Top Things to Do in NEPAL:
Wedged in between India and China is the small, beautiful country called Nepal. Nepal is the one stop destination for the adventure junkies, spiritual souls, nature lovers and more. From scaling high mountains to wildlife sanctuaries to rich cultural and religious places - Nepal is the total package. The one other thing Nepal is famous for is their warm and friendly locals. The country does not only boast a diverse landscape but also equally diverse adventure activities like kayaking, mountaineering, and paragliding. Also filled with shrines, monasteries, and fluttering prayer flags, Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha. The spiritual energy of this place attracts tourists for rejuvenation or for some sort of awakening.
Mountaineering in Nepal
The best time to tour Nepal is during the autumn months, i.e. between September and November. With the summer just ending and winter setting in December, the autumn months are the best time for the mountaineers to climb as the climate is pleasant and mountains are clearer and visible. Autumn is the peak tourist season in Nepal and it is better to book everything at least 2 or 3 months in advance. Nepal is indeed a small country, but the experiences and places it has to offer are a lot more than one can imagine. Here are some of the many time- worthy and must-do things in Nepal:
1) Chitwan National Park:
Chitwan literally means ‘heart of the jungle’ and entering this area you would be exposed to world of thick trees, crocodile beset waters, and into a land of diverse flora and fauna. Situated in southern Nepal, Chitwan National Park is one of the most popular and commercial to-do activities for the tourists. Established in 1973, it was granted the UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1974. It is the home to more than 450 species of birds and many rarities like rhinoceros. There are 68 species of mammals. You can spot animals like Bengal tiger, leopard, striped hyenas, Bengal foxes, honey badgers, jungle cats, and much more. What was once a hunting ground for the upper class society is today a preserved bio diversity and has been managed successfully for over three decades. The best way to explore this place thoroughly is to stay for a three days in one of the resorts inside the park itself. You can either go for a safari or trek through the grasslands and hills.
Chitwan National Park is very popular for the tourists
2) Explore Pokhara:
This second largest city in Nepal is what you would call a perfect place to recharge your batteries and would definitely feature in your top 10 favourite cities in the world list. It is filled with eye popping sceneries and delightful activities. Pokhara is the starting point for many treks and trials. It is the popular gateway for the famous Annapurna circuit trek. It is also known for its caves, lakes, and mountains. Pokhara has some of the most beautiful lakes in Nepal. This lakeside city offers trekking, boating, paragliding, rafting, driving off into the mountains, and so much more soul cleansing activities. Taking a boat ride in the middle of the night in Phewa Lake is one of the many romantic moments you can catch yourself in Pokhara. Some of the places to visit here are: International Mountain Museum, Poon hill, Peace temple, Bat Cave, Gurkha Memorial Museum, and Devi’s falls.
Pokhara has some of the most beautiful lakes in Nepal
3) Unwind in Lumbini:
This birthplace of Buddha is the perfect place for some meditation and self-reflection. Take a short, one day stopover and pause your adventure to soak in all that this place has to offer—serenity and tranquillity. You can learn about the roots of Buddhism and about the life of revered Buddha. The best way to explore this place is to hire bikes and just ride around visiting many temples, monasteries, and beautiful gardens. Here are some things to see in Lumbini: Ashoka Pillar, Lumbini Museum, Japan Peace Stupa, and many Buddhist temples.
Lumbini is the birthplace of Buddha
4) Experience a sensory riot in Kathmandu:
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, has just about enough to exhaust you to your toes. It is hard to miss the vibrant, upbeat, active energy in the air and it won’t be long before you will be pulled into the hustle of the city. Kathmandu is one of those places where every corner, every building, every turn calls for your attention. It’s a circus where everything makes your eyes pop. There enough adventure, culture, and history to tingle all your interests. Some of the must see places in Kathmandu are: Durbar Square, Pashupathinath Temple, Hanuman Dhoka, Swayambhunath, Asan Tole, and Garden of Dreams.
Monks in Pashupathinath Temple
Kathmandu has some for the adventure junkies too. You can trek in the Kathmandu Valley; go on a mountain flightseeing where you get to go on a one hour flight ride and see the overview of all the mountains in Nepal like Annapurna, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Ganesh Himal, Lhotse, Mansalu and many more. Nepal has some of the best trekking trails but for people who can’t trek for long distances these one hour mountain flights is the best way to satiate your love for heights. There is a Bungee jumping spot located three hours east of Kathmandu is the third highest jump in the world.
5) Conquer the Annapurna circuit:
Nepal’s Annapurna circuit is regarded as one of the beautiful treks in the world. The jaw- dropping scenes are an absolute delight worth all the physical exhaustions you put yourself through. Trekking to the Annapurna base camp starts from Phokara and takes around 8 days. From then on it takes around two weeks to complete the trek. Every time you turn your head you will be seeing tantalizing views of towering mountains. Throughout this trek you will go through valleys, mossy trees, and ice cold waterfalls. The highest elevation at this trek is 5,416m. You can also go through Annapurna sanctuary in the course of this trek.
Trekking along the Annapurna circuit
6) River rafting in Bhote Koshi River:
Being a mountainous country, Nepal is the best place for some adventurous white water rafting and kayaking. The Bhote Koshi River is best known for offering short river trips and 2 day rafting packages. When rafting is accompanied by scintillating views of mountain ranges and pine trees, it makes the experience even more beautiful and exciting. Bungee jumping is another sport that is popular in this river area. Standing on the edge above the deepest gorges of Bhote Koshi is one of the moat exhilarating feelings you could ever experience. You get to jump from an elevation of 3,600ft making it one of the highest natural jumps.
River rafting in Bhote Koshi River
7) Skydive from the Everest:
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Everest Sky Diving is one of the best extreme adventure sport provided in Nepal. You get to go higher than Mt. Everest, i.e. up to 29,500ft and skydive from the plane to the base camp or Syangboche airport. You can either jump solo or jump in a group. The mountain views, native settlements, reflective lakes, and the Everest snow-capped mountains, seeing all these while flying down is the craziest adventure you can ask for.
Skydive from the Everest
8) Namche Bazaar madness:
Namche bazaar is the gateway for Everest and many other Himalayan peaks. It is point used to acclimatize to the altitude. If you can climb Everest, visiting this place would sure give a taste of Everest. You will see sherpas and trekkers swarming the village. You will find dozens of travellers’ lodgings and the main bazaar selling electronic goods and agricultural products. The market is also a good place to buy some souvenirs representing the ‘Khumbu Life.’ While you are there you can visit Namche monastery, museum of Sherpa life, or trek the Tengboche trial, hike for 20mins to the Sagarmatha National Park, go to Gokyo valley to look at the crystal clear lakes, or simply go to the Everest base camp to feel the thrill of the mountains.
The people in Namche Bazaar are selling electronic goods and agricultural products
9) Langtang trek:
Langtang is one of those off grid places that hasn’t become commercialized and visited by many tourists yet. With great local food, amazing tea houses, and breath taking mountain views, Lang Tang will not be a disappointment. Situate less than 10km from Kathmandu it is a perfect trek for someone who prefers shorter and low altitude treks. The rural landscape rose tree forests, dense bamboo trees, and scenic views of Annapurna ranges make this trek a fairly good alternative for people who cannot trek Everest.
Trekking in Langtang
10) Get artsy in Patan:
The city of Patan is known for its artistic traditions and a long standing, well preserved history. It is famous for its brilliantly sculptured artistic goods and beautiful architecture. It is home to great many temples compared to Kathmandu or Bhaktapur. The history of Patan dates way back to when the corners of the city were marked by stupas. Some of the popular places to visit are Golden Temple and Kumbheshwar Temple. Do not miss visiting Patan Museum in Malla royal palace which has more than 200 statues of deities. The red- bricked courtyard, golden doors and windows are the highlights of the museum.
Patan Durbar Square
Top Things to Do in TIBET:
Are you yearning for that feeling of being on top of the world, like literally? Tibet is your answer. It is located in the northern side of Himalayas and the reason why it is called ‘Roof of the World’ is the presence of numerous towering mountains in the region. Tibet is the highest region on Earth with an average elevation of 4,900 meters, harbouring three of the world’s top 5 highest summits: Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. In Tibet there are mountains to be conquered, roads to be taken, rivers to be crossed and sacred lakes to be appreciated. There really is no dearth of things to do in Tibet.
We are all different and Tibet has something in store for everybody. Tibet is for the spiritualists, the adventurers, the wanderers; it is for the birdwatchers, the photographers, the architects; it is for the experimentalists, the foodies, the spiritual souls. Tibet is for beautiful memories, for meaningful moments, for religious awakening. Tibet is for those who want to feel and be closest to the sky. You might have a thousand reasons to get out of your home to travel and Tibet will satisfy every one of those reasons. The best time to travel to Tibet is spring and autumn months, i.e. April to October. Here are some of the activities and things you can do in Tibet.
1) Marvel at Potala Palace:
The Potala Palace
Potala Palace is known as the house of treasures. It is called so because of the mountain of articles and materials talking about the Tibetan history, art, culture, and religion. The red and white walls, golden gates shining in the sunlight, and the bluest of the blue skies background makes this place quite iconic. It is at the centre of Lhasa and is pretty hard to miss. Potala palace is not just majestic at the day time; it is equally marvellous at the night time too. At night, the palace is outlined and decorated with lot of lights giving a clearer perspective of the architecture. To get a full of the palace from the top, you can trek the Chikpori Hill or Tibet Peaceful Liberation Square. The Chikpori Hill is just adjacent to the palace and it is a short trek to the top. From here you can see an unobstructed view of the palace. During the evenings, in Tibet Peaceful Liberation Square you can see and experience the native dances that people like to perform in the square.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: 4 Days Lhasa Small Group Tour - Wandering in Sunlight City
2) Hike around Namtso Lake:
Namtso Lake is one of the three holy lakes of Tibet. From Lhasa it takes about five hours to reach Namtso. Here are some of the superlatives attached to Namtso: it is the highest saltwater lake in the world at an altitude of 4,178m and second largest saltwater lake in China. Namtso is a spiritual retreat for the vagabonds, it is a paradise for nature lovers, and a place worthy of every photographer’s attention. En route to Namtso Lake from Lhasa is also a treat to the eyes. Driving along are the beautiful ranges of Nyainqentanglha ranges. Namtso literally means ‘the heavenly lake’ and that’s how it looks when you look across the river, into the endless snow-capped mountain ranges. You can hike on the Tashi Peninsula to view the sunrise and sunset at Namtso Lake. The prayer flags, the pilgrims, endless mountains, pristine blue water, the sudden gushes of strong wind al make the experience at Namtso Lake a refreshing one.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: 6 Days Essences of Lhasa and Lake Namtso Small Group Tour
3) Shop in Barkhor Street:
Barkhor Street is the treasure trove of Tibetan culture items to buy
Barkhor Street is the treasure trove of Tibetan culture items to buy. From prayer flags to tea kettles to Yak butter you can find everything there. You can bargain with the vendors for a good deal. Barkhor Street is situated surrounding the Jokhang Temple. So while you are there you can also visit the Jokhang Temple. It is one of the holiest destinations for pilgrims in Tibet. The architecture of this temple is also unique with a mixture of Han, Tibet, Nepal, and Indian influences. It also has the Buddhist mandala influences. You will be able to see the intense devotion of the locals and get a peek into the religious life of the Tibetans.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: 4 Days Best of Lhasa Tour - Discover the Holy City
4) Relax in Yamdrok Lake:
Yamdrok Lake is known for the snow melted crystal blue water
Another one of the three holy lakes of Tibet, Yamdrok Lake is known for this snow melted crystal blue water. At an altitude of 4,500m, this fresh water lake has different views of blue when viewed from one of the high points in the hills around the lake. The legend has it that the Yamdrok Lake is a transformation of a goddess. Yamdrok is known for the presence of diverse avian life and for fishing. The pilgrims walk around the lake as an act of devotion. The lake is about 100km from Lhasa and takes around 3-4hrs to reach. You can take pictures with the yaks and Tibetan mastiffs in the lake area.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: 5 Days Lhasa and Turquoise Yamdrok Lake Tour
5) Visit Tashilunpo Monastery:
This monastery is one of the most important monasteries in the Tibetan history and culture. Situated in the western side of Shigatse, it covers an area of about 150,000sq.m.with 57 halls and 36,000 rooms. The main attractions in this monastery are as follows: the future Buddha statue which is the largest gold glided bronze statue. The statue is 62.6m high sitting on a 3.8m high lotus. The statue is embedded with pearls, diamonds, corals, ambers, and turquoises. It took almost 4 years to complete this statue. Then there is Panchen Lamas Palace, where successive Panchen Lamas live. The entire palace is not accessible for the tourists only the few halls in the front area of the palace. There are also stupas of Panchen Lamas. There a small hillside, you can climb it to get a full view of the monastery and Shigatse.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour
6) Unwind in Everest Base Camp:
Everest Base Camp
If climbing the Everest is not possible for you due to physical or financial reasons, you can always get the taste of Everest by driving to the EBC. There are two base camps in total for Everest, one in Tibet and one in Nepal. The Tibetan EBC is about 800km from Lhasa and is at an elevation of 17,000ft. If you want to stay the night in EBC you need a climbing permit, there are many guest house type tents to stay the night. This area also houses the world’s highest post office and highest situated Monastery in the world. It is the Rongphu/ Rongbuk Monastery. Climbing the rocky steps to reach the monastery is a tiring task. But once you step onto the grounds, the view of the monastery with the Everest Mountains as a backdrop is one of the breath taking views you can see. You can stay in the monastery for a quiet night, with no heat, no electricity, and no modern amenities to experience how monks live like in that monastery.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: Everest Tours - Exploration to Everest Base Camp
7) Travel in the Qinghai-Tibet Railway:
Travelling in the Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Instead of flight, you can enter Tibet by hopping on in the engineering marvel Qinghai-Tibet railway. The route is famous for its amazing and scintillating views it offers en route to Lhasa. You will see Qinghai Lake, Tanggula pass, Kunlun Mountains, Salt Lake, Hoh Xil pastures, Bird Island and much more. The train is super comfortable with oxygen circulation, toilets, TV, soft sleepers, food, and all other necessary amenities. There are few parts in the journey where you will feel like you are literally just rolling into heaven. Riding in the highest railway in the world has plenty of eye popping, cameras shuttering moments.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: Tibet Train Tours from China
8) Visit Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon:
Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon
It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tibet where the Himalayas, the Hengduan Range, and the Nyainqentanglha Ranges all come together. This is called the ‘Everest of Rivers’ noting its challenging waters and high altitude. Many adventurers explore this place by kayaking. Yarlung Tsangpo when translated means ‘water from the summit’ and this place has a very complex ecosystem.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: 6 Days Central Tibet Small Group Tour
9) Camp in Lake Manasarover:
You can camp in Lake Manasarover
Lake Manasarover is one of the holiest lakes in Tibet for Buddhists and Hindus. This lake was once surrounded by eight Buddhist monasteries depicting the circle of life. Most of these structures have now crumbled to the ground, yet many still go there for it dint lose its religious significance. Visitors can both trek around the lake which takes about 4 days to complete or pitch a tent and stay the night to see some epic views and beautiful sunrise in the high fresh water lake.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar Tours
10) See debating Monks at Sera Monastery:
Debating Monks at Sera Monastery
This place is famously known as the home of debating monks. You will often find scenes of senior monks drilling some hard questions to junior monks and shouting to make a point. For young monks this is a part of their training. Although it seems very entertaining for the visitors, the debate is a very crucial and important part of training. You can also find beautiful sand arts, sand mandalas and a lot more.
Most Recommend Tour Itinerary: 5 Days Lhasa and Ganden Monasteries Small Group Tour