With its gentle Buddhist people, medieval city centres strewn with temples, outstanding national parks offering a plethora of wildlife and some of the worlds most outstanding natural landscapes, Nepal has proven irresistible to travellers for decades.
Kathmandu Nestled in Kathmandu Valley in the heart of the Himalaya Mountains, Nepal’s capital is far and away its biggest and most cosmopolitan city: a melting pot of a dozen ethnic groups, and the home town of the Newars – Nepal’s master craftsmen and traders extraordinaire. Today, the old city of Kathmandu is still studded with ageless temples and splendid architecture. Its narrow lanes seethe with an incredible crush of humanity, echoing with the din of bicycle bells, religious music, construction and car horns, and reeking of incense, spices and exhaust fumes. Sacred cows still roam the streets, as do holy men, beggars, street urchins and coolies.
Pokhara is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The enchanting city has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panoramic views of Himalayan peaks. The serenity of the lakes and the magnificence of the Himalaya rising behind them create the ambience that has made Pokhara such a popular place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Chitwan National Park
This unique ecosystem is a World Heritage Site and home to the endangered one-horned rhino, Royal Bengal tiger, crocodile, elephant, four-horned antelope and monitor lizard amongst others.
It is best to travel to Nepal during October – November to catch the clear skies and warm days. Everest and Annapurna regions become very popular! The second best time to visit is between March and April to visit and trek, spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms. During June – September it can rain (mostly at night). It is a popular time to travel overland to Tibet.
Language The official language of Nepal is Nepali, spoken by only 49 % of the population. English is spoken in the major tourist areas by those working in the sector, but is unlikely to be found in the more remote regions or small villages.
Why we love it Its mystical allure, natural beauty and ancient heritage. There is something for everyone in Nepal. Whether you want to explore Nepal at gentle pace, trekking for days in incredible mountain scenery or fast paced, adrenaline rush opting for a rafting ride down the Nepali river.
Weather It is best to travel to Nepal during October – November to catch the clear skies and warm days. Everest and Annapurna regions become very popular! The second best time to visit is between March and April to visit and trek, spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms. During June – September it can rain (mostly at night). It is a popular time to travel overland to Tibet.
Social customs & quirks Business as usual for visitors exploring temples – respectful, conservative dress, removing shoes before entry and do ask permission to enter a Hindu temple. Nepalis are friendly, although displays of affection in public are not appreciated. Superstitions rule and it brings bad luck to praise a baby’s appearance or walk on spilled rice. Red chilies hang everywhere, driving away evil spirits and bus drivers always say a prayer before departing. Nowadays, you may hear folk music on the radio and, in rural areas, devotional music and songs are a part of village life.
Festivals & events These concentrate on religious and cultural events on the Hindu and Buddhist calendars and involve traditional rituals, music and dance. Dashain in early September is the most important. Held over two weeks at the end of September it is celebrated across the land and ends on the day of the full moon. Dashain honors the victory of the gods over a host of demons, based on tales in the Ramayana, after invoking the powers of the goddess Durga. Tantric rites are conducted as mother goddess temple offerings are made and specific rituals take place in all homes, towns and cities every day of the event.