GMT +5¾ hours
Discover the magnificent Himalayas
Sandwiched between Tibet to the north and India to the south, the relatively small nation of Nepal certainly packs a punch. It is here you will find the majority of the highest mountains on earth, rare wildlife species and possibly of most importance, some of the world’s friendliest people. On arrival the capital Kathmandu definitely makes an impression with its chaotic and dusty streets, and just wait to you head out of the city, be it to the lowlands or the highlands – this country is like nowhere you have been before.
- The ancient royal city of Kathmandu’s historic squares lined with temples and other beautifully intricate examples of Nepalese architecture
- The home of Mount Everest – best seen on a scenic mountain flight from the capital Kathmandu
- The natural skyline from the lake-side city of Pokhara, which is the gateway to the striking Annapurna Himalaya
- Seek out rare wildlife species, including the often illusive Bengal tiger and Asian rhino in the lowland plains and Chitwan National Park
- The Kathmandu Valley’s other ancient royal cities – Patan and Bhaktapur – make a perfect day trip.
Best time to visit Nepal
• A dry season is followed by heavy monsoon rains between June and September
• The best time to visit is between October and November, when the monsoon rains have ended and the skies clear for great views of the Himalayas
• Spring is also a wonderful time to journey to Nepal as rhododendrons brighten mountain valleys.
Nepal holiday highlights
Fringed by the green hills and at the junction of two ancient trade routes lies Kathmandu, the vibrant and chaotic capital of Nepal. The city is home to numerous beautiful temples, squares and royal palaces, so much so the whole of the Kathmandu Valley has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the tourist streets and shops of Thamel to the sacred Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath, the city surprises, excites and captivates.
Gateway to the peaks and valleys of the Annapurna mountain range, Pokhara is perched on the shore of Phewa Lake. Consisting of the tourist mecca of Lakeside and the traditional Old Town, Pokhara boasts exceptional views of the Annapurna peaks and the sacred fish tail shaped Machhapuchhre.
Nepal’s first national park was established in 1973 and is found on the fertile plains of the south central Terai region of Nepal, a vast region of sub-tropical lowlands. Rich in flora and fauna, Chitwan National Park is one of the last havens of the endangered Begal Tiger and home to one of the last populations of the Indian Rhinoceros in Nepal.
Sample traditional Nepali village life an hour outside of Kathmandu in the Newari town of Dhulikhel, which boasts some of the most awe–inspiring vistas of the foothills and the towering peaks of the north eastern Himalayas. Located on the path of an ancient trading route linking Nepal and Tibet, the town boasts buildings that feature beautiful wood carvings while temples line its streets and squares. In the Old Town you will witness fine examples of historic Newari houses along the traffic free streets (a rarity in Nepal!) that are sometimes inhabited by up to twenty members of the same family.
Experience the sunrise as it casts light and shadow over the foothills and mountaintops of the Langtang Himalayan range and if you are really lucky you may even catch a glimpse of Mount Everest’s peak. The popular town of Nagarkot provides a picturesque peaceful retreat from the noise and hustle of Kathmandu and it is considered to be one of the most scenic places in the country. View the varying greens of the terraced fields perched precariously on the surrounding hills or wander the trails past charming rural Nepali homes. Round your day off with a splendid sunset as the light over the mountains changes yet again.
Stretching for 34 miles from west to east, the Annapurna Massif is dominated by the unique fish tail shaped mountain Machhapuchhre and the imposing Annapurna I, one of only fourteen peaks that stand at over 8000 metres. Breathtaking summit vistas combine with bamboo and rhododendron forests, traditional villages, terraced rice paddies, roaring melt water rivers and towering waterfalls to create one of the most striking backdrops on earth. The entire area lies under the protection of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, which serves to safeguard this incredible environment, aid sustainable tourism and support the local people.