What to see in Nepal? cities and attractions not to be missed

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Nepal, nestled between India and Tibet, is a country renowned for its profound spirituality, for its evocative natural landscapes and for welcoming the famous and impervious Mount Everest within its borders, on the Himalayan mountain range.

The capital Kathmandu is a labyrinthine maze of characteristic neighborhoods, cultural sites, Hindu shrines and Buddhist temples and offers its visitors an unforgettable travel experience. A particularly popular destination for trekking and mountain lovers, it allows you to enjoy total immersions in the wildest nature thanks to its immense unspoiled natural areas. With its large lakes, its impossible-to-climb peaks, its picturesque perched villages and the incredible welcome of its population, Nepal is a destination that remains etched in the heart of every traveler.

Are you thinking of setting out to discover this place? Here's a little one guide on what to see in Nepal: cities and attractions not to be missed!



Index

  1. Kathmandu, the capital
  2. Bhaktapur
  3. Pokhara
  4. Chitwan National Park
  5. Langtang Valley
  6. Gokyo, the village in the middle of the lakes
  7. The Lumbini Garden
  8. Patan
  9. Nagarkot, paragliding and observation points
  10. Dulikhel, relaxation at high altitude
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Kathmandu, the capital

One of the must-see places in Nepal is its vibrant and colorful capital Kathmandu. A modern city which is the economic and cultural hub of the country, but at the same time it knows how to do it guardian of ancient traditions of Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Kathmandu offers those who want to explore it a vast choice of places to discover, as well as an atmosphere capable of captivating, for its strong spirituality and the numerous temples, monasteries and ancient palaces.

A must is the fascinating Swayambhu temple, also known as "monkey temple": its more than 300 stone steps allow you to enjoy one of the most evocative views of the capital. Also visit the area of Thamel, a maze of narrow and crowded alleys, where shops and restaurants are concentrated where you can get a taste of the typical local cuisine. Do not miss the Garden of Dreams, a former private residence that can now be visited, consisting of buildings dedicated to the 4 seasons, fountains, gardens and sumptuous decorations. Durban Square, on the other hand, is one of the most important squares, marvelous and of great historical interest.



2 - Bhaktapur

A short distance from Kathmandu there are several former kingdoms, scattered in the valleys that surround it. One of these is the beautiful Bhaktapur. A step back in time, a place where modernity is far away and pollution does not exist: aoasis of peace where the inhabitants live according to rules that are lost in the past.

Inside there are no cars circulating and the whole city moves at an almost unreal pace. Bhaktapur is also famous for its artisan potters and for its close contact with the countryside. In fact it also comes called the "city of rice": in November, during the harvest period, along the cobbled streets of the city and on the stairs of palaces and temples, the swarming of men, women and children working for the drying, makes Bhaktapur look like a magnificent film set.

3 - Pokhara

Pokhara, called the "city of lakes", is located near the Kathmandu Valley, at the foot of the Annapurna mountain range. It is the second largest city in the country for size and importance and is a very popular destination for hikers. From in fact, many trekking routes start here as well as boat tours to navigate the lakes surrounding the area. The high mountains rich in vegetation that embrace these territories are reflected on the waters of the basins and create a breathtaking panorama.

Highly recommended to attend thesunrise on the Annapurna massif, an event that attracts dozens of tourists every day. The point from which this spectacle can best be enjoyed is Sarangkot, located about 1.600 meters above sea level, and about 30 minutes drive from the city of Pokhara. Along the way there are two or three panoramic terraces from which you can admire the unforgettable natural spectacle. On the shores of Lake Phewa there is also the World Peace Pagoda, a beautiful Buddhist pagoda overlooking the lake and the city of Pokhara from the top of Anadu Hill.



4 - Chitwan National Park

Within the Nepalese territory there are eight natural parks, including the stunning Chitwan National Park. IS' been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and is located in the Terai area, about 150 kilometers from Kathmandu.

Within its 577 square kilometers, it is possible participate in real safaris, trying to spot elephants, bears, tigers and rhinos. There are also hundreds of different species of birds and reptiles and many endangered species in the park.

Chitwan Park is can be visited accompanied by guides, on foot or by jeep and admission costs 1.500 NPR (approximately € 11,80). In the boundaries of this immense green area are also found characteristic villages and accommodations where you can stay to admire the starry night in the jungle. A natural paradise, not to be missed during a trip to Nepal.

5 - Langtang Valley

One of the most enchanting areas of Nepal is the Langtang Valley, another one a region very popular with trekking enthusiasts. Its average altitude of about 2.000 meters makes it an area that is not too easy to tackle. To reach it, it takes about eight hours of travel from Kathmandu, along rough and little-traveled roads. Until recently these valleys were completely off the beaten track, now though the exploitation of tourists and trekkers is also present here.

Langtang is in any case a magnificent valley dotted with picturesque villages and friendly grazing yaks. Hiking trails in the Langtang valley start at 1.470 meters in Syabrubesi to reach peaks such as Kyanjin Gompa, Gang Chhenpo, Langshisha Ri and Langtang Lirung. The trails follow the course of the Langtang Khola River and pass through immaculate forests, Buddhist monasteries and villages such as Rimche, Pairo and Thyangsyap. THE tours can last from a few days to several weeks, offering opportunities for every level of experience.



6 - Gokyo, the village in the middle of the lakes

Gokyo is a small village in Nepal which is located within an area famous for the presence of several lakes, commonly known as the Gokyo lakes. Located in the heart of the Himalayan mountain ranges, this region can be reached on foot from the town of Namche Bazar and also from this place in Nepal There are several paths for trekking that offer direct contact with the wildest nature.

Il most famous among the lakes of this area is the homonymous lake Gokyo, about 4.700 meters high, frozen for most of the year. Despite the decidedly extreme climate, many species of birds live near the reservoir, including the rare Himalayan Snowcock. Lake treks departing from the area and climbing up the peaks of Gokyo Ri promise truly stunning perspectives on the mountainous reliefs of the place, part of the Himalayas: unique views of Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyo and Lhotse.

7 - The Lumbini Garden

The Lumbini Garden is a place that cannot be missed on a tour of Nepal: Lumbini, near Kapilavastu, is the place that gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha. The history of Buddhism therefore began right here. This village hides many archaeological treasures related to the historical birth of the Buddha and attracts pilgrims and visitors from all over the world.

The place is highly sacred to Buddhist culture and is located on the border with India in the Terai region. L'the air you breathe here has something mystical and deeply spiritual and you can meet many people gathered in prayer and engaged in devotional acts. A decidedly intimate and particular experience.

8 - Patan

Returning to the surroundings of Kathmandu, the town of Patan is located about half an hour from the center of the Nepalese capital and is undoubtedly worth a visit. The numerous temples of this small town, with a particularly original architecture, make it a unique site of its kind. A wonder much appreciated by visitors in which the buildings masterfully mix Buddhist and Hindu styles.

I More ancient temples date back to the end of the fourteenth century. The town is also populated by craft shops and small restaurants. Patan is considered the oldest of the royal cities in the Kathmandu valley and it's recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

A curiosity: in this tiny town stands the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, seat of the apostolic vicariate of Nepal, the only authorized Catholic church in the country.

9 - Nagarkot, paragliding and observation points

Nagarkot is a gem that completes any self-respecting trip to Nepal. The city is located at the foot of the majestic and respected Mount Everest, which overlooks the entire area with its 8.848 meters high. Nagarkot is located at 2.175 meters above sea level and despite its Lilliputian dimensions it is capable of offer travelers an unforgettable view of the Himalayas and adrenaline-pumping activities such as paragliding: A view of Nepal from up there is one of the best souvenirs you can take home from this nation.

Even the less daring have their chance and they can walk along the path that leads to the Nagarkot observation tower, from which the view of the surrounding mountains still takes your breath away. Or, wake up early and admire the sunrise over the peaks.

10 - Dulikhel, relaxation at high altitude

Dulikhel is the perfect place in Nepal for a few days of pure relaxation, where you can alternate slow-paced days with adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, such as rafting.

Among the places not to be missed, the famous Shiva temple, and the nearby village of Namo Boudha, one of the most important Buddhist places in Nepal. Therefore, there is no shortage of opportunities for contemplative moments and immersion in the natural environment: to enjoy them both it is sufficient to walk around the town on beautiful paths dotted with prayer flags that lead to temples hidden by the forest. The best way to fully embrace the Nepalese atmosphere, poised between past and present, between nature and spirituality, between tourism and uncontaminated spaces.

Travel informed: useful information and necessary documents

  • Inhabitants: 24.785.000
  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Languages: Nepali; English is rarely spoken outside urban areas
  • Local currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR) / € 1,00 = 126,74 NPR
  • Weather: temperatures are very hot at low altitude, with a tropical or sub-tropical climate, and very cold in the mountains, with an alpine or sub-arctic climate on the peaks; monsoon rainfall from June to September, dry season in the rest of the year
  • Time zone: +4,45 hours compared to Italy, +3,45 when daylight saving time is in force in Italy
  • vaccinations: no compulsory vacancy; recommended hepatitis "A" and "B", typhus, rabies, cholera, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, polio, cyclospore, antimalarial prophylaxis
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least six months or in any case longer than the period of stay in the country; entry visa, obtainable both upon entering the country and at the Nepalese Consulates in Italy
  • Safety info: visit the Nepal section on the Farnesina website
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    Nepal is located in the South Asian area and it borders to the north with China (Tibet) and to the south with India. It is a landlocked state.
    Nepal has within it a great variety of climates and natural environments, and comes to include territories ranging from the Himalayan mountain range to the Ganges plain.

    Tours and excursions in Nepal


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