8 Breathtaking Places to Visit in Nepal That Will Make You Want to Go There

A small country compared to its neighbors India and China, Nepal owns its unique setting to the world’s highest mountains, the Himalayas. While in the southern parts of the country you find steamy jungles with wildlife, the northern mountain regions are home to small villages, with Buddhist stupas, colorful prayer flags, and sherpas. If you have decided to travel to this part of the world, this comprehensive list of best places to visit in Nepal and a few suggestions of popular treks around these destinations might help.

1. Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)

The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is a bustling city, full of smells, colors, rickshaws, and cows – the sacred animal. Kathmandu is definitely one of the places to visit in Nepal because of its nearby international airport. If you are planning a few days in Kathmandu, there are some of Nepal’s best places you shouldn’t miss.

A photo of the Swayambhunath stupa in Kathmandu valley, one of the best places to Visit in Nepal for culture and religion experiences.
The famous stupa at Swayambhunath located at the Kathmandu Valley

The historic Durbar Square lies in the heart of the city, with its Royal Palace and Hindu temples. Half-an-hour walk from this square, Thamel is the touristy neighborhood, packed with a wide range of hotels, restaurants, and shops with good bargains. There are many religious sights around Kathmandu, among which the UNESCO listed Swayambhunath is the most worthy to visit. Also called the ‘Monkey Temple,’ the whitewashed stupa is literally assaulted by friendly monkeys and it features one of Nepal’s most sacred Buddhist shrines.

A monkey on top of a small stupa at the Swayambhunath temple
Swayambhunath temple is well known for hundreds of monkeys that roam here.

2. Kathmandu Valley

One of Nepal’s best places to visit, the Kathmandu Valley is a patchwork of rice paddies, old towns with sacred temples, Buddhist stupas, and Newari villages. On the outskirts of Kathmandu, Bodnath is home to Asia’s largest stupa and a center of the Tibetan community. On the flip side, Pashupatinath is Nepal’s most important Hindu temple. As a visitor, you cannot enter the courtyard of the main temple, which is open only to Hindus. But you will have a more authentic experience if you walk along the Bagmati’s riverbanks where Hindus burn their deads on a pyre as part of a funeral ceremony.

A small street in Kathmandu valley with vendors and pedestrians doing business
Bustling back alleys of Kathmandu valley

Besides Pashupatinath and Bodnath, don’t forget another UNESCO listed world heritage site, the town of Bhaktapur. It is the best preserved medieval town in Nepal and has cobblestone backstreets, towering temples, and intriguing wooden statues.

Pottery being laid out in the town square in Bhaktapur
Pottery square in the town of Bhaktapur (south of Durbar Square)

 

3. Patan

Almost considered a suburb of Kathmandu, Patan is an independent town on the murky Bagmati River and one of the must-see places to visit in Nepal. The Newari town has its own Durbar Square (the main square), with a Royal Palace, and even its own Kumari (a Living Goddess).

A beaitifull view of the Patan's market square
Patan’s market square (Durbar square) view

 

Wandering the winding streets of the town, you will have an insight into the local lifestyle and layout of the Newari towns. You will also find Hindu temples built in the pagoda style and numerous fair-trade shops. Don’t miss the four stupas that mark the boundaries of the old town, the Ashoka Stupas. There, Buddhist pilgrims walk clockwise around the stupa and create a lively atmosphere with their chants and prayers.

4. Pokhara and Surroundings

Nepal’s second biggest tourist town, Pokhara features less historical sights but has a spectacular setting nearby the Phewa Lake. Situated at the foot of the Himalayas, Pokhara is the starting point for multi-day treks in the Annapurna Conservation Area. The Annapurna Circuit (12-19 days), the Ghorepani Trek (4-5 days), or the Ghachok Trek (2 days) are among the most popular ones. Poon Hill (a ‘hill’ imposingly standing at 3200 meters altitude) is well known for morning hikes. From there, you witness the spectacular scenery of the over-8000-meter peaks – Dhaulagiri (8167m) and Annapurna (8091m).

Mountainous views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna from Pokhara
Views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna from Pokhara

5. Everest Base Camp

Everybody has heard about Everest, the world’s highest mountain, right? If the 8848-meter high summit is a dream for most of the Alpinists, the Everest Base Camp (EBC) is a more realistic target and one of the challenging places to visit in Nepal. If you are a curious person, you will want to admire the iconic peak during your visit to Nepal. The EBC is pretty accessible and on many people’s travel bucket list, even if it’s situated at 5364 meters altitude. The starting point of the trail is in Lukla, where you can fly or take a bus from Kathmandu.

A photo of several yak's carrying load on the way to Everest Base Camp
Yak’s carrying loads in the Everest Base Camp

The trek lasts 14 to 20 days and it mainly follows the long valley preceding the Khumbu Glacier. You have to pay attention to acclimatization and take one day or two of rest if needed. Along the trek, you will see not only Everest but also some of the other famous Himalayan peaks, such as Pumori (7161m), Nuptse (7861m), Lhotse (8516m), and Ama Dablam (6812m). After reaching the Everest Base Camp, you will backtrack to Lukla but this time, you will only have to descend.

6. Lumbini

Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini is one of the most famous religious sites of Nepal. The Buddha was born here 2500 years ago.

A meeting hall at Lumbini where The Load Buddha was born 2500 years ago
Lumbini, The Lord Buddha’s birthplace

The Maya Devi Temple was built on site to commemorate the important event. Pilgrims from all over the world come to Lumbini and worship in the stunning white temple with a sacred pond. In the new part of the town, Buddhist monasteries and spiritual centers have opened to travelers and pilgrims. These places offer meditation retreats, Buddhist teachings, or simply a quiet space where to reconnect with your inner peace.

Monk's chanting in Lumbini sacred grounds
Monk’s chanting in Lumbini sacred grounds

7. Chitwan National Park

In the humid plains bordering India, Nepal seems a completely different world than the dramatic serrated line of the Himalayas.

Three elephants getting ready to carry tourists in the Chitwan National Park
Elephant rides in the Chitwan National Park

A jungle walk or kayaking with professional guides are ways to have a safe insight into the local wildlife. It’s easy to see elephants walking down the main street in the Sauraha village. However, call yourself lucky if you glimpse a tiger in the dense jungle for a few seconds. Plenty of crocodiles stay along the riverbanks of the Rapti River and rhinos come to the nearby bathing spots, too. So you can track wild animals even from ashore, without venturing too much into the jungle.

A rhino roaming free at the Chitwan National Park
A rhino at the Chitwan National Park

8. Langtang Valley

Bordering Tibet, the Langtang Valley is one of Nepal’s best destinations when it comes to trekking in the Himalayas. Approximately 200 kilometers from Kathmandu, Syabru Besi small town is the starting point for numerous treks in the area. The Langtang Valley Trek (7-8 days) features high alpine scenery, glaciers, and yak pastures. The Tamang Heritage Trail (6-7 days) explores traditional mountain villages of the Tamang ethnic group while staying in local homestays. Eventually, if you prefer remoter treks, the Gosaikunda Trek (7-8 days) includes sacred, high-altitude lakes as well as Himalayan panoramas.

Snow-capped mountain views from the Langtang Valley
Snow-capped mountain views from the Langtang Valley

TipThe best times of year to visit Nepal are in spring (March/April) – before the monsoon starts, or in autumn (October/November) – after the monsoon has ended. 

Over to You!

Are you planning to visit Nepal soon? We would love to see your photos and stories. In fact, we made PhotoBlog.com for travelers and storytellers just like you. Please come share your photos and stories with all of us at PhotoBlog.com

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About the author

Iuliana Marchian

Iuliana is a passionate explorer, travel writer, and blogger (www.travelingauthentic.com), based in Sibiu, Romania. Her life motto is simple: “We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting” (Khalil Gibran). Iuliana likes to travel at a slow pace and to remoter places. Riding a camel amidst sand dunes in a desert, that’s the moment she feels authentic. She has specialized in the Balkan /Middle Eastern countries, showcasing in her work remoter places of these regions.

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