Every year, hundreds of travelers visit Nepal to explore the Himalayas. But there’s much more to do in Nepal, other than trekking. Whether you want to surround yourself with the Himalayas or spend a couple of days in Kathmandu, you can always expect more in Nepal. That said, here are 21 things to do in Nepal in 2021.
1) Trek to the Himalayas
Land of the Himalayas and home to the highest mountain in the world, Nepal is the playground to adventure lovers. Eight top mountains are located, and 1310 peaks over 6000 meters are found in Nepal. It is reported that more than 300 peaks are opened for the mountaineering expedition in Nepal.
Amongst the 14 eight-thousanders of the world, eight mountains are in Nepal: Mount Everest (1st), Kanchenjunga (3rd highest on earth), Lhotse (4th highest), Makalu (5th highest), Cho Oyu (6th highest), Dhaulagiri I (7th highest), Manaslu (8th highest) and Annapurna I (10th highest). Everest Base Camp Trek being the most popular, there are a number of treks for everyone. You can go for a few days trek to three weeks trek.
2) Explore Two Stupa: Boudhanath Stupa and Swayambhunath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa, the largest stupa in Nepal, boasts Tibetan Buddhist culture and spirituality in varied forms- Kora, hum and soothing music of mantras, prostration, fluttering of prayer flags, spinning of prayer wheels and burning of incense. Visit Boudhanath Stupa and feel the blissful aura.
Swayambhunath Stupa, a self-existing stupa since the 5th century, is the must-visit place in Kathmandu. Overlooking the Kathmandu valley, Swayambhunath stupa with the whitewashed dome, fluttering prayer flags, and abounding monkeys have distinct aura amidst the chaotic Kathmandu. This UNESCO world heritage site in Kathmandu is considered a vantage spot to revel in the bird-eye views of Kathmandu valley.
3) Explore three Durbar Square
Kathmandu valley is home to three Durbar Square: Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, and Patan Durbar Square. These durbar squares were the former kingdom and now UNESCO world heritage sites. Stroll around Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Basantapur Durbar Square, and marvel at the old royal palace, shrines, and high temples. Wander through the busy alleyways and don’t miss the street stalls selling beautiful handicrafts and souvenirs.
Explore the cobblestone streets of Bhaktapur Durbar Square to discover beautiful red-brick houses, medieval temples, colorful market, 55 window palace, Nyatapola Temple, and pottery workshop at Dattatreya Square. The historic town in Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square, is definitely a beautiful place for your Instagram grid. The artistic heritage, exquisite carvings, and elegant architectural treasures of Patan Durbar Square lure travelers. Besides, the museum and bustling market in its close proximity appeals for a refreshing walk.
4) Visit Lumbini: the Birthplace of Buddha
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha (born 2500 years ago), is one of ten UNESCO world heritage sites in Nepal. Embark on a spiritual journey to Lumbini and indulge in serenity. You can explore the Mayadevi temple, an ancient Buddhist temple, and monuments, monasteries, and a museum. If you love meditation, Lumbini is a must-go place in Nepal.
5) Do Wildlife safari at Chitwan National Park
The lush green forest at Chitwan National Park is like in Jumanji, except that you will be accompanied by a local guide, guiding you through the jungle either on the back of an elephant or the Jeep. The 932 square kilometer of lush forest, marshland, and grassland in the inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal is a stage for viewing wildlife in Asia.
Home to more than 543 species of birds, including migratory birds, Chitwan National Park is a paradise for bird watching. Clearing your throats and keeping lens standby is often demanding while you do jungle safari as you will often spot one-horned rhinoceros, monkeys, deer, mugger crocodiles by the bank of rivers, tigers, leopard or sloth bear. The serenity with greenery and the melodious background is the charisma of this trip.
6) Fly to Kala Patthar
Hop into a helicopter and fly to Kala Patthar to marvel at the spectacular view of the chain of mountains, including Everest. Kala Patthar is the vantage point in the Everest region to admire 360-degree views of some of the world’s highest mountains. And you can do it just in a day, and importantly, you can add Everest Base Camp tour as well.
7) Bird Watching
In Nepal, you can explore 850 species of birds, and therefore, Nepal is a paradise for birdwatchers. The 850 species of bird in Nepal holds the highest record in Asia, and Nepal has 10% of the world’s population of birds. The bird watching tour in Nepal lets you explore the Terai region, which is inhabited by different species of birds.
In the Terai region, you can visit wildlife reserves, conservation areas, and parks. You can also explore 500 species of birds alone in the capital city, Kathmandu. Pulchowki, Godavari, Taudhaha, is a primary place in Kathmandu for Bird watching. Koshi Tappu, Chitwan, and Bardiya are the major sites in the lower region. In the Himalayas, Everest and Annapurna region is home to some of the rarest and popular birds.
8) Relax at Garden of Dreams
Garden of Dreams is a neo-classical garden located at Kaiser Mahal, Kathmandu. It stands with Thamel, the most popular tourist hub in Kathmandu. Late Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana created the garden in the early 1920s and was considered as the most sophisticated private garden.
The garden was designed by Edwardian style, supervised by Kishore Narshingh, who also designed the construction of Singha Durbar.
Within the garden walls, there is a beautiful water fountain, decorated furnished woods, and European inspired features like Varandas, pergolas, and balustrades.
9) Visit Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath is the most sacred religious site of Hindus. It is the largest temple complex of Nepal and offers a religious, cultural, and spiritual experience. There are around 492 temples, 15 Shivalayas, and 12 Jyotirlinga with more than 100s of shivalinga within the complex.
It is also a holy place for Hindus cremation, Lord Shiva’s consort Sati Devi, a celebration of Maha Shivaratri and day to day evening Aarati. One of the world heritage sites, Pashupatinath temple, has been the most important religious site since the 5th century.
10) Trek to Sagarmatha National Park
Did you know Sagarmatha National Park is the first national park that was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Established in 1976, Sagarmatha National Park is one of ten UNESCO world heritage sites in Nepal. The park is home to some of the endangered animals like snow leopard, musk deer, red panda, Himalayan black bear, to name a few.
Sagarmatha National Park is also an abode to more than 100 species of bird, a true paradise for bird-watching at such altitude. Himalayan monal, blood pheasant, red-billed chough, etc. are some birds one can see. The park boasts pine, oak and rhododendron forests.
From the park, you can enjoy awe-inspiring views of towering peaks like Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Thamserku, Nuptse, Amadablam, and Pumori. The diverse landscape, rugged terrain, and massive rocks will surely excite you.
11) Experience Aarati at Pashupatinath Temple
Go to Pashupatinath in the evening (around 6 pm-7 pm) to delight yourself with melodious music and aarati ceremony. The aarati starts at 6 pm every day on the eastern side of the river’s bank. Three priests line up facing the Pashupatinath and perform a ritual of worship with oil lamps and mantras. People (in hundreds) gather around and indulge in a spiritual journey.
12) Taste Dal Bhat and Momo
Your travel to Nepal is incomplete without tasting Dal Bhat and Momo. Dal is a cooked lentil soup seasoned with herbs and assorted Masalas (spices). Sprinkled with herbs and spices such as coriander, garam masala, cumin and turmeric, these can be eaten with onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, tomato or tamarind.
Dal Bhat is always accompanied by Curry (vegetable or non-vegetarian) -a mix of available seasonal vegetables, such as cauliflower, battered broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, soybeans, etc. Momo is the dumplings that are steamed over some soup broth. Momo shops are almost in every corner of the city, whether in hotels or streets.
13) Stroll Thamel Street
Thamel, a commercial neighborhood in Kathmandu, is a haven for every backpacker, a pit stop full of shops and vendors selling everything from intricate artifacts to trekking gears, walking gears, souvenirs, and attires catered specially to travelers from western countries. The narrow alleys in Thamel lead to pubs, travel agencies, small grocery stores, foreign money exchange booths, budget hotels, restaurants, and clubs on either side of the street. Strolling, or rushing the road of Thamel in a taxi or rickshaw will make you realize that Thamel is the hottest spot for tourism in Nepal.
14) Go white-water rafting
Did you know that Nepal is the second richest country in water resources? With almost 6000 rivers in the beautiful landscape of Nepal, Nepal is a paradise for white-water rafting. You can opt for one-day rafting on Trisuli or Bhotekoshi river. Besides, you can also go for multiple days white-water rafting in Nepal. Sunkoshi river, Karnali, and Tamur river are other options for rafting in Nepal. But Trisuli and Bhotekoshi are the most-happening river for white-water rafting in Nepal.
15) Chill at Lakeside Pokhara
Go to Pokhara, and you will fall in love with Lakeside Pokhara. A perfect spot to chill, Lakeside Pokhara is a distinct beach dominated by greenery and Annapurna range. Watch colorful boats, enjoy the tranquil Phewa Lake, and relax in it’s blissful aura.
16) Climb trekking peaks
If you want to try something new in Nepal, climbing the peak is a great option. Mera Peak and Island Peak are two popular trekking peaks in Nepal. Anyone can embark on mountaineering in Nepal. Prior experience is not mandatory, but I recommend you organize the trip with the Nepali trekking company- they will help you plan and prepare for your climbing. They will provide you pre-climb training and essential climbing equipment.
17) Hike on the outskirts of Kathmandu
Kathmandu is chaotic and sometimes infuriating. An hour hike from Kathmandu can be a real deal. The green hills, sub-alpine forests, and rustic charm welcome you. Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Champadevi, Pulchowki, and Chisapani are some of the hot spots around Kathmandu.
18) Explore Bandipur
Bandipur is a beautiful town perched between Kathmandu and Pokhara (147 km away from Kathmandu). The traditional row houses and Newari culture are the two crowning highlight of Bandipur. Bandipur also lets you embrace the breathtaking view of the Himalayas. There are rural farms, temples, deep caves, and Buddhist monasteries to explore.
19) Do Bungee Jumping
If you want to feel the adrenaline rush, you gotta do bungee jumping. It is a heart-pounding and groundbreaking activity that involves plunging off a suspension bridge or high hill over a river canyon. This sport is considered to be an intrepid sport that tests your nerves yet gives you the most amazing feeling of eternity for an instance until you set foot back on earth. The jump is carried out on a suspension bridge over the Bhote-Koshi river gorge. This jump offers you scenic lush green forest and the beautiful ever-flowing Bhote-Khosi river.
20) Paddle at Phewa Lake
Navigate the beautiful Phewa Lake on a boat. Immerse in its beauty with serenity. You can rent a paddleboat for about an hour or so. The sight of forested hills, majestic mountains, and Tal Barahi Temple is a one-of-a-kind experience.
21) Mountain flight
Mountain flight in Nepal is quite a popular activity. All you need to do is book a flight for yourself, and you can fly to the Himalayas. If you want to marvel at the lofty mountain in a day or skip weeks of trekking, the mountain flight is the best deal. You can enjoy the aerial perspective of the towering peak.