Around the Kathmandu Valley
In many ways the Kathmandu Valley is Nepal. Created from the bed of a sacred lake by the deity Manjushri, according to Buddhist legend, the basin is a patchwork of terraced fields and sacred temple towns that showcase the glory of the architects and artisans of Nepal. Sadly, the area also bore the brunt of the 2015 earthquake.
The Terai & Mahabharat Range
When you think of Nepal, it's usually the northern half that comes to mind, the extraordinary, world-famous Himalaya. But what about the southern half of the country? Most of it is the very opposite, a hot, subtropical plain known as the Terai, which stretches north from the border with India.
The central Terai is the most visited part of the plains. The highway from Mugling to Narayangarh is the principal route south from Kathmandu and Pokhara, while the border crossing at Sunauli is the most popular border crossing between Nepal and India. Its two principal attractions are world-famous Chitwan National Park and Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.
The third of the medieval city-states in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur was always described as the best preserved. Tragically, however, the 2015 earthquake caused terrible devastation and loss of life. Nevertheless, only a few temples were destroyed, there is still much to see here and tourism is vital to the community.
Bound by the Indian states of Bihar, Sikkim and West Bengal, the eastern Terai is broadly a mirror image of the west. The rolling hills of the Mahabharat Range are squeezed between the dry eastern plains and the Himalaya. The Mahendra Hwy cuts east to meet the Indian border at Kakarbhitta, providing easy access to Sikkim and Darjeeling.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is one of the premier drawcards in Nepal. This World Heritage–listed reserve protects more than 932 sq km of forests, marshland and grassland containing sizeable animal populations, making it one of the best national parks for viewing wildlife in Asia.