Nepal is a small landlocked country in South Asia situated between China in the north, India in the South, east, and west while Bangladesh in the southeastern tip. It is the 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area.
It is widely popular as the land of Gautama Buddha and Mount Everest. Similarly, Nepal is also popular for its diverse culture, multilingual, and religious harmony. It is also known for being the multi-ethnic country and is the home to one of the largest temples of Lord Shiva and representative of Hindu culture, Pashupatinath Temple.
With its rich natural beauty and marvelous Himalayan views, Nepal is one of the must-visit countries around the world.
Tourism & It's Benefits In Nepal
Nepal welcomes millions of tourists from all around the world every year to see its beauty. People mostly from United States, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Japan, China, Canada, Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Thailand go to visit this place.
Tourism is the largest source of foreign exchange and revenue and the largest industry in Nepal. Every year, Nepal brings $471 million from tourism.
According to Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, one of the major tourist activities includes adventure and wilderness activities such as bungee jumping, trekking, mountain biking, hiking, paragliding, rafting, kayak, and jungle safari.
Nepal recently launched Visit Nepal 2020 with the slogan Lifetime Experience with the aim to bring in two million tourists by the end of 2020. The Nepal government also declared Lumbini Tourism Year2012 to promote Lumbini.
Here is a list of few places from cheapest to most expensive must-visit destinations in Nepal:
Kathmandu is the largest city and the capital of Nepal, with a population of around 2.5 million. It is also known as the city of temples with one of the oldest Pagodas known as Pashupatinath Temple.
Kathmandu is also the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas and home to several world heritage sites like Boudhanath, Durbar Square, and Swayambhunath.
It is also the home of the Newars, and the indigenous Newari term for Kathmandu valley is Yei. One of the main tourist attractions places in Kathmandu is Thamel, where one can find all kinds of pubs to enjoy Nepali nightlife, continental food restaurants, real Nepali cuisine, handicraft items, and to name a few.
In general, a person can live in Kathmandu for less than $50 a day if you plan to stay in budget and take the local bus for travel. We can get delicious fast foods like momo, chowmein, thukpa, Newari khaja set, and more for just $1.
15.5 km away via Araniko Highway, one can visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square located in Bhaktapur. It is also one of the tourist attractions places and the home of traditional art and architecture, historical monuments, and craftwork.
Similarly, 8.2 km via Putalisadak, we can visit Patan, which is the home to Patan Durbar Square and residence of the Malla rulers of Patan state (now a museum). Nearby Patan, we can explore Patan Dhoka, Banglamukhi Temple, Krishna Mandir, Central Zoo, Kumbheswar Temple, and Pim Bahal Pokhari.
Nagarkot is a former Village Development Committee located at the 32 km east of Kathmandu, Nepal. It is one of the most scenic spots in Bhaktapur District, which commands one of the broadest views of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu valley.
In a clear morning, we can see 8 Himalayan ranges of Nepal out of 13 which include Annapurna range, Ganesh Himal range, Manaslu range, Langtang range, Jugal range, Rolwaling range, Numbur range, and Mahalangur range.
For people who love outdoor adventure, Nagarkot features hiking opportunities to do in and around the place among them is the famous Nagarkot eco-trail with Nagarkot panoramic hiking trail. We can also do paragliding with the Everest view.
The best time to visit Nagarkot is during the Spring months of March & April, and early winters of October and November. One can travel to Nagarkot by 1-2 hours local bus ride, and the hotel room price starts from $12 to $60 per night.
Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini
Pokhara is one of the most developed cities in Nepal, which is located 200 km west of Kathmandu. It is considered as the tourism capital of Nepal, a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit through the Annapurna Conservation Area region.
Did You Know? Pokhara is also home to many of the elite Gurkha soldiers.
The main tourist attraction places in Pokhara are Phewa Tal, Lumle, Begnas Tal, Rupa Tal, World Peace Pagoda, Bindhyabasini Temple, Bhairab Temple, and many more. From there, we can trek to other tourist destinations like Annapurna Base Camp, Ghandruk, Poon Hill, Landruk, Dhampus, and others.
Chitwan is yet another developed cities of Nepal located in the southwestern part of Province No. 3 with Bharatpur. Chitwan is the home to more than 700 species of wildlife, 17 other species of snakes, starred tortoise, and 68 mammal species.
Chitwan’s main tourist attraction is Chitwan National Park (CNP), which has two entrances: Sauraha in the east and Meghauli Village in the west. In 2006, Bird Conservation Nepal recorded 543 species of birds in the national park.
The main attraction of CNP is the king of the jungle “the Bengal tiger” and the great one-horned Rhinoceros. Since the establishment of the national park, the initially small population of about 25 Bengal tiger increased to 70-110 in 1980.
On the other hand, Chitwan has the largest population of Indian rhinoceros in Nepal. As of 2015, the population of the endangered species was estimated at 605 of 645 individuals in total.
Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District, which is popular for being the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama. Lumbini was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
It offers a number of old temples, including Mayadevi Temple, Puskarini (holy pond), and the evidence of Buddhist structures and the first archaeological evidence of Gautama Buddha’s life.
Lumbini is also the home of stupas like Linh Son Monastery, Royal Thai Buddhist Monastery, Zhong Hua Chinese Buddhist Monastery, Cambodian Monastery, Indian Monastery, and World Peace Pagoda of Japan built by countries from all around the world.
The hotel price in these three cities ranges around $10 to $30 per day, including accommodations, food, and travel.
Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)
Trekking in Nepal is a must for outdoor adventure. Nepal offers magnificent Himalaya views and spectacular landscapes to explore. ABC is one of the most popular treks in the Annapurna region and Pokhara.
The trek takes 12 days, starting from a 1.5-hour drive from Pokhara to Nayapul and going north up to Ghorepani to the famous viewpoint Poon Hill. From Ghorepani, you go eastward to Chomrong and then north to Madi Khola Valley, which leads up to the Base Camp.
The base camp situated at 4130 m above sea level amidst peaks of Annapurna, Annapurna South, Machapuchhre, and Hiunchuli.
The trekking trail goes alongside terraced rice paddies, high altitude landscapes with the Annapurna Range in view, and lush rhododendron forests. The lodges in this circuit provide a variety of food menus ranging from typical daal-vath, national dish dhedo-gundruk to foreign foods.
12-13 days trekking to Annapurna costs around $100 to $200 per person. The costs include food, travel, and accommodation.
Mustang & Manang
Mustang is one of the seventy-seven districts of Nepal, which is an ancient forbidden kingdom bordered by the Tibetan Plateau and is sheltered by some of the world’s tallest peaks like Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.
The highlight of the forbidden kingdom is Muktinath which is a Vishnu temple sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. Lo Manthang is a major attraction and one of the best places to see while in mustang.
Some of the other places to visit are Jomsom, Kagbeni, Sky Caves, Ghar Gumba, Red Cliff, Luri Gumba, Chortens, and Mani walls, and apple garden. Upper Mustang, formerly known as the Kingdom of Lo, is also one of the tourist-attracting places in the area.
Manang is a town in the Manang District in Nepal situated in the broad valley of the Marshyangdi River to the north of the Annapurna mountain range. It is a major stop-over on the Annapurna circuit trek.
Tilicho Lake is one of the main attractions of Manang. Thousands of people visit this place just to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of Tilicho. Some of the other beautiful places to visit in Manang are Nar Phu Valley, Ghar Gompa, Drakmar, Thubchen Gompa, and Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve.
The hotels and lodges in Manang and Mustang are slightly expensive in comparison to other places in Nepal. We can get a room for $27 to $67 per night, which includes foods, accommodations, and travel by local vehicles.
One can also travel to these places by flight, which can cost around $200 or by helicopter, which costs around $1100.
Rara Lake is the biggest and the deepest freshwater lake in Nepal, which covers 6.11 sq mi. Rara lake lies at an altitude of 2,990 m above sea level and is 5.1 km long, and 2.7 km wide.
The best time to visit this lake is September/October and April to May in summer. During the winter seasons from December to March, the temperatures of the region go down below the freezing point, and heavy snowfall occurs up to one meter blocking the way to the lake.
The lake is surrounded by Rara National Park and has unique floral and faunal importance with valuable and rare species. The park consists of 1074 species, out of which 16 are endemic to Nepal, 51 species of mammals, and 214 species of birds.
The easiest and short way to travel to Rara is via flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and take another flight from Nepalgunj to Talcha, which is located 4km east from the lake. The flight can cost around $180.
Or we can take three days trip to Rara from Kathmandu to Surkhet, Surkhet – Kalikot, Kalikot – Rara. The bus fare costs around $15-$20 per person for one way.
Gosaikunda also spelled Gosain Kunda is an alpine freshwater oligotrophic lake located at an elevation of 4,380 m above sea level in Langtang National Park, Rasuwa District. The lake remains frozen in winter from October to June for six months and melts in the summer to form the Trishuli River.
Fun Fact: There are 108 lakes nearby Gosaikunda.
Gosaikunda is one of the religious sites of Nepal. According to Hindu mythology attributes, Gosaikunda is the home of Hindu deities Shiva and Gauri.
The 5-6 days trek to Gosaikunda starts from a small village called Dhunche or Syabru Besi in the Langtang Himal or Sundarijal, Shivapuri National Park. Gosaikunda trek adjoins the famous Langtang valley trek located in the same district. Both treks can be combined, and basic accommodation is quite easily available.
Starting from Dhunche, the first day is a long steady climb to Chandan Bari at an altitude of about 3,200 m or Laurebina at about 3,700 m. Many trekkers chose to stay at Chandan Bari or Laurebina before proceeding to Gosaikunda due to altitude sickness concerns.
The tea houses and hotels in the trekking route offer a variety of food from Nepali cuisine to foreign fast foods. Altogether one can take a local bus from Kathmandu to Dhunche and start the trek on a budget of $100 to $110 per person.
Everest Base Camp (EBC)
Everest base camps refer to two base camps on two opposite sides of Mount Everest. South Base camp is located in Nepal in 5,364 m, whereas, North Base Camp is in China at 5,150 m above sea level.
Every Year, about 40,000 people trek to EBC from Lukla airport. Trekkers usually fly from Kathmandu to Lukla to save time and energy for the trek. From Lukla, climbers trek upward to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar situated at 3,440 meters, which takes two days to reach.
Trekkers than trek another two days to Dingboche, then they trek another day to Everest Base Camp via Gorakshep which is a flat field below Kala Patthar and Mt. Pumori.
The flight price ranges around $180 for one way, or one can just fly to the base camp via helicopter. EBC helicopter tour costs around $1050 per person and is full of spectacular views of hills, valleys, and mountains.
The 2015 biographical adventure film Everest starring Jason Clarke and Josh Brolin was shoot in Everest itself.