It is heartening to know that the country has a lot to offer to the travelers who want to explore natural and cultural heritages. Be it natural beauty or cultural heritage, Nepal amazes you with its cultural and natural diversity and its scenic beauty. Here are 20 places you should try your best to visit in 2020.
Shey Phoksundo National Park
The national park has spectacular landscapes, and is among the most scenic mountain parks in the world. The park has the Phoksundo Lake which lies at an elevation of 3,660 meters and is surrounded by glaciers and is famous for its rare blue color. If you love long and tiring walk, Shey Phoksundo is a must try.
Rara Lake situated at an altitude of 2,990 meters from sea level. It is the deepest lake in Nepal with a depth of 167 meters. The lake is located inside the Rara National Park. More than 500 different species of flowers and 214 species of birds are found in Rara National Park. The lake is surrounded by green hills on all sides. You can enjoy boating in the lake. Or, just hike to Murma Top, a viewpoint from where you can see the lake and the surrounding areas.
Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple, a Hindu shrine in Dolakha district, is situated at an altitude of 3,842 m from sea-level. Mountain ranges including Gaurishankar and Dorje Legpa are clearly visible from Kalinchowk temple. You can travel to Kalinchowk anytime of the year. But, if you visit during mid-December to February, you can witness breathtaking scenes from the top of the hill.
Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Janaki Temple in Janakpur is the birthplace of Goddess Sita. It is mentioned in the 'Ramayana' – an ancient Sanskrit epic – that the temple is the palace of King Janak. Janaki Temple is a three-story structure built of stone and marble. The temple, which has a total of 60 rooms, is decorated with the flag of Nepal, colored glass, engravings, and paintings, with beautiful lattice windows and turrets.
Pathibhara Devi Temple
The temple is situated at an altitude of 3,794 meters in Taplejung district in eastern Nepal. Apart from its religious importance, tourists also throng the temple via difficult trekking trails. The Kanchenjunga range can be clearly seen from the uphill. The trail route starts from Suketar, and the visitors have to pass through Deurali, Ramitedada, Chhatedunga, Bhalugauda, Phedi to reach the Pathibhara Temple.
Chitwan National Park (CNP)
Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, CNP is home to over 700 species of wildlife. Jungle Safari is one of the major attractions of CNP, as tourists have an opportunity to see wild animals, green forest and flat landscape of Nepal. The national park is also home to the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, among other wild animals. Likewise, tourists get an opportunity to see unique culture and tradition of the local Tharu community when they visit CNP.
Parsa National Park
Parsa National Park occupies parts of four districts – Chitwan, Makawanpur, Parsa and Bara. It is home to rare wild animals such as elephants, tigers, leopards, sloth bears, gaurs, blue bulls, wild dogs, barking deer, langurs, striped hyenas, ratels and palm civets, among others. Over 500 species of birds are also found in this protected region. One can have an excellent view of the park and wild animals from the view tower located near the CNP's headquarters.
The hilltop of Chandragiri is 2,547 meters above sea level, and is the only hill in Kathmandu from where a 180-degree view of mountains can be seen. The view of sunrise in the morning, and sparking lights can be seen in the night time from here. The visitors can clearly see mountain ranges stretching from Mt Machhapuchchhre on the left to Mt Everest on the right. One can reach the top via cable car, or after a three-four hours hike through the jungle.
Lo Manthang is a small rural municipality situated in Mustang district. There are a total of 12 caves in Lo Manthang at an altitude of 14,000 feet, decorated with ancient Buddhist paintings of the 13th century. The rural municipality is noted for its tall brick walls and Gompas. The Royal Palace at Lo Manthang is believed to be built in the 15th century. It is a nine-cornered five-story structure.
Mardi Himal Base Camp
The visitors have to reach the base camp of Mardi Mountain via a trekking track. While reaching the base camp, you explore tranquil trekking trails passing through ethnic villages and lush forests of rhododendron, pine and oak. You will trek witnessing stunning views of Mardi Himal, Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli, and Annapurna ranges. The base camp is situated at 4,100 meters from sea level.
Located at an altitude of 2,175 meters above sea level, Nagarkot is a famous town near Kathmandu for its Himalayan view. The Manaslu Range, Ganesh Himal Range, Langtang Range, Jugal Range, Rolwaling Range, Everest Range and Numbur Range are clearly seen from Nagarkot. The mountains look amazing in the morning. Nagarkot is also a good point for hiking as you can return to Kathmandu through several possible routes such as Sankhu, Changu Narayan, Dhulikhel, Sundarijal, and Nala.
Everest Base Camp
The Everest Base Camp trek is one of the toughest trekking routes in Nepal. It takes almost a week-long trek to reach Everest Base Camp. The trek starts from Lukla — 17.7 kilometers away from Namche Bazzar. Once the trekkers reach Namche Bazar, they have to trek through Dingboche. After almost seven days of walk, the trekkers finally reach Everest Base Camp. The autumn season is the best time to go to Everest Base Camp.
Annapurna Base Camp
The Annapurna Base Camp trek goes through rhododendron forests, and trekkers can see the Annapurna Range most of the time. The base camp is on the lap of Annapurna I, Annapurna South, Machapuchhre and Hiunchuli. It takes 7 to 10 days to reach the base camp. The base camp can be visited in all seasons, but the trekkers must be cautious in the winter season. Travelling during the spring season is the best idea as trekkers can see forests full of blooming rhododendron.
There is no doubt that Pokhara is the best place in Nepal to enjoy leisure time and experience adventure sports. In the beautiful city of Pokhara, you can enjoy adventurous activities such as boating, hiking, pony ride, paragliding, bungee jumping and zipline, among others. Visiting the caves – Gupteshwar, Chamero, and Mahendra – and water falls in Pokhara will obviously thrill you. If you want a respite, a short trip to Pokhara is definitely a good idea.
Gosaikunda is an alpine freshwater oligotrophic lake in the Langtang National Park in Rasuwa district. The lake remains frozen for six months in the winter from October to June. So, the best time to visit the lake is from late June to October. There are other 108 small lakes in Gosaikunda area. While trekking to Gosaikunda, you will see panoramic views of the Langtang range, and some Annapurna Mountains too. According to the Hindu mythology, Gosaikunda is considered home to Hindu deities Lord Shiva and Gauri.
Mayadevi Temple (Lumbini)
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, has over 25 monasteries. The Ashoka Pillar in the Lumbini Garden that has a reference to the Mayadevi Temple as the birthplace of Lord Buddha dates back almost 2,200 years. You can visit monasteries and observe its amazing architecture during the visit. The Ashoka Pillar was built by the Indian Emperor Ashoka. When you are in Lumbini, you can also visit yoga centers for yoga and meditation. Winter is the best time to visit Lumbini.
If you are a nature lover, then Ilam would be definitely your favorite place. You can clearly see Mt Kanchanjunga, Mt Kumbhakarna, Mt Makalu and Mt Everest from Ilam. Also, a lot of tourists throng Illam to see beautiful tea gardens. The amazing view of sunrise and sunset from the uphill of Ilam is also another major attraction this place offers to its visitors.
Gorkha Durbar, the birthplace of King Prithivi Narayan Shah, who founded modern Nepal, was built in the 16th century. It is famous for both its religious and historical importance. Since the palace is situated at the top of a hill, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Annapurna, Manaslu and Ganesh mountains from there.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
If you love watching birds, then the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is a perfect destination. A total of 526 species of birds including 29 endangered species can be found in the reserve. Every year, more than 100 different species of migratory birds arrive here. Another attraction of this reserve is that it is home to a large number of endangered wild buffaloes.
Paanch Pokhari is a group of five holy lakes located at an altitude of 4,500 meters in Sindhupalchowk. The trekking trail to Paanch Pokhari goes through dense rhododendron forests and you will witness different mountains such as Dorje Lakpa, Purbu Chhyachu, Madiya and Langtang on the way.