Traveling in Nepal: five tips not to miss

Traveling in Nepal, a country that has been much in the news after the terrible earthquake in 2015 years ago. A country that truly deserves to get back on its feet. I myself was in this special country several years before the earthquake and was amazed. What a special culture, nature and kindness this country has. Together with my then-boyfriend, we traveled to Kathmandu: the capital of Nepal.

travel in nepal

Traveling in Nepal: dirty toilets on the plane

We booked a flight with Gulf Air and flew via Bahrain. That alone was an experience. Women dressed all in black, men in white robes, that kind of work. I found it fascinating. What was quite remarkable, and somewhat scary, was that including myself, there were only three women on board in the entire rear section of the large plane. That was one of my least enjoyable toilet visits on an airplane I can tell you. Gatsie! I felt sorry for the flight attendants who had to go into the cubicles every time to wipe everything clean.

From now on, always clean underwear in carry-on luggage

Fortunately, we didn’t stay on the plane for a month, we went to Nepal! After and long flight we arrived in Kathmandu. Unfortunately, not all of our luggage had come with us so we had to return to the airport the next day. After several hours of waiting, waiting and waiting, after 3 hours came the redeeming word: our luggage was there! So since then, I always carry one set of clean underwear in my carry-on 😉 .

Tip: Some airlines provide refunds if your luggage does not arrive. Always check with your airline’s customer service if you have a right somewhere. We got $50, for example. Finally the luggage arrived and our adventure could really begin.
travel in nepal

Vega food in Nepal

Of course we started with food. Without food, no energy to go on the road. I was still a flexitarian at the time but I can tell you that you can eat Nepal just fine veg these days. So many delicious momos eaten there without meat or fish. Vegetable is also possible I think, but don’t pin me down on it.

travel in nepal
Market in Kathmandu

What struck me was that there were no big chains. No garish McDonald’s or Burger King. Extraordinary to still be able to experience this in a world where companies like this wriggle into everything to sell more unhealthy food.

With a well-filled belly, we were ready to go. What can you go and do in Nepal? A lot! There are so many different fun things to do in Nepal. From hiking in the high mountains to lounging by the river at Sauahra in Chitwan after a jungle trek. These things you really must have done in Nepal and were really my highlights of touring Nepal

1# Hiking

It doesn’t matter if you are a mountain goat who effortlessly climbs the most impassable rock or if you prefer to slow down. Nepal has several trekking options. The most popular areas are Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Basecamp, Langtan and, of course, Mount Everest Basecamp. Around all areas you can opt for shorter treks. For example, Poon Hill trekking of about 4 days is also beautiful. I did the 10-day Annapurna Basecamp trek. An experience I will never, ever forget! So traveling in Nepal? Then you may not leave without having done a (small) trek.

travel in nepal
En route to Annapurna Basecamp in February

2# Kathmandu

A town that fortunately still does not have a McDonald’s. And where you see a lot. Just walk around this city all day. At least visit Bodanad and Monkey temple. Unfortunately, much was destroyed by the earthquake. I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful country before the earthquake and jeez…so bad that these people lost part of their roots. Everything they were so proud of and could also make money from. Boom, gone. Do be sure to check out the remains of Patan and Durban Square. The people desperately need tourism!

3# Rhinos in Chitwan National Park

In the mood for something other than culture and mountains? Then go to Chitwan! One tip, don’t sleep in the park itself. Is much more expensive and for seeing animals it is not really necessary. At least that has been my experience. We hired a guide on site at the Sauhara information center. In Sauhara, by the way, you can sleep just fine. There are also several restaurants where you can eat vegetarian and plant-based food. Anyway, you can eat delicious vegetarian food in Nepal partly because of neighboring India, and if you ask, I’m sure by now you can eat plant-based. During our guided walking tour in Chitwan, I came face to face with a deer when I had to take a pee in the bushes. Eeeh hi madam deer!

Exciting encounter in Chitwan

Another encounter with one of the inhabitants of Chitwan was a little less relaxed….we saw a rhino maybe 5 meters away. This is incredibly exciting, because these animals can crush you in one go. Even more exciting was that the guide told us at the beginning that the best thing you can do is climb a tree and throw your bag away to confuse the rhino. I could already see myself dying a slow death because um yes climbing a tree? I’ve never actually done that before haha!

Fortunately, it ended with a hiss and the rhino went the other way. We were mouse quiet and probably we were just right out of the wind and he didn’t smell us. In fact, rhinos can hear and smell extremely well. Luckily for him, because they don’t really see very well. Tip: please don’t sit on an elephant to see the rhinos!

Chitwan National Park Nepal
When walking around Chitwan National Park on foot, you may encounter elephants in addition to rhinos.

Nepali gift

In addition to our rhino adventure, I had my first tick in while traveling in Nepal. A gift from Chitwan National Park. In the back of my knee was the little rascal, but fortunately we got it out easily after 2 days (only then I noticed!) when I was in Bhaktapur. After returning home, a quick check with the doctor and nothing wrong. So take a moment to check your body when you have dived into the bush in Chitwan.

4# Pokhara

From this town, the treks to Annapurna Circuit and Basecamp depart. But it is more than just a starting and ending point for popular treks. You can enjoy sitting by the lake here and even rent a boat. Or get driven over bumpy roads in an old pothole-riddled Suzuki alto to the temple on top of a mountain or just get massages after you return from a trek. Or even before that. As physical preparation, so to speak. You have to take good care of yourself during such a trip, right? 😊

In any case, Pokhara is a fine place to unwind. Take advantage of that! I hear from several travelers that Pokhara came out of the earthquake fairly unscathed. So be sure to hike from and check out this laid-back city!

Suzuki's in Nepal
Suzuki’s in Nepal

5# Bhaktapur

One of the most beautiful royal cities of Nepal. One of the I say, because besides Bhaktapur you also have Patan. For me, Bhaktapur was just a little bit nicer because it really has a city feel, where Patan does have easier access from Kathmandu. When in Bhaktapur, I recommend staying one night and experiencing the city in the evening. It is so cozy here with all the streets, temples and music. Above all, go to Durban Square and take in all the hustle and bustle and then continue walking through all the teeming streets to other squares. The most convenient way is to take the bus to Bhaktapur from Ratna Plaza.


Traveling to Nepal after the earthquake

Unfortunately, because of the 2015 earthquake, irreparable damage did occur to a number of temples. How long recovery work will take is not yet clear. However, I hear it is still very nice, so ask on the spot how the situation is.

General info traveling in Nepal

High season treks
The best time for trekking is April/May and October. It is very crowded, then. I myself went hiking toward Annapurna Basecamp in February early March. And that was fantastic. From 3500 onwards a lot of snow and the last 500 to 1000 meters to Basecamp you will find yourself with your legs up to calf height in the snow if you are not careful. If you want to go hiking in the off-season like me, do check carefully before Mount Everest to see if it is possible.

Time difference Netherlands
In Nepal it is 3 hours and 45 minutes later in summer and in our winter it is 4 hours and 45 minutes later.

The food in Nepal is very doable for vegetarians and vegans. One of the most famous dishes is Dal Bhat (lentils, vegetables, combined often with a curry and rice) and vegetable momos. These certainly come in all kinds of varieties. Getting into the mood a little bit already? Try this (admittedly from India) Dahl soup.

Remote working
Is Nepal suitable for working remotely? The latest developments show that the Internet is doing a lot better than when I was there. There were frequent power outages, not good when you are just sitting down to work on a website. Although most hotels have a generator so you won’t notice if the power goes out. The best cities to live as a digital nomad are Pokhara and Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, there is also co working. It is super cheap to live in Nepal, so in itself worth exploring! And to be on the safe side, I would always buy a sim card with internet on it. On this website you will find all kinds of tips for remote working from Nepal.

Cost of traveling in Nepal

Pay and money
In Nepal, you pay with the Rupee (rupee NPR) and it is not very easy to pay just anywhere with credit card. So make sure you have cash with you. Especially when hiking, make sure you have enough with you if you don’t pay for your accommodations in advance. I myself was able to use ATMs just fine in Kathmandu, Pokhera and Chitwan.

Life in Nepal is cheap, on average you spend between 10 to 20 euros per day. Could be more expensive, could be even cheaper. Always check the current exchange rate.

After Nepal, also to neighboring Tibet? Read the blogs on Tibet