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Located between the majestic Himalaya Mountains and the fascinating Indian jungles, Nepal is a land where things like yaks, yetis, mountain peaks and hidden monasteries appear to be seemingly common. Ever since the country opened its borders to foreigners, it emerged as an enchanting destination for hikers and trekkers of all types, many venturing to the famous Everest Base Camp. Its rugged trails proved unparalleled trekking opportunities while the appeal of climbing Mount Everest was more than enough to attract mountain climbers from all over the planet.

Over the years, Nepal has also managed to invent itself into a popular travel destination. Its rich natural beauty, historic attractions and vast cultural heritage has proven to be the perfect mix between the ancient and the modern, slow paced lifestyles and frantic city life. No wonder then that Nepal is featured high on the list of travel trends and beyond.

Just for the anxious ones, Nepal’s earthquake did not destroy the country, although it was almost portrayed that way in the various medias. Old monuments were laid down and many local villages suffered, however, many monuments, buildings etc remains 100% intact and almost all trekking routes have already opened up again.

So, here's our list of the top 14 best things to do in Nepal.

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1. Trekking in Nepal

Dhaulagiri French Pass Trekking
The French Pass on the Dhaulagiri Circuilt Trek offers one of the most brilliant mountain sceneries

Whether your a novice or an experienced trekker Nepal is the land of trekking (and climbing), offering some of the best trekking routes in the world. Period. The 4 days Poonhill trek is one of the better short treks in Nepal; the Everest Base Camp trek is a great trek if having 12 days available; while the Everest Base Camp - 3 Passes trek or the Manaslu trek are some of the best adventure treks in Nepal, taking you on unparalleled trekking routes amidst pristine nature.

If you're into climbing but lack experience we recommend Island Peak or Mera Peak. Both peaks reach +6,000 meters and can be summited by people with no prior mountaineering experience, yet promising a challenging adventure and memory of a lifetime! For more information about mountain peaks, please check out the top 10 best climbing peaks in Nepal.

More information:
Best time to trek to Everest Base Camp
How long does Everest Base Camp trek take
How to get to Everest Base Camp

2. Panoramic Flight Over the Himalayas

Everest Mountain Range
A 50-minutes mountain flight is a great way to get upclose and personal with the mighty Himalayan range

Trekking the great Himalayas may not be something that everyone is cool with. But that doesn’t mean that you must miss out on meeting the most majestic peaks on the planet. A himalayan panoramic mountain flight tour is the perfect way of enjoying unparalleled eye-level views of those majestic mountain peaks and watch true Himalayan beauty unfold right in front of your eyes, including Mount Everest. Mountain flights have their own unique charm. Some of the most popular peaks that can be seen through a panoramic flight include Mt. Makalu, Mt. Gosaithan, Mt. Dorje Lhakpa, Mt. Gauri-Shanker, Mt. Pumori and the Grand Daddy of them all – Mount Everest.

Chitwan National Park
An encounter with one-horned rhinos in Chitwan National Park is a guaranteed experience

Chitwan National Park, the first national park in Nepal, is considered to be another must-see destination in Nepal. This is one of the most naturally beautiful places in Nepal. More than 500 species of migratory birds call the park their home, as do one-horned rhinos, Bengal tigers and Asian elephants. It covers almost 332 sq. miles and is supposed to be your best chance of seeing animals such as bears, tigers, crocodiles, elephants and rhinos while in Nepal. The most common bird sightings include kingfishers, paradise flycatchers, egrets and brahminy ducks.

Insider Tip – The ideal way to explore the Chitwan National Park is to go for a three-day trip and stay for 2 nights at one of the hotels in Chitwan. This also gives you a chance to explore a typical Tharu village while in Nepal.

Pokhara is a paradise on earth and is popular as city of Lakes
Get a spectacular aerial view of Pokhara as you paraglide 

Pokhara, essentially a lakeside town, attracts explorers, nature lovers and adrenaline junkies with its spectacular natural beauty, an array of fishing opportunities, mountain biking, river rafting, exciting treks such as Poonhill, Annapurna Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit, visiting the peace pagoda, paragliding, canyoning, bungee jumping, and sunbathing. It is one of those famous places in Nepal that you certainly wish to visit for the second time in your life. Boating and strolling down the lakeside in Pokhara is definitely two of the top things to do in Pokhara.

5. Mountain Biking in Kathmandu Valley and Nepal

Annapurna Circuit mountain biking
Mountain biking trails in Nepal don't only offer the best thrills, but also some of the most awe-inspiring scenes

Especially Kathmandu might not be one of those cities that offers bike-friendly locales to its visitors, but there is no shortage of mountain bike tours in Kathmandu and Nepal. One of the best and most challenging biking excursions can be found in Shivapuri National Park. The dirt roads that start off at the Budhanikantha entrance are hardly ever used, and the challenging patches in between simply makes riding all the more exciting. Those searching for easier options can explore the Godavari, Bungamati and Chapagaun roads, known for their serene beauty and easy trails. Another popular mountain biking tour is Kathmandu to Nagarkot and back.  If you're looking for a real challenge, do the Annapurna Circuit on a mountain bike.

Insider Tip – You might want to explore the Dakshinkali road biking option as well. The area puts together an uphill ride with beautiful cultural attractions all around.

6. Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour

Swayambhunath, the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu Valley

The ideal way to explore Kathmandu is to have your own guide and conduct a real Kathmandu sightseeing tour. Almost each and every turn in the valley introduces you to intricate carvings, delightful pagodas and humongous stone images. This is one of the most famous tourist places in Nepal. The area is teeming with temples and shrines and seems to be a living history museum. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand what to explore and what to leave out, given your interests and time constraints. A guide helps you choose the right destinations and also provides non-stop entertainment in the form of history and local folklore. Some of the must-see attractions in Kathmandu Valley include Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa, Boudhanath Stupa, and the Temple of Kumari.

7. Mount Everest Helicopter Tour

Mount Everest Helicopter Tour
Witness the thrills and wonders of Mount Everest in a short time with a helicopter tour

If a panoramic flight around the Himalayas doesn’t sound exciting, a helicopter tour across Mount Everest certainly will. This tour lets you get up close and personal with some of the most traditional Himalayan cultures and admire majestic peaks such as Mt. Cho Oyu, Mt. Ama Dablam and Mt. Pumori at the same time.

Insider Tip – The base camp of Kala Patthar is famous for its 360-degree panoramic views of fascinating mountains from ground level.

Bardia National Park
The unspoiled wilderness of Bardia National Park is home to the Royal Bengal tiger

Bardia National Park is the largest wilderness area in Terai. It boasts of beautiful wildlife and is considered to be what the Chitwan was about 30 years ago, before it became commercialized due to tourism. The park covers about 968 sq. kms. of grasslands and Sal forests and is famous as one of the biggest stretches of tiger habitats in Asia. Apart from tigers, you can also check out 30 different species of mammals such as one-horned rhinos and elephants, Gangetic dolphins, crocodiles and more than 250 species of birds such as sarus cranes and the Bengal floricans.

9. Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath Temple, the most sacred temple complex in Nepal for Hindus

The Pashupatinath Temple was constructed way back in the year 1696 on the banks of the Bagmati River. It is now known to the most important Hindu temple in Nepal. The temple was designed in a classic pagoda style, with a gilded rooftop, four silver-plated doors and beautifully carved rafters. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple premises, but a glimpse of Lord Shiva’s bull, Nandi, can be seen from the western entrance. Even if you are not allowed to enter the temple, its exteriors and surrounding areas are certainly worth exploring. Watching the traders and priests go about their daily routines is considered to be an experience in itself.

Another interesting phenomena, despite some people might find it uncomfortable, is that the Pashupatinath Temple is also the place where most people from the Kathmandu Valley are burned after they pass away. In contrast with many Western nations Nepal’s funerals are public – a very different tradition but nonetheless also admirable.

A visit to the Pashupatinath temple should be high on your list of things to do in Nepal.

10. Two Day River Rafting on the Bhote Koshi River

Bhote Koshi River Rafting
Experience rafting in Bhote Koshi, one of the fiercest rivers in Nepal 

The Bhote Koshi River offers one of the best and most exciting kayaking and rafting adventures in all of Asia. It is famous for offering some of the best short river trips in the world, and a two-day rafting package is the perfect way to understand why people across the globe long for the adrenaline rush that rafting has to offer.

11. Patan

Patan Durbar Square
Stroll down the alleyways and squares of Patan to relive its ancient heritage

Patan, the second largest town in the valley, is separated from Kathmandu by the Bagmati River (although Kathmandu and Patan has very much integrated nowadays). What makes Patan so special is that its history dates all the way back to the year 250 BC, when the corners of the ancient town were marked by stupas. This is one of the most unique places to visit in Nepal due to the culture here. It is also home to a greater concentration of temples when compared to Bhaktapur or Kathmandu and always provides exciting architectural beauties worth discovering. Some of the top attractions in Patan include the Golden Temple and the Kumbeshwar Temple. Be aware though that much of the ancient temples were laid-down by the recent earthquake in Nepal on April 25th 2015.

Insider Tip – Don’t miss out on the Patan Museum that is housed in the Malla royal palace. The museum is home to more than 200 copper or gilt statues of Hindu or Buddhist deities. The main highlights of the museum are its courtyard (featuring a red-brick façade, wood carvings, a golden door and a golden window) and the 12th century seated Buddha.

12. Four Day Kayaking Clinique down the Seti River

Seti river Kayaking in Nepal
The waters of Seti river is ideal for novice kayakers

The Four Day Kayaking Clinique down the Seti River is considered to be the ideal way to learn white water kayaking while exploring spectacular natural beauty and riverside scenery at the same time. This tour starts at the Phewa Lake in Pokhara and carries on for three days along the Lower Seti River, before finally ending close to the Chitwan National Park.

Insider Tip – The Seti River kayaking tour is perfect for kayakers looking to brush up on their kayaking skills before challenging the more dominant and difficult Himalayan rivers.

Dal-Bhat, plateful of deliciousness is one of the things to try in Nepal

Dal-Bhat is the national food of Nepal often served with rice surrounded by dal/lentils, vegetables, and meat curries.The perfect combinations of flavor and heat.

Savoury, Steamed Nepalese dumplings in the best thing to try in Nepal
A delicious plate of Nepalese version of steamed dumplings, Momo, served with some flavorful dip/ 'achaar'.

Nepalese cuisine sometimes gets a bit of a hammering from those expecting the explosive spices of India. But come with an open mind and the subtler flavors that typify the nation’s food will delight your taste buds. After you have had your fill of aromatic dal-baht, be sure to taste tangy pani puri, the ubiquitous small street food. Then look out for places dishing up momo—Nepali dumplings or pancake-like chatamari. You will not regret it!

14. Join in with Festival Celebration

With a calendar jam-packed with festivals, it can seem like every day is a holiday in Nepal. Marking important Buddhist, Hindu and animist rituals, these festivities offer a magical insight into Nepal’s cultures. Spanning a full eight days, September’s Indra Jatra is perhaps the biggest. You can expect a kaleidoscope of colorfully dressed dancers on Kathmandu’s streets, all moving to the heavy beat of drums. Meanwhile, Bisket Jatra sees the air of Bhaktapur, city of temples, filled with mouth-watering aromas. But even the smallest towns and villages will drape the streets in decorations and adopt a festive atmosphere.

We tried our best to zoom in on the absolute best things to do in Nepal. However, please do not hesitate to write to us via the comment field if you think we missed out on something. We look forward to hear from you.

Published by Erik Jensen, updated on May 3, 2024

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4 COMMENTSWe welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.
  1. S
    Steven RegariNov 19 2022REPLY
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  2. D
    Dolma ToursSep 08 2022REPLY
    I found your article very informative. Do keep posting such articles! Thank You.
  3. A
    Aries PangestuMar 23 2019REPLY
    Hi Dil and Jon, Are there any location fee if we want do preweeding pictures like in Patan and Pasupatinath? Thanks , Aries
  4. J
    JamesDJonesNov 13 2018REPLY
    Great article.