Nepal is known as the land of soaring Himalayan peaks, medieval palaces, ancient Hindu and Buddhist shrines. This tiny Himalayan nation is home to 8 of the 14 highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest or Sagarmatha (as the locals call it), the highest peak in the world. Apart from the mighty eight-thousanders, several 7000 and 6000-meter peaks flank the country’s borders from east to west making it a veritable paradise for climbers, trekkers and thrill seekers.
Most of the tourists looking for a Himalayan adventure opt for either trekking or climbing in Nepal. The numerous mountain trails weaving through the foothills of soaring Himalayan mountains offer trekking and hiking opportunities for novice hikers as well as experienced trekkers. Some of the popular treks in Nepal are the Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp trek, Annapurna Circuit, Langtang Valley Trek, Manaslu Circuit Trek etc.
Besides trekking and climbing, Nepal also offers outdoor adventures such as Bungy Jumping, Paragliding, Rafting, Wildlife safari, Skydiving, Mountain Biking etc. The country's cultural heritage sites are repositories of its ancient history and culture. Nepal is home to ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites (8 cultural and two natural). A cultural tour to these ancient monuments and heritage sites will give you a glimpse of the superior artistry of the ancient Nepalese artisans. Walk through the medieval durbar squares in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan.
Visit Boudhanath Stupa, the largest stupa in Nepal and a center of Tibetan Buddhism. Nepal is also an important pilgrimage destination for both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. The country is known as the abode of 33 crore Hindu gods and goddesses. Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Temple, Lumbini (birthplace of Lord Buddha), Muktinath Temple, Halesi Mahadev etc. are some of the sacred pilgrimage sites.
With more than 70 percent of the country covered by forest, Bhutan is an oasis for those seeking a tranquil getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Surrounded by nature, greenery and ancient Buddhist monasteries, this country is the ‘go-to’ destination for tourists looking for a different and exotic experience. Bhutan is a land where people and nature coexist in harmony. The green hills are ideal for short hiking trips and nature tours.
Most of the monasteries in Bhutan are located on mountainsides overlooking a valley. Hikes to these monasteries (Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery, Wangditse Gompa, Lungchutse Monastery etc.) make up for a delightful outdoor adventure. If you want to undertake a more challenging adventure then you can trek along the foothills of Bhutanese mountains and hills. The Jomolhari Trek, Snowman Trek, Druk Path Trek, and Dagala Thousand Lakes Treks are some of the popular treks in Bhutan.
You can take an overland tour and visit the country’s cultural hotspots – Punakha, Paro, Thimphu, Gangtey and Haa Valley. Explore the majestic fortresses built by Bhutanese kings and pay homage to Guru Rimpoche and Drukpa Kunley, the patron saint of Bhutan, at the many monasteries and lakhangs (Buddhist Temples). You can join the local archers at the local archery club and participate in a game of ‘dha’ (traditional Bhutanese archery). Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and it is not uncommon to see Bhutanese engaging in this well-loved sport. ‘Khuru’ or a game of darts is also quite popular among Bhutanese youngsters. They can be seen attempting to hit the bull’s eye at the ‘Khuru’ grounds. The well-paved roads and mountain trails also offer excellent opportunities for bikers to explore the country riding a mountain bike.
Known as the ‘Roof of the World’ the Tibetan plateau is one of the most popular Himalayan destinations in the world. A trip to this wonderful region is an experience in itself. This high altitude desert is bereft of greenery, giving the landscape a surreal and lunar-like appearance. Traveling across the Tibetan plateau will make you feel as though you are journeying through Mars. You can take a cultural tour and visit the ancient palaces and Buddhist monasteries built by Tibetan Kings. Explore the Potala Palace and Norbulingka, the summer and winter retreats of the Dalai Lama. Walk around the Barkhor Square and watch the Tibetan pilgrims prostrating and making their way to the Jokhang Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist shrines in Tibet. Witness the monks’ dramatic debates at Sera and Drepung Monasteries. Take an excursion to Namtso Lake or hike to Drayerpa Cave. Visit the historic Tibetan Traditional Hospital and watch the traditional healers at work.
Take an overland tour to Rongbuk Monastery and hike to Everest Base Camp (North Side). Discover an ancient Tibetan kingdom, the Guge Kingdom, by traveling to Western Tibet. Take the world’s highest train journey by taking a ride on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Tibet is also home to Mount Kailash, the most sacred peak for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bons. One can take a pilgrimage tour to the base of this magnificent peak and circumambulate around it.