It’s place that started it all, the first country that stole my heart and ignited my passion to travel. It was my first solo trip and first ever long haul flight! Since my first visit back in 2012 I’ve always known that I’d return one day! So finally, it’s time for me to visit Nepal again. And I can’t tell you how much I’m excited about it!
But this time there’s a twist. I wont just be a tourist, backpacker, or whatever you want to call yourself. I’ll be co-guiding a trip, introducing more people to the real Nepal (and you can find out more here).
Visiting Nepal will change your life. I rant and rave about it all the time and can rarely get it off my mind. With mountains to climb, rivers to kayak, cities to explore and villages to relax in, there’s something to do for everyone!
So to sum it up, here are 10 reasons to convince you to visit Nepal in 2018!
10. The Scenery starts from the Plane ride.
It all begins from the plane ride. Changing at Delhi and anxiously boarding the final leg to Kathmandu. At some point mid journey the Captain announces to look out the left hand window, Everest is coming up.
As you begin to descend towards the Himalaya’s – and Nepal – little triangles start poking above the clouds. Mountains begin to show themselves all off, all competing for the best show before the clouds encase them again. So it might pay to stay awake on this flight.
9. The People are some of the most genuine, happy and Selfless
The people of Nepal will go out of their way to help you. I’ve been lost in tiny villages with just a little – pretty useless – map, lost and massive language barriers. That didn’t stop them from trying to help me though. In moments I was surrounded by locals, one leading me from one to the other before someone – after various hand movements and taps on the map – figured out where I needed to go.
It may sound chaotic, often because it is. But its perfect chaos. Everyone is there to help and eventually it gets done.
People in Nepal will offer not only their time, but their homes and pretty often, food to you to. Most are genuinely interested in you and your story. But they also want to share theirs. So accept the invitation from time to time, accepting a cup of tea will give you a peak into the real lives of those who live here.
I can guarantee, you’ll come out of Nepal with not just friends, but family too. Who will always welcome you back with open arms.
8. The Journeys are sometimes even better than the destination
When was the last time you took a bus journey and couldn’t peel your eyes away from the glass?
Just think about that for a second.
When the journey was maybe better than they destination. That’s something to say. Well Nepal is full of incredibly scenic drives, not just ‘scenic’ like driving through the country but epic scenes of sheer drama. The roads wind themselves around sheet mountain walls, carved in and seemingly delicate among such monstrous peaks!
The journeys are often a little more adventurous than your average ‘scenic’ drive. But when you visit Nepal adventure is part of the deal.
So enjoy the journeys, even the long ones (there often the best) and get excited about the destination. If you enjoy the journey just think how amazing the destination will be.
7. The Rivers are pretty epic roller coasters
It’s no surprise that with great mountains comes some pretty epic rivers! Adventurers, extreme adventurers have always been drawn to Nepal. The race to climb Everest, now those after some more technical peaks race here. Long distance hikers, wilderness seekers and of course, those who love to play on fast flowing water.
White water. Kayaking or Rafting is massively popular in Nepal and it’s drawing people from all over the world to try out.
Riding the river can take you into the wilds of Nepal, into the backcountry and mingling with the traditional cultures of Nepal. Off the tourist trail, with no one else around but swirling rapids, jungle, mountains and traditional culture. It’s the best way to see Nepal.
This is what I’ll be guiding people through while traveling in Nepal and I am stoked to get back on the water and into the wild. If it sounds like your kind of thing to, check out more here!
6. The Mountains, I mean, Wow!
Of course you can’t write a piece on ‘why to visit Nepal’ and not include the peaks that put this country on the map.
The home to the Himalayas there are hikes and summits for everyone. Whether it is a day walk, multi day hike or a multi month summit there’s a mountain adventure for everyone.
As I’m sure you all know, I’m a pretty mountain mad. For those of us mad for mountains, Nepal will welcome you with open arms.
There’s more treks that the classic Annapurna circuit, Everest base camp, Annapurna Base camp and Langtang Valley Trek. So get out there, grab a map and go exploring!
5. Visit Nepal and Enjoy the peace and serenity
Un-zipping my tent and stepping out into the morning sun. Sand between my toes and the rush of river water in front of me, the chirping of the birds from the surrounding peaks and the crackle of the fire. This is the way to wake up.
Once away from the main cities and towns things become quiet. One of the biggest religions of Nepal is Hinduism, and silence, or at least, quiet is treasured.
Ever heard the phrase that Silence is louder than words?
Whether it’s wandering around ancient temples, exploring small villages or in the remoteness of the mountains and rivers the silence will speak to you. It’s beautiful, loud, peaceful and serene.
4. The Food is incredible and super cheap!
You can get any kind of food in Nepal. As long as you expect a Nepalese twist on your home food comforts. So don’t get too excited when you see Pizza on a menu.
The excitement starts with trying the local cuisine. Not as spicy as Indian food, or nearly as threatening to the stomach Nepali food is absolutely delicious.
The staple meal in Nepal is Dal Bhat. It comes in a variety of a flavours and if you chose, a variety of ‘meats’. The food and spices are all fresh and definitely home-made. There’s nothing better than a home cooked meal right? And of course, some Momo’s on the side.
No dinner is complete without a good sugary cup of Chai to finish it up.
3. The diversity and acceptance of religion
Nepal is often referred to as the world’s only Hindu Kingdom. However other religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Kirant, Christian and others such as Spirituality are prominent. Unlike many other countries, all these religions coincide with one another, there is no hierarchy religious beliefs and for the most part, everyone gets a long.
Other countries and people, could take a leaf out of Nepal’s acceptance of religious diversity.
This makes it a great melting pot of religions and cultures. While also welcoming to those visiting who may not associate with a religion or the main religion without feeling any pressures.
2. Head out and try to spot Rhino’s and Tigers!
You wouldn’t think it, but Nepal is one of the leading countries working to protect Rhino’s and Tiger population. Chitwan National Park is a successful tourist attraction, pulling thousands of us in to catch a glimpse of Sloth Bears, Rhinos, Elephants and if you’re lucky, Leopards and the mighty Bengal Tiger. It is prime tiger habitat and Nepal work tirelessly to protect and grow the Tiger and Rhino population.
If you don’t fancy trekking through Tiger territory, you can hop in a traditional dug out canoe and head down the river to spot crocodiles.
A lot of the money generated by tourism goes back into the park to help the conservation efforts and work to protect the animals from poaching.
There is also a lot of opportunity to interact with Asian Elephants in Chitwan National Park. This is mainly due to the (now dying out) practice of Elephant riding. But with pressure from animal rights groups and changing attitudes due to education, this type of tourism is dying out and now these Elephants, too domesticated to go back into the wild, are bathed, fed and played with by paying tourists.
So if you’re a wildlife enthusiast like me, you’ll love laid back Chitwan!
1. It’s Safe, for all types of travellers.
Tourism has flown through Nepal for years and for the most part, the tourism has been us backpacker, adventure types. Women and Men equally travel here in search of adventure, peace and wild experiences. So while the ‘infrastructure’ may not be what we are used to in the Western world, the majority of people in Nepal are out to help you, not get you.
The Earthquake of 2015 that rocked Nepal has only brought the country, cultures and communities closer. Uniting to rebuild, aid and support one another through a horrible time. Tourism suffered with the media’s suggestion that the country was in ruins and unsafe. But these lies just stunted the tourism which was always going to bounce back, and bounce back it has. The world united to support Nepal to rebuild and heal and now tourism is returning. Nepal despite the challenges always remained humble, helpful and caring.
Language barriers are prominent but people will go out of their way to help you regardless. Having a guide-book or a map will help but always expect a slight detour or ‘shortcut’ via a teahouse or their family’s house for lunch.
The people of Nepal will be so curious about you and your story, but they will also want to share their story with you. Not asking for help, but just to pull you into their world a little and share what they can.
Nepal was the first solo trip I ever took by myself and there was never one moment I felt unsafe or uncomfortable. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you understand the quirky ways you’ll be smiling and laughing along with it in no time.
So don’t be scared, visit Nepal and accept that cup of Chai.
If these reasons aren’t enough for you to hop on a plane and visit Nepal, drop me a message and we’ll chat some more. When asked my favourite country I’ve ever been to, as hard as that question is to answer, Nepal always rings first in my head.
So if you’re keen to head to Nepal in 2018 let me know or ever better, come and join me! I’ll be guiding trips through Nepal in April, kayaking rivers, climbing small mountains, exploring the cities and getting into the real Nepal. So come along and visit Nepal with me in 2018 – find out more here!
See you there!