Nepal travel guide

2 minute summary

There is no question that the Himalayas offer some of the best hiking in the world and this Nepal travel guide merely scratches the surface of the picturesque and soaring peaks that have challenged adventurers for decades. The Himalayas are a special place and its villagers a special people; Nepal is not only a trekking nirvana, but a cultural beauty too. You’ll stumble across little villages where you can hang out drinking tea with the locals, welcomed with stories of myth, migration and deep religious belief. An enchanting blend of Hindu and Buddhist mysticism, Nepal is a peaceful land - there is nowhere else in the world where two religions, so often a catalyst for unrest, co-exist so comfortably.
Whether you hike, bike, or raft your way around Nepal, you will come back a changed person, but to travel there is to travel with patience and things won’t often happen the way you think they will. Relax and you will relish your experience.
Read more about how to get the most out of your Himalayan adventure in our Nepal travel guide.
If you'd like to chat about Nepal or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

What we rate & what we don't

Our best & worst of Nepal holidays


Nepal’s east and west Food Fairtrade Kathmandu Manaslu

Nepal’s east and west

Really, the only way to get out to the east and the west of Nepal is by domestic air or very long road journeys, both of which the weather can play havoc with and delay for days. If you have time though, head out far west to Dhangadhi, an interesting homestay area with a committed afforestation policy and a restaurant where everything is made from banana.


Nepalese food is delicious and the ritual of food is a very important part of local life - there are over 100 ethnic groups in Nepal, so be adventurous and your taste buds will be richly rewarded. Newari dishes, of which there are over 200, are unique to the Kathmandu Valley and are heavy on buffalo; try chhoyla, spicy grilled buffalo meat, for energy with a kick.

Fairtrade Kathmandu

Kathmandu is extremely tourist driven, but not all of its shops are tourist traps. You can buy fairtrade goods in the capital, especially on Kupondole, a street full of shops belonging to Nepal’s Association for Craft Producers. Try Mahaguthi for heritage and cultural products, and Dhukuti for authentic interiors and homeware.


Manaslu is an amazing high altitude trek that circles between Manaslu and Annapurna, the world’s 8th and 10th highest mountains. The isolated region has only been open to westerners since 1992 and is a natural paradise of alpine meadows, thick forest and huge glaciated mountains wrapped up in a rich culture that’s remained unchanged for thousands of years.


Nepalese people Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Chitwan National Park Everest Base Camp

Nepalese people

When tourists rave about Nepal, they rave about the Nepalese, which speaks volumes considering they’re up against Everest. Without question one of the world’s friendliest nations, the local’s fervour for handicrafts and their openness about how the community works outside of teahouses is both infectious and inspirational.

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

This incredible trek has peaks that stand at 7,000m, allowing you to visit the world’s roof and then climb all over it. The range forms a natural amphitheatre, reached via a testing combination of steep stone steps and forested hillsides ablaze with colour, and is circled by Himalayan giants like the Glacier Dome and the infamous twin-peaked Macchapucchare.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan became a World Heritage Site in 1984 and covers a whopping 360sq-miles of subtropical lowland in south-central Nepal. Once you’ve navigated your way through the throng of guides vying for your business, make sure you tell the chosen one that you’re not there just for rhinos and tigers; more than 500 species of bird, 150 types of butterfly and 56 mammalians also call it home.

Everest Base Camp

Probably the world's most renowned base camp, Everest Base Camp is a classic trek that takes walkers straight through Sherpa country past small villages and their amazing local markets, and up to incredible high altitude scenery including breathtaking views of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, after an essential photo stop at the iconic Base Camp rock.


Thamel nightlife Throwing litter away locally Flying Taxis in Kathmandu

Thamel nightlife

The nightlife in Thamel – if you can call it that: everything shuts at 10pm except the misplaced go-go bars – is all just a bit odd. It’s clear a lot of the dancing girls are performing their way out of poverty, which is uncomfortable, and, unless your idea of an authentic Nepalese night out is a warm pint of Guinness at an ‘Irish’ bar, then it’s best avoided.

Throwing litter away locally

Litter isn’t a huge problem in the Himalaya, but it’s one that’s growing. Up in the mountains, rubbish is often burned or buried and the bulk of it is made up of plastic water bottles and wrappers from packaged snacks. Take a spare bag trekking with you and throw all of your rubbish away at the end of your trip in Kathmandu where it will be disposed of properly.


Flying in the mountains is inherently dangerous because weather can close in quickly and unexpectedly. Airlines with poor safety records close yearly in Nepal and in December 2013 the EU banned every Nepal airline from flying to the EU on safety grounds. Crashing is by no means a certainty, but flying does carry a risk. Our tours typically don’t involve flights into the mountains, although this is something you could request.

Taxis in Kathmandu

Smog in Kathmandu is 5 times the level that prompted Paris to ban cars and in 10 years the number of vehicles on the capital’s streets has increased threefold. To boot, the city sits in a bowl-shaped valley, so air pollution blown away during the day falls back in at night, which all equals a major problem; find your way round on foot instead of hopping in a taxi.

Food, shopping & people

Travel like a local on your Nepal holiday

Eating & drinking in Nepal

Rakshi: they call it wine, but it’s more like homemade whiskey and will blow your socks off. Ask a local and you’ll get pointed in the direction of the village distiller

Sukute = Dried buffalo fried in hot chilies, which you eat as a snack with your rakshi or a beer; beats peanuts.

Nepal’s national dish is ‘dal-baht’: soup of lentils and spices served over rice

Jand is Nepali home-brewed beer. Kinder on you head than rakshi

Nepali granny, Gyani Maiya Sen, is the only native fluent speaker of ‘Kusunda’ left in the world. The language she speaks has no alphabet.

People & language

Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, Nepal is a melting pot of over 100 ethnicities and tribes divided only by altitude, not attitude. The country is a blend of Hindus and Buddhists; the Buddhists have come down from Tibet and the Mongolian Plateau and have a distinct look with a rounder faces than their Hindu neighbours who are taller, with very dark hair and oval faces. Races in Nepal don’t mix too freely as their caste system is deep-rooted, but they co-exist in harmony and if you visit temples in Kathmadu, you’ll see they are for both Buddhists and Hindus, who pray side by side.

Nepali is Nepal’s official language, but there are 123 languages spoken as mother tongue in Nepal.

Don’t greet people with a handshake or a hug, instead place your palms together, bow, and say ‘namaste’.

Gifts & shopping

Prayer paraphernalia is everywhere in Nepal and is very pretty too; recreate your trip at home with prayer flags and a prayer wheel, which you spin to release prayers to heaven.

Buy a Nepali national flag for your family and dazzle them with this flag fact: it’s the only flag in the world that’s not rectangular or square in shape.

Nepal is famous for its revered Gurkha soldiers and it’s a mark of respect to buy a Gurkha knife as a souvenir; just make sure you buy it from a recognised handicraft shop.

Fast facts

In Nepal, nodding your head means ‘no’, and bobbing your head from side-to-side as if bringing your ears down to your shoulders means ‘yes’.

How much does it cost?

Bus ticket: 200km £3.70

Bottle beer: £1.25 - £2.45

Kilo of fruit: £0.60p

Bike hire: £4.90 - £12.30

Basic lunch: £1.25

A brief history of Nepal

Though the god-fearing Newars are thought to have called Nepal home since the 4th century AD, settling there and developing a peaceful Hindu-Buddhist culture, the history of the country has not been without violence or bloodshed. Read more ▼
Photo credits: [Nepal’s east and west : Dhilung Kirat] [Food: Prashant Shrestha] [Fairtrade Kathmandu : ShimmerGreen] [Manaslu: Zabara Alexander] [Nepalese people: A Vahanvati] [Annapurna Sanctuary Trek: ro431977] [Chitwan National Park: symmetry_mind] [Everest: McKay Savage] [Thamel nightlife: Francisco Anzola] [Throwing litter away locally: Andrew and Annemarie] [Flying: McKay Savage] [Taxis in Kathmandu: Wonderlane] [Dal bhat plate: Vera & Jean-Christophe] [prayer flags: jbobo7] [bananas:]
Written by Polly Humphris
Everest Base Camp trek, Nepal

Everest Base Camp trek, Nepal

For anyone who has dreamed of seeing Mt Everest

From £968 15 Days ex flights
Manaslu Circuit trekking holiday, Nepal

Manaslu Circuit trekking holiday, Nepal

A spectacular and fairly isolated circular trek in Nepal

From £2499 19 Days inc UK flights
Kathmandu to Delhi overland holiday

Kathmandu to Delhi overland holiday

Adventure tour of magnificent and colourful Nepal and India

From £971 15 Days ex flights
Himalayan tours to Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal

Himalayan tours to Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal

Explore stunning Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan

From £2055 16 Days ex flights
Volunteering in Nepal, rebuilding programme

Volunteering in Nepal, rebuilding programme

Volunteering activity in the extreme affected Gorkha Region

From £852 8 Days ex flights
Nepal tailor made 8 day tour

Nepal tailor made 8 day tour

Essential Nepal - The Amazing Rooftop to the World

From £1299 8 Days ex flights
Annapurna Circuit trekking holiday

Annapurna Circuit trekking holiday

One of the world's classic treks

From £2269 23 Days inc UK flights
Nepal family holiday, walking in the Annapurnas

Nepal family holiday, walking in the Annapurnas

Low altitude trek in the Annapurna foothills

From £1350 12 Days ex flights
The Heart of Nepal trek, tailormade

The Heart of Nepal trek, tailormade

Trekking, wildlife, culture and temples

From £2500 14 Days ex flights
Trekking with Sherpas  in the Everest region

Trekking with Sherpas in the Everest region

Bespoke Trek in the foothills of the mightiest mountains.

From £888 11 Days ex flights
Gokyo Everest trek in Nepal

Gokyo Everest trek in Nepal

Trek the Gokyo region in Northeast Nepal

From US $1375 18 Days ex flights
India & Nepal holiday, Delhi to Kathmandu

India & Nepal holiday, Delhi to Kathmandu

A classic journey through India and Nepal

From £2459 18 Days inc UK flights
Chitwan safari & rafting in Nepal

Chitwan safari & rafting in Nepal

Enjoy diverse culture, exhilarating rafting and wildlife

From US $485 8 Days ex flights
Trek & volunteer in Nepal, help rebuild it

Trek & volunteer in Nepal, help rebuild it

Join helping hands with us to rebuild in Nepal

From US $799 12 Days ex flights
Tibet cultural holiday

Tibet cultural holiday

Sacred peaks of Tibet & lush Nepalese valleys

From £2167 14 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: Olga Danylenko]
Convert currencies