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Nepal

Squeezed between the high wall of the Himalaya and the steamy jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras. From the bustling city of Kathmandu with its temples and lively markets to the tropical jungle of Chitwan National Park and the fresh air of the mountains in Pokhara. Nepal is most renowned, however, for trekking – hiking from village to village, through massive hills and lush rhododendron forests and up to the peaks and glaciers of the high Himalayas.

Nowhere else can you trek for days or even weeks in incredible mountain scenery, secure in the knowledge that a hot meal, cozy lodge and warm slice of apple pie await you at the end of the day. Nepal is nirvana for mountain lovers. In one valley alone you can be sweltering in the shade of a banana palm in the morning, and sheltering from a snowstorm in the afternoon.

Highlights

Nepal has a lot to offer. Below we made our own selection of places we think are definitely worth a visit.

  1. Old Kathmandu – narrow alleys, noisy markets, fabulously carved temples and rowdy political rallies. Stroll around in the little backstreets of this old quarter, visit local markets and have a cup of chai at one of the street stalls.
  2. Pokhara - peaceful Pokhara is located besides a deep green lake, nestled among forested hills and with the gleaming Himalayan peaks at the backdrop.
  3. Chitwan National Park - a visit to Chitwan reveals an unexpected side to Nepal yet an attractive proposition for nature lovers.
  4. Bhaktapur - the exquisitely preserved town of Bhaktapur is built in dark carved wood and glowing pink brick, and adorned with fine stone sculptures.
  5. Trek from homestay to homestay - if you want to experience the splendid Himalayas of Nepal and at the same time experience local life you can do a trekking for a few days and sleep in the homes of local people.

What to eat

Nepal does take heavy influences from its closest geographical companions such as India, China and Tibet. Common ingredients found across Nepalese cuisine include lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, chilies, peppers, garlic and mustard oil.

  1. Dal Bhat – this is the national dish of Nepal and consists of rice and aside lentils which are surrounded by various different dishes. Sides can include pickles, curried dishes, meat or fish, yoghurt, and chutney.
  2. Momo – are delicious dumplings filled with meat or vegetables and accompanied by one or two dips. We really like them!
  3. Thukpha –this is a hot noodle soup with some meat and vegetables. It is very popular in wintertime.
  4. Sel Roti – this is a type of bread you can’t find anywhere in the world. It is made of rice flour and has a crispy bite with a sweet layer. You can easily buy it at one of the street stalls and is most delicious when it is fresh.

When to go

The dry season runs from October to May and there's the wet season from June to September. Autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May) bring almost perfect weather and are definitely the best times to come to Nepal. October to November, the start of the dry season, is in many ways the absolute best time.

What to know

All foreigners, except Indians, must have a visa. Nepali embassies and consulates overseas issue visas with no fuss. You can also get one on the spot when you arrive in Nepal, either at Kathmandu’s Airport or at road borders. Children under 10 require a visa but are not charged a visa fee.



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