained a holy site to the Hindus and is a perfect cultural attraction for tourists all over the world.
Janaki Mandir was built in 1898 and is one of the biggest in Nepal along with being one of a kind. This temple witness hundreds of devotees during a Hindu festival called Ram Navami. This festival is celebrated to remember the wedding day of Lord Ram and Sita. Mythology has a lot of interesting things to say about their wedding.
Tansen is a beautiful hill station in the Palpa district of western Nepal. Its location at the crest of Mahabharata hill range makes it a favorable height to gaze at the periphery valleys. One can quickly stop by Palpa on their way to Lumbini from Pokhara or vice versa. Tansen is famous for being an ancient Newari commercial market. Handlooms called ‘Dhaka’ and metal crafts are native to its markets. The place is also known for a giant structure of ‘Karuwa’ – a Newari jug. The structure is the biggest of its kind in the entire world. Besides, this hill town offers a picturesque panorama of the verdant hills.
Drifting off from the famed Annapurna Circuit, Nar- Phu Valley has recently opened up for the trekkers. Nar and Phu are two independent valleys in the Manang district of western Nepal. Each of these valleys have their own residents with independent dialect and ethos they have preserved from the past. The one similarity between these valleys is that both of them are the ‘lost valleys’. The virtues of these highlands reflect intense Tibetan influence and have remained unadulterated for the longest run. The journey to Nar Phu Valley Trek requires an obligatory guide and it enables you to meet the kindest people in the Himalaya. In this journey, waterfalls and rivers meet you at the beginning and wave you wish for the glories that awaits you.
Tsum Valley is a hidden valley in the Manaslu region at the northern nook of Gorkha district. This valley is considered as the world’s remotest Himalayan valleys and used to be a restricted area until 2007. The residents of this valley are mainly of Tibetan origin and they speak their unique dialect and have their own rituals and traditions. One of the remarkable settlements of the Tsum valley is the village of Chumchet. This region looks totally ancient from the usual trekking routes we are used to. Trekkers can visit the valley either independently or merge the route in their Manaslu circuit Trek.
Tilicho Lake is the world’s highest altitude lake at a surface elevation of 4,919 meters. The lake is a gem of the Manang district, 55 kilometers further from Pokhara. It is one of the most preferred side trip destinations of the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The reflection of cerulean sky and snow clad moraines at the sapphire of this 85 meters lake is to die for. Just like many other Himalayan reservoir, Tilicho has its own relation to religion. Hindus believe this lake is the ancient Kak Bhusundi Lake from the legendary tale of Ramayana. You will find it frozen in severe winter.
Gokyo Lakes are the system of six freshwater lakes; Thonak Lake being the largest. These lakes are located at a surface elevation of over 4,500 meters. Positioned in the Sagarmatha National Park, these lakes are the highlights of Gokyo Valley. This is one of the major attractions of for the trekkers who opt to march towards the Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes. The sight of clear water appearing deep blue is totally worth the walk.
Rara Lake is the largest Himalayan Lake in Nepal. Located at a surface elevation of 2,290 meters, this lake is around 100 meters deep. Rara Lake is a charm of remote setting in the Mugu district of Far-west Nepal. It also falls under protected area of Rara National Park. There is no direct motorway to reach this lake. You have to trek in order to be rewarded by the marvelous sight of this natural reservoir. Being a park of the national park, Rara Lake Trek is rich in flora and fauna and rare Himalayan species.