This small country is wedged in between two giants, the arid plateau of Tibet and the hot fertile plains and jungles of India. The Himalaya forms the backbone of Nepal and provides some of the best mountain scenery in the world. There are many ways to enjoy the spectacular beauty of these giants and Nepal offers them all. Long the preserve of mountaineers and trekkers, the spectacular vistas can now be enjoyed by all. A series of luxury lodges in the Annapurna region, staffed primarily by the Gurkhas, complete with hot water, down pillows and en suite facilities provide a more comfortable alternative to the standard tea-houses. Those wishing to see the world’s highest peak can see the dark foreboding mass of Everest from the comfort of a light aircraft, or alternatively take to the trails and walk in the Sagarmatha National Park. The majesty of the Himalaya is equalled by the wildlife of Chitwan National Park, where elephant-back safaris seek the elusive tiger and the rare one-horned rhino, while boat trips offer sightings of the park’s 450 bird species and gharial crocodile. The unique architecture of the Kathmandu Valley, the photogenic mountain villages and the open and friendly demeanour of Nepal’s people complete the experience.
When to Travel
The ideal times to visit are October to December, when the post monsoon mountain air is clear and fresh, or February to April when the climate remains dry and pleasant and the famous rhododendrons grow and bloom. Visitors in January and February should be prepared for cool nights, but the Kathmandu hotels and luxury lodges are heated and the lower visitor numbers mean the trekking trails are generally free of large groups. From May, heat and humidity build until June, when the monsoon rains arrive.
In Kathmandu you will find an extensive range of accommodation, from international five-star hotels offering a wide range of facilities to small and intimately run local guest houses. The traditional tea houses in the Annapurna and Everest regions provide simple yet very hospitable accommodation for trekkers, offering fresh and revitalising Nepalese food for a day on the trail, while more luxurious options are on hand for those seeking a more pampered stay. In the national parks there are lodges of varying standards where you can enjoy jungle living with the local naturalists.