Situated in the far east of Nepal, 56 miles (90km) from the border at Kakarbhitta, Ilam (‘ee-lam’) is reached via the Mechi Hwy, one of the Terai's great mountain roads, with plenty of switchbacks, vertiginous drops and valley views. It's also in excellent condition. Upon entering the mountain village you'll notice its charming wooden buildings, their balconies thrust out over the bustling street – unusual in the Terai.

Like its neighbour Darjeeling across the border, Ilam is synonymous with one thing – tea. The two share an almost identical climate and topography, although Darjeeling tea is by far the better known. The tea fields that carpet the surrounding hills make for a very peaceful walk in refreshing mountain air.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ilam.