There are the mountains that have challenged the best mountaineers and have often won. There are the trails, for both the experienced trekker and the day stroller, through a land of extraordinary beauty. There is the draw of the place where the Buddha was born and the essence of Buddhism permeates the culture. There is the wealth of fauna and flora. Discover your own reasons by experiencing Nepal with Asia Odyssey.
A trek through the Annapurna Mountain Range varies from 160 to 230 km and from 8 to 25 days. It’s up to how much time you have, your budget and your level of physical fitness. The trek is worth everything that you can give it, as you encounter stunning landscapes, subtropical and rhododendron forests, waterfalls, paddy fields, isolated hamlets and temples and monasteries. The Annapurna Circuit usually makes the “best trek” lists, often at the top.
The Kathmandu Valley
Not up for the Annapurna Circuit? Explore the Kathmandu Valley for a day or a few days. Travel at a slower pace along trails that provide panoramic views of mountains that stretch from the far west of the Annapurna range to Mount Everest in the east. Visit traditional rural communities to learn about the lives, history and culture of the people. There are many hikes available. A particularly easy and picturesque one is from Sundarijal to Chisapani, five hours of rock formations sculpted by nature, cataracts, waterfalls, exotic plants and villages typical of the Nepalese countryside.
The capital of Nepal is a symphony of colors and sounds and scents. The market places are bustling with activity. The streets are jammed with rickshaw traffic. However, it is a joyous scene rather than the pushy, hectic one in other large cities. Veer off the main streets to see the artistry in temples filled with marigolds, courtyards with drying rice and the small workshops where artisans and tradespeople invite you to watch them create their wares.
In Kathmandu, the Swayambhunath Stupa (“Monkey Temple”) is a glorious monument to the Buddha with its brilliant whitewashed dome and gilded spire. Every piece of it is symbolic, from the prayer wheels embossed with a sacred mantra on the base to the 13-tiered “beehive” at the top. Four faces of the Buddha watch, north, south, east and west, a third eye on the foreheads symbolizing the Buddha’s omniscience.
Pashupatinath is a sacred temple of Hinduism, and as such, hundreds of religious rituals are carried out each day. But it is also treasured for its art (including statues made of stone, metal, marble and wood) and architecture (including examples of Dome, Pagoda and Shikhara traditions).
Chitwan National Park
In Chitwan’s (“Heart of the Jungle”) 932 sq. km of forests and marshland, you may see one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys, crocodiles and more birds than you’ve ever seen in one place. If you’re very lucky, you’ll see leopards, wild elephants and sloth bears. If you hit the wildlife lottery, you’ll spot a Bengal tiger. Perhaps best of all, you can travel by foot or by Jeep or elephant.
Contact Asia Odyssey for information on all of the wonders of Nepal.