The awe-inspiring mountain kingdom of Nepal presents visitors with an awesome selection of sights, sounds, culture, cuisine, excitement and adventure. Whether you are looking for a short whistle-stop tour of the country, a hiking adventure or a luxurious stay, Nepal delivers a wide spectrum of products and services, sure to satisfy every need. Discover how you could make a dream luxury holiday in Nepal come true.
The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April 2015 had a catastrophic impact on the tourism market, upon which many people and their families in Nepal rely. The best thing the travel community can do to help the Nepalese people right now, is to return and support the local economy.
Expect to visit ancient historic sites in the Kathmandu Valley, traverse the pristine Chitwan jungle in the south, or relax sipping a cocktail in lakeside, Pokhara taking in the celebrated views of the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. In Nepal there is so much to do and so much to see, so where do we start?
Well Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and your likely entry point into the country. This article is aimed at the traveller seeking a more luxurious and laid back visit. So our journey starts at the Dwarika’s Hotel.
Where to stay in Kathmandu
The Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu is a living museum. Packed with exquisite artefacts and authentic furnishings, fixtures and fittings collected over time, from all around the country, expertly displayed throughout the hotel, it is truly amazing. But it’s the superb service and hospitality offered by the staff and management that sets this property aside. The hotel offers a welcome refuge from the invigorating, and what will initially seem frantic pace, of the capital city and its treasures.
What to do in Kathmandu
Kathmandu offers so much for visitors to explore and enjoy, a cultural dream holiday. You will need to allocate at least three days to visit the cultural and historic sites of the Newari cities of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur, all located in the Kathmandu Valley. The main sites we would recommend you visit are:
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The earthquake did cause substancial damage to the area however sustained effort has been put in place to restore the buildings, temples and monuments to their previous glory. It is a magnificent area and you will need time to explore and enjoy this world heritage site.
A Durbar Square is the term used to describe a plaza and specific areas opposite the old royal palaces. The other really popular Durbar Squares that you should try and get to are Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. All three of these Durbar Squares are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Climb to the top of the temple and be rewarded with sweeping views of the valley. A truly magnificient site steeped in history and a ‘must see’ while in Kathmandu. The temple is also known as ‘Monkey Temple’ referring to the many monkeys occupying the site.
This is one of the world’s largest stupas. Boudhanath in Kathmandu is remarkable located in the north east of the capital the massive mandala of the Stupa makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
Get into the spirit of Nepal with a visit to Thamel area. It offers lots of shops, restaurants, bazaars and markets and a vibrant nightlife, Thamel rocks.
To the Chitwan Jungle
The quickest way to the Chitwan National Park is to fly from Kathmandu to Bharatpur Airport which is close by the Park and the small town of Sauraha where most people stay. However, if you are brave, hire a driver and vehicle, and set off on road.
We drove down from Kathmandu which took us about 5 hours. Admittedly an awesome drive, lovely scenery en-route, however it is not a trip for the faint-hearted. The roads are busy but it is particularly the driving habits which are just insane. But on the bright side we saw no accidents but witnessed some really silly manoeuvres.
Where to stay in Chitwan
The Jungle Villa Resort is ideally located on the banks of the Rapti River looking into The Chitwan National Park. There is no accommodation located inside the park. The rooms are large, well-appointed and cool. The grounds are well kept, plenty of trees and the restaurant and particularly the deck area is amazing. The deck overlooks the river and provides a great location to sit back and enjoy an ice cold Gorkha beer. The food is buffet style and consisted of authentic Nepalese cuisine as well international favourites, it was tasty and well presented.
The management and staff well really hospitable and went out of their way to ensure we had a great time. The management organises daily escorted trips into the park using well maintained four-wheel drive land cruisers. For me the huge prize with this resort is that it is located right next to the Chitwan National Park which is why we were here.
Jungle Villa know how to get a beer properly cold, after a hot day traversing the park, it was perfect!
Chitwan National Park
The Chitwan National Park covers an area of approximately 930 square kilometres.
Game includes 43 species of mammals including the Bengal tiger, leopard, sloth bears, striped hyenas, Bengal foxes, wild dogs, jackal and three species of cats including; fishing cats, leopard cats and jungle cats. The one horned rhinoceros are numerous and we saw plenty on a game drive.
There are 543 species of birds recorded in the Chitwan National Park making the park a haven for bird watchers. Interesting raptor species include Pallas fish eagle, greater spotted eagle and eastern imperial eagle. Other interesting species include blossom headed parakeet, Bengal florican, Gould’s sunbird, black chinned yuhina and slaty breasted rail. The Chitwan jungle is also home to the king cobra, rock python, mugger crocodiles, monitor lizards and gharials.
Fly to Pokhara, it’s the quickest but if you drive it is around 5 hours. Pokhara is built around the Phewa Lake against the backdrop of the magnificient Himalayan Mountains.
It is the most spectacular setting, popular with international and local tourists. Lakeside is the main tourist area around the lake, providing many hotels and other accommodation providers, many restaurants and vibrant bars.
Where to Stay in Pokhara
We have chosen an awesome location for your stay around 20 minutes out of Lakeside at The Pavilions Himalayas. This new hotel takes luxury, style and comfort to a new level. In a unique and truly inspiring location this new lodge offers the discerning traveller a chance to spend time close to Pokhara in amongst the local population on an eco-friendly farm.
With spectacular views of the Himalaya’s this Pokhara Hotel offers an incredible venue in which to relax and soak up true Nepalese hospitality. The Pavilions Himalaya has been constructed to exacting standards incorporating style, luxury and eco-friendly standards and practices, evident throughout the lodge.
The Villas have been built on a working farm amongst the local villagers creating a relaxing and unique setting. There are no fences and no walls. Pristine forest surround the farm with magnificent views of the Himalaya’s across the valley. The villas are located just 4 miles from Pokhara Airport and around 2 miles from the World Peace Pagoda this is a great location. The Pavilions Himalaya is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the best of Pokhara and the surrounding areas.
What to do in Pokhara
Hiking, walking, cycling, para-gliding, canoeing or just driving the area will provide awesome sights and plenty to see and do.
We would suggest using a local guide and the best we found were the guys at Himalayan Monk.
The team at Himalayan Monk offer the most superb service and will help you make the most of your trip not just to Pokhara but you can use them throughout Nepal. Based in Lakeside Pokhara, they offer tourists a range of services and products to ensure that you get the most out of your trip to Nepal.
The team are young and adventurous with lots of experience and enthusiasm discovering the best options, offering the best advice no matter what you want to do on your vacation. Himalayan Monk will develop tailor-made itineraries to make sure you get the most out of your adventure.
Himalayan Monk specialise in Travel, Tour, Trek and Expeditions with various packages including religious pilgrimages, cultural tours, wildlife tours, biking, hiking, walking, trekking, adventure holiday’s, honeymoon package and much more.
Time to Book
Air India offer probably the most direct route from the UK, but personally I would avoid them like the plague. It is not a great airline to travel with in my opinion; we had a shocking flight both ways. But many carriers offer connections via their hubs like Oman Air, Qatar, Turkish Airlines, Thai, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and many other airlines.
Personally from the UK the next time I travel to Nepal I will try Oman Air, they offer really good rates and a night or two in Muscat would be a bonus. Alternatively if you have never done Singapore or Thailand you could consider this as a route and possible stay-over.
The monsoon season normally runs from June to September. Flooding and landslides often occur during this time. Road travel anywhere can be hazardous, particularly in rural areas.
Nepal has it all, magnificent snow-capped Mountains, tropical jungles, warm welcoming and hospitable people all inter-connected with a rich and varied history and culture.
The Nepalese people are always pleased to welcome people in to their country of which they are understandably so proud. Nepal is one of those destinations that once you have visited, you are sure to want to return.