Backpacking Nepal | Best places to see in Nepal

February 23, 2019

by Aarti D. Hegde

You’re at a world’s end with your 9-5 job. All you need is a break from all the monotony. You look up at all the pocket-friendly places you’d like to travel. And, that’s where the beautiful Himalayan region–Nepal comes to light.

For me, it was something sort of the same scenario. Except for the part where I quit my job to travel on a budget.

If you’re the one seeking for adventure, nirvana, ruins and medieval cities, jungles, cultural sites,  natural scenic places, and the friendliest people on ‘the pale blue dot’, Nepal is the place to be! I loved Nepal for the things it offered and you will too.

What makes Nepal so magnificent is impalpable. It’s a divine feeling you’re overwhelmed with, the moment you step foot on the land of Nepal. You see it. You feel it. The moment you’re greeted by a friendly local soul–‘Namaste’, it’s that undeniable feeling, you can’t help feeling, so high it reaches the snowy caps of the Himalayan ranges, and it follows you on your every single journey in Nepal.

It’s definitely hard to put the ‘feels’ into words, but to fully understand me and Nepal, all you’ve to do is to experience it yourself.

It’s obvious the first thing that comes to mind when you reach Nepal is the Himalayas. It’s not surprising; Nepal is the heavenly abode to seven of the ten tallest mountains on this planet. Although the Himalayan mountains are a major attraction and I highly suggest that you take an ample amount of time to get proper hiking done while you’re exploring out and about, I’m here to tell you that there is a lot, I mean a LOT more to do and see in this gorgeous country you can call home for however long you choose to  stay.

Cities/Towns/Attractions

Kathmandu

As unique as it is, Kathmandu is chaotic, vibrant, cultural, historic and spiritual–yet, these adjectives won’t do justice to the city. You can find many UNESCO world heritage sights to see and explore, and also to devour equally tasty food.

Places to see in Kathmandu

Kathmandu durbar square

Every Durbar Square you visit, it’s made of temples, statues, idols, fountains, open courts, and ruins because of the earthquake–it has been the capital of three kingdoms.

Entry–$10–$15 USD to each, per person

Image Credits: Aleksander Shafir | Kathmandu Durbar Square

Pashupatinath temple

Pashupatinath has existed since 400AD and is one of the holiest places of Hinduism; the temple is a fine example of Hindu architecture.

Entry–Around $10 USD per person

Image Credits: Sergey Ashmarin | Pashupatinath Temple

Swayambhunath stupa

Your Kathmandu experience isn’t complete without a visit to this historic site. All you need to do is climb the 365 stairs and enjoy the spectacular views Kathmandu offers and explore the temples filled with Hindu and Buddhist iconography.

Entry–Around $4 USD per person

Image Credits: Aleksander Shafir | Swayambhunath Temple

Pokhara

If Kathmandu’s hustle and bustle was your view of the city, then Pokhara has to be the complete opposite. It’s relaxed, serene, and not polluted. It lies on the banks of Phewa Tal Lake, and with a massive backdrop of the magnificent Annapurna ranges. It’s no surprise that backpackers prefer living here for days.

Places to see in Pokhara

Explore the lakeside

All you need is just a few hours to explore the beautiful Phewa Lake. Take a walk. Relax. Hire a boat ride. Admire the ice-capped mountains from the lake.

Boat Hire–5 USD for a 1-way journey with a boatman. Much cheaper if you want to row the boat on your own.

Phewa Lake

World peace pagoda

Take half a day to enjoy the picturesque world peace pagoda. At the top of a hill, the pagoda offers all the calm in the world, beautiful architecture, tranquil views of the Annapurna ranges and its neighbouring mountains.

Entry–Free of cost

World Peace Pagoda

Pokhara is famously known for its adventures and truly lives up to its name with activities such as zip-lining, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and para-gliding. One of the popular activities that most people love to try is para-gliding as it offers splendid views of the Himalayas and you also get to fly over the lake.

Prices start from 70 USD per person.

Sarangkot viewpoint

Get a nice Eagle’s eye view from the Sarangkot viewpoint either during sunrise or sunset. You’ll find several stairs to hike up to. Might get tiring but, the views are rewarding. It was slightly cloudy the day I visited the place it’ll leave you mesmerised with the Himalayan views on a good day.

Entry–Free of cost

Sunrise at Sarangkot Viewpoint

View from Sarangkot

Trek the himalayas

The main reason people visit Pokhara is that of trekking in the Himalayas. From a few days of hiking to a few weeks, you’ll find it all at Pokhara. Your options can range from Annapurna Circuit, Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Lakes, Mustang, Dhampus etc. Ask any tour operator on your choices and they’ll be happy to help!

Image Credits: Sergey Ashmarin | Annapurna Circuit

Bhaktapur

If you’re feeling a tad bit adventurous and are up for a road trip, then Bhaktapur is the place to go. The medieval city of Nepal and 50 km from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur is straight out of a museum, with red-brick abode to cobbled streets, it holds on to its proud Newar heritage.

Kailashnath Mahadev Statue, Bhaktapur

Chitwan national park

Chitwan is home to one of the successful national parks in the continent. They’ve had zero poaching success achieved in 2015. While you’re on your safari activity, you will have time to see Sloth Bears, Crocodiles, Rhinos, Monkeys and you may hit a jackpot if you spot a Tiger and a Leopard.

Have you ever been to Nepal before? Do you feel I’ve missed out on any activity or places to see in Nepal on this travel guide? Share your experiences with me on the comments below! 🙂

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