Nepal is one of those countries that can steal your heart after only one visit. Why? Because it has so much on offer! Most people would think of Nepal and straight away be visualizing the Himalaya, vast mountainous regions, snow capped peaks, dangerous heights, nomadic people, perhaps goats, or better still yaks. But little do they know this tiny country tucked between the vast spans of stunning Tibet and colourful India, nestled beneath the towering giants that give this land the title of ‘Trekkers Paradise’ has an immense array of shopping, nightlife, restaurants, adventure sports like white water, canyoning, paragliding and loads more. Not to mention culture upon culture, Hinduism meeting Buddhism in the most delightful splash of colour, incense, Tibetan harmonies and Bollywood ballads.
When I first traveled to Nepal, I was nervous and excited at the same time, not knowing what to expect, but expecting something amazing, and I was not let down. I was surprised to find how much was on offer amongst this rustic setting. Nepal has a sense of a different time, especially in the streets of Thamel, the tourist haven. Small dimly lit shops line the cluttered skinny roads, taxis and rickshaws squeeze past tourists and locals moving slowly through crowds in peak season and rushing through empty streets in off season. New restaurants keep popping up, but clinging to this old worldly feel, and slotting in amongst the ancient brickwork non-conspicuously. Indian, Thai, Chinese, Taiwanese, English, German, Italian and of course Nepali Restaurants to mention a few are on every turn. Pubs, clubs and cozy bars with cushions splayed across the floor where one can wrap themselves around a cold beer and bowl of spicy chips chilly or Sukthi Sandeko, a dish comprising of dried buffalo meat fried with peppers and soy beans.
Then there’s Lakeside Pokhara. Get there by public bus for around 300NPR, tourist bus for 550NPR or plane for 98USD, but get there. This delightfully relaxed town is nestled along the stunning Fewa Lake, bordered my rolling green hills and back dropped by the breathtaking Annapurna mountain range, sharing space with the majestic Maccharepuchhre or Fish Tail, getting its name from the shape the mountain takes from a certain angle, that of a fishes tail. It’s a unique town, again offering restaurants of all cuisines, trinket shopping to satisfy any collector of travel memorabilia and art, fantastic night spots, live local bands with amazing talent to sit and sing along with. You can hire a pony, a bike, a motor bike or simply walk around the beautiful lake. Quite a few Tibetan refugees see Pokhara has a home as well now, and visiting them out in their established villages, market stalls and carpet factories is a real pleasure and a chance to get to know these beautiful people, and leave feeling like part of the family.
I can’t count how many times I have been back and forth to this amazing country, and there will be many more to come. Getting around Nepal is easy the second time, but a great way to explore it is on a tour, on my first journey there I toured, and it was a great way to get to local places I would never have found on my own. Find a company that serves a purpose and is making a difference in lives over there. There are many older villagers that need assistance making their physically demanding lifestyles a little bit easier. Some travel companies like the one linked below, are using their knowledge to not only give people excellent adventures, but also making a real difference.
Before you go to Nepal just remember one thing, start saving for your next trip, because you’ll want to go back.
Source by Jenny Lama