Where is Nepal?
Weather in Nepal
Nepal has a Monsoonal climate with four main seasons - though traditionally a year was categorized into six distinct climate periods: Basanta (spring), Grishma (early summer), Barkha (summer monsoon), Sharad (early autumn), Hemanta (late autumn) and Shishir (winter).
The Annapurna region is an area in western Nepal which offers some of the most popular treks in Nepal. The region is generally taken to include areas around the Annapurna Range (Annapurna Himal), the Dhaulagiri Range and the Kaligandaki River valley. Peaks in the Annapurnas include 8,091m Annapurna I, Nilgiri (7,061 m) and Machhapuchchhre (6,993 m). Dhaulagiri I (8,167 m) is just to the west of the Annapurnas, Most of these peaks are visible throughout the region on clear days.
The Annapurna Conservation Area is also located in the region.
Among the popular treks in the region are the Annapurna Circuit trek which circles the Annapurna Range, the Kaligandaki River Valley trek which brings you up the world's deepest valley and the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek up to the Annapurna Base Camp. There are many more trails for shorter treks. The region includes the Trans-Himalayan areas north of the main Himalayan Ranges, where the land is arid and the culture more Tibetan than Hindu.
To enter the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) which encompasses most of the region, you are required to obtain a permit. Permits are issued in Pokhara and Kathmandu. You will need to show the permit at police stations in several towns along the trail.
Everest Base Camp Trek
This trek is famous for its spectacular mountain peaks and the loyalty and friendliness of its inhabitants (the Sherpas), the Everest region (Khumbu) is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Nepal. While many of the routes through the mountains are arduous, there are ample places to rest and enjoy a meal along the way. Furthermore, don't worry about getting lost. Just ask a local the way to the next village on your route, and they will direct you. Most Sherpas under the age of fifty can at least understand basic English, and many speak it fluently.
While trekking is possible in this area the whole year round, the best times to visit are from the beginning of March to middle of May and from the beginning of September to middle of November. The winters are very cold and snow may make it difficult to travel higher than Tengboche, and also lodges may be closed above this altitude. Summers, however, are wet, and the spectacular peaks are often lost in the clouds. April and early May is a good time to see the hedgerows and trees bursting into bloom, with Rhododendrons, in particular, adding a spectacular splash of color to the landscape. Nevertheless, dust from the plains of India during the spring routinely provide less than ideal conditions for clear mountain views. The views are much better after the summer monsoons have cleared the atmosphere of dust, but the days are shorter and cooler.
Swayambhu (Monkey Temple)
A site on a hill overlooking the city with a large stupa and other Buddhist and Hindu iconography. One of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. There are 350 steps to the top - the back route is less steep but the views on the way up are not as nice. Aside from the views over the city and the ancient carvings in every available space, it's crowded with monkeys mingling with the visitors. The base of the hill is a 30 minute walk from Thamel, or take a taxi or rickshaw. As with the Boudha Stupa, are plenty of Buddhist and Tibetan-inspired trinkets for sale. There are also drinks for sale at the top, and at least one small restaurant selling momos. For those that have their own transport or have difficulty climbing stairs there is a parking lot at the back entrance that significantly reduces the number of stairs that need to be climbed to gain access to the main compound. This is one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley.
Narayanhiti Palace Museum
This is the former Royal palace which was turned partly into a museum and partly into the Foreign Ministry after the abolition of the monarchy in 2009. Now you can visit the splendid halls of the main building of the palace. Giant fruit bats hanging from the tall trees and 20 foot-tall bamboo around the otherwise modern (and still well secured) former palace are a sight, especially around sunset when the bats depart en masse.
For centuries, Boudhanath has been an important place of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists & local Nepalis. It is situated on what was a major trade route between Nepal and Tibet. Many traveling merchants used it as a resting place. It is also a popular tourist site. In 1979, Boudha became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Great Stupa of Boudhanath is the focal point of the district. There are at least 29 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries & Nunneries) around Boudhanath.
The Pashupatinath Temple is a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Pashupatinath and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River 5 kilometers north-east of Kathmandu Valley in the eastern city of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. This temple is considered one of the sacred temples of Hindu faith. The temple serves as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath. This temple complex has been on UNESCO World Heritage Sites's list since 1979. This "extensive Hindu temple precinct" is a "sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river" and is included as one of the seven monument groups in UNESCO's designation of Kathmandu Valley as a cultural heritage site. One of the major Festivals of the temple is Maha Shivaratri on which day over 700,000 devotees visit here.
Phewa Tal (Fewa Lake)
Phewa Lake, Phewa Tal or Fewa Lake is a freshwater lake in Nepal situated in the south of the Pokhara Valley that includes Pokhara city; parts of Sarangkot and Kaskikot. The lake is stream-fed but a dam regulates the water reserve, therefore, the lake is classified as semi-natural freshwater lake. It is the second largest lake in Nepal, the largest in Gandaki Zone followed by Begnas Lake. Phewa lake is located at an altitude of 742 m (2,434 ft) and covers an area of about 5.23 km2 (2.0 sq mi).It has an average depth of about 8.6 m (28 ft) and a maximum depth of 24 m (79 ft). Maximum water capacity of the lake is approximately 43,000,000 cubic metres (35,000 acre·ft). The Annapurna range on the north is only about 28 km (linear distance) away from the lake. The lake is also famous for the reflection of mount Machhapuchhre and other mountain peaks of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges on its surface. The Taal Barahi Temple is situated on an island in the lake.
Sarangkot is a village just above Pokhara, known as a one-night destination as most people just stop in to see the stunning sunrise over the Annapurna range and leave. Though that is where guides lead people astray as many show up here expecting just to come for one day and want to stay longer. Aside from chilling out and taking in amazing views of both the mountains and Phewa Lake on the other side, Sarangkot offers a nice glimpse into the peaceful, slow village life and more.
Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist pagoda-style monument on a hilltop in Ananda hill of the former Pumdi Bhumdi Village Development Committee, in the district of Kaski, Nepal (now a part of the city of Pokhara).
Shanti Stupa in Pokhara was built by Nipponzan-Myōhōji monk Morioka Sonin with local supporters under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk and the founder of Nipponzan-Myōhōji. Shanti is a Sanskrit word meaning peace, also widely used in Nepali and Hindi language, and Shanti Stupa means Peace Pagoda. Shanti Stupa is the shrine build as symbol of peace. The spot situated at the height of 1100 meters on the Ananda Hill was chosen by Nichidatsu Fujii and he laid the foundation stone as well with the relics of Buddha on the hilltop on 12 September 1973. Nepal has two of the eighty peace pagodas in the world: Shanti Stupa in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and Shanti Stupa in Pokhara. Shanti Stupa in Pokhara has also become a tourist attraction. It provides a panoramic view of the Annapurna range, Pokhara city and the Fewa Lake.
Patan is a one of the largest cities in Nepal and is situated just across the Bagmati river from Kathmandu. Confusingly, it is also known as Lalitpur, both names deriving from the Sanskrit "Lalitapattan". Like its larger neighbor, Patan also boasts a Durbar Square full of temples, statues, and palaces and, in addition, has the must-see attraction of Patan Museum. As a traditional center of handicrafts, this ancient city is a great place to purchase jewelry, Buddha statues and masks
The third of the medieval city-states in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur was always described as the best preserved. Tragically, the 2015 earthquake caused terrible devastation, with whole streets of traditional houses lost to the disaster. Only a few temples were destroyed but many traditional buildings that survived the earthquake have since been declared uninhabitable and are now being torn down. The scars of the disaster are still clearly visible and it will take years for the city to fully recover.Nevertheless, there is still much to see here, through visitors will have to pick their way through damaged streets and rubble in many areas. Many Nepalis still use the old name of Bhadgaon (pronounced bud-gown) or the Newari name Khwopa, which means City of Devotees. The name fits – Bhaktapur has not one but three major squares full of towering temples that comprise some of the finest religious architecture in the entire country.When it comes to sightseeing post-disaster, the attractions remain the same as they ever were: temple studded medieval squares, narrow streets winding between red-brick houses and hidden courtyards peppered with temples, statues, cisterns and wells. And Bhaktapur remains refreshingly devoid of the traffic and pollution of Kathmandu and Patan, though more and more motorbikes and cars are beginning to threaten Bhaktapur's pedestrian charms.The town’s cultural life also remains proudly on display. Artisans weave cloth and chisel timber by the roadside, squares are filled with drying pots and open kilns, and locals gather in communal courtyards to bathe, collect water and socialise – often over intense card games.
Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal. It is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurna area. It is located 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu. Despite being a comparatively smaller valley than Kathmandu, its geography varies dramatically within just few kilometers from north to south. Moreover, the Annapurna Range with three out of the ten highest mountains in the world — Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu — are within approximately 15 – 35 miles of the valley. Because of its proximity to the Annapurna mountain range, the city is also a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit through the ACAP region of the Annapurna ranges in the Himalayas.
Phewa Lake in Pokhara. Boating at Phewa Lake is one of the popular tourist activities.
Pokhara is also home to many Gurkha soldiers. It is the most expensive city in the country, with a cost-of-living index of 150, and the most expensive place in Nepal after Namche Bazaar.
Thamel is situated in the northern region of Kathmandu past the government district on Tridevi Marj. This city is a haven for tourists visiting the area. It contains numerous hotels, restaurants, and shops that cater specifically to western tourists. Although some consider it to be overcrowded it has been used by westerners since the 1970's when hippies in the region discovered it. However, it has become quite commercial. Thamel is an easy walk from anywhere in central Kathmandu. Though the roads can be quite busy during the day, and traffic can be quite heavy.
Astam village is located in the foothills of the Annapurna mountain range in the central part of Nepal and surrounded by the huge 28,000-foot mountains. There are at least five huge mountains which surrounds Astam village. Astam village is famous for the view of sunset and sunrise on the Annapurna range. From this village you see the 360 degree panoramic view of the Annapurna range. You can observe the vistas of the mountains like Annapurna South (7273m.), Machhapuchhre (7059m.), Annapurna I (8090m.) and Annapurna IV (7525m.). It is the perfect destination for tour where you find the home stay service has been launched. Astam village provides the visitors with a traditional Nepali village experience providing home comfort with an ecological base.
Astam can be reached easily by road from Pokhara. It takes about 1 hour from Pokhara. Astam village tour provides the chance to view the people growing, harvesting and processing locally grown foods like coconuts, pineapple, sugarcane corn etc. However, it is more enjoyable to walk from the highway.
Astam is small mountain (Hill) like 1400 Meter high from sea level. There are 80 houses and population is around 300 with different cast (Braman, Chetree, Tamang, Pariyar and Nepali). Most of the people are Braman.
We can see fantastic Himalayan view from Astam village and the best season is from middle of September to middle of March. Normally we can see Himalaya, People harvesting rice, many colorful flowers, and main festival (Dashain & Tihar) at this time.
The other is the rainy season. It is less chance to see Himalaya in this season, but we can see greenery view.
What to eat in Nepal
Momo is a type of South Asian dumpling; native to Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim state and Darjeeling district of India. It is similar to Chinese baozi and jiaozi, Mongolian buuz, Japanese gyoza and Korean mandu.
Dal bhat is a traditional meal popular in many areas of Nepal, Bangladesh and India. It consists of steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup called dal. It is a staple food in these countries. Bhat or Chawal means "boiled rice" in a number of Indo-Aryan languages.
Sel roti is a Nepali traditional homemade, sweet, ring-shaped rice bread/doughnut. It is mostly prepared during Dashain and Tihar, widely celebrated Hindu festivals in Nepal and Darjeeling a part of India.