You may have seen recently that Nepal was ranked fifth among the top 10 countries to visit in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in 2017’ feature. We weren’t remotely surprised by this news; even an earthquake can’t keep Nepal down for long!
After the utter devastation caused by the 2015’s natural disaster, visitation to Nepal collapsed. For a country which relies so heavily on tourism; it contributes 8.9% of gross domestic product, the earthquake wasn’t the only thing that hit Nepal hard, as a fuel crisis enveloped the country. According to the locals we met on our April trip, 2016 has been all about rebuilding and finding peace for the people of Nepal. Now, with 2017 looming, the country is ready and raring for visitors to return.
WHY YOU NEED TO VISIT NEPAL IN 2017
VISIT NEPAL AND HELP THE COUNTRY REBUILD
The 2015 changed Nepal as we know it. And while some landmark Unesco World Heritage temples are still be being rebuilt, much of the country remains intact, including the popular trekking trails and the low lying national parks. Kathmandu itself is as functional as it was pre-earthquake (note: not very, but it’s part of the fun).
The local people are as positive as you’ll find anywhere in the world, but the emotional scarring and financial impact remains. By visiting and spending your hard earned in the country, you’ll not only provide a boost for the locals doing it tough; you’ll also provide revenue for the country to continue to rebuild.
BE INSPIRED: 30 PHOTOS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO VISIT NEPAL
NEPAL IS BRILLIANT VALUE FOR MONEY
After spending six weeks travelling all over Nepal, we can safely say it’s one of the best ‘value for money’ countries in the world. Accommodation, food, transport, clothing, hiking and even safari’s are all very reasonably priced.
If you visit Nepal, it can be done cheaply. Daily costs won’t exceed $30USD and if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you’ll live like a king!
LEARN MORE ABOUT NEPAL WITH OUR COMPREHENSIVE TRAVEL GUIDE
THE HIKING IN NEPAL IS UTTERLY BREATHTAKING
We’ve gotta be real with you here; there’s nowhere in the world for hiking quite like Nepal. From Everest Base Camp to the Annapurna Circuit, world class trek’s are seemingly on every corner. There are also relatively unknown hikes which are worth your time, such as those through Mustang, Langtang and Gokyo. Do yourself a favour. Visit Nepal and get up into that fresh air and go hiking.
KEEP READING: OUR TOP TIPS FOR CONQUERING THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE DEEP NEPALI CULTURE
Guys, a heads up – when you visit Nepal it’s impossible to not be immersed in the culture. It’s incredible. Spirituality and everyday life are completely enmeshed, and it’s not hard to see why. The standard greeting in Nepal is the coolest anywhere in the world – Namaste: the divine in me acknowledges the divine in you.
The Kathmandu Valley is bursting with culture; the indigenous Newari culture, formed from centuries old buddhist and hindu beliefs, the colourful stupas dotted throughout the Kathmandu Valley and the Unesco World Heritage sites of the former ancient cities of including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.
If Kathmandu is the beating heart of Nepal’s spirituality, its hiking trails are the veins and arteries extending this lifeblood to every corner of the country. There are tika blessings on our foreheads one day, prayer wheels spun for good fortune in each village, while prayer flags flutter messages of love and fortune through the deep valleys.
EXPLORE NEPAL’S CHAOTIC CAPITAL, KATHMANDU
There really isn’t an adequate way to describe Kathmandu. Crazy, chaotic, historic, spiritual, haphazard, enticing and vibrant come to mind yet they don’t do this city justice. With a population of around 1.7million, the city will, at times, frustrate you; but give Kathmandu a chance and you’ll realise that this city is a welcoming, achingly beautiful melting pot of buddhist and hindu religion, ethnicity and history.
In the centre of Kathmandu is the tourist hub is Thamel, where you can find everything a traveller needs (we mean everything!) in the rabbit-warren of narrow streets and alleyways.
To get those spiritual vibes on, you need to visit Pashupatinath, Boudhanath and Swayambhunath temples, while a visit to Kathmandu isn’t complete without visiting the three former royal palaces or Durbar Squares – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.
Read more about our favourite things to do in Kathmandu.
READ MORE: OUR COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO KATHMANDU
WHAT’S NEPAL REALLY LIKE NOW?: NEPAL NOW: THE ONLY THING MISSING IS YOU
EAT THE SURPRISINGLY DELICIOUS FOOD
It might be surprising but the quality and variety of food in Nepal is incredibly good! Nom.
Don’t visit Nepal without trying Dal Bhat, the staple meal for lunch and dinner. Dal Bhat is a traditional Nepali meal consisting of rice, a lentil based soup and other condiments, and it’s generally all you can eat so you’ll never go hungry.
For the local variety of snacks, you must try Momos. The Nepali answer to dumplings, these pockets of joy come in vegetable, buff (buffalo) or chicken and can be fried or steamed. You can also find amazing pakora and samosas on any street corner! Our fave was Choila, spicy grilled buffalo meat which goes down a treat with a beer.
If you’re that way inclined, the western food options are incredibly varied, but we think you should stay with the local cuisine!
THE BRILLIANT WILDLIFE EXPERIENCES
In Nepal? Surely not. We’re here to tell you they exist and they’re brilliant.
In the southern lowlands of Nepal, bordering India lies Chitwan National Park. This former royal hunting ground is now home to one of the world’s most successful National Park’s; Here, you’ll have the chance to spot Rhino (we saw 15!), sloth bears, crocodile, including the endangered Gharial, monkeys and if you’re really lucky, the Bengal Tiger or Leopard.
There are heaps of safari options available from one of the many tour outlets in Sauraha, the town that borders Chitwan.
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By visiting Nepal now and supporting local culture and people, you could help a nation rebuild and bounce back even stronger. Travelling to a heavenly place AND doing good? Winning.
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