It is the great kingdom of the Himalayas, a land of Sherpa, yaks, yetis, monasteries, mantras and the highest peaks in the world. Nepal is the nirvana for mountaineers and hikers, but although we are not so sporty, this small state is one of those destinations that must be put on the agenda. After the earthquake in 2015, which left the country very affected, it is time to travel again to Nepal. There are basic and essential experiences for a first foray into the kingdom of the eightchiles.
01 Durbar Square (Kathmandu)
The mythological center of old Kathmandu is an open-air tectonic museum, with magnificent medieval temples, pagodas, booths and chapels. Durbar Square is the sacred heart of the city, like a living goddess of the Nepalese capital; spectacular festivals are held here. Formerly, the royal family of Nepal resided in it and currently remains the home of the Kumari, the girl chosen as the living incarnation of the goddess Taleju. To get the most out of the square, a walking circuit is recommended by the courtyards and temples of the tangled old town.
02 To the feet of Everest
The experience that many travelers who come to Nepal dream of is a two-week excursion to the foot of the highest mountain in the world: Everest (8,848 meters). From the base camp, located around 5,300 meters of altitude, the views of such a famous mountain are partial, but some surrounding peaks, such as the Kala Pattar (5,545 meters), offer spectacular panoramas and a relatively affordable ascent for the less initiated in mountaineering
03 Surround (on foot) the Annapurna’s
The crossing that surrounds the Annapurna’s massif, including its 8,091-meter main point, one of the famous 14 Eight-Mile, is the most popular trekking route in Nepal. The accommodations are comfortable and the mountain landscapes that can be seen are wonderful. Crossing the Thorung La pass (5,416 meters) is a personal challenge for many travelers and the journey to the Transhimalaya plateau is always fantastic. It is best to explore the surroundings, especially the surroundings of Manang.
04 Bhaktapur, medieval village
The Kathmandu Valley has the highest density of world heritage sites in the world. Of the three historic cities in the valley, the best preserved is the medieval village of Bhaktapur, with temples, pagodas and ornate ponds. The winding alleys between traditional red brick buildings lead to squares that locals use to dry grain and model pottery. The streets without traffic are fabulous to explore on foot, but for a complete experience it is essential to sleep or go to one of the local festivals. The city suffered some damage due to the earthquake, but in general the whole retains almost all its splendor.
05 Chitwan National Park
Chitwan is located in the other Nepal, that of the wet plains. It is one of the best locations in all of Asia to execute wildlife. Just get on an elephant and go into the mist at dawn in search of rhinos and tigers. There is much to do, from bathing between proboscides to visiting Tharu villages, a local ethnic group, or, for the bravest, to take an excursion through the interior of the city, surrounded by the roars and whistles of nature.
06 Bodhnath Stupa
The town of Bodhnath, epicenter of the Tibetan community in Nepal, houses the largest stupa in Asia: a spectacular white dome topped by a needle that was severely affected by the 2015 earthquake (it is under reconstruction). Pilgrims travel hundreds of kilometers to go to it. Equally fascinating are the surrounding streets, full of skinhead monks and garnet togas, Tibetan monasteries and shops that sell prayer rollers and incense. At dusk, Tibetan pilgrims can be seen lighting butter candles and touring the stupa in their daily kora (ritual ring).
07 Views from Pokhara
Nepal’s second largest tourist city may not have the historical charm of Kathmandu, but it more than makes up for it with a very seductive relaxed atmosphere and one of the most spectacular locations in the country. Watching the Machapuchare and Annapurna at dawn from the elevated viewpoints of the city or seeing its reflection in the calm waters of the Phewa Tal is unforgettable. In addition, you can explore the nearby mountains on foot, by mountain bike or, even better, flying over the paragliding valley.