13/07/2021 by Alyson for World Travel Family
Our Nepal travel blog will help you in visiting Nepal to trek, to climb, to see the cultural sites and places of interest in Nepal, or just to hang out in Kathmandu or Pokhara. It’s also about first-hand experiences of Nepal as trekkers, tourists, and travel bloggers, as singles, couples, and later as a family with kids. We love Nepal, it’s a fabulous destination, but not an easy one. We’ve seen Nepal before and after the earthquake, we were there during the aftershocks and power cuts, so we can give you a realistic idea of what to expect. We were there back in 2001 as well as recently for more treks including the Everest Base Camp trek and Annapurna Circuit. We added more unusual destinations in Nepal, Lumbini, Nagarkot, Chitwan, and Bhaktapur, to give you up-to-date useful information on what to see and do in Nepal.
Nepal Travel Blog
Nepal couldn’t be called an “easy” country to visit and it’s not necessarily cheap, but even with kids (ours were 9 and 11 the first time they saw Everest) it’s great if you know what to expect and understand the realities of travel in Nepal
Short video on Nepal below.
There is magic in the air in Nepal, along with pollution. There are wonders to behold and tragedies, both personal and environmental unfolding right in front of you.
Nepal is special, another world sheltered by the majestic Himalayas and populated by some of the best and most beautiful people on the planet. We hope you love it as much as we do.
Getting Around Nepal
Getting around Nepal isn’t difficult, there are buses, jeeps and planes, but it can be hair raising. Arguably, transport in Nepal can be dangerous. Nepal has a strong and well-established tourist industry so there are plenty of ways for tourists to get around. If you choose to book via a tout, agent or through your hotel you will probably pay extra in commission.
As with booking treks or any tourist services in Nepal, shop around and negotiate. A fleet of buses shuttles tourists on all of the main tourist routes, Pokhara bus station is in the photo above.
Kathmandu and Things to Do in the Kathmandu Valley
Things to do in and around Kathmandu, sites to visit and places to see. Also, how to get to them. Most of these places to see in Kathmandu and nearby have their own detailed guides and tips on our blog, but this one blog post gives you a good overview to plan your Nepal itinerary. While in Kathmandu you should, of course see majestic Swayambhunath, The Monkey Temple, as in the photo above. There is also old Freak Street to explore, and the temple complexes of Pashupatinath and Boudhanath.
Patan has Kathmandu’s second Durbar Square and is a short taxi ride from tourist Kathmandu. Just off the Patan Durbar Square you’ll find the Golden Temple. It’s a must-visit.
Years ago, the Golden Temple was a rat temple. We visited way back when, but on our recent visit there was not a rat to be seen.
A look at Patan’s Durbar Square. In the photo below you can see entrails strung accross a doorway. A post-earthquake look at the damage in this historic region. We also bumped into Prince Harry there. Read about that too.
If you have time, get outside of Kathmandu and explore the Kathmandu Valley. Starting with Bhaktapur and Nagarkot. Bhaktapur is ancient and relatively tourist-free, it is the Kathmandu Valley’s third Durbar Square. Nagarkot is famous as a Himalayan view point, in season. Both are within 2 hours of Kathmandu.
Nagarkot, we got there by bus from Bhaktapur and stayed a few nights, you could also take a day trip to see the Himalayas. Know which times of year will bring you clear skies.
Trekking in Nepal
There are plenty of treks in Nepal to suit various levels, durations, and requirements. You need to be aware of costs too, permits can add up. We created a guide to trekking in Nepal, an overview, but we also have more detailed posts, below about individual treks. We’ve also talked about fitness for trekking and experiences with altitude and altitude sickness in the Himalayas.
Everest Base Camp Trek and Everest Region Trekking
Our first Trek in the Everest region wasn’t to Base Camp. We just went for a walk and ended up in Tengboche. This time we flew into Lukla and walked out to Phaplu before taking the bus back to Kathmandu.
In 2018 we did the EBC trek, in peak season, October. We flew to Phaplu and walked in, flew out of Lukla. The crowds at this time of year were a little unexpected, as were the flight cancellations.
I’m scared of heights, terrified actually. But I do it. Could you?
Lukla airport and the experience of flying on tiny planes in the Himalayas.
Lukla is billed as the world’s most dangerous airport. It’s pretty cool and we and millions of other trekkers and guides survive just fine.
In 2016, just 11 months after the earthquake, we visited Nepal with kids. 2018 was totally different. Our first visit was tough on the children.
My elder son and I, he was 11 then, walk to Tengboche Monastery for the first time. Plus more on our walk from Lukla to Tengboche, the first few days of the classic EBC trek.
If you’re wondering what to expect in Namche Bazaar, a trekkers’ paradise on the way to Everest, we have a full guide to Namche Bazaar here including, shopping, where to stay, acclimatisation walks and food. If you can, add a few extra days in Namche, it will be great for your acclimatisation and there’s plenty to see and do. Just don’t hit up the Irish Pub as you’re heading up!
Treks in Other Parts of Nepal
Unfortunately, we haven’t done every trek in Nepal, but we’d love to! We have completed the Annapurna Circuit Trek which includes the Poon Hill trek.
Packing and Travel Gear for Nepal
Nepal is a little different. You will most likely need travel gear outside your usual packing list. We’ll do our best to help you know what to bring to Nepal.
Food in Nepal
We’ve had some great food in Nepal. Traditional Nepali, Indian, Tibetan and Western. You will most certainly encounter dal bhat and momos but there is more to discover.
We can give you ideas on what food is available in Kathmandu, on your trek, in the Terai and tell you roughly what it costs. Those huge price rises on your trek could be a surprise otherwise. You’ll want our post on traditional Nepalese food. Dishes to look out for include:
- Dal Bhat, a delicious thin lentil soup with rice, often includes side dishes such as vegetables, pickles, curd, or popadoms.
- Thukpa. A noodle soup. This hearty dish comes in meat and vegetable versions.
- Mo Mo. Mo mo can be steamed or fried, “buff” (buffalo meat), chicken, or veg. They’re tasty little dumplings filled with a dense minced filling.
- Dhindo. My new favourite Nepali dish isn’t on most menus but if you can find it, try it. There’s a picture in the Nepali food post, above.
- Paneer dishes. Paneer is a dense, mild curd cheese. You’ll find it fried in paneer pakoda or in curries suck as paneer saag (spinach). Paneer is one of my favourite things.
Be extra careful with Nepal street food, use common sense.
Other Places to Visit in Nepal
Most people know of Pokhara, but how about Chitwan and Lumbini? Not so many tourists make it to these places. Are they worth a look?
Chitwan in the south of Nepal is home to royal bengal tigers and Indian one horned rhino along with deer, monkeys, crocodiles and more. If you’d like to visit Chitwan for a safari you’ll probably stay in the little town of Suraha. We enjoyed Suraha more than Chitwan National Park itself. Find out more in our post on Chitwan and experiences there.
We visited Lumbini Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It’s a tough place to get to and conditions there aren’t great but for us to see the birthplace of Siddharta Gautama was well worth the effort.
No Nepal travel blog or visit is complete without Bhaktapur. If your time is very tight you may have to skip this beautiful ancient town, but if you can spare 24 hours, go, stay overnights. Bhaktapur is no distance from central Kathmandu really and it’s so worth the trip. Read our full post on Bhaktapur.
Nagarkot lies between Kathmandu and Bhaktapur and is a pleasant hill town with views of stow topped peaks. The views are seasonal. There are some nice shorter hikes in and around Nagarkot. If you have plenty of time check out Nagarkot or, in season, it may be worth you visiting for the sunset views. Find out more in our Nagarkot blog post.
Pokhara feels like a magical little town, but actually, its Nepal’s second-largest city, on the shores of the huge Phewa lake. Fishtail mountain and the Annapurna range dominate the sky and if the weather is good, views can be breathtaking. This is a great place to just hang out, popular for adventure sports such as hang gliding and parascending. This would be my choice for a digital nomad destination in Nepal, but the internet can be bad sometimes. You’ll need to take a full-day bus journey from Pokhara to Kathmandu. You can fly. If you feel safer flying, small planes will take you to many destinations all over Nepal. See our Pokhara post here.
Nepal v Tibet v Bhutan
We’ve been to all three. We crossed to Tibet by road from Nepal, which’s fairly easy to arrange in Kathmandu, but expensive. Bhutan was a stand-alone trip, flying into Paro on Druk Air, and we had to take a tour. Tourism in Bhutan is highly regimented and massively expensive. Nepal is the cheapest of the three, and all-round more relaxed. Both Bhutan and Tibet gave us better roads, better vehicles and mostly much better hotels. All three have incredible and evocative places to see. I’ll never forget entering the Potala Palace or Tiger’s Nest, I’m not saying those weren’t life highlights. Nepal remains my favourite destination in the Himalayas but we’d love you to also take a look at our Bhutan and Tibet travel blog.
Nepal Travel Blog Wrap-Up
We hope you find our Nepal Travel Blog content useful in planning your visit to Nepal, be it a cultural tour or adventure travel. We have done Nepal with kids twice, for months at a time, even taking them to Base Camp. I’m not going to encourage you nor put you off doing that, but you need to know a few things first. Please click through to more posts on our site about particular destinations, altitude, what to pack, and more. We have a passion for Nepal and we still have many more destinations in Nepal to add. We hope to back there again just as soon as Nepal is open, trekking the Himalayas. Could you save to Pinterest? Thanks, it helps us and the people of Nepal.