“A trekkers’ paradise, Nepal combines Himalayan views, golden temples, charming hill villages and jungle wildlife watching to offer one of the world’s great travel destinations.”
– That’s exactly how the Lonely Planet describes this beautiful Himalayan hamlet, tucked between India and China.
Marked as ‘The Most Budget-Friendly Destination’ in 2017, Nepal is visited by millions every year, and since the massive earthquake of 2015, that shook the country immensely, the nation is focusing on improving tourism as a way to strengthen the economy. Volunteering Solutions has a wide range of affordable and meaningful projects in Nepal that’ll give you the opportunity to make some meaningful contributions in the lives of the underprivileged ones, and gain experience that you can cherish for a lifetime.
But as we keep saying, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’! Hence, you must also indulge in exploring the country apart from volunteering. While most of your weekdays will be action-packed, you can plan your weekends effectively and tick-off the best things to do in Nepal.
Let’s take a look at what you can add to your Nepal travel bucket list, to make your entire journey more adventurous!
The capital city of Nepal has a cultural beauty that might just charm you at the first glance. The tiered temples of Kathmandu have a medieval world aura and you’ll soon realize why Kathmandu is called ‘the city of temples’! The most famous temple is the Pashupatinath Temple located on the bank of the Bagmati River, which is also a popular cremation site.
The Boudhanath temple is no less beautiful and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, said to house a bone from the Buddha’s body. The unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism is worth witnessing here.
The Swayambhunath Temple, famously nicknamed as the Monkey Temple, has a large population of resident monkeys and provides spectacular views of the city lying in the valley below.
You can also visit the Dakshinkali Temple, which is located around 22 km from Kathmandu. Built around the 14th Century, you’ll get to witness animal sacrifices if you visit this temple. The locals believe that no matter what you wish for, the Goddess Kali will fulfill all your dreams!
Not many people know this, but Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal, and hence, it is one the best places in the world to witness the Buddhist culture and architecture. Head towards the Kopan Monastery for some spiritual retreat, and also to take a break from the chaos of Kathmandu city! (If you are keen, you can attend some meditation classes as well.) The Rigon Tashi Gompa located in the south of Kathmandu on Pharping is another place worth visiting. Here, you’ll find one of the biggest statues of Buddha of Asia.
There are three such Durbar Squares in the valley, located in Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Each of these Durbar Squares is unique and have rich cultural threads attached to them. Walking down the alleys and the palaces in the Durbar Square will surely make you feel that you have traveled back in time. There’s something in every direction and something for everyone to enjoy. and if you are lucky, you may get to spot the Kumari – a little Nepali girl dressed as a living Goddess, showering everyone with her blessings.
No trip to Nepal can be complete without visiting the Durbar Squares.
If you thought that Nepal is all about religion and spirituality, then you are totally wrong! The lush green Chitwan National Park, marked as a UNESCO Heritage Site, is a paradise for animal lovers! A perfect weekend getaway from Kathmandu, this place covers an area of 932 km2 (360 sq mi) and houses a wide variety of wildlife. You’ll get ample scope to spot elephants, one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys, and more than 500 species of birds. If you are lucky, you can get to see a tiger as well! Opt for jeep safari or walking tours, and experience the joy of exploring one of the best National Parks in Asia.
Located at a distance of around 32 km from Kathmandu, this serene village is a favorite destination for travelers who love to spend time amidst nature. Sitting at an elevation of 2,195 meters, it is considered one of the most scenic spots that offer a panoramic view of the Himalayan range, and you’ll get to witness the grandeur of the Everest during dawn and dusk!
If you are looking for some extra dose of adventure, you can choose to go for paragliding with the Everest view in Nagarkot.
On the banks of the Phewa Lake, Pokhara is known to be the gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular trekking trail in the Himalayas. The tranquility of this place will surely mesmerize you, and it’ll be a treat for your eyes to witness the reflections of the mountains on the lake! You can go for boating on the lake, go for short hikes, or simply relax and absorb the freshness of the place!
Don’t forget to visit the International Mountain Museum, which exhibits on the history of mountaineering and the people of the Himalayas.
Nepal, undoubtedly, is a paradise for adventure lovers! If you are feeling the adrenaline rush too, then you have landed up at the perfect place. Being home to many Himalayan rivers, including Trishuli and Seti river, Bhote Koshi River and Sun Koshi Rivers among others, Nepal has numerous options for white water rafting. You can choose options from Easy, Moderate and Challenging, and get started with your rafting adventure! You can also go for a Bungee Jumping Experience and feel the thrill of falling from a height of 160 meters! (Yes, you read it right!) Located close to the Nepal-Tibet Border, the best bungee experience is offered at the Bhote Kosi River gorge, about 3 hours away from Kathmandu.
*Note: This is surely not for the faint-hearted ones!
If you are seeking some madness, good food, and cheap alcohol – then Thamel is the place to be! A party-goers favorite stop in Kathmandu, Thamel has nice lounges, pubs, and restaurants apart from fancy souvenir shops. The nightlife of Thamel is surely worth a visit, and you’ll get to binge on some delicious Nepalese cuisine. This ever-crowded place turns up all shiny and glittery once the sun goes down, and you’ll get to feel the hippie vibes while taking a stroll around the shops of Thamel.
Are you thrilled and excited about your upcoming volunteering trip to Nepal? You can take a quick look at the Comprehensive Guidebook for more information, or simply drop us a mail at [email protected]
Riyanka is a traveler who is keen on exploring different parts of the world. She’s a travel blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories. Being a die-hard ‘mountain-aholic‘, her favorite destinations are all around the Himalayas! She can spend days gazing at the snow-capped mountains, binge on Maggi and lemon-honey-ginger tea, and reading Ruskin Bond books.
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