Incredible Himalayan views, snowy peaks, golden temples, wild jungle life and beautiful hill villages all combine to form the trekker’s paradise, Nepal. Nepal is in South Asia and boasts ten of the highest peaks on Earth. Just another reason why Nepal is among the most frequently visited destinations for adventure lovers.
Here you can do some of the Himalayas most incredible and accessible hiking trails up to Mount Everest. Beyond the mountains, Nepal in itself is amazingly lush and diverse and has a wide variety of things to offer its visitors. Nepal is a dream destination for backpackers, flashpackers and luxury vacationers alike. The only problem that you might face when traveling to Nepal is how to fit everything into just one single trip because just one trip to Nepal is never going to be enough.
Nepal Travel Info
Language: Nepali is the official language of Nepal, spoken with around 120 variations within the country. English is however spoken and understood by most of the locals you meet during your trek. There might be some sherpas who have a difficulty speaking English but most can understand more than they can speak.
Currency: Nepalese Rupee.
Visa: The country has made entry for foreign travelers pretty easy. You can get a visa on arrival at the International Airport at Kathmandu. Multiple entry visas are available for 15, 30 and 90 days. The fee can be paid in foreign currency, preferably USD. The primary requirement is a passport valid for the next six months and with an entire blank page available for the visa.
Electricity: Nepal operates on a 220V voltage with a frequency of 50Hz. Power sockets are of two or three round prongs and are compatible with European plugs. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to buy a new one for other countries you visit in future.
Holi or Fagu Poornima: ‘The festival of colors’ is possibly the most famous (and photogenic) festival due to all the colored powder that gets thrown around. If you experience Holi then expect to get covered in color! The festival of colors takes place between February and March and is the liveliest festival of the country. People celebrate the victory of Prahlad (a devotee of Lord Vishnu) over Holika.
Dashain: Dashain is one of the most important festivals in Nepal as the majority of Nepal’s people are Hindu. The festival is also celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil. The festival continues for 15 days during which families worship the nine avatars of Goddess Durga and Astha-Matrikas. On the tenth day, people put Tika and Jamaras, and elders bless the youngsters. The last day is a full moon day called ‘Kojagrata’ Purnima.
Teej: This Hindu festival is celebrated for three days by women in October. Married women fast for the long life and affluence of their husbands on the first day. The next two days are spent in Puja to appease Lord Shiva. Singing and dancing is the essence of the festival and women clad in red saris and beautiful jewelry.
Safety In Nepal
Safety is a concern for most people traveling to Nepal. The usual pick-pocketing, bag-snatching and other scams to take advantage of travelers are common here so always keep your wits about you. Women travelers should take care to dress appropriately and be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Some parts of Nepal are dangerous so do your research before you go and avoid these places. Based on many years of solo travel around south Asia I would never leave home without travel insurance. I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you before you leave.
Amazing Things To Do In Nepal
Trekking the Himalayas
Whether you’re a trekking person or not, if you are in Nepal you cannot leave the country without experiencing one of their many trekking trails and Nepal has a path for everyone. If you’re short of time, you have the option to take a shorter trail like the Poon Hill trek that can be completed in four to five days. On the other hand, the Annapurna Circuit passes through beautiful tea houses and mountain villages giving you a peep into the lives of the locals.
Explore the History and Vibrancy of Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and the place where most travelers come to take a break from trekking. It’s a hot spot for handicrafts and exotic art. It also houses seven heritage sites of the world and is known for vibrant art and preserving the architecture of a civilization dating back centuries. Wander around Durbar Square, enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city life, appreciate the intricate handicrafts and ancient temples and get to know the other side of Nepal.
Kathmandu valley has some outdoor activities to offer it’s visitors. Here you can explore lush green hills, rich natural landscapes and the beauty of the outskirts. The valley has short hikes like Nagarkot hike, Champa Devi hike, Chisapani hike, and Nagarjuna hike that are incredibly famous. Enjoy the spectacular sunrise and sunset over the mountains while you hike these gentle hills near the city.
Mountain Flight to Everest
Your trip to Nepal is incomplete without a thrilling mountain flight. Since the country boasts the ten highest mountains in the world, it is a golden opportunity to take a short trip to get a glimpse of the highest peaks in the world. I am sure you are going to enjoy the spectacular view from a height as you glide over the large Himalayan regions. Witness the snowcapped mountains without putting in any physical effort.
Buddhism is a popular religion in Nepal, and Kathmandu Valley has some monasteries that are incredibly significant to the culture of Nepal. These monasteries are hundreds of years old and are home to some of the most exquisite statues of Lord Buddha. Some Monasteries in Patan and Kathmandu follow Vajrayana Buddhism, and a few new ones follow Tibetan Buddhism. It is an excellent way to get away from the chaos and relax in peace.
Go on Safari in Chitwan National Park
The Chitwan National Park is one of the unique eco-systems in the world. Rare one horned Rhinos, hyenas, wild elephants, leopards and around 450 species of birds reside here. Either go for a trek in the jungle for days or spend the hours watching hundreds of species of splendid birds, possibly even go for a canoe ride in the river too.
White Water Rafting
Nepal has some of the best white waters that descend from the Himalayas. It is also regarded as the best destination in the world for whitewater rafting and kayaking. So embrace this rare opportunity to experience the thrills of rafting amongst the beautiful mountains, deep gorges, and exotic villages. The most popular rafting river is the Trishuli that will take you across the Chitwan National Park. You can explore the rivers by paddle rafting in a group, by kayaking or canoe all by yourself.
You might like: Five Things I Learned Volunteering In Nepal
If you are an extreme adventure lover, try paragliding from Sarangkot towards Annapurna Mountain range or over the exquisite Pokhara Valley. Paragliding is among the best methods to experience the Himalayas and the mountains. Two paragliding options are available here. You can either take a non-motorized foot-launched inflatable glider or a free-flying foot-launched aircraft. In both the cases, a trained pilot will be present throughout to assist you. If you want to go paragliding alone, you will need to take a ten-day course beforehand.
Read more: Everest Base Camp – How Hard Is It Really?
Sightseeing in Bhaktapur
The city of Bhaktapur has been preserved in its medieval state by the Nepal government. It is the reason behind the prohibition of modern constructions and automobiles in the center of the town. The main highlights of Bhaktapur are Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Royal Palace Plaza, traditional farming and ancient settlements.
Stupas are Buddhist temple designs made up of a white dome, brass canopy, glided spire, prayer flags and prayer wheels. Nepal has nearly a hundred ancient stupas. Among these Boudhanath, Charumati Vihara and Swayambhunath are believed to be almost 2000 years old and are declared world heritage sites by UNESCO.
What To Eat In Nepal
Nepal, like it’s neighbor India, is famous for it’s spicy and delicious cuisine but it’s also famous for giving travelers Delhi Belly. When you eat in Nepal avoid raw foods like salads and fruit (unless they can be peeled), don’t drink tap water and avoid ice in drinks. Street food in Nepal is so tasty you must try it but make sure you go to a popular place where you see the locals eating too. If it’s good enough for the locals then it’s probably safe enough for you. Still, it may be worth packing some probiotics to help yourself digest food you’re not used to.
Food in Nepal is not the home cooked type and in some places utterly weird too with every imaginable part of an animal served in some way or the other. But sticking to the safe varieties, you can find some tasty meals that resemble Indian cuisine to a certain extent.
Momos: Momos are cousins of dumplings and are little pockets stuffed with veggies, meat or cheese served with a spicy sauce. To convert the snack into a meal, you can order the same with fried rice on the side. Beware, you can quickly get addicted to this simple dish and start craving it big time.
Thukpa: Thupka is a traditional hot noodle soup in Nepal that has pieces of meat and veggies in it. It’s a wintery delicacy, warm and comforting, and is extremely popular in the mountain regions. The locals season the meat stock with traditional Nepalese spices that give it a very rare and pleasant aroma and the meat can range from chicken to goat, lamb and even yak.
Sel Roti: Sel roti is something between a bagel and a doughnut but it’s made up of rice flour and is incredibly unique. It’s sweet and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The bread is deep fried and is a perfect breakfast or snack. Sel Roti is usually consumed during religious festivals served with yogurt and vegetables on the side or can be eaten by itself.
Dal Bhaat: Farming is restricted only to some of the hilly regions in Nepal. The Nepalese substitute the rice with some other grain like barley or cornmeal. Dal Bhaat has crossed the border from Bengal and entered Nepal and has become one of the most loved dishes of the country, some would say it’s Nepal’s national dish. Rice (or a substitute) is put in the center and lentils on the side along with curried dishes, pickle, meat or fish, chutney, and yogurt.
Gorkhalu Lamb: This one is yet another winter favorite curry dish that is filling and intense. Lamb is slow cooked along with potato chunks and roughly chopped onions. To enhance the flavors, this dish of lamb is usually grilled and coated in a mixture of chili and then added to the sauce. The meal is traditionally served with rice and on some occasions with roti.
Where To Stay In Nepal
Finding a place to stay in Nepal is really easy because there are so many great options no matter what your travel budget. Hostel dorms are only just catching on in Nepal but even without the budget dorms Nepal is still an incredibly affordable place to visit.
If you’re traveling to Nepal during peak season or wish to stay in a luxury hotel then it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. Nepal is a popular year-round destination you know.
If you’re traveling to Nepal during peak season it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Jetset Bunny loves Booking.com for this.
If you’re backpacking in Nepal or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Asia very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Nepal Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Nepal
The best time to visit Nepal for warm, dry and sunny weather is between October and March. As Nepal heats up in April and May travel prices begin to drop and you can get some excellent value trips. Monsoon season arrives in May and ends in September and if you’re visiting Nepal during this time expect a lot of torrential rain. The hottest time of the year is in May and June and most travelers choose to visit Nepal during the winter between October and March.
Nepal Travel Budget
Nepal is a highly affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Nepal depends on the comfort level you want while there. If you’re backpacking in Nepal and planning on staying in hostels and eating street food then budget between $20 and $35 a day. If you’re looking to stay in private rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $35 to $100 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants in Nepal then budget about $100 to $250 plus a day. Nepal caters to all travelers no matter what the budget.
- Budget: $2-10
- Mid-range: $10-$30
- Splurge: $30+
Meal For One
- Budget: $0.50-$2.00
- Mid-range: $3-$8
- Splurge: $12-$30
Nepal Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Nepal, like most other places in South Asia, is a breeze because it’s so easy to travel light in hotter climates. In Nepal’s largest city you’ll see a lot of young women wearing western style clothing however people in smaller towns and villages still dress traditionally.
So if you’re traveling to Nepal then it’s necessary to pack clothing that’s lightweight, breathable and conservative. Women travelers in Nepal who choose to wear revealing or figure-hugging clothing may receive unwanted attention and stares. Read What to wear in India: Style Guide for Female Travelers for more information about how to dress while in places like Nepal too.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Nepal include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Nepal check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Southeast Asia Packing List For Women Travelers.