Kathmandu is the busy capital of the country. It functions as a hub for backpackers and trekkers. From Kathmandu Valley you’ll find several historical and sacred sites. Kathmandu is also the center of colorful festivals. Don’t miss Bodnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal. Colorful prayer flags and a shimmering while stupa draw travelers as well as Tibetan pilgrims who come to experience the spiritual energy of Bodnath. The temple of Dakshinkali is another religious place to visit. The blood is running as there’s animal scarification every Saturday and during the October Dansai festival. Hanuman Dhoka (Old Royal Palace) can be found in Durbar Square in the old town. This is an interesting sight as it reflects the traditional architecture.
A small city by the lake area draws lots of backpackers and adventurers. This is a good place to stop by before your trekking or rafting trip and take a look at the outstanding Himalayan peaks. Tranquility and the humming of meditation practitioners stick to you too.
This is the legendary place of Buddha’s Enlightenment. Mahabodhi temple is amazing. See the Buddhist University of Nalanda, with 10 000 pupils.
Royal Chitwa National Park
This beautiful spot offers great wildlife experience done by jeep safaris. Spot the extraordinary single-horned Asian Rhinoceros. If you are really lucky, you might even spot leopards and tigers.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
This less visited park is great for peaceful bird and animal spotting. It serves as home to the wild buffalos, deers, crocodiles and dolphins.
is not to be missed on your journey in Nepal! Annapurna base camp is remarkable place with great mountain views.
Nepal is known for some of the best trekking trails in the world. Most treks go through areas at altitude around 1000 to 3000 meters, and some even reach over 5000 meters. There are three regions famous for teahouse trekking in Nepal: Annapurna (3 to 28 days), Everest (6 to 30 days) and Langtang/Gosainkunda/Helambu (5 to 18 days) and between these regions. For some of the treks, you’ll need to get a permit beforehand. It is always good to think about weather conditions while planning your trekking trip. On December and January the weather is clear, but cold.
When planning your trek, remember to get an insurance that covers the rescue flights in mountain region. KILROY's Gouda Super is a good option.
Canoeing along the Rapti river in Royal Chitwan National Park is a worthy experience. If you want something easier, Mountain flights offer an amazing scenic experience of Himalayan range, organized from Kathmandu airport.
Please read more about the many tours in Nepal here.
Nepal’s festival calendar
The Dasai festival in October is the biggest of all festivals in Nepal. Be prepared to see some animal sacrifices and other local festivities.
When to go
August to October is the Tourist Season, so the best time to go might be from March to April. May is unbearably hot and dusty, and the monsoon rain hits the country from June to September, turning the trails and roads muddy. The coldest time is December to January. During this time you’ll need a winter sleeping bag in cheaper hostels.
There’s no train network, but you can use buses. They run from Varanasi and Delhi in India to Kathmandu. There are five border crossing places between Nepal and Tibet, the Kodari crossing is only open to organized groups, not to individual travelers. Make a plan B, as landslides during the monsoon can stop you from using this road. Check if the bus company is safe, because some of them are pretty dangerous. Since roads are in many places poor condition, the bus traffic is irritatingly slow. You can also hire a car with a local driver or use taxis or rickshaws. Notice that the traffic is leftsided. Bike riding has become more popular recently. You can rent one in major cities.
Katmandu’s airport is the country’s only international airport.
All foreigners need a visa, which is best to get in advance.
The military conflicts between the government and Maoist ended in 2006, but the stability of the country is vague. Avoid any public demonstrations. It’s recommended to follow the news. Violent crime towards tourists is not common, but be aware of pickpockets, avoid walking alone after dark.
Check out current road conditions, landslides are common. The water in Kathmandu is nearly lethal! Always filter and boil your water.
About trekking permits etc. Nepal Tourism Boardista (Tourist Service Center, Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, puh. +977-1-4256909/4256229, [email protected], www.welcomenepal.com).