Trekking, peak climbing and expeditions are the biggest and the most popular holiday activities in the Himalayas of Nepal. Forgetting all these activities in the Himalayas and still, Nepal is a great holiday destination in the Indian sub-continent. Without the Himalayas, how can Nepal be a holiday destination, which is potential enough to attract the visitors who are continuously seeking something new and fascinating? Here we have the list of ten most popular amazing aspects of Nepal, which are important holiday activities in Nepal apart from the Himalayas.
The home to more than 100 ethnical tribes, Nepal is culturally very rich. Every ethnic group has their own culture, which totally contrast to the culture of another tribe. Each tribe has their own comfortable region to live, costume, language and festivals to celebrate. For example, the Newars of Kathmandu enjoy many carnivals (jatras) throughout the year and in most of them Living Gods and Goddess walk and celebrate with the mortals.
Nepal houses seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and seven of them lie inside Kathmandu Valley, which makes Kathmandu, the valley with the densest concentration of UNESCO Heritage Sites. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park are also UNESCO enlisted Heritage Sites in Nepal. While traveling around some places in Kathmandu, the travelers literally feel like traveling back to the time- few centuries ago.
Talking about the history, no powerful empire has been able to colonize Nepal ever. Besides, since the time Nepal had 2,400 small kingdoms ruled by various dynasties until date, it is the land great warriors including brave Gurkha soldiers. In almost every district, the remains of rich Nepalese history in the forms of forts are still available. Besides the history of Nepal is itself is a fantastic tale, not less interesting than any bestseller book or blockbuster movie- full of bloodshed massacres, romances and intriguing twists.
Nepal is the home to many beautiful lakes and they are scattered in every corner of the country. Fewa Lake in Pokhara is probably the most visited lake in Nepal. However, Gokyo Lakes in Gokyo Valley, Rara Lake in Mugu, Tilicho Lake in Manang and Phoksundo Lake in Lower Dolpo are the most popular lakes in Nepal; all having distinct features to stand out from rest of the lakes in the world.
Despite of million problems, Nepalese are considered one of the happiest peoples on Earth. They are ever welcoming with the kind smiles on their faces. Nepalese treat guests as Gods and hence visitors to Nepal certainly can enjoy quality time with the natives regardless the place they are in.
Nepal is a paradise for food lovers. Availability of every kind of cuisines including the authentic Nepali food (Daal Bhat Tarkari), the restaurants of Nepal are good at serving the typical Nepali beverages in style. Momo, the most popular fast food in Nepal is available in almost every place in Nepal. Every plate of food in Nepal is delicious and nutritious, which is as cheap as chips compared to European or American Food market.
Nepal hosts every possible adventure activity supported by its resources. Everest Skydive, Pokhara Skydive, Bunjee Jump, paragliding and Ultra light flights are the most popular sky adventures in Nepal. Similarly, the adventures related to water like rafting and kayaking run throughout the year in raging glacial river that penetrate the deep gorges and canyons in the mid-hills. And the mountain biking is real adventure that includes the longest and the most elevated trail the Great Himalayan trail.
The weather of Nepal is one of the most beautiful aspects of the country. Not many times the weather in Nepal has been harsh. The bright sunshine is good to travel and the rainy day is wonderful for adventurous activity if one is at the right place. Nepal has sunlight for almost twelve hours in the winters and more than twelve hours during summers.
Nepal is the paradise for wildlife lovers. If the traveler has will, enough to explore in every 100km distance traveled Nepal houses a protected park. Altogether the home to 14 National Parks and Conservation area, Nepal boasts on several wildlife activities including safaris, bird-watching, nature walking and jeep drives among others.
The elevation of Nepal changes in an unbelievable way. For example, Pokhara 800m is less than 25 miles away from Annapurna, which is 8000m + mountain peak. In case Nepal had easy road access, the journey from sea level to the Base Camp of Everest could be matter of few hours.
Explore Himalaya had organized an April trek to EBC for a group of 8 trekkers from South Africa. One of the group members has forwarded his testimonial to us. Here's what he has to say:
"Dear Explore Himalaya
Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa
This is a note to thank you. Firstly though, allow me to apologise for the delay in getting thoughts and sentiments to paper. We have been back a number of weeks and life slowly drags you back into the quagmire of routine. I was recently part of a group that spent time in Nepal – Kathmandu and the Himalaya primarily. (We were there in late April for three weeks) This was the first time that I have travelled to your beautiful country and our entire Nepal and Himalaya trip was truly spectacular!
I think for all first timers, Nepal and the majestic, challenging Himalaya – always are. What made the difference to our experience though was the quality of the people who guided and educated, welcomed and helped us – the family that looked after us whilst we were there. The more you spend time there, and allow the significance of your own experience to sink in the more powerful this realisation becomes. As you become able to accurately compare your support team to other groups on the trail – this degree to which the quality of your experience there is determined by your team becomes apparent.
We were truly blessed in this regard, and the quality of our experience, certainly mine (I do think I speak for us all though) – was off the charts, a special and unique, privileged time. The ground crew / Kathmandu crew at Explore Himalaya were competent, courteous, on time and wonderful. They bent over backwards when we changed schedules, and clucked and fussed around us to ensure we had a smooth time. They just made the cacophony and madness of Kathmandu, and logistics in Nepal in general a non-headache, which as I’m sure you know is a major thing.
They key factor however, that made our adventure truly special, unique and wonder-filled, was our guide, Da Yula Sherpa, and his team. He is a man amongst men, and with his brother and nephew – were the best team we could ever have hoped or imagined to have guide and look after us in the Himalaya. Da Yula’s preparation, experience and attention to detail made our experience wonderful. I don’t say this lightly – his attention to all details: – food, illness scenario’s, logistics on the mountain, accommodation, routes, comfort, security, every conceivable variable that could have been prepared for and thought about – was incredible and so thorough. Being with them made the adventure rich in detail – we learned SO MUCH from him about Nepal, the people, the culture, the mountains, he and his team were so much more than walking guides. They were anything but that – and the unit we formed up there was incredibly special. They made our trip, and I will recommend them and you; Explore Himalaya unreservedly to anyone venturing to Nepal.
Without your input and guidance, we would not have had this unique experience – it is much and seriously appreciated.
Managing Director TTS
CNNGO has come up with 50 great reasons for being a tourist. Though the reasons listed are not all great (some downright bizarre), the following had me nodding in assent.
25: You learn about the country you're visiting through experience, rather than National Geographic.
Very true! There’s an ocean of difference in reading about the place and to truly experience the place.
38: You get to mingle with a range of nationalities. Then escape them the next day.
Travelling offers you the rare opportunity of meeting people from the world over, which you won’t be able to sitting at home.
39: Your sense of appreciation for your surroundings returns.
Keep hearing this, especially from those who have been to the Nepal Himalaya.
49: Whether it’s sniffing out a great sunset spot or a backstreet bar or restaurant, there are always new discoveries on the horizon.
Like the Fly Emirates ad states, “…the more of our world we see, the richer we become”.
(Pic: Explore Himalaya)
A snack or dish that is loved and devoured with equal gusto across the Himalayas – Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India is none other than your humble Momo (chances are, you may have had it or are planning to have a plateful today ( if you are in any of the aforementioned places, hills and mountains especially !!)!). This small dumpling made from steamed minced meat/vegetables or other filling of your choice wrapped in wrappers made from flour dough is the undisputed Himalayan comfort food. Find this hard to digest?! Then read this article in CNNGO “Momo Madness: Your all-purpose guide to the versatile Himalayan Dumpling”. Though one may disagree with the listed local eateries in Kathmandu serving the ‘best momos’ , the article does highlight the popularity of the humble dumpling in the high Himalayan mountains.
Momo (Image: wikipedia)
Simone Moro, a pilot and mountaineer, is new addition to Fishtail Air’s crew. We managed to ask Mr.Moro a couple of questions when he visited our office in Thamel on 28th October 2010.
Coming from Italy which lies close to the Mediterranean sea, he said his family members were into sailing as well as climbing. He chose the latter and he recollects that he did his first bit of serious climbing when he was 13. “It was just a small hill, a mound actually, but it felt good at that time!”. Since then Simeon has climbed many peaks in Asia, Europe and America. He has reached the summit of the world’s tallest mountain Mount Everest twice, the recent one in May this year, 2010. When asked about his experience, he said like a seasoned climber, “Nothing much happened. We climbed via the classic route. We went up stayed a bit at the Base Camp went up to the summit and climbed down. So nothing much happened”. The first peak he climbed in Nepal was Lhotse.
If mountaineering is his passion, flying is both his passion as well as profession. An experienced pilot, Simeon is the newest member of Fishtail Air’s distinguished flying crew. He has already been on a search & rescue mission with Fishtail Air’s pilot Captain Sabin Basnyat to Mt. Baruntse(7129m), to retrieve the body of 19 times Everest summiteer Chhewang Nima who lost his life in an avalanche at Baruntse on October 23rd, 2010. He said, “Unfortunately we could not find his body as there was too much snow”.
Talking about helicopter rescues in the mountains of Nepal, Simeon believes that, “Helicopter is the future of Nepal.” He adds,“ There are few places in Nepal like Kathmandu. Most of the country is covered by mountains. There are places which cannot be accessed by roads. Fishtail Air, I believe is the first company in Nepal to understand this and it has taken steps in the right direction. By partnering with Swiss and other European pilots who are experts in this field, they are taking helicopter operation in the Himalaya to a new level.”
He added, “For the development of the country, I think your government should introduce more helicopter flights in the remote areas. These could be used to carry essential commodities as well as passengers.”