Situated along the Himalayan mountain range between China and India, Nepal is an alluring destination with an array of captivating landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to green valleys and subtropical forests. It’s dotted with ancient temples and monasteries, UNESCO World Heritage sites and national parks, which offer a mixture of outdoor adventures with rich cultural experiences. To experience everything this beautiful country has to offer, read on to discover the best places to visit in Nepal.
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Nepal’s cultural capital, Kathmandu is the entrance point to the country’s array of outdoor adventures. You’ll find an eclectic mix of historic landmarks, temples and shrines as you stroll through its bustling streets. For a dose of culture and stunning views of the area’s natural beauty, make sure to visit the Pashupatinath Temple, the UNESCO-listed site of Boudhanath Stupa, the monkey temple of Swayambhunath and the Kopan Monastery. Sample Nepali cuisine, go shopping at the Thamel area and sign up for a hiking or trekking trip.
Nagarkot is the best place in Nepal to capture stunning views of Himalayan Range without much effort. Located near Bhaktapur in the suburb of Kathmandu Valley, it’s a famed destination for its natural landscapes and beautiful sunsets. Marvel at the views as you’re perched on a high ridge in this small town, or sign up for one of the adrenaline-pumping activities available nearby. You can go trekking, mountain biking or try paragliding if you’re feeling really adventurous.
Nestled next to the scenic Lake Phewa, Pokhara is a laid-back destination full of verdant shorelines, picturesque mountain views and tranquil lakes. Known as the gateway to the Annapurna region, the lakeside city is a popular break with hikers where you’ll find outdoor adventures that range from paddle boat rides to white-water rafting. Visit the temple dedicated to the goddess Barahi Bhagwati, then go on an excursion to see its beautiful waterfalls, underground caves and Valley of Orchids.
One of the three ancient capitals in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur was one of the “Royal Cities” and features rich architecture and an imposing Hindu temple in its well-preserved sites. Explore the city’s vibrant temples and edifices that showcase its unique art at the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. You can pick up a range of souvenirs, from pottery and puppets, masks and cultural handicrafts, while leisurely walks reveal medieval squares, winding streets and artisans weaving cloth and chiseling timber.
Sagarmatha National Park
Adventurous travelers will want to put Sagarmatha National Park at the top of their itinerary, as it is home to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. A hiker’s bucket list item, this park offers views of a dramatic skyline of the Lhotse, Cho Oyo, Nuptse, Thamserku, Pumori and Amadablam mountains in addition to picturesque glaciers and valleys. Wildlife watchers can spot snow leopard, red panda, black bears and Himalayan tahr roaming the unique landscapes full of colorful flora and fauna on their trekking adventures.
The birthplace of Gautam Buddha, who later became the founder of the belief of Buddhism, Lumbini is one of the most important sites in Buddhism and is a must-see stop on your trip to Nepal. To explore the city’s rich history, make sure to visit the Maya Devi Temple, the Lumbini Monastic Site, Royal Thai Monastery and World Peace Pagoda. Whether you’re a theist or not this place will fascinate you, as it’s peaceful ambiance and archaeological finds that date back to 550 B.C. provide an inviting atmosphere.
Patan is one of the three royal cities of Nepal, situated across the Bagmati River from Kathmandu. Known for its rich Newari architecture and wood carvings, it’s a great day trip destination from the capital city where you can spend the afternoon admiring the beauty of its picturesque courtyards, temples and squares. Marvel at the multi-columned facades and gilded spires at Krishna Temple, while the Sundari Chowk boasts a beautiful courtyard with an intricately carved sunken bath at its center.
Chitwan National Park
If wildlife watching is your thing, then Chitwan National Park is a must-see. The UNESCO-listed park is said to be the best place to spot local wildlife, offering a sanctuary for rare and endangered species like the Bengal tiger and one-horned rhinoceros. Adventurous travelers can join a jeep tour or jungle trek to explore the grasslands, marshes and forests. If you’re lucky, you an observe over 500 species of birds, wild elephants, leopards and sloth bears on your excursion.
A pleasant mix of culture, history and religion, Janakpur is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama’s wife, Sita and is where the two got married, which makes it a significant place for Hindu devotees to visit and celebrate their anniversary. Located in south-central Nepal on the Terai plains, the city served as the capital of a millennia-old Indian kingdom. While it is an important Hindu pilgrimage destination, it’s also a great place to explore the rich Maithili culture, visit sacred pools and see the marble-clad Janaki Mandir temple.
Nestled at the foothills of the Mahabharata Range, Dharan is a beautiful city divided into two parts. One side is dotted with banana trees, bamboo-forested hills and small shacks, while the other side boasts a rolling countryside with posh bungalows and a country clubs with a golf course. For a dose of culture, visit the Buddhasubba Temple and Dantakali Temple, then pick up regional delicacies in the main market that divides the two areas or explore the popular tea growing region Dhankuta nearby.
Nepal is known as a trekkers paradise, full of exotic trekking adventures such as the ones found in the Annapurna Region. You’ll find treks that cater to all skill levels and is one of the best spots in the country if you’re looking for an adventure. Hire a guide and go for a full trek on the Annapurna Circuit to fully experience the natural beauty of Nepal’s captivating landscapes high into the Himalayas, across dramatic gorges, through subtropical valleys and over desert plateaus.