The small country represents Africa for wildlife, America and Europe for wilderness and pristine nature, and Asia for culture and civilization. Nepal is a paradise for nature lovers and a mecca for adventure enthusiasts.
▌By Rajiv Joshi
Nepal is a mystical country in South Asia. It is known to the rest of the world as a premiere adventure destination. With hundreds of spectacular snow covered mountains all along the northern frontier, Nepal offers high mountains, deep gorges, tranquil lakes, fast flowing rivers, diverse flora and fauna, and much more, to the visitors. The country boasts of diverse tourism attractions — it is a natural and cultural heritage, a living museum and abode of gods. The small country represents Africa for wildlife, America and Europe for wilderness and pristine nature, and Asia for culture and civilization. Nepal is a paradise for nature lovers and a mecca for adventure enthusiasts. The country is also rich in terms of culture, lifestyle and cuisines. Image Nepal suggests you seven best adventure options not to be missed while in Nepal.
Trek to the Everest Base CampMount Everest (8,848m) is the highest peak on earth. Located in Solukhumbu district in eastern Nepal, the mountain stands as a testimony to the spirit of the human race and their attempt to conquer nature’s challenges. Named after Sir George Everest, the British surveyor-general of India, Everest is known as Chomolungma in Tibet and Sagarmatha in Nepal. New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepali Tenzing Norgay were the first persons to scale this highest peak on May 29, 1953. Similarly, Junko Tabei of Japan is the first women to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Only a little over 4,000 persons have reached the summit of Mt Everest. For those who cannot reach the summit, reaching the base camp itself can give the divine feeling. The Everest Base Camp trek is one of the most popular trekking trails in the country. This trek boasts of the most exotic sceneries, a blend of Sherpa and Rai culture and the life-styles and hospitality of the locals in the region. The trek officially begins from Lukla which can be reached by a flight from Kathmandu. The trial passes through traditional Sherpa villages and monasteries. It offers various vantage points which offer the best possible view of the Himalayan range. The best season to visit the area is from October-December and February-April.
Crossing the Thorong La
At 5,416 meters above level, Thorong La is one of the highest mountain passes in the world. It lies in the Damodar Himal region, north of the Annapurna. The pass is the major attraction of the popular Annapurna Circuit trek which begins in Besishahar of Lamjung and ends in Jomsom of Mustang which can be extended downward until Beni in Myagdi. The pass connects Manang and Mustang districts. As they approach the pass, trekkers can spend the night night either at Thorong Phedi (4540m) or at Thorong High Camp (4,880m) before attempting to cross the treacherous pass. Trekkers start early in the morning as they must reach Muktinath for the night’s halt after crossing the pass. The best season to cross the pass is from March–April and October–November.
Trek to Annapurna Base CampAnnapurna Base Camp is the most famous trekking areas for trekkers in Nepal. As the trek offers the best possible view of towering peaks like Hiunchuli, Annaupurna South, Fang, Ganagapurna, Annapurna II, Annapurna III and Machhapuchhare, most of the foreigners make sure that this trek is in their travel plan while in Nepal. The trek begins from Nayapul, a small bazaar on the Pokhara-Baglung road, which is around hour-long drive from Pokhara. A walk of about half an hour will take you to Birethanti which lies at the confluence of Modi and Bhurung rivers. From here, the trail heads westwards toward Ghorepani – a typical Gurung village – where you can experience the amazing culture and hospitality. Poon Hill (3194m) is one of the popular detours of the trek. This vantage point offers breathtaking views of different mountain peaks in Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. View of sunrise from this place is sure to take one’s breathe away. From Ghorepani, the trail leads east to Tadapani village and on towards Chhomrong, from where the journey moves along the Annapurna Sanctuary and onwards to Annapurna Base Camp. Apart from natural beauty, culture, tradition and lifestyle of different ethnic groups like Gurung, Magar and Thakali are the other highlights of this trail.
Tiger sighting in BardiaSprawled over 968 sq km of vast sal forest and grasslands, Bardia National Park is the largest national park and wilderness area in the Tarai region of Nepal. The national park is one of the best spots in Nepal to catch the sight of majestic Royal Bengal Tiger. The national park probably has the Asia’s largest stretches of tiger habitat at present. There are number of options to experience the wilderness here as the lodges and resorts around the park offers visitors services like elephant safari, jungle walk and jeep ride, among others. Jungle walk with experienced guides can give you the opportunity to catch sight of different wildlife species including the Royal Bengal Tiger. The national park also houses numbers of one-horned rhinos and wild elephants along with more than 30 species of mammals. More than 250 species of birds, including the endangered Bengal florican and sarus crane, can be spotted here. Gangetic dolphins can also be spotted during rafting and canoe trips along the Geruwa River.
Paragliding in Pokhara
When it comes to paragliding, flying high above the city famous for its lakes and mountain views, with the beautiful view of Machhapuchhre and Annapurna range is sure to bring more smile and thrills to adventure seekers. Gliders take off from Sarangkot — a small hillock famous for mountain views – and land along the shores of Fewa Lake. Flying with vultures, hawks and griffins in the background of blue skies above human settlements, dense forests, deep lakes and raging rivers, is something that you cannot get elsewhere. Paragliding in Pokhara is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience. Though paragliding is done in other parts of the country, there is something special about paragliding flights in Pokhara.
Motor biking the rugged terrains to Jomsom
Jomsom was not easy accessible in the past as it was not connected to road network. But Jomsom became accessible after the Beni-Jomsom road was built in 2008. A motorbike trip to Jomsom not only offers challenges and thrills but also gives an insight into ancient cultures, traditions and religion. The road to Jomsom passes through steep, muddy road along the deepest gorge in the world. A ride to Jomsom can give an ultimate challenge for passionate motorcyclists seeking for adventure. Crossing the Rupse waterfall is one of the highlights of the trip. With its natural scenic beauty, friendly smiling hospitable people and rich cultural heritage, the trip provides adventure to the fullest in a very friendly and enjoyable environment. One will remember the hospitality of Thakalis – the dominant ethnic group of the area – for many years.
Paddling down the mighty Bhote Koshi
Rafting is regarded as the most popular adventure activity in Nepal after trekking and mountaineering. The adventurous water sport is believed to have begun in Nepal in the 1970s. Paddling down varying rapids in fast flowing rivers amidst picturesque settings are some of the highlights of rafting in Nepal. Rafting is arguably the best way of exploring Nepal, as it takes you through quaint human settlements, spectacular canyons, dense forests, and gives rafters many chances to observe Nepal’s unique flora and fauna. Rafting trips to some of the rivers in Nepal take rafters through complete wilderness for several days far from human civilization. Bhote Koshi River, without doubt, is the most action-packed short white water run in Nepal. The river drops steeply offering relentless stretches from class III-IV levels of rapids. Boulder gardens, small waterfalls, steep chutes and 90 degree bends are some of the obstacles that paddlers have to overcome. This river is not a typical big river flowing from the Himalayas; it is a steep and technical river which requires a reactive crew.