Traveling Nepal is different from any other country I have ever been. I can't talk about the present situation, my last visit at Nepal dates back to 1999. So why bother telling you about Nepal? Some things never change. This page is about my 3 visits to the roof of the world and will show you what you can expect when traveling Nepal.
Nepal borders India but the countries couldn't be more different. This becomes the best visible when you cross the border overland as I did in Birganj (where accidentally I also missed the Indian customs and was send back by the Nepalese customs to let me check out of India).
Where India seems to one crawling mass, life seems to be taken a lot easier in Nepal. The same people but they behaved very different.
Most travelers come to Kathmandu to see the Himalayas and continue to Pokhara. Than there are travelers who travel up and down to the Tibetan border.
Less travelers take the road to Sikkim (I did), and even fewer ever visit West Nepal (I didn't).
My first time in Nepal started in Kathmandu in December. It turned out to be a city where I kept having problems to find my way. There is so much to see. The city didn't have street names, so a map was of little use.
I did figure out where to go around and visited many of the must see sights including Pashupatinath temple, Boudhanath, the magnificent Durbar square, Bakhtapur, Swayambhu, Changu Narayan and many other places. It was a magnificent experience. And every time I came back, I was again flabbergasted with the historical beauty of the city.
But the real interesting thing is that the historical buildings and temples are all very much alive and in use. In a way it's being in a live open air museum but it never feels like a museum.
My first trip to Nepal in December 1995 lasted a few weeks. When I left I knew I would come back. And indeed I came back, several times. This time I had a flight into Nepal and a bus out. The journey would led me to Pokhara and the road to Sikkim.
It was interesting to find out that I didn't see any travelers on the road to Sikkim. It seemed this was not an interesting route for most people. Or maybe I was here in the wrong season (June, rainy season).
I know I should go back but for no apparent reason, I never came to the point. But now, looking back at the photos, reading the stories I wrote at the time, the urge of going back has increased. I need to go again!
When to go?
I've been in Nepal in June/July and November/December. If you just look at the temperature, maybe June/July sounds appealing as Kathmandu. Much of the central and southern areas is at an altitude of over 1300meter (Kathmandu) so it seems fine in summer.
If you are interested in for example trekking the Annapurna summer may be a good time although it might also rain quite a bit.
November and December, in fact the winter months up to February, it can be cold, especially in the mountains. That said, the views in winter are much better, due to really bright blue clear skies.
Nepal is one of the cheapest countries in Asia when looking at food and accommodation. However, once you go trekking, the holiday will become quite expensive as you need guides, materials, porters etc. In that sense traveling Nepal can become a quite expensive journey.
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