The landlocked state of Nepal is situated in South Asia and steeped in history and culture, making it a popular tourist destination. With breath-taking scenery and a wealth of things to do across the country, including Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, the country boasts numerous attractions.
Nepal’s mountainous north has 8 of the world’s 10 tallest mountains, including the highest peak on earth, Mount Everest. However, if trekking is not top of your list, there are plenty of other wonders to demand your attention during your stay in Nepal – and we’ve listed only 6 of the many highlights that are waiting for you to discover.
1. Kopan Monastery
This gated community of Buddhist monks is home to 360 monks and twinned with the nearby Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery. Visitors are welcome to attend courses in meditation and yoga as well as explore the extensive grounds of the monastery that offer wonderful panoramic views across the Kathmandu valley.
2. Chitwan National Park
Established in 1973, this national park promises to offer the best wildlife experience in Asia with rhinos, monkeys, crocodiles, tigers and more available for sighting. Formerly a private hunting ground for Nepal’s ruling class, the park was awarded the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. Home to around 43 species of mammals, the park is popular with tourists who can enjoy a jeep or elephant safari or take a guided jungle walk.
3. Durbar Square
This square forms the vibrant heart of Kathmandu and is well worth a visit. In Nepali, the word “durbar” means “palace” and this square boasts numerous temples, courtyards and palaces. The site where Nepali kings have been crowned for centuries, the royal family actually moved from the palace about 100 years ago.
This small town lies about 10kilometres from Kathmandu and is tranquil thanks to its ban on cars in its centre. As well as having its own Durbar Square with various temples and palaces to wonder at, the architecture is worth a closer look – especially the intricate carvings.
5. The Royal Botanical Gardens
This natural wonder is situated 18 kilometres south of Kathmandu and has grown to house more than 500 species of plant since its opening in 1962. Among the highlights to see here are the Coronation Pond, rhododendrons (Nepal’s national flower), lilies, orchids, and ferns. There is also the Godavari Spring, a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists. And if you’re feeling inspired by the colourful scenery, you can hike to the top of Phulchowki, the highest hill in the Kathmandu valley.
6. Boudhanath Stupa
Surrounded by around 50 monasteries, this temple is one of the holiest sites in Kathmandu and was awarded the International World Heritage Site status in 1979. Thought to have been built in the fourteenth-century, the stupa is the centre of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and is rich is Buddhist symbolism – it has 5 statues, representing the 5 elements; 9 levels, representing Mount Meru, the mythical mountain at the heart of the Buddhist universe; and 13 rings from its base to its summit, representing the steps to enlightenment.
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