Are you visiting Nepal for the first time? Or planning about the trip of Nepal and worried about where to stay and where to travel? If so, here you can get the information from the ground level in different series.
Think that if you are traveling to Nepal and you need information you will search for the places to stay and visit using the search engine or book the services through online or travel agencies. Moreover, you will search for the history of those places and the information. This is the fact you need to do when you travel to any places. If you traveling in a group from the Travel Agencies, then you don’t have the flexibility on travel. If you travel independently or if you are a backpacker, then the itinerary depends upon your plan.
However, you have to compromise some services although there is your decision while traveling like choosing the meals, transportation services, accommodation facilities when you reach to a different area. If you are getting a surprise, why you wouldn’t get what you demand? Here I am writing an article about the information of tourism in Nepal and other traveling patterns of Nepal with the information in different series.
Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, small landlocked country and borders China in the north and India in the south, east and west, while Bangladesh is located within only 27 km (17 mi) of its southeastern tip, and Bhutan is separated from it by the Indian state of Sikkim. It is the 49th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It lies between latitudes 26° and 31°N, and longitudes 80° and 89°E. Nepal is 5 hours and 45 minutes ahead of GMT (i.e. +5:45), because it sets the meridian of Nepal Standard Time at Gaurishankar, a mountain east of Kathmandu (about 100 km).
Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, sub-alpine forested hills, and eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city. Nepal is a multi-ethnic country with Nepali as the official language. Nepal has five climatic zones, broadly corresponding to the altitudes. The tropical and subtropical zones lie below 1,200 meters (3,900 ft.), the temperate zone 1,200 to 2,400 meters (3,900 to 7,900 ft.), the cold zone 2,400 to 3,600 meters (7,900 to 11,800 ft.), the subarctic zone 3,600 to 4,400 meters (11,800 to 14,400 ft.), and the Arctic zone above 4,400 meters (14,400 ft.). Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring. The Himalayas block cold winds from Central Asia in the winter and form the northern limits of the monsoon wind patterns.
Tourism in Nepal
Tourism is the rapidly growing industry of Nepal. With the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest (8,848m), Nepal is the home of eight highest peaks among the top 10 highest peaks of the world. Nepal is the destination for mountaineers, trekkers, rafters, and the adventurers. It is also rich in natural resources, cultural values, norms, traditions. etc. With the boon of natural beauty, it becomes an attraction for the tourists. There are plenty of activities that you can do in Nepal. Some major activities are as follows:
Mountaineering in Nepal is the challenging adventure activities in Nepal. There are about 326 peaks in Nepal open for mountaineering. With eight of the ten highest peaks of the world, including Mt. Everest (8,848 m) the highest peak of the world, Nepal has become the hot spot destination for mountaineering. It consists of the expedition of snow-capped peaks ranging from 6,655 m to 8,848 m above the sea level. Professional Climbing Sherpa, experienced porters, guides help to summit the mountains. Autumn and spring are the best times of the year for Expeditions to the high mountain summits.
Special permits are required from the Tourism Department of Nepal before the expedition. Mt. Everest (8,848 m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8,201 m), Mt. Lhotse (8,516 m), Mt. Makalu (8,463m), Ama Dablam (6,812 m), Mt. Manaslu (8,163 m), Mt. Langtang Lirung (7,234 m), Mt. Annapurna South (7,219 m), Mt. Annapurna I (8,091 m), Himlung Himal (7,126 m), Mt. Saipal (7,031 m), etc. are popular Mountains for the expedition.
Peak climbing refers to the climbing of peak ranging from 5,587 to 6,654 meters above the sea level. Special permits are provided from Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) for peak climbing. For the training of expedition, ice climbing, and other adventurous activities like Ski, peak climbing is popular in Nepal. It is somehow easier than the mountaineering but it requires the experienced guides, porters, etc. with the arrangement of gears. Some popular peaks for climbing are Mera Peak (6,476 m), Island Peak (6,189 m), Lobuche Peak (6,119 m), Yala Peak (5,520 m), Pisang Peak (6,092 m), Dhampus Peak (6,012 m), etc. are the popular peaks for peak climbing.
The best way to experience Nepal’s unbeatable combination of natural beauty and culture riches is to walk through them. Thus, trekking in Nepal is popular in the world. One can walk along the beaten trails or virgin tracks. Along with forests of rhododendron, isolated hamlets, and small mountain villages, birds, animals, temples, monasteries, and breathtaking landscapes, one will also encounter friendly people of different cultures offering a fascinating glimpse of traditional rural life.
For the trekking, trekkers must have a Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card and the permits of specific Area like conservation area permits, national park permits, etc. A trekker can get these from Nepal Tourism Board for the Individual Trekker. Whereas, the group trekkers get permits from Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) through the travel agencies or tour operator. Everest Region, Kanchanjunga Region, Annapurna Region, Langtang Region, etc. are popular trekking regions. Nowadays, Api Base Camp, Saipal Base camp, Shey Phoksundo Lake, Rara Lake, Khaptad Trek are the trending trekking routes. The grades of trekking ranges as below:
- Grade 1: Easy trek – Below 2,500 m
- Grade 2: Moderate Trek – Between 2,500 to 4,000 m
- Grade 3: Strenuous – Between 4000 to 5,550 m
- Grade 4: Fairly Strenuous – Between 5,550 to 6,000 m
- Grade 5: Challenging trek – Above 6,000 m
There are many restricted areas for trekking to the individual trekkers which require special permits of restricted areas. Such area includes Upper Mustang, Upper Dolpo, Tsum Valley trekking, Nar Phu trekking, etc.
Rafting is one of the best ways to explore the typical cross-section of natural as well as the ethnocultural heritage of the country. There are numerous rivers in Nepal which offer excellent rafting, kayaking or canoeing experience. So far, the government has opened sections of 10 rivers for commercial rafting. Trishuli River, Seti River, Bhote Koshi River, Kali Gandaki River, Marsyangdi River, Sun Koshi River, Arun River, Karnali River, Tamur River, and Bheri River are the rivers for rafting and kayaking.
The rafting trip on these rivers can be made for varied durations, depending upon the availability of time and interest. The rafts are rowed by expert river guides who are likewise prepared in emergency treatments like first aid, resuscitation, and white-water safeguard procedures. Rivers are rated for their difficulty on a scale of class 1 – 6 based on the rapids, waves, volume of water, maneuvering, and the skills. The best time for the rafting is Spring Season (March, April, and May) and Autumn Season (September, October, and November).
For bird watchers in Nepal, all 12 national parks, a wildlife reserve, six conservation areas, and various Ramsar sites are excellent bird-watching destinations. Nepal is a paradise for bird lovers with over 886 species of birds. Surrounding Hills of Kathmandu, including Pulchoki, Godawari, Nagarjun, Taudaha, Shivapuri National Park is popular for bird watching. Bardiya National Park, Chitwan National Park, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Suklaphanta National Park, etc. are major birding destinations of Nepal. This is also a part of jungle safari in the Terai belt.
Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning in Nepal is one of the adventure activity which can make you feel like a bird flying in the high sky. In Nepal, ballooning offers a beautiful view of the sunrise, the Himalayan ranges, and peaks. The best months for a hot air balloon flight are September to May. The flights take place daily during these months but also depend upon the wind and its direction of flow (eastward or westward across the valley).
Skydiving is a new adventure and thrilling activity in Nepal which can be the attraction. The difference between skydiving in Nepal compared to skydiving abroad is the spectacular 360-degree view of the Himalayas. An excitingly extreme aerial adventure, Everest skydiving is an amazingly unique experience in the world. The skydiving takes place in front of the world’s highest peak Mt. Everest (8,848 m), and the free fall takes you past some of the world’s highest mountain peaks.
For those who want to keep it less extreme, then you can do in Pokhara, next to the mighty Annapurnas and the Phewa Lake below. During skydiving one can enjoy free falling for around 40 seconds before deploying their parachute, screaming themselves with the excitement, a feeling of exhilaration you have never before experienced in your lifetime. Your entire skydiving will be captured by two crew photographers who fall alongside to take photos and videos for your lifetime memory.
Ultra-light flight is a unique way to discover the majestic Himalayas and for the Ariel sightseeing of Pokhara valley. In this flight, it is used very light aircraft which has no window and seating for only two persons, including a pilot and a passenger. Powered by engines these aircraft can reach very close to the mountain peaks. Ultra-light flight in Nepal is available only in Pokhara. The main reason to choose Pokhara valley for Ultra-light aircraft is that of its proximity to the mountains, and the scenic lakes. Professionally Ultra-light flights started in Pokhara from 1997 AD and are claimed to be the first in South Asia.
Wildlife Safari Tour
Nepal is rich in bio-diversity that makes it ideal as an eco-tourism destination. There are 12 National Parks, 6 Conservation Areas, 1 Wildlife Reserve, and 1 Hunting Reserve in Nepal. These protected areas are rich in different kind of flora and wildlife, birds, such as the rare great one horned rhinoceros, several species of deer, bear, leopard, dolphin, crocodile, birds, tiger, etc. living in their natural habitat. The wildlife safari tour is popular in the protected areas of Terai region, especially, Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. It normally includes elephant briefing and safari, dugout canoeing, nature walk, bird watching, jeep drive, etc. Besides this, excursions and quick tours around the villages to discover the unique culture and traditions of the local village.
A homestay tour in Nepal is the best possible way to explore the agricultural lifestyle, livelihood, hospitality, culture, and religion followed by the locals of any particular village. One can spend time with the local people sharing the kitchen, engage in their daily activities. It is a popular tour for a family tour as well for single and couple with cultural views. The best part of homestays is to learn the lifestyles of Nepali, the tradition and culture of various ethnic groups, interact with various ethnic groups host families by eating what they eat, sleeping where they sleep, and wearing what they wear. Nepal offers lots of homestay tour packages these days as one of Bandipur village, Sirubari village, Ghale Gaun, Balthali village, Ghandruk, Chitlang, Barpak, Chitwan, etc.
City Tour offers in-depth knowledge of culture, tradition, art, history, architecture, sculpture, etc. The visit of World Heritage Sites of Nepal has the historical and cultural evidence dated back to the 5th Century or even before. The cities of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur are famous for the ancient temples, palaces, biggest stupa (Bouddhanath stupa), the Monkey Temple, and several other monuments. Bandipur and Panauti are famous for the well preserved ancient culture. Janakpur is famous for the exclusively beautiful Janaki Temple. Likewise, Lumbini is famous for the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the Mayadevi temple. And can see lots of Buddhist monasteries made by several countries. Pokhara, the city of lakes and caves, is rich in natural beauty. The views of enchanting Machhapuchhre and Dhaulagiri Himalayan ranges from the Pokhara will be exciting.
Nepal is the home of many gods & goddesses, so thousands of pilgrims visit Nepal every year due to the presence of many holy spots that hold great religious and spiritual significance. That’s why the religious tour is popular in Nepal. Pashupatinath Temple, Muktinath, Baraha Kshetra, Badimalika, Gadi Mai, Janaki Temple, Gosainkunda, Panchpokhari, Khaptad Baba, Supadeurali, Siddha Baba Temple, etc. are the popular religious places for Hindu.
Whereas, Bouddhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa, Namobuddha Monastery, Kapan Monastery, Monasteries of Pharping, Lumbini, World Peace Stupa, Tengboche Monastery, Dingboche Monastery of Khumbu region, Marpha Monastery are the major religious sites of Buddhism followers. Among them, Muktinath and Swyambhunath Stupa are common for both Hindus and Buddhists with great belief and religious significance. There are various popular places for other religions too. Thus, Nepal is a common home to various pilgrimage sites of various religious beliefs that includes Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
Historical Palaces Tour
Besides the palaces enlisted in world heritage sites, there are various ancient palaces in different parts of Nepal. Argha and Khanchi Durbar of Arghakhanchi, Jajarkot Durbar, Ajaymerukot Durbar of Dadeldhura, Kot Durbar of Kalikot, etc, are popular palaces of Nepal which have the historical significance. The protected weapons, temples, coins, remaining of palaces, etc. supports for the research.You can still see different fairs organized in these ancient durbars. Even in Kathmandu, every year people celebrate Indra Jatra in Kathmandu Durbar Square, Rato Machhendranath Jatra in Patan, Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur.
Volunteering Tour is popular in Nepal. Collecting the charity from the adventurous activities like trekking program, expedition, etc. and donating to the orphanage home, free teaching in those homes, etc. are the activities of volunteering tour. This is a part of social service. Free health services like eye camping, donating on the construction of school, hospital, laboring on the construction, etc. are practicing in the volunteering tour.
Research and Educational Tour
Kapilbastu is known as the open museum which has historical and archaeological importance. In the latest archaeological excavation, the Department of Archaeology (DoA) discovered Kapilvastu with the largest number of archaeological sites in the country, totaling 136. The area of Tilaurakot is popular for the research of the archaeological sites. Similarly, Lower Mustang is suitable for the study of fossils, which is also known as Saligram. It is found in Kaligandaki River only.
There are plenty of purposes to visit in Nepal. Many wilderness activities can be done in Nepal. Paragliding, Bungee jumping, Parahawking, Canyoning, rock climbing, Mountain Biking, etc. are the activities that you can do in the trip of Nepal. While doing trekking, you will encounter the beautiful lakes, waterfalls, mountains, green hills, forests, etc. Many activities are adventurous and can be done within a specific time only like, wild bee honey hunting tour, Wildlife Hunting tour in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Everest Marathon, Tiji Festival tour, etc. These activities need a prior booking before 3 months.
Besides this, food tourism, agro-tourism, etc. are also popular in Nepal. While traveling, you will experience all these factors in different parts of Nepal. You can do extra activities like, having lunch with monks in the monastery, Singing Bowl Therapy, Meditation, Yoga, Cycling, Horse riding, etc. during travel.
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