A must-do on a Nepal trip: experience the Himalayas. Don’t have the time (or energy) for long treks? Stay in Nagarkot (above), where hotel rooms afford spectacular views, or turn to hour-long mountain flights, operated daily by local carriers such as Buddha Air, for up-close views of the ranges from the air. If you have a little more time, head to Thankot and hop onto a cable car. Then, spend the next 10 minutes or so admiring the majestic landscape as it takes you up to Chandragiri hill, which affords stunning panoramic views of the Kathmandu valley and Himalayan ranges.
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Culture in a meal
Feast on authentic Nepali fare while enjoying traditional music and dance at Bhojan Griha, a restored palace. For a taste of Newari food (above), head to Jheegu Bhwoychhen Restaurant in Thamel, where you can wash down dishes such as Swan Puka (fried goat’s lung) with local alcohol. Also give momo (dumplings), one of the most popular dishes in Nepal, a try. Readily available, these are usually filled with buffalo or chicken meat, or spinach and cheese.
Ancient holy places
There’s more to Nepal than the Himalayas; explore the myriad religious sites in the capital city. The Kathmandu valley is home to seven World Heritage Sites, including Swayambhunath, a hilltop complex of Hindu and Buddhist shrines and temples; the Boudhanath stupa, one of the largest of its kind in Asia; and Pashupatinath Temple, the country’s holiest Hindu shrine.
The beauty of nature
Those seeking to experience the best of nature can go on day treks. Birdwatchers in particular will find much to love – almost 500 species of birds are found in the Kathmandu valley. Also worth checking out is Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. Just a short drive from downtown, this protected wildlife reserve is home to over 300 species of birds (below), as well as animals such as leopards, pangolins and barking deer.
Into the valley
One of the best ways to get to know the city is to wander its many lanes and streets. The back alleys of Patan are fascinating – filled with old buildings, temples and craftsmen at work – and lead to the historic Patan Durbar Square (below): a UNESCO World Heritage Site with old temples, palaces and sculptures. Thamel, a thriving tourist area, is chock-full of restaurants, curio shops and great places to drink, with live music from local bands.
– TEXT BY EVANGELINE NEVE
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.