From trekking in the Nepal Himilayas and exploring historic cities to wildlife safaris and high-adrenaline rafting, kayaking and mountain biking, Nepal offers an incredible range of experiences, activities and adventures.
With so many options, it can be tough to know where to start. Whether you’re a first-timer or a repeat visitor, there’s always more to see – here’s our guide to some of the best things to do in Nepal.
Trek through the Himalayas
Nepal is synonymous with trekking: trips are easy and inexpensive to organize and there is a mind-boggling range of trails, from easy self-guided day hikes to epic multi-week expeditions. They provide both dramatic Himalayan scenery – Nepal boasts eight of the 10 tallest mountains on Earth – and a fascinating insight into the diverse cultures of the highlands.
The most popular treks are the Annapurna Sanctuary, Everest Base Camp, and Langtang Valley routes, but there are lots of other less-well-trodden options, too.
Go mountain biking
An extensive network of back roads, tracks, and trails – some of which have been used for centuries – allow mountain bikers to reach little-visited parts of Nepal. Although you can strike out independently – rental bikes are widely available in the major tourist centers – many routes are unmapped and best explored on a guided tour, particularly if you’re an inexperienced cyclist.
The two-day Scar Road from Kathmandu, six-day Muktinath to Pokhara, and 12-day Jomsom to Lo Manthang routes are all excellent choices.
Paraglide in Pokhara
For adventure sports enthusiasts there are few better places on Earth than the chilled-out lakeside city of Pokhara. Nestled in the shadow of the Annapurna and Manaslu ranges, it offers everything from trekking and rafting to bungee jumping and canyoning.
Pokhara is also an incredible place to go paragliding: after taking off from the nearby peak of Sarangkot and soaring through the azure sky on thermals you’ll be rewarded with mountain views of heart-stopping beauty.
Explore the Kathmandu Valley’s medieval architecture
The historic quarters of Kathmandu and the neighboring cities of Patan (also known as Lalitpur – “City of Beauty”) and Bhaktapur are famous for their evocative medieval architecture. Despite being badly affected by the devastating 2015 earthquake, their Durbar Squares (royal plazas) are still lined with well-preserved or restored palaces, temples, shrines, and pavilions, many of which are open to the public.
They collectively form a Unesco World Heritage Site, alongside several Buddhist and Hindu temples and monuments in the Kathmandu Valley, including Swayambhunath.
Go white water rafting
Although most famous as a trekking destination, Nepal also offers world-class white water rafting (and kayaking), with plenty of options for novices and pros alike. For an economical introduction, take a one- or two-day trip along the Trisuli river, which is close to Kathmandu.
Alternatively, test yourself on the more challenging Bhote Kosi, Nepal’s steepest rafting river, which surges down from the Tibetan border, or try a week-long journey through the wilderness on the Sun Kosi or Tamur rivers.