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Lying amidst the magnificent Himalayas, Nepal is the gateway to Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. But the country is not just about endless trekking and hiking opportunities; there are many enigmatic and beautiful places to visit in Nepal.
Go on a tiger and rhino safari in Chitwan; stroll through the ancient, mystic city squares of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur; visit the birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini; center yourself on a yoga retreat around Kathmandu Valley; or paraglide over the serene waters of lakes in Pokhara. Nepal is an adventure of a lifetime. Here are the top 15 places to visit in Nepal.
- Gail Runciman
- From Finland
Nepal’s Everest Region is home to remote trails dotted with Buddhist monasteries, stunning mountain views, and unique Himalayan culture. Some of Nepal’s best-known treks, like the Everest Base Camp trek, happen here. Lukla is the main entry point for visitors and trekkers to the Everest Region. Expect plenty of lodges and local eateries along the way.
- Trek the three great passes on an Everest Base Camp trek: Kongma La, Cho La and Renjo La.
- Visit Sagarmatha National Park Visitor’s Centre, which has information about the area’s wildlife.
- Spend a day acclimatizing in Namche Bazaar. Explore the Museum of Sherpa Life, hike to a lookout to see Everest.
The spectacular Annapurna Region offers some of the best trekking routes in Nepal. The region’s most popular trekking route is the beautiful Annapurna Base Camp. For expert mountaineers, there is the grand Annapurna itself, but there are also many smaller treks and trails together with cultural detours.
- Trek to Annapurna Base Camp, at a height of 4,740 meters. It can be completed in 6–10 days.
- Do the Annapurna Circuit Trek, which takes about 14 to 20 days. Thorung La Pass, at 5,416 meters, is the highest point of the trek.
- Try Poon Hill or Ghandruk for two relatively shorter and easier treks that still show off mountain views and diverse local culture.
Langtang is best known for its excellent Langtang Valley trek, a relatively gentle-paced trek accessible from Kathmandu. The area is known for its spectacular scenery, indigenous Tamang culture, green forests and bamboo groves. Aside from the main trekking route, there are several day hikes from places like Kyanjin Gompa which offer stunning views of peaks and glaciers such as Lirung (7,246m) and Langshisha Ri (6,370m).
- Pass high alpine meadows, lush forests and yak pastures, and enjoy extensive views across open valleys towards the end of the Langtang Valley trek.
- Trek Tamang Heritage Trail for a cultural dive into the lives of the local Tamang community.
- Try the lovely alternative trek to the beautiful Lake Gosainkunda (4,380m), which is also a pilgrimage spot for sadhus (holy men).
Home to around 50 species of mammals, 120 species of fish, 55 species of reptiles and amphibians and 525 species of birds, Chitwan National Park is a top wildlife safari destination.
- Enjoy a safari walk or a traditional jeep safari and spot Bengal tigers, clouded leopards, Asian elephants, and the rare one-horned rhino.
- Go on a boat safari on Rapti river to see the gharial, a species from the crocodile family with a distinct thin, long snout.
- Explore the local Tharu culture via village walks, culture shows, and local artisans.
Busy and bustling Kathmandu is the beating heart of Nepal and a cultural treasure trove making it a top place to visit in Nepal. From heritage and architecture to spirituality and shopping—there’s something for everyone in Kathmandu.
- Head to the charmingly chaotic Durbar Square and its Royal Palace, and learn about the city’s history.
- Visit the sprawling Pashupatinath Temple, which attracts thousands of Hindu devotees every day.
- Explore the most popular Buddhist landmarks of Kathamndu by going on a short hike up Swoyambhunath, the Monkey Temple, and then visiting Bouddhanath, the biggest stupa in Nepal.
- Shop in the popular tourist hub and hippie locale Thamel and in Mangal bazaar for all kinds of gifts and souvenirs.
Founded in the 12th century, Bhaktapur is now a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its pottery and extra-creamy yogurt in clay pots. Most of Bhaktapur’s monuments and sites are in and around its Durbar Square.
- Admire the magnificent Golden Gate, with its stunning repoussé metalwork.
- See Nyatapola temple, Nepal’s tallest temple dating from the early 18th century.
- Buy clay plots from Potters’ Square, the heart of the town’s ceramic industry.
Patan’s Durbar Square has some of Nepal’s finest temples, including the lovely octagonal gray stone 18th-century Krishna Temple. There are also several trendy shopping and eating opportunities.
- Visit the Royal Palace, and interconnected museum, which occupies one side of the square. Some of its temples and courtyards are from the 14th century.
- Check out the square at Kwa Bahal or Golden temple. Shop for handcrafted Buddha figures here.
This laidback touristy lakeside town offers gorgeous views of the Annapurna range. Pokhara is the launching pad for many treks and adventure sports like paragliding, mountain biking and rafting. This is one of the top tourist attractions in Nepal.
- Enjoy a drink and international cuisine at lakeside Pokhara, a tourist hub filled with pubs and restaurants.
- Check out the International Mountain Museum, dedicated to mountaineers, and the newly built statue of Shiva at Pumdikot.
Lumbini is the birthplace of Buddha, drawing Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world. Siddhartha Gautama, as he was called before he attained enlightenment, was born here some 2,500 years ago.
- Explore Maya Devi Temple, which is dedicated to Queen Maya Devi, Siddhartha’s mother.
- Visit the marvelous World Peace Pagoda, constructed by Japanese Buddhists.
- See the colorful and lavishly decorated Cambodian Monastery.
Manang is a key stop for hikers doing the Annapurna Circuit. Surrounded by stunning snow-covered mountains and glacial lakes, the village offers some fascinating detours like a three-day trek to the otherworldly Tilicho Lake (4,919m).
- Climb up Praken Gompa, for majestic views of peaks like Annapurna II and Tarke Kang.
Bardia National Park is a great alternative to Chitwan National Park, with fewer tourists and minus the commercialization. The Karnali river flows through it, offering excelling rafting opportunities in Nepal. Bardia is also home to big cats like tigers and leopards.
- Visit the Crocodile Breeding Centre to see crocodiles, gharials and turtles, and see elephants at the Elephant Breeding Center.
- Cycle through the villages inside the park
- Go on a guided jungle walk and try to spot a tiger!
Hiding beyond the Himalayas in northern Nepal and near Tibet, the ancient kingdom of Mustang attracts both pilgrims and adventure-seekers. Its rugged mountainous terrain and valleys carved by the Kali-Gandaki river are an extraordinary spectacle. Mustang is divided into two parts: Lower Mustang, famous for its natural scenery, and Upper Mustang, home to big-ticket treks and caves.
- Trek to Muktinath Temple, a sacred site for both Hindus and Buddhists, located at an elevation of 3,710 meters.
- Visit the 16th-century Chhairo Gompa in Marpha village. It is believed to be the first Nyingma monastery founded in Mustang.
Sapta Koshi River is the lifeblood of the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, which was established in 1976 to protect Asian wild buffalos in the Terai region. The wetland, Nepal’s largest, is also home to other endangered or protected species like the Ganges river dolphin, gharial, red-crowned roof turtle, slender-billed vulture and Bengal florican. The reserve is an important site for migratory waterbirds.
- Go on a jeep safari, bird-watching tour and elephant ride through the reserve.
- Head to Koshi Barrage to spot the river dolphins.
Gorkha is the birthplace of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the man credited with unifying the rival kingdoms of Nepal in the 18th century.
- Visit the 16th-century Gorkha Durbar, which is a palace, fort and temple, and is a fine example of Newari architecture.
- See the Gorkha Museum, housed in Tallo Durbar, a Newari-style palace dating from 1835.
- Visit the miniature pagoda temple dedicated to Bhimsen, the god of commerce.
According to the great Hindu epic Ramayana, Janakpur is the birthplace of Sita, the wife of Lord Ram. The marble Janaki Mandir in Janakpur dedicated to Sita is the star attraction of the city and a revered site. This is one of the best places to visit in Nepal for Hindu pilgrims.
Head to the Janaki Mandir complex to see several places of interest, including Bivahmandap, a pagoda-styled temple depicting the wedding of Ram and Sita.
Visit Shree Sankat Mochan Mandir, a temple dedicated to the god Hanuman.
Lofty heights of the Himalayas, stunning vistas, rich culture and extraordinary terrain make Nepal one of the most exciting travel destinations in the world. It’s also a sacred land of temples and monasteries, full of lovely medieval architecture and home to thrilling wildlife. Contact our travel experts to create your own customized trip to Nepal and see it all.