NEPAL OUTDOOR TRAVEL GUIDE
The Himalayan mountains and high peaks of Nepal attract hikers and climbers from all around the world. There is terrain for all experience levels, from the 4-night Ghorepani Poon Hill trek for casual hikers to the 2-month journey to the top of Everest for the extreme athletes. Beyond mountaineering, you’ll find Parahawking in Pokhara, momo-making classes in Kathmandu, medieval towns to wander, and Buddhist temples to visit. Though some areas are still in disrepair after the 2015 earthquake most trails are reopened and most affected areas are safe to visit and eagerly await tourists!
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT NEPAL
High season runs October through November, when skies are blue and days are warm. During this time trails are packed with hikers and accommodation prices are high. June through September is the monsoon season, which can bring landslides and closed trails. The optimal time is March through April, when trails will be less trafficked, prices will be lower, and the Rhododendron trees are in bloom.
TOP OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN NEPAL
Hiking – there are day hikes to multi-week journeys throughout Nepal. Local-run tea houses along many of the trails offer an affordable place to sleep and a warm meal at the end of a long day. Pack your hiking boots!
Parasailing + Paragliding – get the best views of the Himalayas from the air! There are endless outfitters to take you up for a flight.
Parahawking – feed birds of prey while paragliding next to them. You certainly won’t find this activity elsewhere.
River Rafting – whitewater raft by day, camp and barbeque along the water’s edge by night. The 9-day trip along the Sun Kosi is a favorite, though there are many more river routes to choose from.
Jungle Adventures – Chitwan National park in south-central Nepal offers travelers exposure to rare animals like rhinos and the Bengal tiger.
Historic Sites – there are endless historic and cultural organized tours to join, or lace up your sneakers and explore on your own.
GETTING TO NEPAL
Fly into Kathmandu. Buses, luxury and local, are available from there. Taxis are easy to come by in cities and are an affordable way to get around, some can even be hired for the day (negotiate a fee in advance). Domestic flights are quick and available to all over the country, but are often delayed due to weather.
TOP NEPAL TOWNS TO EXPLORE
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal, tucked in the Kathmandu Valley surrounded by mountains. It’s a chaotic and exciting city to explore en foot – wander through narrow corridors packed with rickshaws, explore the street markets, duck into little restaurants, pick up gifts (pashminas in every color), and take in the energy of the city.
Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal, tucked along the edge of Phewa Lake 200km from Kathmandu. It’s the hub of Nepal’s outdoors activities and the kickoff for Annapurna Circuit treks. If you’re not lacing up your hiking boots, you can keep busy canoeing on the lake, walking up to the World Peace Pagoda, or relaxing with a massage.
Bhaktapur is one of Nepal’s medieval cities, replete with temples and pagodas you can explore on a half-day walking tour. For a few dollars you can hire a local guide for an insider’s historic and cultural tour. Try the fresh yak milk yogurt, a local specialty.
EVEREST BASECAMP YOUTUBE VLOG
NATIONAL PARKS IN NEPAL
OTHER MUST-SEE NEPAL DESTINATIONS
If you’re a trekker Everest Base Camp is probably on your bucket list. It takes the average person 12 days to reach camp. The view and bragging rights are worth the sweat!
The 128-mile Annapurna Circuit is one of the world’s most popular treks because it offers terrain and distances for all hiking levels. Expect 5-7 hours of hiking for 17-21 days if completing the full circuit.
Visit the Swayambhunath Temple, aka the Monkey Temple, in Kathmandu at sunrise to catch the morning routine – locals pray and leave offerings, while monkeys munch on sweets and fruits. The view of the city at the top is well worth the ten-minute hike up.
Travelers that want a taste of trekking in Nepal, but have limited time hit the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek. This is a 4-night trek with tea houses along the way and hits a max elevation of 3,210 meters. The early morning hike up to Poon Hill to catch the sunrise over Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh highest mountain, is the icing on the cake.
A visit to Swapna Bagaicha, or the Garden of Dreams, will be a breath of fresh air in the midst of Kathmandu’s noise and bustle. Come with a book or a picnic to really soak in the atmosphere.
Many tourists stay in the Thamel region of Kathmandu, since it offers some Western comforts, like menus in English, shops selling the outdoor gear you forgot to pack, cafes with Wifi and even a yoga studio or five.
Hike from Pokhara early morning to reach the top of Sarangkot for sunrise and a breathtaking view of the Annapurna Mountain Range.
Learn how to make momo, Nepali dumplings, with a local through Backstreet Academy.