I fell in love with Nepal long before my airplane descended into the middle of the sprawling, dusty city of Kathmandu. Nepal, with its craggy mountain peaks and exotic city names like Pokhara and Nagarkot, had me daydreaming.
I lost myself thinking about what adventures my future held and what secrets I could uncover in the desolate corners of this little country. I pictured the epic mountains long before I saw them and savored the steamy dumplings months before they lit up my taste buds. Yep, it is safe to say that traveling Nepal was a huge item and one of my bucket list ideas.
I recently spent six weeks exploring Nepal.(finally)
At first, the country was exactly how I pictured it. I found beauty in the chaos of Kathmandu, and as I wandered down the dirt trodden alleys, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this is what Bangkok must have felt like a few decades ago. The mountains were as large, if not a little larger than I imagined.
But as I dug past the surface layers, what I found was unexpected, it was almost enlightenment.
Here are the reasons I fell even more in love with Nepal. Whether you are having a day full of epic adventures at The Last Resort or eating until your belly burst there are many reasons to fall in love with Nepal.
7 Reasons You Will Fall in Love with Nepal
Mountains and hiking are two words that have become almost synonymous with Nepal. The natural beauty of the country is one of its primary visiting points. A majority of the country is encompassed by the unparalleled Himalaya mountains.
However, you don’t need to trek to Everest base camp or conquer the long and tedious ABC Trail to venture into the wilderness. You don’t need to be a master climber to enjoy the beauty of Nepal; there are an endless number of hikes for all different skill levels.
There many day hikes throughout the country that take you past rice terrace farms, paths that give you unforgettable mountain views, and lookout points that show off the green hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley.
A couple of good day hikes close to Kathmandu include:
- Naraku to Dhukiel
- Chisa Pani to Narakot
- Kathmandu to Chisa Pani
- Pokhara to World Peace Monument
Even if hiking isn’t your favorite activity, you would be missing out if you didn’t at least catch a couple mountain views.
Watching the sunrise in Nargakot over the craggy Himalayan Mountain Range will make your jaw drop and hosted some of my favorite memories of my time in Nepal. Watching the snowy mountain fill your horizon as you hike is a moment that is fully breathtaking.
On the west side of the country, there is Pokhara, a striking, beautiful town at the doorstep of Annapurna. You can see these majestic mountains on any number of small hikes or road trips.
The Kathmandu Valley
The Kathmandu Valley is a rich, green land filled with terrace farms and small villages. Some say that humans have been living in this valley for over 5,000 years. With a history so long, it is easy to see why this sacred valley is overflowing with holy places, old temples, and UNESCO sites to explore. Bhaktapur and Bagmati are a couple great places to start if you are coming from Kathmandu. In many ways, the valley is the heart of the country.
Nepal is insanely cheap if you travel the country smart. I’ve stayed in a hostel that cost $2.50, eaten street food and meals in hole in the wall restaurants that cost only a few bucks, and taken a 2-hour bus ride for 75 cents.
While Nepal has a low price tag, you do have to travel locally to get it. Taxi’s and tourist buses are 10 to 20 times the cost of local buses, and to dine at fancier restaurants, you will pay upwards of 8 dollars a meal. You can travel Nepal cheap if you do it smart and local. As a backpacker, I can’t help but fall in love with cheap countries. I will say that I spent most nights in hotels. I was traveling with others who preferred this option, and while it cost a little more than hostels, the quality was much better for around $7-$10 a night.
Over my six weeks in Nepal, I discovered Nepal is much more than just mountains and mouthwatering mo-mos. The core of the country isn’t found in long hikes and inexpensive hotels. I found the charm of Nepal in the warm smiles of villagers, the serene shrines honoring the birthplace of Buddha, and endless adventures (Even taking a bus trip through the narrow mountain roads can seem like a harrowing adventure – one you would need adventure quotes).
The people are welcoming, open and friendly. They have a saying in Nepal that goes “Our guest is our God,” And the polite way you are treated reflects this saying.
The Birthplace of Buddha
Buddha was born in Nepal! Head to Lumbini to see the building where he was born. Many countries from across the glove have built little temples in the area to express their appreciation and love for Buddha. The grounds of where he was born are covered with the colorful prayer flags. I am not religious or Buddhist, but there was something special about this place.
I hope you like curry! The food in Nepal is very tasty. The go to meal is Dal Bhat, a mixture of lentils, rice, potato curry and more. The Masala Papadum was my personal favorite, but the mo-mos (meat or veggie filled dumplings) were a close second.
Many of the restaurants in Nepal serve similar foods, and after six weeks, all the menu’s started looking identical. However, the food is delicious the first couple of dozen times you eat it. A great way to explore the food in Nepal in by using Backstreet Academy to take a local food tour in Kathmandu.