When you think of Nepal, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Let me help you, greenery, mountains, trekking, Sherpas, yaks, mountain lakes? What else?
Located between India and China, Nepal is a small beautiful country. Influenced by the cultures around it, Nepal is an exotic amalgamation of diversities.
My list could go on. But to say the least, I could summarize 23 reasons you must visit Nepal. So the next time you ask, ‘Why Nepal?, ask yourself, ‘Why not?’.
1. Adventure Hub
For all you adrenaline junkies out there, Nepal is the smallest country that has the largest number of activities. Whether you are traveling solo or with your partner, Nepal has it all.
You can go alone for the more ambitious ventures. From mountain biking, bungee jumping (160 meters), rock climbing, white-water rafting (in the most challenging rivers), to Everest skydiving and ultra-light flight.
Or even if you’re with family, no worries. Nepal will keep your kids occupied with countless activities it has to offer. They will love a little trekking, hiking, paragliding, rafting, zip-flying/lining and rock climbing.
If you are someone who enjoys thrill with adrenaline, Nepal is perfect.
Lukla is a village in Nepal, where most people fly, to start the climb to Everest Base Camp. The popular Tenzing Hillary Airport there is rated as one of the most extreme airports in the world!
And if all that does not thrill you enough, you could try ice climbing in Langtang Valley, Annapurna Sanctuary. Use ice picks and scale vertically up a frozen waterfall!
2. Impressive Topography
Stretching only 800 kilometers almost parallel to the Himalayan axis, Nepal is the only country in the world with a drastic elevation change.
Nepal elevates from 59 meters to over 8,848 meters above sea level within a width of just 140 kilometers.
With such a topography, the physiographic regions range from tropical forests in the south to the snow-capped Himalayas in the north.
So, within this small country, you will experience everything from the flat farmlands of Terai, to the Siwalik Hills, the Middle Mountain, High Mountain and the towering High Himalaya.
3. The Magnificent Himalayas
The entire north of Nepal is bejeweled with the Himalayas. And Nepal also contains the part with the highest mountain range in the world.
With eight mountains that tower over 20,000 feet and over 80 other tall mountains, Nepal is home to the seven tallest mountains on earth. Being around their imperious presence is something you can not miss out on.
So, whether you are submitting the peaks, trekking to the bases, or simply taking a mountain flight, the view is uncompromisable.
You may not be on top of the world, but you surely feel like you are!
4. Trekker’s Paradise
If summiting the Himalayas is too ambitious for you to conquer, you can still witness that spectacular view from the best trekking trails in the world.
The glorious foothills of the magnificent mountains have created famous trekking routes. Including the Everest Base Camp trek, Annapurna Base Camp trek, Manaslu Trek, Upper Mustang Trek and Langtang valley trek. Other than these, there are over 35 circuit treks that offer a whole different experience of trekking.
What makes the trekking experience exceptional?
They are popular because they are so well facilitated even at the most remote and challenging places. Not only are they well facilitated, but they are also very reasonable.
With the right trekking gear, you can trek at the best trekking routes. Even with an infant along. Like with the best baby hiking backpack, you can easily carry them wherever you go hiking!
Trek along the best affordable trekking routes for an outstanding view without burning a hole in your pocket.
5. Stunning Lakes
Nepal is not just home to the mountains, but it also has some of the prettiest lakes in the world. What makes them so special?
Most of these glorious mountains have created lake systems at their bases. And Nepal is home to more than 200 of those beautiful lakes. They are situated right below those majestic mountains that you plan your trek routes through.
Lose yourself in the still blue-green abysses that perfectly mirror the sky for a breathtaking view. Most of the locals around also believe that they hold a spiritual significance.
6. Diverse Culture and Traditions and Religion
Over 35 different ethnic groups call Nepal home. And due to the topographical and cultural diversity, there are 1000 traditions all across the country.
But the best one probably has to be the one where Nepal believes that guests are to be treated like gods. From the ancient Hindu scripture in Sanskrit, ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’, literally translates to, ‘the guest being equivalent to God’.
So don’t be suspicious when you find friendly faces everywhere in Nepal.
Almost 80% of all Nepali are Hindus, 10% of them are Buddhists and the rest are a mixture of Muslims, Christians, and other various religions. But Nepal is the only country that hasn’t shed a single drop of blood in the name of religion!
Also, Nepal is the only place in the world where people worship the living goddess, Kumari.
7. Extraordinary Wildlife
Nepal has an exceptional variety of flora fauna and wildlife. Conserved in the world-famous natural wildlife sanctuaries, Nepal has a variety of animals and birds that occur.
The Sagarmatha National Park has about 118 bird species like the Himalayan black bear, wild yak, snow leopard, musk deer, and red panda.
The Royal Chitwan National Park is home to 43 species of mammals, 450 species of birds, and 45 species of amphibians and reptiles. These include the rare Royal Bengal tiger, the one-horned rhino, and the gharial, besides other animals like mugger crocodiles, Indian rock pythons, elephants, striped hyenas, the four-horned antelope, pangolins, leopards, deer, monkeys, etc.
Other than these, Nepal has the Bardiya National Park, Langtang National Park, Khaptad National park, the Shey Phoksundo National Park, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Mustang Conservation Area, Chitwan National Park and the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve that have been sanctuaries to few endangered animals.
8. Bird Watcher’s Paradise
Nepal being one of the smallest countries in the world is still home to 10% of all the birds in the world. There are over 10,000 species of birds worldwide, out of which 862 of them occur in Nepal!
The Spiny Babbler from the family of “Passerine Birds” is a bird that is only found in Nepal. Other than that, you can also spot the beautiful nine-colored national bird – Lophophores/Danphe (Impeyan pheasant) in the Langtang Valley in the mountains.
Bird species in Nepal include the giant hornbill, black stork, white stork, Bengal florican, lesser florican, egret, red jungle fowl, heron, kingfisher, flycatcher peafowl, woodpecker, etc.
9. Utterly Affordable
The tea-houses in the mountains offer accommodation for as less as $1 a night!
Finding hotel rooms for less than $20 is pretty easy in the cities. And the guest houses can cost you as little as $5 a night.
Inclusive of food, your daily expenses on budget experiences can amount to just $10 – $30 a day! This makes Nepal one of the most affordable destinations for travelers.
There are more luxurious options obviously. But even at $150 a night, you will get one of the best rooms at better hotels. And even in the countryside, you won’t be spending more than $40 a night for a decent comfortable stay.
On the average, you can easily live off on $10 a day and you can find a clean hotel room for about $18.50!
10. Everest Skydiving
You may have heard of skydiving, but have you ever heard of trekking to the Everest region, Flying to a height of 23,000 feet on a chopper and skydiving to an airport?
Yes, you heard that right. For all of you seeking for that ‘extra’ adventure, Everest Skydiving is something you should consider.
The package includes trekking to the Syangboche village and dropping off an AS350 B3 from a height of 7000 meters to land at the Amadablam Base Camp. Or you could even extend your trip to trek to the Everest Base Camp and fill that limitless passion pit.
11. Birthplace of the Buddha: Lumbini
Around 563 BC, Buddha, formerly known as Siddhartha Gautama – was born in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini.
So if you’re a Buddhist or you simply respect the religion Lumbini is reasonably a huge Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Nepal.
Particularly the Maya Devi Temple, the spot where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Buddha, is a must-see if you visit Lumbini.
It is believed that Lumbini channels a unique serenity and faith of the people there. Other than that, here are a number of ancient stupas, prayer flags and congregating monks that will make this stop on your Nepal adventure quite memorable.
12. Unique Nepali Food
The Nepali cuisine has a large influence from its neighbors and the taste is a unique blend of Tibetan, Indian, Chinese and Thai flavors.
This small country serves food that is healthier than other south Asian countries. If you don’t like it, there are thousands of restaurants all over the city that serve many cuisines from all over the world.
They have a saying in Nepal, ‘Daal-Bhaat’ power, 24 hours!’ The Daal-Bhat-Tarkari is one of the standard native dishes. It is a platter of Rice, Lentils, Vegetables or your choice of meat cooked in a delicious masala curry, pickles, and spinach.
Momo, a mouth-watering Nepali version of dumplings are something you must try if you visit Nepal. Sel-roti, another traditional dessert is a doughnut-shaped dessert that is made with rice and is deep-fried in Ghee is also a must try.
13. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Nepal is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites that have preserved Nepal’s culture and heritage for centuries. The devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015 affected three of the eight sites that are enlisted by UNESCO.
The Kathmandu Valley itself has seven sites, with additional ones in Chitwan and Lumbini and Sagarmatha.
These include pilgrimage sites that are sacred to all Hindus and Buddhists. Nepal has countless tourists from all over the world. Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Changunarayan, Lumbini are the religious sites under UNESCO.
The Durbar Squares are also listed by UNESCO and is something you should visit if you are in the city. Durbar square is the generic name used to describe plazas and areas opposite the old royal palaces in Nepal. It consists of temples, idols, open courts, water fountains and more.
Kathmandu Durbar Square:
It has 61 listed monuments dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The oldest temples here are that of the gods Jagannath, Kotilingeswara Mahadev, Chandreshwar, and Taleju. Kumari Bahal, the residence of Living Goddess Kumari, is also located here.
Patan Durbar Square:
It has one of the most diverse collections of traditional architectural styles found within a square anywhere in the world. There are three main courtyards: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Sundari Chowk has a famous sunken watering spot (once the royal bath) known as Tusha Hiti. This square is often referred to as a ‘living museum’ thus making it one of the places to visit in Nepal.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur is the only place in Nepal which has remained untouched by western culture. Lion Gate, Golden Gate, Art Gallery, Statue of King Bhupatindra, Nyatapola Temple and fifty-five windowed Malla palace are the living pride of Bhaktapur. The place houses finest restaurants and hotel to cater to the needs and requirements of tourists.
14. Architecture, Handicrafts, and Artworks
Nepalese have been at the summit of traditional art and craftsmanship since the 17th century. If you keep an eye out, you will find magnificent wood carvings on doors and windows throughout the city. The temples have intricate details of the history and folklore of the god that the temple is associated with.
You will also find the city streets brilliantly colored with handicrafts like dreamcatchers, quirky room decors, wool decorations and countless other pretty things.
And if you are looking for a souvenir or something to take back home, Nepal is famous for mandala paintings, pottery works, scenic and portrait paintings, home furnishing material, floor covering, modern painting, patina products, felt crafts, puzzle toys, macramé (knot crafts), pashmina, leather products, modern silver jewellery giftware, decorative items, dolls & puppets, crazy hats, batik, Bead crafts, bone and horn products, natural buttons, et cetera.
15. Beautiful Sub-Urban Towns
What other than the mountains and adventure does Nepal have?
If you are somebody who is looking for something else or more than the mountains, Nepal also has beautiful sub-urban cities and villages you can escape to.
See the first view of Mount Machhapuchre from the beautiful lake city, Pokhara. Surrounding the Lake Fewa, this lively city is a Nepali take on Amsterdam. During peak trekking season, the bars are open all through the week and is lit with parties even on Mondays!
About four hours drive from Pokhara, you will reach Nayapul. And a few hours trek from there, you will reach a lovely village named Ghandruk. Most people stop here on their trek to Annapurna Base Camp. But you can even go there if you are looking for something quieter.
If this is not your jive, then you can escape to the beautiful village of Bandipur in the west of Nepal. Or you could go to Bhedetar, also known as ‘Sailung Danda’ is a small hill station named after ‘Bheda’ or Sheep because you will find a lot of them here.
16. Tourist’s Haven: Thamel
Thamel has always been the center of the tourist industry in Kathmandu. It is a small commercial neighborhood in Kathmandu distinguished by its narrow alleys and colorful shops.
Thamel has everything you will need. From trekking and walking gears to food, fresh vegetables/fruits, pastries, walking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woolens and clothes, Thamel has it all. Online shopping in Nepal may not be the best way to purchase but you can get some hints on the price ranges before you visit the store.
Also, there are a few supermarkets and grocery stores that you can buy all your utilities from.
There are thousands of different restaurants on those exciting streets. And the cuisines range from Nepali, Indian and Chinese to Japanese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Israeli, Korean, Continental, Vietnamese and Tibetan.
During October 2017, a law that prohibited the use of any vehicles within Thamel was passed, so that should be great.
17. Harbor for Meditation, Yoga and Spiritual Awakening
According to a few sacred texts, Nepal is a place where the Hindu gods and ancient Rishis have been coming to meditate and relax for thousands of years.
Take a Vipassana Meditation Course in Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu. Or you could visit the outstanding meditation centers located in Lumbini, Pokhara, Bhairahawa or Bouddha. These are specialized centers that offer a 10-day meditation course, accommodation, and food for absolutely no money!
Or you could take courses from countless other centers like Osho, Art of Living, Isha Foundation and Tao Association of Nepal.
Nepal is quite the place for Yoga and spiritual awakening. You can even try the Yoga and Trekking program, a combination of two of Nepal’s most distinct traditions.
18. Lack of Tall buildings and skyscrapers
Nepal is over-shadowed with hills instead of skyscrapers. The mountainous topography has forged hills on almost all of the surface bordered as Nepal.
Even the cities built amongst hills and are surrounded by forests, hills, and streams. So you won’t be waking up to a concrete jungle in any part of the country when you visit.
19. ‘Soft Gold’ – Cashmere
Pashmina came to be known as ‘Cashmere’ in the west because Europeans first encountered this fiber in Kashmir. But for centuries, Nepal has been one of the only few places that manufacture Pashmina.
Pashmina is the softest, finest and the most luxurious fabric in the world that is made from wool. Popularly worn by elites and royalties, it literally translates to ‘Soft Gold’ in Kashmiri.
This super soft warm fabric is hand-spun and woven only in Kashmir and Nepal.
Cashmere scarves and shawls are known to pass entirely through a wearable ring with a diameter of half an inch! So be sure to have a ring to look out for the forged ones.
20. The People
The Nepalese are renowned for their welcoming, hospitable and friendly nature. They are brimming with warmth and generosity so don’t be skeptical if people are being nice to you.
Nepal is one of the safest destination for tourists and is the only country in the world that hasn’t shed a single drop of blood in the name of religion. The Nepalese are genuinely nice people and will help you with anything if you ask them for it.
It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can be assured that you will be welcomed with a ‘Namaste’ from literally everyone on your trekking trails. And be sure to smile back at people when they do.
21. Laid back Life
The one thing I hear most from anyone who has been to Nepal is that the life here is blissfully easy going. The people in Nepal never seem to be in any kind of rush.
It’s pretty peaceful no matter where in the country you go. And from my experience, the higher in altitude you go, the better people you meet.
Everyone is just leisurely doing their own thing and live a tension-free life. So you will probably never hear anyone complaining about anything or see anyone getting really furious.
Basically, they’re all chilled. And that’s great.
23. Easy Visa
Going to Nepal requires no visa formalities. No matter which country you belong to, Nepal grants a visa to any citizen easily. Citizens of most Countries are even granted on-arrival-visa at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. Children under 10 require a visa but are not even charged a visa fee.
The visa will cost you US$25/40/100 for 15/30/90 days and is payable in any major currencies. Also, any citizen from any country in the world can come visit Nepal.
So not only is traveling and living cheap and uncomplicated in Nepal but even going there is super easy.
Who wouldn’t love a small, peaceful country with few developed towns and the rest overshadowed with thick forests, beautiful lakes under tallest mountains, greenest hills with peaceful villages and a tranquillity undisturbed by urbanization?
So if you are looking for your next travel destination, be sure to put Nepal on your list. Packed with almost everything, Nepal is the best you can get if especially if you are on a budget.
What are you waiting for?