So my time in Nepal is winding down. And what more can I say, except VISIT RIGHT NOW. I’m serious, it’s an amazing country with so much going for it, with so much to do, so many places to explore and such diversity. I’m already planning my next trip back (maybe coinciding with the Everest Marathon).
Here’s just a quick rundown, in no particular order, about why I loved my time in Nepal.
1 – the history
Within the Kathmandu Valley, you’ve got 3 ancient cities (Kathmandu, Patan and Bhatkpur). All of which are worth a full day of your time to visit. Patan fantastic museum is also one of the countries most informative. And as if that’s not enough, you’ve got innumerable world heritage sites and monasteries dotted around within walking/taxi/running distance (monkey temple, Gopan and Bhoudpa were my personal highlights).
2 – the trekking
So far we’ve only covered off the Kathmandu valley! Once you get out into the countryside, either on the relatively well treaded Everest or Annapurna trails (the latter of which I opted for), or head further off the beaten track, there’s trek of different lengths suitable for all abilities. Yes – you don’t have to be super fit! And it’s worth it for the views, which leads me onto…
3 – the sheer scale of natural beauty
Just on my Annapurna trek, I went through rice fields, bamboo forests and tropical rain forests. And that was before I even got to the rocking mountain wasteland and glacier of Annapurna Base Camp. From there, you see the snow capped peaks, rising over 8000m above see level. The early starts at Poon Hill and Basecamp were more than worth any hardship I went through to get up there. It sounds corny, but to have seen the Himalayas in person, to have spent 10 days bumbling around them, really is a moving experience.
4 – the variety of things you can do
What about those hankering for something more adrenaline fuelled that museums and walking? How does white water rafting sound? Bungee jumping? Paragliding? Canyoning? Parahawking (which is apparently paragliding but with a hawk to guide you onto the best updrafts)? And at the end of a long day, you can always stop by for a massage or a yoga session to relax.
5 – the food
Sure, by the end of your trek, where food choices are a tad limited, you’ll be bored to tears with eating dal bhat. But you can’t deny that Nepal’s national dish, consisting of lentil soup, rice, green veg and pickles gives you full power for hiking ahead. Besides that, you’ll enjoy hunting round various restaurants and street-side shacks for the best momos – little steamed or fried dumplings filled with either veg, chicken or buffalo. And when you get outside of Thamel, the main tourist hub, you can find all the street food treats and snacks that you’d expect in Asia.
6 – the region could really use your help
We all saw the images of the earthquake that took place in April 2015. That, alongside landslides and natural disasters in both the Everest and Annapurna regions that year, have massively hit the tourist industry in Nepal, which is a vital source of income for much of the population. Damage is still being repaired, both national heritage sites and people’s homes. But rest assured, your visit will be safe, your experience will be incredible, and you will be rewarded with the welcome and gratitude of everyone you meet.
Have you been to Nepal? What are your top memories? Let me know!