ROUTE AROUND: Nepal

Includes historic Kathmandu, snowy peaks, sunrises over Mount Everest, lakes and national park safaris..

I was lucky enough to venture to Nepal in 2016, and crossing over the border from India to this spiritual paradise was the most surreal experience. From crazy, hectic and stressful India, as soon as you stepped over the borderline, there washed over us a feeling of peace and serenity. Nepal has a way with you, the people, the dramatic landscapes and the diversity of nature, not to mention the most beautiful architecture, you’ll definitely find it hard to leave and it will imprint on your mind for the rest of your life.

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Our first stop, the majestic capital KATHMANDU, Kathmandu is the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill region and is also known as the City of Temples. The city was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy. It is also the best starting and base point for your adventures around Nepal as it is pretty central to the rest of the country. We stayed at Park Village Resort, a really cute hotel with a swimming pool and buffet breakfast, set in beautiful green gardens and lovely private little rooms accessed by buggy. But if you are on a budget, Andes House is one of the most popular hostels there.

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Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu

 

After exploring the gardens, temples and roaming the beautiful streets that Kathmandu has to offer, we took off on our trekking adventure to MT EVEREST REGION. From Kathmandu, we had to take a terrifying but incredible flight over the foothills of the Himalayas to Lukla, known as the most dangerous airport in the world… I’m terrified of flying, so this in itself was quite an achievement.

We had booked a guide in advance to navigate us on the trails, we did a 5-night trek to Namche Bazaar and watched the sunrise over Mount Everest. This was all we could do with the time we had, but there are optional treks to carry on to Everest base camp and even summit Everest if you so wished! It was, the most incredible experience, the guides are the most humble people I’ve met, the food was amazing and the scenery… white and turquoise rivers gushed around forests that were glued to snowy peaks, with bridges hanging above gauges and little temples and ruins scattered along the trails. I have never experienced beauty like it.

 

With blistered feet, we made our way back down to Kathmandu and headed to POKHARA, a city further west of Kathmandu, situated on Phewa Lake, and in the spring you can see the snowy peaks of the Annapurna Circuit, which you can trek. We explored the nearby hills on scooters to secret waterfalls, hired boats on the lake, watched movies under the stars at the outdoor Movie Garden and ventured up to the hippie haven on Begnas lake for the day, an hour bus from Pokhara, we were to stay over but the spiders were too much for me… but a great place to chill and swim, or alternatively just laze in a hammock all day.

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Phewa lake, Pokhara

There’s a strip along the river in Pokhara, most hotels are on the first leg of the strip, but if its backpackers paradise you are looking for, continue down to the end where all the traveller’s bars and guesthouses are. We stayed at Hotel Harmony, an amazing family owned hotel, who invited us to eat with their family one night. It was a highlight of my whole trip, they were so welcoming and hospitable, we couldn’t leave. We originally booked 2 nights but ended up staying over 2weeks. I guess you could say, Pokhara stole our hearts a little… or a lot.

Next POKHARA > BANDIPUR

Sunset above Bandipur in Nepal. Hdr processed.

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Bandipur Village

 

On route from Pokhara To CHITWAN, the safari reserve, make sure you plan for a night or two in BANDIPUR, a hilltop settlement with a beautifully preserved old-time cultural atmosphere. A secret hidden gem, with some cooler mountain temperatures. From here, get to Chitwan national park for a few nights. One evening, we were enjoying some sunset cocktails, and a wild Rhino casually decided to join in and stroll past just in front of the bar. You freeze with fear, but then realise you are experiencing a once in a lifetime photo opportunity and hide behind the table to get a quick snapshot… You are right in the thick of it here, and there’s a chance to see wild tigers, however sadly we only got to see tiger…food.

Nepal was magical and serene, majestic and wholesome. Somewhere I defiantly have not had enough of and will hopefully be back to volunteer over the next few years!

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