Maddeningly chaotic but never dull, Kathmandu is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and religions. Not merely a jumping-off point for a Himalaya trek, it's also a worthwhile destination in its own right, with a legacy of myths and legends seen in the historic pagodas lining its dusty streets. Even if you're here for just one day you can profit from the highlights of this uniquely beautiful metropolis.
Nepal Travel Insights
Nepal is best-known for the Himalayas, Mount Everest, and its amazing treks. Eight of the world’s 14 eight thousand meter peaks are located in Nepal, creating world-class mountaineering and trekking opportunities. But Nepal has much more to offer than just its mountains. Its capital, Kathmandu, is a bustling city with seven Unesco World Heritage sites including Boudhanath, the world largest Buddhist stupa. The Nepalese lowlands in the south are subtropical and are home to tigers, elephants, and rhinos. The people of Nepal are among the warmest and most welcoming in the world.
Most people visit Nepal in spring and autumn, but in recent years winter and summer have become popular seasons as well. Trekking in the Himalaya is a life-changing experience for many travelers. Longer treks include the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Annapurna Circuit, and the newly popular Manaslu Circuit, while shorter treks such as the Ghorepani Trek to Poon Hill offer experiences travelers who want to experience the mountains at lower elevations. Rafting the rivers of Nepal is also world-class, and so is mountain biking on Nepal's countless trails and paragliding above the Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
With thirteen days in Nepal, you can spend time in a few destinations to get a taste of what the country has to offer or you can commit to one particular region, which you can explore by foot, raft, or safari (and in some cases, all three). For trekking, consider getting away from crowds: Pikey Peak, the Khopra Ridge, and the Dolpo region are off-the-beaten-path, offer incredible views, and opportunities to learn about local villages and their heritages. You can also travel through Nepal in style; stay in luxury accommodations after a day of trekking, take a helicopter tour of the Himalaya, or sleep in a deluxe resort in a jungle, where you’ll be lulled to sleep by the trumpets of the property’s resident elephants. Read on for some inspiring ideas!
This epic yet fairly easy trek takes you through the vast Dolpo area of Western Nepal; because it's only been open to trekkers since 1989, this is one of the least-explored regions of this country. You'll pass through wonderful Himalayan forests, traditional villages, picturesque rivers, and magnificent waterfalls. The highlight is Lake Phoksundo, considered a natural treasure in Nepal and is sacred to Buddhists and followers of the Bonpo religion. Along the way, you'll see rich flora and fauna, including musk deer, blue sheep, great Tibetan sheep, Himalayan tahr, and perhaps even the very rare and elusive snow leopard.
With eleven days in Nepal, you can devote your time entirely to exploring the country on a trek, split your itinerary between trekking and sightseeing, or skip the trail entirely and discover historical cities, beautiful landscapes, and cultural landmarks. Customize one of the following itineraries depending on what you're most interested in.
Venture out on a timeless and breathtaking journey through the Kingdom of Lo; this off-the-beaten-path region was until recently a hidden Tibetan Buddhist enclave forbidden to foreigners. From the trail, expect incredible sights like sculpted canyons with wild rock formations, deep gorges, medieval villages, ancient fortresses, palaces, and mysterious, ancient cave hermitages. You'll also see the Tibetan Buddhist gompas and soaring snow-peaks that characterize this spectacular region, the "thumb" sticking up from Nepal into the Tibetan plateau.
This offbeat trip plan is perfect for the explorer looking to combine a trek with cultural discovery, a jungle safari, and an epic helicopter tour of the Himalaya. Get to know the traditions and history of the Kathmandu Valley, then hike through the gorgeous Annapurna region and summit Pikey Peak, where you'll enjoy a spectacular view that Edmund Hillary claimed as his favorite of Everest. Trade the trail for the jungles with a safari in Chitwan National Park, then end your trip on a high note with areal views of the Himalaya on a flight above the world's tallest peaks.
This high-altitude trek through Sherpa country brings you to the base of the world's tallest peak. You'll pass hilltop monasteries, Himalayan market towns, and craggy peaks as you follow in the footsteps of famous mountaineers —eventually making your way to the iconic starting point for all Everest expeditions. Begin and end in Kathmandu, and return in style via a helicopter ride.
With eight days in Nepal, you can undertake a short great trek or split your itinerary up into multiple regions. You could explore Nepal’s two biggest cities and add in a very short trek, or you could hit a trio of the nation’s most beloved regions (no hiking necessary). If you’re feeling adventurous, head off-the-beaten-track for a week of adventure: trekking, camping, mountain biking, river rafting, and even bungee jumping. Or head straight for the jungles of Chitwan National Park for some quality time with the country’s wildlife.
With nine days in Nepal, you'll have a couple of days to explore Kathmandu before heading off for a trek or multi-sport adventure (think mountain biking, rafting, or even bungee jumping). You can also consider a relaxing sightseeing tour of Nepal’s cultural highlights or discover Everest in luxury; you’ll fly by helicopter to various villages, then spend your days hiking, and your evenings unwinding in deluxe accommodations with some of the world’s most incredible views. These unique itineraries are sure to inspire your adventure.
Also known as the Khopra Ridge Trek, this moderate, off-the-beaten-path adventure is a peaceful alternative to more popular treks in the lower Annapurna region. You'll climb your way through local villages, terraced farmland, and dense oak, pine, and rhododendron forests to face-to-face views of the snow-capped Annapurnas. Plus, you have the option for a challenging but rewarding day hike to Kaire, a sacred lake that Hindus believe will help you achieve Nirvana.
This unique wildlife experience takes you all the way across the Southern Terai region of Nepal. Starting from Chitwan National Park, for a special elephant encounter and safaris to see the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, you'll move west to explore the remote Bardia National Park in search of the elusive Bengal Tiger. En route, you'll also spend some time in spiritual Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.
This ten-day tour is a great option if you're short on time yet keen to see the Everest region. You'll spend your nights in the beautiful Himalayan lodge and your days either trekking or flying through the Everest region by helicopter. Kongde, the highlight of the trek, is a panoramic ridgeline perched about the Everest region that few trekkers get to visit.
With twelve days in Nepal, you can tour a wide swath of the country or head out on a long, epic trek. If you’re interested in sightseeing, you can visit Nepal’s mountains, rivers, and jungles at a relaxed pace, or you can take an adventurous approach (think mountain biking, trekking, rafting, or even paragliding) and explore on one region, like the Annapurnas. Travelers interested in trekking also have a variety of options when it comes to time on the trail: visit iconic circuits, head off-the-beaten-path, stay in the homes of local villagers, or trade teahouses for luxurious accommodations.
This luxury trek takes you through the Khumbu region of Nepal, bringing you to the foot of the world’s highest mountains. Throughout the trek, you will have great views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam, as well as great glaciers, snowfields, and ridges. At the end of each day, you'll retire to luxury accommodations, where you can enjoy a hot shower, sink into a cozy bed, and dine with phenomenal views of the Himalaya just beyond. Along the way, you'll also learn the history and traditions of the Kathmandu Valley, experience the culture of amazing Sherpa villages, and have the opportunity to visit famous Buddhist monasteries.
Experience all that Nepal has to offer in this luxury trip that combines the thrill of trekking the Himalaya, going on exotic jungle safaris (by jeep and by boat), and exploring both city centers and rural life... all in style. This itinerary combines a 4-day trek through the Annapurna region with time to explore Kathmandu, the lakeside city of Pokhara, as well as a stint in the jungle, where you'll stay in an elephant camp. Spend your days adventuring and your nights relaxing in luxe accommodations, as you enjoy sweeping vistas and stellar hospitality.
Sir Edmund Hillary claimed that the view of the lower Everest region from Pikey Peak is the best in all of Nepal, and we're inclined to agree. This trek has the advantage of being slightly farther away from the big peaks, meaning views from the trail encompass much more of the Himalaya. You'll also visit Thupten Choling Monastery, where you can meditate with the resident nuns and monks. Enjoy the extraordinary scenery, get acquainted with Sherpa culture, and explore Kathmandu on this gorgeous route.
Also known as the Khopra Ridge, this moderate, off-the-beaten-track adventure is a peaceful alternative to more popular treks in the region. For nine days you'll climb your way through local villages, terraced farmland, and dense bamboo, oak, pine, and rhododendron forests with rewarding vistas of snow-capped Annapurnas. There are plenty of chances to observe and participate in traditional Nepali lifestyle rituals, including staying in teahouses and taking a day-hike to Kaire, a sacred lake that Hindus believe will help you achieve Nirvana.
This action-packed and adventure-filled trip will keep you on the move and get your heart rate pumping! Explore Nepal by mountain bike, river raft, and trekking trail. You'll hike through a beloved route in the Annapurnas, but will veer off-the-beaten-path for a unique mountain experience, all the while taking in incredible panoramas of extraordinary scenery.
This deluxe trek is great option if you're short on time yet keen to see the Everest region — and do so in style! You'll spend your nights relaxing in a beautiful, luxury Himalayan lodge and your days either trekking or flying through the Everest region by helicopter. The highlight of the trek is Kongde, a village perched high on a ridgeline with incredible panoramic views that few trekkers get to see.
This is a there-and-back trek to the awe-inspiring Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal’s second most popular trek after Everest Base Camp. From Annapurna Base Camp (12,795 feet / 3,900 m), you'll wake up to truly once-in-a-lifetime views. The trek begins at Phedi, after a short drive from Pokhara, and passes through Gurung villages, rhododendron forests, and stunning river valleys set against the backdrop of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri peaks.
This trip connects the three main regions of Nepal and moves at a relaxed yet steady pace to help you get the most out of your time. You'll go from the bazaars and temples of Kathmandu to traditional villages, and then onto Pokhara and Phewa Lake, after which you'll take a short trek in the Annapurna foothills with unforgettable views of the Himalaya. Round out your journey in Chitwan National Park, where you'll see elephants and other wildlife in their natural habitat, before heading back to Kathmandu.
This trek is all about the views! In a short amount of time, you'll visit two of the best viewpoints south of the Annapurna range. The trek combines the very popular Ghorepani and Poon Hill loop with an off-the-beaten-path experience going up to the amazing Muldai Peak. Going off-the-beaten-path also means staying for one night in rustic accommodations — and the teahouse at Dobato certainly has its own charm.
Experience the stark, barren landscapes of Lower Mustang, which are dotted with Tibetan Buddhist cultural attractions. Altitudes on this trek are not too high, and flying between Pokhara and Jomsom speeds up the journey, making this an ideal trip for trekkers who don’t have much time, or who are interested in an easier and shorter route. In addition to three days on the trail, you'll spend time in the lakeside city of Pokhara and will day trip to Muktinath to visit a sacred shrine.
Enjoy a stunning trek away from the crowds with this moderate route, which includes time in city centers and a chance to discover traditional rural life and customs in the Annapurna region. This trail takes you off-the-beaten-path, with highlights like summitting the less-visited Muldai Peak, where you'll enjoy a spectacular panorama of the Himalaya at dawn (and dusk, too, if you like!). If you're feeling up for it, opt for the day hike to Kaire Lake: Hindus believe that dipping into the water here will help you achieve Nirvana. You'll also bookend your trek in Nepal's buzzing capital, Kathmandu, and the lakeside city of Pokhara, home to the stunning Phewa Lake.
This short, action-packed itinerary gives you a taste of the best outdoor adventure activities in Nepal. From mountain biking in the hills and trekking in the mountains to rafting along white-water rivers and paragliding above Pokhara, this itinerary packs all this adventure into six fun days.
The Newars are one of Nepal's many ethnic groups, and are considered to be the indigenous inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. On this culturally rich seven-day tour you'll experience the best of Newari culture, architecture, food, festivals, and more. Newari culture can be found in Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur, the three ancient kingdoms of the valley, which you'll get to know well during this enriching tour.
Less trodden than other Nepal teahouse treks, Pikey Peak is the newly opened destination in the Solukhumbu Region and offers some of the best sunrise and sunset views of Everest, Makalu, and Annapurna. This moderate route passes through beautiful Sherpa settlements with a visit to the 19th-century Buddhist Monastery of Thupten Chholing. Good to know: In July and August, locals hold different cleansing rituals, celebrations, and festivals open to the public.
Get up close with some of the world’s highest peaks on this moderate trek in the Annapurna Region. This adventure, including a 5-day trek, is a great trip for first-time visitors to Nepal. You'll follow ancient trails that connect local communities as you pass through blooming rhododendron forests and rice paddies, with frequent sightings of snow-covered mountains. At night, sleep in comfortable teahouses located in small villages along the route.
See the best of Nepal's Golden Triangle on this relaxed itinerary that takes you from the streets and shrines of Kathmandu to the lakeside bliss of Pokhara and the wilds of Chitwan National Park. You'll have lots of time to explore Nepal's capital and the gorgeous sacred sites around it. Later, relax by Phewa Lake, gazing up at the incredible views of the Annapurnas. Cap off your trip with a jeep game drive or river safari, meeting a host of Nepalese creatures and possibly spotting a Bengal Tiger along the way!
From the top of Pikey Peak in the lower Everest region, enjoy one of the best views in Nepal. A bold statement, indeed, but Edmund Hillary himself claimed it his favorite view of Everest. This trek will take you through a variety of terrain and through villages where you'll stay overnight in local teahouses. You will also have time to explore the eclectic bustle of Kathmandu and learn about the rich traditions of the Newar people.
With six days in Nepal, most travelers choose between a week of sightseeing in the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys, a short and rewarding trek in the Himalayan foothills, or a curiosity-driven adventure in one specific region. If wildlife calls to you, venture into the remote west for an off-the-beaten-path safari; if culture is what you're after, consider a village-to-village hike. Read on for six unique itineraries that are guaranteed to inspire.
Although Nepal is perhaps better known for its extremely high mountains, it is actually a very geographically and topographically diverse country. The plains bordering India, the Terai, are home to thick jungles and extensive wildlife, which are a surprise and highlight for many travelers. Visitors to the Terai shouldn't miss the Chitwan National Park, which has run a very successful one-horned rhinoceros breeding program. You're all but guaranteed to spot one of these incredible animals, as well as other wildlife and birds, in Chitwan. On this tour you'll have time to explore the highlights of Chitwan while staying in some luxurious and unique accommodation.
Experience the diversity of Nepal with this golden triangle of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan National Park. Begin with sightseeing in Kathmandu, followed by a visit to Pokhara and villages in the stunning Annapurna region. From there, head to your riverside jungle resort in Chitwan. Spending some time on safari, you'll have a great chance of seeing rhino, various types of monkeys and deer—and perhaps even an elusive tiger.
See another side of Nepal with this five-day itinerary that focuses on the grasslands and jungle of Chitwan National Park. Start with sightseeing in Kathmandu before two days of safari—you'll have the chance to see rhino, various types of monkeys, and perhaps even the elusive Royal Bengal tiger. During your stay in the park, you'll spend your evenings in a riverside, air-conditioned bungalow in the jungle.
Situated more than 300 miles (500 km) from Kathmandu, Bardia National Park is as remote and wild as it gets. For wildlife enthusiasts seeking an off the beaten path experience, it is a must. With only a fraction of the number of visitors compared to the more famous Chitwan National Park, you'll have a truly wild experience, one that is not overrun by crowds.
Explore the Everest region by foot and by air in this unique Nepali tour. You'll have time to wander Kathmandu's windy, eclectic streets before heading to Lukla to begin your trekking adventure. Pass through local villages, cross thrilling suspension bridges in the verdant Dudh Koshi Valley, and spend some time in the charm and history of Namche Bazaar. You'll end your trip with a once in a lifetime flight aboard a private helicopter for a tour of the Himalaya, including a stop at Everest Base Camp.
The Balthali Village Trek starts a short distance from Kathmandu on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley. Starting your trek in Jarsing Pauwa, you'll pass through quiet farming villages, verdant forests, and explore ancient temples. Immerse yourself in local traditions all the while enjoying stunning views of the Himalaya mountains wherever you turn.
Also known as the Khopra Ridge, this moderate, off-the-beaten-track adventure is a peaceful alternative to more popular treks in the region. For eight days you'll climb your way through local villages, terraced farmland, and dense bamboo, oak, pine, and rhododendron forests with rewarding vistas of snow-capped Annapurnas. There are plenty of chances to observe and take part in traditional Nepali lifestyle rituals, including staying in teahouses and taking a day-hike to Kaire, a sacred lake that Hindus believe will help you achieve Nirvana.
On this 12-day journey through Nepal, experience the scenic and challenging Tilicho Lake Trek—one of the highest lakes in the world. Start in Kathmandu to get acquainted with the country, and do some sightseeing. Then, begin the journey through the Annapurna region. Explore villages and stay in teahouses along the way. Make stops in Chame, Pisang, Manang, and Khangsar Village, before reaching Tilicho Base Camp. Then, spend time admiring the Tilicho Lake, before retracing your steps back to Kathmandu.
How you get to Everest Base Camp—and the amount of time it requires—depends what side of the mountain you're approaching from. Most travelers coming from Nepal will come via the classic 8-day trekking route, one of a few longer alternate trekking routes, or on a half-day helicoptor tour. Those coming from Tibet can drive to a less-visited base camp and experienced trekkers can embark on a challenging 5-day hike. Read on to find out more about how long it takes to visit Everest Base Camp.
The best time to visit Everest Base Camp depends on the activities you hope to do while there. For trekking, you should go in spring (March-May) or fall (October-November), while a helicopter tour can be taken any time the weather is good outside of monsoon season. Winter shouldn't be off the table, either; as long as you're prepared for cold temperatures, you'll be treated to crystal-clear mountain views. Below, you'll find some important points to consider when thinking about when to visit EBC.
While October is the busiest trekking month in Nepal, November is a close second. But, if anything, the conditions in November are even better than those in October. Read on to find out more about traveling to Everest Base Camp in November.
Many of the trekkers in the region this month have come here in hopes of summiting Mount Everest. Thus, trails to Everest Base Camp can get very congested in May. Unless you have your sights on the summit, we recommend trekking a quieter route in the area that allows you views of Base Camp and Everest, but without being in the thick of it.
With the arrival of monsoon rains by mid-June, the trails empty of most trekkers. The early part of the month usually marks the end of Everest-climbing season, so climbers and other expedition members retrace their steps along the Everest Base Camp trekking route and back to Lukla. Here's what to expect in the Everest region in June.
High rainfall across Nepal keeps most trekkers off the trails in July. But, those who prepare well with good rain gear, and who are prepared for some potential travel delays, can still have a good time trekking to Everest Base Camp. Here's what to expect in this month.
August is the last full month of Nepal's monsoon—this is the low season for trekking. While you'll certainly encounter rain, it's still possible to trek in the Everest Region. Read on for more on weather, recommended routes, a packing list, and more.
As winter sets in, the trekking trails clear of all but the bravest travelers. But, December is actually a lovely time to trek to Everest Base Camp, if you're properly prepared for cold temperatures. Read on to find out more about trekking in the Everest region in December.
Along with March, April is a popular month for trekking in Nepal. Temperatures are generally warm (or at least, not too cold in the high Himalaya) and the monsoon rains are still several weeks away. Here are some important things to know about traveling to Everest Base Camp in April.
October is the most popular month for trekkers to visit Nepal. Conditions are pretty reliable, with crisp, rain-free skies offering excellent mountain views. Crowds are at their peak, however, and the Everest Base Camp Trek is the most popular in the country. Advance planning—as far enough in advance as possible—is important when traveling to the Everest region in October.
Nepal is famous for its mountains, and every visitor will want to catch a glimpse. While high-altitude trekking is the best way to experience the Himalayan peaks in all their awe-inspiring grandeur, it's not the only way to get great views. Check out these easily-reachable spots with Himalayan vistas, from preserved Newari villages to hillside cable cars and holy Hindu pilgrimage sites.