Temples

Nepal’s Hindu and Buddhist temples are masterworks in oiled brick, stone and carved wood. Colossal statuary, intricately ornate toranas (lintels) and erotic carvings still inspire the desired amount of wonder.

Kathmandu's old town Backstreet temples, local gods and half-hidden stupas make Kathmandu's old town our favourite place for a early-morning walk.

Bhaktapur Still impressive despite some earthquake damage, this medieval town features the country's tallest temple, a royal palace and even some carved elephant erotica.

Golden Temple, Patan This 15th-century courtyard is centred on a beautiful Buddha statue and displays fine Tibetan frescoes.

Changu Narayan Temple Earthquake-damaged but still standing, this World Heritage Site is a treasure house of Himalayan art, including 1500-year-old Licchavi statues and carvings.

Swayambhunath Monkeys swarm around this glorious gold-topped stupa, which rises like a beacon over Kathmandu

Trekking

In Nepal you can trek for days through the most incredible mountain scenery, safe in the knowledge that you’ll find a hot dinner and a place to stay at the end of each day.

Everest Region Some of the world's most astounding high mountain scenery combined with cosy Sherpa lodges, but try to visit outside of October.

Annapurna Circuit Nepal’s most popular trek offers lots of variety – Tibetan-style villages, Hindu temples, glacier views and a challenging 5500m pass.

Annapurna Sanctuary A direct trek past Gurung villages and bamboo groves straight into the frozen heart of the Himalaya.

Langtang Alpine pastures, 7000m peaks, high mountain lakes and epic Himalayan panoramas make this a great option.

Around Pokhara For treks that take less than a week but still get you into the hills for spectacular mountain views.

Villages & Day Hikes

Nepal’s mountains and valleys are laced with a network of footpaths travelled for centuries by traders and pilgrims. Ready your daypack for a brief encounter of rural Nepali life.

Tansen Follow ancient trade routes, visit a potters’ village and explore the eerie ruins of a riverside palace.

Jomsom Use this hub as a base to visit fabulous nearby Trans-Himalayan villages like Kagbeni and Marpha.

Bandipur Base yourself in comfortable digs at this charming medieval village and day hike out to temples, viewpoints and caves.

Pokhara There are loads of options here, including Phewa Tal, Sarangkot and the Peace Pagoda, all offering superb views.

Chitwan & Bardia National Parks While visiting these parks, explore a Tharu village and experience a stick dance.

Wildlife Watching

Nepal’s subtropical plains host an array of wildlife worthy of The Jungle Book. Tiger enthusiasts should visit between March and June and bring their own binoculars.

Chitwan National Park Spot rhinos, gharial (crocodiles) and maybe one of the park’s majestic Bengal tigers lurking in the elephant grass.

Bardia National Park Track wildlife by 4WD, raft or foot, well away from the crowds in Nepal's far west.

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve A birdwatcher’s paradise with 450 species, best spotted from guided canoe trips on the Sapt Kosi.

Sagarmatha National Park Look for Himalayan tahr (wild mountain goats), yaks and maybe even a yeti in this World Heritage Site in the Everest region.

Sukla Phanta National Park An uncrowded reserve in Nepal's far west that features birdwatching and more.

Adrenaline Rushes

Nepal is the ultimate outdoor-sports destination. From climbing and mountaineering to mountain biking and ziplining, Nepal does it all – and at a fraction of the cost of other countries.

Paragliding Ride the thermals over Pokhara, relishing the incredible views of Phewa Tal and the Annapurna mountains.

Rafting Anything from a white-water rush on the raging Bhote Kosi to a weeklong expedition on the Sun Kosi.

Canyoning Abseil down and through a series of rushing waterfalls and pools near the Tibetan border.

Bungee jumping Follow Asia’s highest bungee jump with a giant Tarzan-style swing.

Climbing a trekking peak Learn the basics of ropework and crampons before summiting a 6000m Himalayan peak.

Ziplining Brave the world's fastest zipline rushing beneath the Annapurna peaks.

The Sacred & the Spiritual

The fascinating blend of Indian Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism is one of Nepal’s great draws. From holy lakes to marigold-laden crossroad shrines, the sacred imbues every aspect of Nepali life.

Lumbini Explore Buddhist architecture from across Asia and gaze upon the birthplace of the Buddha.

Bodhnath Light a butter lamp at the subcontinent’s largest stupa, the focal point of Nepal’s Tibetan community.

Kopan Monastery One of the best places in Asia to learn about Tibetan Buddhism and meditation, or to take a short retreat.

Kathmandu & Pokhara Both good places to practise and learn yoga, with classes lasting from an hour to a week.

Pashupatinath Nepal’s holiest Hindu shrine, beside the cremation ghats of the sacred Bagmati River, draws holy men from across the subcontinent.

Devghat Join Hindu pilgrims at the auspicious confluence of two mighty rivers.

Getting Off the Beaten Track

It’s not that hard to find a relatively little-visited corner of Nepal. You’ll likely have the following towns all to yourself, especially if you visit outside October/November.

Budhanilkantha A monumental Vishnu statue reclines on the valley fringe, close to Kathmandu but far from the madding crowds.

Panauti Overnight at this sacred confluence to visit the many temples and shrines at dawn and dusk.

Kirtipur Just beyond the Ring Rd, with brick-lined backstreets, good Newari food and a Bhairab temple bristling with swords.

Pharping A miniature Tibet in the southern valley and a magnet for Tibetan pilgrims; continue to Dakshinkali to see Tantric Hinduism at its most visceral and gory.

Ilam Darjeeling’s quiet younger brother offers strolls through cultivated tea estates and some adventurous DIY trips.

Himalayan Views

Majestic mountain panoramas are not hard to come by in Nepal. That said, the following stand out for their awe-inspiring views. Come at dawn for a spectacular light show.

Nagarkot The best place close to Kathmandu from which to get Himalayan views from your hotel bed.

Sarangkot Machhapuchhare, Dhaulagiri and the Annapurnas dominate this viewpoint that's easily accessed from Pokhara.

Mountain flight Pray for clear weather on this dawn flight along the spine of the Himalaya, or get more personal on a ultralight flight from Pokhara.

Kala Pattar Breathless views of Everest and the Khumbu Glacier from 5545m on the Everest Base Camp trek.

Poon Hill Take a short trek from Pokhara right into the lair of the mountain gods for a stunning but popular sunrise.

Daman Earthquake-shaken but still offering Nepal’s widest mountain panorama, revealing a 300km-long chain of peaks from the Annapurnas to Everest.

A Life of Luxury

There’s no need to rough it in Nepal. Top-end accommodation includes luxury jungle lodges, converted traditional mansions and wonderful rural retreats, all offering organic food and spa treatments.

Dwarika’s Kathmandu’s most romantic hotel is all oiled brick and carved wood, linked by lovely traditional pools.

Chitwan & Bardia National Parks Both parks have lavish jungle tourism lodges run by Tiger Tops, the pioneers of luxury jungle travel.

Top-end trekking Prefer your hiking days to end with a cosy lodge and cocktails rather than a campsite latrine? Several companies offer luxury lodges in the Everest and Annapurna regions.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge An eco-friendly tourism pioneer with snowy Himalayan peaks reflected in a luxe swimming pool.

Dwarika's Resort Dhulikhel A Vedic and Buddhist wellbeing spa on the valley fringe with views to die for.