Nepal, the land of Sherpas, is notable for Mount Everest, its snowy landscapes, ancient traditions and vibrant culture. In this article, we list the 10 best places to visit in Nepal.
Nepal is located in southeast Asia, amidst the Himalayan range and has the world’s top eight mountains. People from all over the world visit it for trekking and mountaineering. Nepal is an ideal destination for travellers, nature lovers and spiritual seekers. Believed to be the birthplace of Lord Buddha and Sita Mata, it is known for its rich culture, diverse history, natural beauty, shrines, authentic cuisine and adventure. The Nepalese Rupee (NPR) is the national currency of Nepal.
How to reach Nepal
By air: The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. There are direct flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Varanasi to Kathmandu. Southeast Asian Airlines and European Airlines fly to Kathmandu.
By road: You can travel by bus directly to Nepal from the Indian cities of Gorakhpur and Patna. You can reach the border by car with a transport permit to show at the border crossing.
By rail: There are no direct trains from India to Kathmandu. You can board the train from Jayanagar (India) to Janakpur (Nepal). From there, you can reach Kathmandu. You can travel between Southern Nepal and Raxaul (India) and then travel by road.
Best time to visit Nepal
The best time to enjoy the beauty of Nepal is from October to December when the sky remains clear. You can also visit Nepal in January and February for trekking. However, it is extremely cold during this time.
Nepal tourist places #1: Kathmandu
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is one of the best cities to visit in the country. The colourful monasteries and the mountainous ranges make Kathmandu a beautiful city to explore. Nestled on a hill in the west of the city, Swayambhunath is one of Kathmandu’s most popular tourist attractions. Also called the ‘Monkey Temple’, due to the mischievous monkeys near the temples, it is one of Buddhism’s holiest sites. Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best historical places in Kathmandu. This symbol of Nepal’s traditional architecture and rich history showcases the lifestyle of Nepa’s royal kings. The Boudhanath Stupa is another UNESCO World Heritage site in Kathmandu. A place of importance in Buddhism, each shape of the Stupa depicts the five elements – fire, water, air, earth and space. This 36-metre-high stupa, with a white dome, dominates the skyline of Kathmandu and offers calm and tranquil environs to people seeking serenity. Pashupatinath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is another important shrine and one of the places to visit in Kathmandu. It is located on the banks of the Bhagmati River and attracts thousands of devotees.
Timings (Pashupatinath temple): 4:00 am to 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Entry fees: Free entry
How to reach Kathmandu: The Tribhuvan International Airport is located at a 20-minute drive from the city centre. There are no direct trains from India to Kathmandu. There are buses to Nepal from the Indian cities of Gorakhpur and Patna.
Places to visit in Nepal #2: Lumbini
Lumbini is one of the most famous places to visit in Nepal. Renowned as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, Lumbini is a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims. Some of the main attractions of Lumbini include the Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini Museum, Niglihawa, Sagarhawa, Ramgram Stupa, Bodhi tree Pushkarini, Kapilvastu and Aroarakot. The World Peace Pagoda, with a huge smiling statue of Lord Buddha, is another prominent monument for tourists. The World Peace Pagoda is an early 21st-century monument built by Japanese Buddhists, giving it the name ‘Japan Peace Stupa’. The temples of Lumbini are characterised by medieval architecture with large monolithic images of Buddha. The Ashoka Pillar is a 3rd-century stone pillar built by Emperor Ashoka when he visited Nepal and accepted Buddhism after the Kalinga war. The Maya Devi Temple enshrines the traditional site of the Buddha’s birth and attracts thousands of devotees. On the south of the temple is a sacred pool believed to be the place where Maya Devi bathed before giving birth.
Timings (Maya Devi Temple): 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entry fees: Free entry for Indians
How to reach Lumbini
By air: You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa. Then take a taxi, bus or rickshaw to reach Lumbini.
By rail: You can take a train from Gorakhpur to Lumbini
By road: Roads offer a convenient connection to other important cities and the airport in Bhairahwa.
Nepal places to visit #3: Nagarkot
Nagarkot is a popular hilltop tourist destination in Nepal, located at an altitude of 7,200 ft on the northern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. It is surrounded by serene pine forests and charming villages, it is known for the sunrise view of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest. Nagarkot has several options, such as hiking, rock climbing, birdwatching, mountain biking and paragliding. The location gives you an outstanding view of the Himalayan peaks of Nepal like Ganesh, Manaslu, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa and Gauri Shankar. Nagarkot View Tower is worth visiting in Nepal to enjoy the magical sunrise over the Himalayas.
Entry fees: Nagarkot’s municipal government charges SAARC tourists Rs 339 per person to enter the town.
How to reach Nagarkot
Nagarkot is 30 km from Kathmandu and 14 km from Bhaktapur. From Kathmandu, the only way to get to Nagarkot is by road. Either take a taxi or a bus to the city.
Tourist places in Nepal #4: Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site. For any wildlife enthusiast, Chitwan National Park is a must-visit in Nepal. Chitwan Park is famous for a wildlife safari, bird watching and tiger tracking. Chitwan National Park is a protected zone spread over 932 sq km of forested plains and grasslands. The vast areas of evergreen natural forests boast exotic flora and fauna. Chitwan is home to the one-horn rhino, royal Bengal tiger, sloth bear, wild boars, marsh muggers and ghari leopard. The most common bird sightings include kingfishers, paradise flycatchers and egrets. A canoe ride on the Narayani or Rapti River is a relaxing way to explore the Chitwan National Park.
Timings: 6 am to 5:30 pm
Entry fees: NPR 1,000 per person, Free entry for children below 10 years
Safari charges are separate
How to get to Chitwan
Bharatpur, the main city in Chitwan, is 93 miles from Kathmandu and 80 miles from Pokhara. You can take a bus from Kathmandu or Pokhara or drive in a taxi to Chitwan.
Nepal tourist places #5: Pokhara
Pokhara is one of the most beautiful tourist places to visit in Nepal. The main attractions of this adventure capital of Nepal are lakes, holy caves, natural waterfalls, pristine mountain views and adventure ports. It is the base for several hiking trails, such as the Annapurna Circuit. The Phewa Lake is famous for the lovely reflection of mount Machhapuchhre, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. One can hire a colourful boat called ‘doonga’ and sail through the lake for a relaxing ride. The Tal Barahi Temple, situated on an island in the lake, is 4 km from Chipledhunga, the city’s centre. Sarangkot Hill, located on the edge of Pokhara, offers astonishing panoramic views of the Pokhara Valley. Standing tall on the top of Anadu Hill, the World Peace Pagoda or Pokhara Shanti Stupa provides clear views of the Himalayan ranges. You have to climb 500 steps to reach the stupa. Paragliding in Pokhara is one of the most adventurous activities to experience. The International Mountaineering Museum has an impressive collection of artefacts, original gears and photographs of the mountains, their inhabitants and the explorers who have climbed some of the highest peaks in the world.
How to reach Pokhara
Pokhara has a domestic airport. Most travellers choose to travel to Pokhara from Kathmandu, a distance of over 210 km.
See also: Places to visit in Bhutan
Nepal tourist places #6: Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur is an ancient city, about 15 km outside Kathmandu city, within the Kathmandu valley. Described as an open-air museum and spread over an area of just 6.9 sq km, it is a must-visit place in Nepal due to its temples, historical artefacts, Newari art, traditional woodcarving, pottery, weaving, sculptures and architecture. The main 55-windowed Royal Palace inside the square is the centre of attraction along with several temples within the square. It is one of the best cities in Nepal, for historical and cultural sites. Many of these sites were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. Nevertheless, there has been tremendous development and several sites have been restored. The Peacock Window is one of the most prized possessions of Nepal. The intricately-carved wooden window dates back to the 15th century. The National Art Gallery is one of the prime attractions in Bhaktapur, which has cloth paintings, Buddhist thangkas and palm-leaf manuscripts. It also boasts of objects made from wood, stone and metal dating back to the 12th century. Visit the tallest temple of Nepal, Nyatapola, which is over 30 metres in height. The temple is dedicated to a form of Goddess Durga, Siddhi Laxmi. The beautiful pagoda-style temple in Taumadhi Square was built in 1702 AD by Bhupatindra Malla. Nyatapola was constructed using bricks and wood and has 180 carved wooden struts with eight auspicious symbols in Newari traditions. In 1979, it was declared a World Heritage Site. With over 130 heritage sites, Bhaktapur is often referred to as a city of ‘living heritage’. Get yourself Bhaktapur puppets, handicrafts and pottery.
How to reach Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur is easily accessible from Kathmandu and other parts of the Kathmandu Valley. Many buses travel between Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.
Places to visit in Nepal #7: Janakpur
Janakpur, also known as Janakpur Dham, is located about 225 km southeast of Kathmandu. It is known as the birthplace of Sita and the place where she married Lord Rama. The city is one of the most revered places for Hindu pilgrims and is the heartland of the Mithila civilisation. Janakpur, in the Terai district, is also known as the ‘City of Ponds’. It has more than 70 water ponds. The region is a melting pot of religious cultures, Janaki Mandir is the largest temple complex in Nepal. The white marble resembles a palace designed with a dome and columns. It has 60 rooms, decorated with intricate lattice windows, stained glass, sculptures and paintings. Ram Mandir is another important temple in Janakpur. Do not miss the Ganga Sagar and Dhanush Sagar tanks, the most sacred ponds in the region. Ram Mandap is the marriage place of Lord Ram and Sita. It is a traditional, Nepali-style, pagoda-roofed structure made entirely of marble. Around 13 km northeast of Janakpur is Dhanush Dham where Hindu devotees believe that Lord Ram broke the divine bow of Shiva to obtain Sita’s hand in marriage.
How to reach Janakpur
Janakpur has an airport with daily flights from Kathmandu. Janakpur is approximately 390 km and a 10-hour drive from Kathmandu. Buses to the district headquarter of Janakpur city leave from the Central Bus Station in Kathmandu.
Nepal places to visit #8: Mustang
Mustang is also called the ‘Mini Tibet of Nepal’. Elevated at an altitude of 3,840 km, Mustang is divided into two parts – Lower and Upper Mustang. Lower Mustang is known for its natural scenery while Upper Mustang is for trekking and hiking trails, monasteries, caves and local tribes. The Muktinath Temple (dedicated to Lord Vishnu) is one of the most popular and religious temples in the world and is a must-visit in Mustang. There are 108 taps in the temple of ice-cold water. People take holy baths here to fulfil their wishes. The temple is located at an altitude of 3,710 metres at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass. Kagbeni is a small village known for its apple farming garden and old monastery. The Upper Mustang was forbidden for foreigners till 1991. Today, they must take permits to visit the place. The Mustang region of Nepal was once an isolated and independent Tibetan kingdom. Adventurous travellers can explore Thorong La, the highest mountain pass in the world with an elevation of 5,416 metres. It is also the highest point on the Annapurna Circuit.
How to reach Mustang
To reach Mustang, take a flight to Pokhara from Kathmandu. From Pokhara, take a taxi or bus or rent a bike to Pokhara. On Prithvi Highway, it takes around 6-8 hours to reach Jomsom, the starting point of the Lo Kingdom in Upper Mustang.
Nepal tourist places #9: Mount Everest
One of the most famous places to visit in Nepal is the Everest base camp for adventure and trekking enthusiasts. Everest Base Camp trek takes you to the foot of Mount Everest at 5,600 metres. Also known as the Gateway to Everest, it is one of the most popular treks in the world. The trek begins at Lukla airport and follows the Dudh Koshi River up to Namche Bazaar, a small marketplace at the highest elevation. The trek to the Base Camp is days long and passes through Syangboche, Tengboche and Dingboche with mesmerising views of Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest. Along with the thrilling trekking, you also get to visit the mountain monasteries and experience the Sherpa culture during your stay in hilltop villages. Don’t forget to click images of the world’s highest mountain from the Kala Patthar viewpoint.
How to reach Everest base camp
Everest helicopter tour in Nepal is popular among tourists who wish to cut short the 12-day-long trek to the Everest Base Camp.
There are two ways to reach Everest Base Camp. Take a bus from Kathmandu to Jiri, followed by approximately 21 days of trekking, known as the ‘Walk In’ or take a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, followed by a 14-day trek, known as the ‘Fly In’.
Tourist places in Nepal #10: Sagarmatha National Park
The Sagarmatha National Park is a wildlife reserve surrounded by the mighty Mount Everest, deep ravines and the Himalayan glaciers. Located 135 km from Kathmandu, this nature reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name for Mount Everest. Here you can see the Himalayan Tahr, musk deer, snow leopards, wolves, lynx and weasels. The Sagarmatha National Park is home to over a thousand rare or endangered bird species, including the Himalayan monal, snowcock, yellow-billed chough, blood pheasant and the red-billed chough. The highest national park in the world, the Sagarmatha National Park provides mountain climbers with an exciting experience. With a height of 3,000 metres above sea level, the main attractions are the seven peaks of Everest. While the higher zone of the park is barren, the lower zone has rich flora and fauna. Tibetan Buddhist Sherpas live in the park and their culture can be witnessed through the monasteries, prayer flags and the main walls of the area.
Entry fees: Rs 1,500 per person per entry for SAARC nation tourists
How to reach Sagarmatha National Park
The village of Jiri is the last road to head to Sagarmatha National Park. Take a bus to Jiri from Kathmandu.
Can I travel to Nepal from India without a visa?
Indian nationals do not need a visa to enter Nepal. However, Indian nationals who travel to Nepal by air, must carry any one of the following – a valid Indian passport or voter ID card. Note that Aadhaar (UID) card, PAN card or driving license are not accepted as travel proof in Nepal.
What is famous for shopping in Nepal?
You can buy several famous things from Nepal such as singing bowls, shawls, Thangka paintings, Nepali handicrafts, Tibetan prayer flags, spices, herbal products and tea.
What are the dishes a tourist must have in Nepal?
Nepali cuisine is a delightful blend of Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan cultures. The staple food is dal bhat (rice with lentil soup and vegetable curry or chicken). Sel roti is a unique Nepali deep-fried doughnut. Do try Nepali dumplings, i.e., momo filled with steamed vegetables or meat. A thick noodle soup with meat, egg or just vegetables is a winter delicacy. Chatamari is the Nepali version of pizza. A batter of rice flour and water is cooked on an oiled flat skillet and topped with eggs, minced meat, vegetables and Nepali spices. Juju Dhau is a Nepali dessert made of yoghurt set in clay pots for an earthy flavour.