If you have only the most basic knowledge about Nepal, you’ll probably think of Mount Everest and prayer flags. If you follow the news, you’ll probably think of the crippling 7.8 magnitude earthquake and fuel shortages that devastated the country in 2015/16. If you’re religious, you might think of the holy Buddha’s birthplace. If you’re up to date with all the most popular travel blogs, you’ll probably think of Lonely Planet’s number five pick for Top Travel Destinations of 2017 or Rough Guide’s number two Reader’s Choice for 2017.
But that’s all stuff Google can tell you. And that’s great but we want to share what it was that drew us to Nepal in the first place, and now having lived there, why we think that Nepal is the perfect choice for your next travel adventure!
When I was just a kid, I was obsessed with Mount Everest. At this point I wasn’t a hiker or a climber or anything other than a tomboy who liked to read books about conquering that Mecca of mountain climbers around the world. I loved the sound of the word “Kathmandu”, thinking it sounded wonderful and exoctic and felt a strange draw towards this place of history, culture and colour. So that’s where it all started. I read some books about a place and decided I needed to go there.
So is Nepal all that I imagined it to be? That and more! While my adolescent image of the country extended to only the capital city and the capital attraction, Nepal proved to be infinitely more diverse and intriguing than I could ever have imagined.
Reasons why Nepal should be your next destination:
1.) It is the most spectacularly beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
I cannot describe to you the sheer joy, awe and absolute shock that is seeing the Himalayas for the first time. They are larger than anything I’m able to imagine. Like, I’ll think of the largest thing possible, and then look at the Himalayas and nope, they’re still bigger. It’s not only the mountains that make Nepal gorgeous though, it’s the green rolling hills, the dense jungles throbbing with life, the cliffside communities and the sun setting over 14th century temples.
2.) It’s crazy cheap.
Forbes listed Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest city as one of the ‘20 Best Value Cities for Budget Travellers” last year and they couldn’t be more right. It’s easy to live on 15$ a day in Nepal, especially when you’re eating delicious dhal bhat (local rice and lentil staple) for 100-200 rupees. That’s a dollar or two for more food than you could ever hope to eat in one sitting. Bring your stretchy pants.
3.) If you’re willing to get off the beaten track, you’re rewarded with some of the most remote places on earth.
Some of the most remote places on Earth lie in Northwestern Nepal. We’re talking Siberia/Tibet/Antarctica levels of remoteness. And truly, what could be more beautiful than that? Obviously, these places are extremely difficult to reach due to Nepal’s overall lack of efficient infrastructure but a few days of travel can take you to places nearly untouched by the ravages of the modern world.
4.) The entire place is one huge adventure waiting to happen.
Seriously. The tallest mountain range in the world. Wild tropical jungles. Safaris. Some of the best whitewater rafting to be had north of the equator. Ancient temples and monasteries. Shopping and spices and sarees and whoa. Adventure.
5.) The diversity of people, religion, and landscape means it never gets boring.
In Nepal, Hinduism, Buddhism, and to some extent Islam and Christianity exist in harmony. People from different ethnic groups and castes exist in harmony. Modern highrises and 14th century temples exist in harmony. Traditional style clothing and H&M exist in harmony. The monstrous mountains of the North and the tropic-like wetlands of the South exist in harmony. You could explore this country for an entire lifetime and not understand all the subtle diversities it has to offer.
- By Paige Mueller