Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia with a population of 26.4 million. It is a multi-ethnic nation with Nepali as the official language. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and largest city. Whether scaling the slopes of Mt. Everest or paying homage at the birthplace of the Buddha, a trip to Nepal is a top destination for many travelers. Situated along the Himalayan Mountain range between China and India in South Asia, the country boasts some of the most diverse landscapes on the planet, from snow-capped mountains to subtropical forests. Nepal’s culture is just as varied, filled with centuries-old temples and shrines, a profusion of colorful festivals and plenty of exotic wares to peruse and purchase.
From adrenaline-filled activities like mountaineering, kayaking and paragliding to serene strolls among medieval temples and hidden palaces, this country offers more memorable travel experiences than can be squeezed into a single visit. An overview of the best places to visit in Nepal:
1: Kathmandu Valley
#1 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
The country’s cultural capital, Kathmandu is the place where most adventures in Nepal begin, as all flights from overseas land in the city’s airport. A crowded metropolis of more than 1 million inhabitants, Kathmandu is a chaotic mix of tourist shops, trekking agencies, hotels, restaurants, religious sites and artisan workshops. The city’s famous Durbar Square is still undergoing restoration after the recent earthquakes, but there are many intact sites well worth exploring. Set atop a forested hill, the ancient Buddhist complex of Swayambhunath is a can’t-miss attraction that offers sweeping views of the Kathmandu Valley.
2: Khumbu Region
#2 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
Each year, the determination to trek to the summit of Mt. Everest brings thousands of adventurous travelers to Khumbu, the Everest Region located in northeastern Nepal. The journey begins at the Lukla airstrip where a clear two-lane trail eventually leads hikers to Everest Base Camp. Located primarily within the Sagarmatha National Park, Khumbu is home to the Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar where most expeditions to the mountainous peaks are staged. The country’s foremost Buddhist center, the Tengboche Monastery, (Which is famous for family holidays to Everest Region) located in the Khumbu region. There’s a variety of comfortable accommodations available at the monastery, many of which offer stunning views of the tallest mountain on the planet.
3: Annapurna Circuit
#3 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
The Annapurna Circuit in northwest Nepal offers hikers an outdoor experience nonpareil. Showcasing the varied landscapes of the Annapurna Region, the classic trek leads travelers high into the Himalayas, across plunging gorges, over desert plateaus and through lush subtropical valleys dotted by terraced farms. The trek also passes by many religious sites and quaint villages. Starting just east of Pokhara, the journey takes about three weeks to complete though many trekkers walk half of it by flying out at Jomsom Airport. There is also the shorter but no less beautiful Annapurna Sanctuary Trek that takes around 8 to 12 days. Its one of the most popular treks in Nepal with lodges and tea stops at hourly intervals or less, until the highest sections at least.
4: Pokhara Valley
#4 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
With its tranquil lakes, verdant shorelines and mountain views, Pokhara is a popular resort destination for travelers from around the world. Known as the gateway to the Annapurna region in northwest Nepal, the lakeside city offers respite to weary hikers, and provides opportunities for outdoor adventures too, ranging from leisurely paddle-boat rides to white-water rafting. The largest of Pokhara’s three lakes, Phewa Lake is lined with luxury hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. The lake also features an island with a temple dedicated to the goddess Barahi Bhagwati where ceremonies are held nearly every weekend.
5: Chitwan National Park
#5 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
One of the best wildlife-viewing destinations in Asia, the Chitwan National Park in south-central Nepal offers needed sanctuary for rare and endangered species like the Bengal tiger and one-horned rhinoceros. The chance for a close-up look at exotic wildlife, including elephants, leopards, Indian bison, rhinoceros and sloth bears, is the park’s greatest attraction. In addition to jeep tours, visitors can experience the park through jungle treks, elephant rides and canoe rides. Luxury lodging is available at the edge of the park, and the nearby village of Sauraha offers affordable accommodation.
#6 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
Perfect for travelers who want to experience the beauty and majesty of the Himalayas without arduous physical activity, Nagarkot is best known for the views it offers of the mountains and the Kathmandu Valley. Perched on a high ridge to the northeast of Bhaktapur, the village of around 4,500 inhabitants commands views of eight Himalayan ranges. There’s a variety of appealing hotels in every price range in Nagarkot, many of which are located within walking distance of the Nagarkot view tower, known as the best place to visit in Nepal to view the sun rising over the Himalayas.
7: Thamel Area
#7 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
Thamel Area is the best among the Nepal tourist places to buy clothes, jewelry, accessories, and souvenirs. Street shopping can be enjoyed while browsing at a variety of interesting knick knacks.
Key attractions: Newari style design, silk, jewelry, pashmina, embroidered jacket, accessories, and souvenirs
8: Bardia National Park: The Jungle Book
#8 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
Bardia National Park is one of Nepal’s best kept secrets. Located in the Terai region it is Nepal’s largest national park and wilderness area, protecting 968 km² of sal forest, grassland, savannah and riverine forest. On the west side it’s bordered by the Karnali River and it’s bisected by the Babai River in the Bardiya District. The foot of the Siwalik Hills marks the northern boundary of the park. It’s not overrun by tourists and there are excellent opportunities to spot endangered species of wildlife. The king of Bardia is the Bengal tiger. The tiger population is slowly increasing and counts around 50 to 60 animals. But Bardia is also the habitat for the wild Asian elephant and the greater one-horned rhinoceros. Add seasonings of thrill and adventure with a dash of daring attitude at Bardia National Park for your honeymoon in Nepal. Spend few fun filled days with the wild habitat in Asia’s largest stretches of tiger habitat.
#9 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
Located in south-central Nepal on the Terai plains, Janakpur was once the capital of a millennia-old Indian kingdom known as Mithila, and the Maithili culture still thrives here. Hindus believe Janakpur is the place where Lord Ram wed Sita, also known as Janaki, and thousands of Hindus from all over the world flock to the temple of Janaki Mandir each year to celebrate the anniversary of their marriage. With its three-story construction and 60 rooms, the massive 19th-century marble structure is the largest temple in Nepal. Janakpur is known for the more than 100 sacred pools and ponds scattered around the tranquil city as well.
#10 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
Crowds of Buddhist pilgrims are an everyday sight in Lumbini, the traditional birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, Lord Buddha. With archeological finds that date back to around 550 B.C., the legendary site attracts scholars, scientists and curious visitors as well. It was here that Buddha’s mother, Maya Devi, gave birth near a tree in the garden, which is now a temple bearing her name. Set in the center of a small park designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, the complex also features multiple monasteries, sacred ponds, meditation centers and cultural facilities.
11: Upper Mustang
#10 of Best Places To Visit In Nepal
Mustang: Mustang is situated at the northernmost part of the country. Mustang is divided into two main parts that are the Upper mustang and the lower mustang. Upper mustang is famous among trekkers and adventure and thrill seekers whereas lower mustang is famous for it’s natural beauty. Mustang is also where the Kaligandaki river originates from, which is the second deepest gorge of the country. The river drains the rocky soil and highlands of mustang and flows towards south of the country. This gorge is another attraction of Mustang.