4 Must-Visit Places In Nepal

October 28, 20190 Comments

Nestled in between India, Tibet and China, Nepal is best known for its striking mountainous regions, its temples and monasteries, and its beautiful handmade goods that make for great travel souvenirs. Home to 8 of the 10 highest peaks in the world, it’s a perfect location for those looking to trek over the towering mountains, and those who just want to soak up a little bit of culture.

With breath-taking architecture and a wide range of goods worth buying for your suitcase – from tea to unique clothing – you really are in for a treat if you find yourself here. However, there is more to this fabulous country than trekking and gift-buying, and there are plenty of ways to fill up your days in Nepal. We’ve noted down 4 of the must-see places for eager travellers.

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#1: Visit Kathmandu

Kathmandu is home to over a million people, and is (unfortunately) often overlooked by those travelers who simply head to the country to visit Mount Everest. However, this shouldn’t be a location that you treat as, well, just a place with an airport, because there are a lot of things worth seeing in Nepal’s bustling capital.

A great place to begin is Swayambhunath Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple. Perfectly situated on top of a hill in Kathmandu Valley, it boasts panoramic views of the vibrant city below and is a truly stunning building. It is renowned for being an important symbol of interfaith relations, as the Buddhist temple incorporates Hindu imagery, too.

Elsewhere, Thamel is a hotspot for backpackers and locals alike, and is well-known for its buzzing nightlife. You can grab some mouth-watering Nepalese food here, chill out beside a fountain in the Garden of Dreams, or visit some shops and bars. Whatever you do, be sure to spend an evening in the area!

#2: Trek to Everest Base Camp

Let’s be real here, you have to be a real adrenaline junkie (and a really strong person – both physically and mentally) to get to the summit of Everest, and few people make this a part of their travel itinerary. However, you don’t need to head all the way to the peak of the mountain to enjoy the stunning views here, and to feel like, well, you’ve accomplished something great.

Situated on the border between Tibet and Nepal, the best trek that you can opt for is to Everest Base Camp through the Khumbu Valley, which is, of course, on the Nepalese side of the mountain. The trek takes the average person around 12-14 days, but despite the duration, it’s important to remember that the route is perfectly suitable for most abilities (if you’re generally fit!).

If you’re a little nervous about going solo, then it may be a good idea to book a tailor-made Nepal backpacking tour so that you can go with a guide who knows what they’re doing. Whilst you can do it alone, it’s good to know that you’re with somebody who knows the local area well, and it gives you that added bit of safety and security should you need it whilst you’re there.

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#3: Take part in a retreat at Kopan Monastery

Sitting on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Kopan Monastery is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. Located on the top of a hill offering beautiful views of the city (again, sorry for those who aren’t big fans of trekking), it is home to 360 monks and teachers who practice Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, and is certainly a spiritual haven.

Whilst you can partake in a tour here, there are plenty of other ways to fill your time, too. In fact, there are many retreats and courses at Kopan Monastery, but be warned: this isn’t a place where you can just come and chill out for a while, it’s serious Buddhist stuff. They offer more relaxed retreats, but the ‘strict’ schedule offers students four sessions of Tibetan Buddhist practice per day.

Of course, you can opt out of the heavy spiritual side if you’d prefer to just check out the monastery, although it’s important to be aware that it is closed at some points throughout the week (at the moment, it’s only open on Saturdays). If you do make it here, you’ll be glad that you get to see the beautiful combination of Eastern and Western architecture, and it certainly is a sight to behold!

#4: Marvel at Tilicho Lake

In the Annapurna range of the Himalayas, some 4,919 metres above sea level, sits Tilicho Lake. Referred to as the highest lake in the world, it does take a while to get there, but needless to say, it is incredibly worthwhile. Though this can also take over 14 days, you’ll meet the interesting local people who live on the route, and you’ll get unmatched views of the beautiful mountain peaks.

This is a perfect opportunity for those who want to soak up the culture of the local villages on the way, as well as being able to get some exercise in and see the wonderful sights that Nepal has to offer. On top of this, it is not a tourist trap like Everest, so you’ll be able to get a more authentic experience if you decide to head here.

Of course, the lake is a stunning sight in itself, and is the experience that everybody came for. Its breath-taking blue waters, surrounded by snow dusted mountain peaks, make it a picture perfect view, and it’s the brilliant reward for the energy that you’ve put into the trek. Aah, the wonderful natural beauties of Nepal!

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So…If you’re thinking of heading to Nepal, then, well, we don’t blame you. From soaking up the culture in the bustling Kathmandu, to enjoying the Buddhist history of Kopan Monastery, or trekking to Everest Base Camp or Tilicho Lake, there are many ways to enjoy all that Nepal has to offer, as well as meeting some brilliant, interesting people along the way. If this isn’t on your bucket list right now, then it definitely should be!

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