Hiking through epic mountain scenery with vast, panoramic, snowy peaks on all sides; exploring intriguing cities packed with holy temples and colourful markets; looking out for endangered wildlife in lush primary jungle… these are just some of the highlights of a trip to Nepal. You’ll find a warm welcome wherever you stop, from monastery homestays to the relative buzz of a grand Kathmandu hotel. For a small country, Nepal packs a heck of a lot in, so make sure you plan plenty of time to immerse yourself in every moment.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
When you mention Nepal, one of the first things many people think of (after, perhaps, Mount Everest itself) is trekking. Epic hikes across the mighty Himalayan peaks, such as those on the Annapurna circuit and towards Everest Base Camp, tend to get most of the attention, but there are paths to suit all levels. You don't need to be a dedicated hiker to enjoy rambles through valleys strewn with wildflowers, stopping at traditional villages surrounded by steep, emerald-green rice paddies and backed by the snow-capped Himalayas. Private treks with a dedicated guide allow you to finely tune the route to suit you, making sure your experience of one of the world’s most extraordinary landscapes is personalised and paced to perfection.
Located on what was formerly the main route between India and Tibet, the hilltop settlement of Bandipur was once a prosperous trading centre. These days, its few remaining neoclassical facades feel rustic and run down, giving this sleepy rural town a veneer of faded grandeur. It's a popular stop off point en-route between Chitwan National Park, with its rare wildlife, and the awe-inspiring trekking on offer around Pokhara. Although routes that pass this way often only feature one night in Bandipur, many visitors quickly fall under its spell and wish they had planned a longer stay.
Chitwan National Park is a wild landscape of dense forest and grassland interspersed with winding waterways. Many endangered species live within its protected boundaries, including tigers, sloth bears, elephants and rhinos. The best way to experience it is with a stay at the excellent Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge. Whether you stay in a cosy room in the main lodge, or an immersive safari tent, this sustainable resort is the business when it comes to seeing Chitwan at its best. Walk behind elephants and look deeper into the jungle to glimpse rhinos and even the occasional flash of the tigers themselves. Visiting between February and April, when the long grasses have been cut back, makes it much easier to spot the wildlife.
Taking an alternative approach to a classic Nepal combination, this journey contrasts the heady and hectic streets of Kathmandu with the open savannah of Chitwan National Park. Slow down to search for tigers and rhinos amid the wilderness, before strapping up your boots for a light trek between two atmospheric lodges in the Himalayan foothills around Pokhara.