Captivating Nepal holidays
Our Nepal holidays are designed to help travellers seek out the highlights independently and in the company of English-speaking guides and local drivers. You can experience UNESCO sites, such as those in Kathmandu and Patan Durbar Square, as well as the market stalls of Asan Bazaar where you’ll find singing bowls, dal bhat soup and woollen sherpa hats. Head south of the capital and you’ll have the chance to watch tigers, rhinos and crocodiles by 4x4 or canoe from within the forested realm of Chitwan National Park. If you’re hoping for hiking, travel northwest to Pokhara, overland or by air, and you’ll find yourself on the banks of Phewa Lake and at the entrance to the Annapurna Circuit. And if you’ve always wanted to experience India and Nepal as part of the same trip, Kathmandu’s just a short flight from Delhi and makes an ideal twin-centre destination for anyone searching for enlightenment.
Where to go? We’ve highlighted some of Nepal’s most popular places to explore…
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and Buddhist stupas, Kathmandu has long been a draw for cultural travellers and Himalayan hikers. This is somewhere to lose yourself in the narrow lanes leading to Durbar Square and seek out enlightenment within the Hindu temples that line the banks of the Bagmati River. Exploring independently allows you to follow your nose to momo (dumpling) and butter tea stands. Visit with a local guide and you’ll unlock the palatial properties in Patan Durbar Square and the ancient shrines of Swayambhunath Temple with greater understanding. Whatever your reasons to come to Nepal, a couple of nights in Kathmandu gives you time to acclimatise to life far from home.
Situated 200 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu Valley, in central Nepal, the lakeside town of Pokhara is the perfect place to start a trekking tour of the Annapurna Circuit. It’s accessible too with overland routes and a domestic airport ensuring travellers can arrive as they wish. Spend any time here and you’ll be struck by the peace and stillness emanating from Phewa Lake. Boat trips can take you out to Tal Barahi Temple in the centre of the lake whereas a short trek into the surrounding slopes allows you to ascend to Bindhyabasini Temple and admire views across the Machhapuchhre and Dhaulagiri mountains. From the Buddhist Peace Pagoda to the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, Pokhara’s a gateway to a higher place.
If you’re looking to get even closer to the Annapurna range, the mountain village of Ghandruk is certain to set you off on the right trail. Located just 32 kilometres north of Pokhara, this is where you’ll find the serious trekkers preparing to make their foray onto the Himalayan heights. It’s somewhere to take your
time to watch the world go by from a sleepy tea house or learn more about indigenous Gurung culture at the small, yet well-stocked, museum. Lace up your hiking boots and head up to the top of Poon Hill to catch the sunset or opt for a more strenuous all-day hike to Annapurna Base Camp. Just don’t forget to grab a chunk of Gurung bread and a flask of Ilam tea to enjoy along the way.
There are many reasons to visit Nepal, but seeing a Bengal tiger has to be up there with the best of them. Chitwan is one of 12 Nepalese national parks and located 170 kilometres southwest of Kathmandu. It’s one of the country’s most popular places to visit with rhinos, muntjac deer, macaques, geckos, turtles, and a parade of parakeets all to be seen on a private or public 4x4 safari. Aside from exploring on land, visitors are also invited to take to the Rapti River on a boat or by canoe. It’s a great way to see the park from a different perspective and perhaps catch sight of a crocodile sunning itself along the river’s banks.
The flight time from the UK to Kathmandu is around 12 hours.
Travellers from the UK to Nepal will need an entry visa that can be obtained online up to two weeks in advance of arrival. Please visit GOV.UK for entry requirements to Nepal or, alternatively, visit CIBT visas for more information.
Summers in Nepal are warm and feature plenty of sunshine and a comfortable climate. Kathmandu Valley, especially, has an average temperature around 20 degrees from June to September. Winter in Nepal falls from December through to March. The higher you go the colder it’s going to get with mountainous areas above 3,000 metres covered in deep snow and nocturnal temperatures often dropping below -10 degrees.
Nepal is five hours in front of GMT.
Nepali is the national language of Nepal. English is also widely spoken as a second language, especially by younger people and those working in the tourism industries.
Either side of summer is the best time to visit Nepal for fewer travellers and comfortable day time temperatures. You’ll also be able to make the most of Nepal’s colourful wildflowers during April and May or opt for views across autumnal woodland canopies from October to November. Spring is also the best time to go to Nepal to see the mountain rivers, streams, and waterfalls at the peak of their powers.
Anything from two to four weeks is ideal for experiencing Nepal. This gives you enough time to really get under the skin of Kathmandu as well as enjoying extended periods in rural areas around Pokhara, and more game drives in Chitwan National Park. You’ll also want to enjoy a bit of downtime to tuck into a good book in a teahouse in Ghandruk or to take off on an overnight trek or perhaps sign up for a yoga and meditation retreat alongside the banks of Phewa Lake.
The national currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee.
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