By Caitlin Hornik
Nepal is home to some truly incredible scenery, activities, and history. Here’s why it should jump to the top of your travel list.
The capital city of Nepal is full of incredible sights, sounds, and aromas to embrace. Kathmandu is overflowing with attractions and activities for you to explore. In fact, seven groups of monuments and buildings in Kathmandu Valley combine to create one of Nepal’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among them are Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, and Changu Narayan Temple. A Durbar Square is essentially a city center filled with temples, palaces, and public spaces. A stupa is a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine. Each of the seven monuments and buildings is steeped in rich history dating back thousands of years. Allow yourself enough time in your itinerary to explore them all!
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Another UNESCO site in Nepal is Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. It is regarded as one of the holiest places in the Buddhist religion. The site, as it is known today, consists of a variety of archaeological remains from monuments associated with Buddha’s birth. This includes the Maya Devi Temple, named after the mother of Buddha. The adjoining sacred gardens contain Ashoka Pillar, which has an inscription on it marking it as the site of Buddha’s birth. The gardens also contain monasteries from other Buddhist countries, which are a huge draw for those visiting the site. It is encouraged to find a quiet place to meditate during your visit.
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Chitwan National Park
The first of its kind in Nepal, Chitwan National Park was established in 1973. Chitwan National Park is comprised of 932 square meters, or 10,032 feet, of land. This includes jungle, hills, lakes, plains, and more! The park is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including over 400 species of birds and 60 mammal species. What makes Chitwan National Park unique is the opportunity to catch a majestic Bengal Tiger roaming through its natural habitat as you experience a jungle safari from atop an elephant or in a Jeep. Visitors may also catch glimpses of rare one-horned rhinos, bengal foxes, red pandas, and more!
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Located in Pokhara, Phewa Lake offers a variety of leisure and adventure activities. With the Annapurna mountain range as a backdrop, Phewa Lake is breathtakingly beautiful. On a clear day, the mountains reflect in the water creating an ideal photo opportunity and peaceful setting for relaxation. For those feeling more adventurous, the Annapurna Circuit Trek is regarded as the best in Nepal. Boating is an extremely popular activity, with the brightly colored boats creating a beautiful palette against the stunning mountains.
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The Himalaya Mountains
We’d be remiss not to include the Himalayas! Home to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, the Himalaya Mountains are one of the top reasons to visit Nepal. Nepal is home to eight of the 14 highest peaks in the world. The mountain range is vast and forms a border between the Tibetan Plateau and the plains of the Indian subcontinent. As a result, the Himalayas have had a profound impact on the cultures of South Asia, India, Nepal, and more. Whether you simply love nature or are daring enough to climb the peaks, you’ll enjoy the scenic background they provide. Many hotels in Nepal are nestled at the base of the mountains and provide easy access to the peaks. Trekking the Himalayas may sound intimidating, but rest assured it’s doable (and worth it)!
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