Kathmandu is more than just a launch pad for trekking. Its cultural highlights, alone, warrant a visit to this Himalayan country. A melting pot of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, you’ll find incredible woodcarving, painting, sculptures, a unique architectural heritage, and living traditions that surround you with color and prayer.
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When visiting Nepal, it's easy to set your sights firmly on Mt. Everest, Kathmandu, and Chitwan National Park — but don't overlook the religious site of Lumbini. As the birthplace of the Buddha, this is one of the world's great pilgrimage destinations. If you're interested in history, spirituality, or archaeology, add Lumbini to your Nepal wish list.
The Newari town of Bandipur is one of central Nepal's hidden gems. It combines traditional village architecture, epic Himalayan views, lovely countryside walks, local adventure sports, and excellent accommodation. It's also an ideal place to break up the drive between Pokhara and Kathmandu while getting a relaxing taste of rural Nepal in the process.
Most travelers to Nepal think of trekking in the Himalaya, but there's another entirely different landscape to explore in the south of Nepal—Chitwan and Bardia National Parks. Under the forested canopies of these two national parks, you'll spot rhinos, tigers, elephants, and a variety of birdlife. Here's a guide for planning trips to these two regions.
Lukla is the gateway to the Everest region which everyone passes through en route to Mt. Everest or to other vantage points in the region. Almost everyone flies into Lukla and starts their trek there, given it shaves off a few days of an otherwise already long multi-week adventure. But if you have the time, the trek into Lukla will be one of the highlights of your trek.