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Things To Do In Nepal
Nestled between India and China, Nepal is a historically and politically significant nation, most widely known for its snow-capped hills, prehistoric culture and long-established traditional hospitality.
When you talk about vacationing in Nepal, the primary thoughts that pop into your head are trekking and sightseeing. But what should not come as a surprise to anyone is that Nepal has so much more to offer than just its spectacular mountain ranges and holy sites. A versatile land with some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, Nepal brings you the best combination of ancient traditions coupled with contemporary attractions. Read on to find out the top things to do to make the most out of your trip in Nepal.
If you are interested in combining your vacation with some well-intended volunteer work, explore your options with WWOOF Nepal, a sister organization of the international World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is a worldwide network that organizes volunteer programs in the field of sustainable agriculture. Simply speaking, you can get in touch with WWOOF to introduce you to local farmers who will hook you up with free accommodation in exchange for a pair of helping hands in performing daily activities like gardening, harvesting, chopping wood, milking etc. It’s the perfect way to save up on lodging expenses while also finding a great opportunity to give back to nature.
A trip to Nepal is incomplete without paying a visit to most, if not all, of its architectural landmarks. Known for its perfect amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist culture, you will find no dearth of structural designs at their finest. Begin your journey by delving into the perfectly proportioned depths of the Boudhanath Stupa, followed by discovering the spiritual epicenter of Lumbini, the Maya Devi Temple, whose claim to fame is being the birthplace of Buddha himself.
Some of the other iconic landmarks you need to see are Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupathinath Temple, Manakamana Temple and Golden Temple (Kwa Bahal) among so many others.
Hunting as a sport may not be for everyone, but if you are someone who loves the chase, the good news for you is that hunting is legal in Nepal.
Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve is a wildlife reserve located in the foothills of the Himalayas, and is home to a wide variety of exotic wildlife like red panda, snow leopard, stags etc. But the only animals you are allowed to hunt are the blue sheep and wild boar. It can, however, be a costly affair since you are required to obtain permission from the Wildlife Conservation Department by paying US $500, and also cover the cost of your travel to the site that may include a helicopter ride.
Explore Traditional Craftsmanship
One of the major things Nepal is known for is their skilled workers and their craftsmanship. Nepal is especially known for its fine Thangka (Painting of Gods), carpet weaving, wood carving, the Himalayan Nepalese paper, and the world-famous knife, Khukuri. You can choose between opting to purchase these beautiful works of art for yourself, or try your own hand at learning the skill of pottery, stone masonry etc. Also, remember to check out Jawalakhel Handicraft Centre, known for its exquisite collection of handmade carpets.
Mount Everest Flight
No article on Nepal is complete without the mention of Mount Everest, and while the best way to enjoy its glory would be to experience it up close, it’s not always everyone’s cup of tea. Take solace in the fact that you can still derive pleasure from enjoying the splendor of the Everest with brilliant aerial views while taking an hour-long private flight between the mountain ranges. The trip is usually accompanied with on-board narration by the pilot to help navigate your senses among the different mountain peaks.
Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park are wildlife sanctuaries that would prove to be a haven for all animal lovers. Collectively, they are home to over 250 species of birds and animals, and also to some of the last populations of one-horned rhinos and Bengal tigers. The best way to spend your time here is to ride a jungle safari jeep or go boating in the Narayani River.
With landscapes as impressive as Nepal’s, you will find an abundance of exciting activities to get your adrenaline rushing. From paragliding, sky-diving or white-water rafting in Pokhara to hiking on the numerous trek-trails on offer all around the Himalayan region, you can try it all. Get in touch with one of the biking clubs that will help you get on a mountain biking trip of your own.
If full-on mountain climbing is a little too extreme for you, you could try out rock-climbing instead on natural climbing spots like Pharping and Nagarjuna, located close to Kathmandu.
Apart from its numerous attractions, Nepal can also be considered a major shopping hub. Indian citizens living along the Nepalese border are known to frequently cross over to the other side to scout for exclusive Nepali markets. Every region of Nepal has its own share of specialty goods; Kathmandu will offer you a range of options, varying from luxury outlets to bargain squares and markets.
If its pottery you’re looking for, don’t forget to visit Bhaktapur; head over to Patan to procure the finest of Nepalese handicrafts and carved-wood articles. One of the best shops worth paying a visit to is Paper Park in Thamel, which sells handmade paper products ranging from notebooks to lanterns, calendars, photo albums and more. Some of the things you should definitely buy to take back as souvenirs with you are - fashionable yet biodegradable hemp bags, Thangka paintings, jewellery, statues and masks.
Eating, Eating and lots of Eating
Nepali cooking might just be one of the most underrated types of cuisine ever. Momos are now famous all over India, but there’s so much more in Nepali food just waiting to be discovered. While you may find a lot of similarities between Indian and Nepali cuisine, what sets it apart is its perfect mix of Indian spices with borrowed influence from neighboring Tibet and China.
If Dal Bhat is too conventional for you, do give delicacies like Thukpa, Sel Roti and Gorkhali Lamb a try. Some of the restaurants worth checking out are Kaiser Café, KC’s Restaurant, Newari Kitchen, Café Concerto etc.