Imagine ancient temples, exotic wildlife, rich culture and urban lifestyle hubs, framed by the most famous mountains in the world. Nepal tourism encompasses some of the most exciting, tranquil, awe-inspiring experiences and sights you can hope for, while it is also a haven for trekkers and nature lovers. That’s not all; Nepal tourism offers medieval cities, tranquil monasteries and beautiful little backstreet shrines, framed by great natural beauty.
Nepal is a beautiful landlocked country, located between China and India. The country has three main regions, The Himalayan region, the Middle Hill region and the Terai region. The highest point of Nepal is the summit of Mount Everest. Its topography gives Nepal a varied and interesting landscape. The plains and dense forests in the Terai host wildlife reserves.
The hills with terraced fields and sanctuaries host endangered species of animals like the red panda and the black bear and the snow-capped mountains, with fast-moving snow-fed rivers, frame Nepal and give the country its majestic aura.
The geography and climate of Nepal allow diverse flora and fauna to flourish here. 2% of the world’s flower species and many of the world’s mammals and bird species are found in Nepal. Besides, it has 500 species of butterflies and 600 indigenous plant families.
Climatic conditions in Nepal can range between the subtropical, in the Terai region, to freezing in the mountains.
There are 4 distinct seasons. Spring lasts from March to May, with an average temperature of 22*C. The weather is warm, with some rain showers. From June to August is the monsoon season. Temperatures rise up to 30*C and it can get uncomfortably warm and humid. There are heat waves too, when temperatures rise even further.
The autumn, from September to November, is cool, with minimum temperatures at night going down to 10*C and the maximum rising to 25*C. The skies are clear and the landscape lush and green after the monsoon. This is considered the best weather for trekking.
Nepal’s climate turns cooler from December onwards, with January being the coldest month. Temperatures can drop below zero at night. However, visitors who enjoy the cold can command magnificent panoramic views of the snow-capped mountains. From February the weather gets more temperate, until March brings in the spring.
The majority of Nepalis are either Hindus or Buddhists, with 80% of the population being Hindu. However, Islam, Christianity, Jainism and Sikhism are also practiced in the country, along with animism and ethnic religions. As the population is composed of more than 30 diverse ethnic groups, this makes for equal diversity in customs. Each ethnic group has its own language and culture. However, Nepali is the national language of Nepal and you’ll find that almost the locals can communicate in Nepali, wherever in the country you travel.
The Nepali people are generally warm and friendly and interact easily with tourists. Despite strong influences from China and India, Nepalis have maintained their unique cuisine and culture, including their distinctive music and dance forms. Religion forms the core of the national culture, with most festivals and celebrations revolving around religious occasions.
With its fascinating blend of nature, history, culture and leisure, Nepal tourism is an intriguing and varied experience. From the height of Mount Everest to the quaint artisan’s shops in Bhaktapur, from the tea shops serving apple pie to the awe-inspiring national parks, Nepal has something for everyone. Besides, shopping is an unmissable part of a Nepal tour, as it uncovers a treasure trove of handicrafts, jewellery, furniture and more.
Nepal tourism offers an endless variety of places to visit and things to do. Sagarmatha National Park is home to the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest. It also offers visitors sightings of some of the world’s rarest and most striking animal species, like the elusive snow leopard, the red panda and Himalayan black bear. Chitwan National Park is also a very popular attraction on any Nepal tour, with its wealth of natural beauty and wildlife.
Nepal tourism includes some of Asia’s most sacred sites, including the majestic Pashupatinath Temple complex, considered to be one of the most treasured religious sites in Asia and Lumbini, revered as the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur are also unmissable on a Nepal tour, with their interesting mix of heritage and exquisite handicrafts to buy.
Apart from these well-known attractions of Nepal tourism, the country offers many sites off the beaten track. Namche Bazaar, for instance, is where people on Everest expeditions start their journey, and is one of Nepal’s age-old trading centres. Even today, it offers its famous local yak butter and cheese, other daily essentials and every piece of equipment or gear you would need for a trek through the Himalayas.
Another lesser-known attraction is the beautiful city of Dharan, where rustic charm cohabits with upscale neighbourhoods, and the limbs of Sati, Lord Shiva’s consort, are reputed to have fallen. With serene pilgrimage sites and exciting adventure sports centres, quiet lakes and rushing rivers, Nepal’s dramatic contrasts make for an unforgettable holiday.
The following are some travel tips, do's and dont's yto keep in mind during your Nepal trip.
Do's and Dont's
• Do try to greet the Nepali people by folding your hands in the traditional greeting of Namaste, as they prefer the Namaste as a greeting to shaking hands.
• Nepalis are comfortable sitting on the floor while eating, so you may find this custom prevalent in smaller towns.
• If you dine with local families, don’t eat with your left hand, as it is an unspoken taboo among Nepalis.
• It is important to dress appropriately, especially when visiting places sacred to Nepalis.
• Do ask before taking photographs of locals.
• Do not give money to children, even if they seem to ask for it. If you want to help them, donate to an organization.
• Nepal’s natural heritage is precious and should be preserved. Please dispose of all garbage sensitively while trekking and protect the natural environment in every way.
• Avoid fires in open spaces as they can spread very quickly especially in Nepal’s densely forested regions.
• As Nepal society is somewhat conservative, kissing and hugging in public is considered offensive.
SOTC has some great Nepal tour packages that will let you explore this mountain kingdom at your pace. Book your tour today.