It’s almost impossible to think “Nepal” without “Trekking” coming immediately to mind.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalayas is after all what Nepal has been famous for ever since it opened it’s doors to tourism…even today a trek to Everest Base Camp is high on many people’s “bucket list”.
But, what if trekking for days or weeks on ends isn’t your thing?
The reality is that there is so much more to see and to do in Nepal than to just go trekking.
Here’s some other things you can do……
Some of the best whitewater rivers in the world like the Karnali River are found in Nepal. Ideal if you’re up for a wilderness and ferocious whitewater rafting expedition.
But, there are also options for those who just fancy a day rafting and not be frightened to death either.
Both the Trisuli River and the Seti River can be enjoyed as a one or two day river rafting experience. Plenty of flat water paddling through scenic, unspoilt river valleys with the odd, short section of moderate rapids to bring a little thrill along the way.
Places like Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park are world famous and down in the jungles of Nepal on the border with India, it’s a very different experience to the Himalayas. The Bengal Tiger is the “star of the show” here and has become quite a conservation success story. But, the jungle lands of Nepal are also sanctuary to the one-horned rhino and countless colourful bird species.
Perhaps the real prize for the most dedicated wildlife enthusiast would be a sighting of the snow leopard. It’s quite possibly the hardest earned wildlife sighting to active too. This rare and elusive big cat lives high in the wilderness areas of the Himalayas, where few dare to tread….and tread you will if you want to see a snow leopard.
But, to see other wildlife in Nepal you don’t need to go trekking……all you need to do is look.
Bird watchers flock (sorry….couldn’t resist the pun) to Koshi Tappu.
Whether it be the ancient Newari cities of the Kathmandu Valley or the traditional villages from the jungle to the Himalayas, Nepal has culture and heritage to satisfy even the most discerning of travellers.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites abound in Nepal and vary from ancient monuments of religious significance in the Kathmandu Valley, to Lumbini-birth place of Buddha, to the Everest (Sagarmatha) National Park.
To experience the “real” Nepal isn’t as challenging as it may sound. Nuwakot is a fine example. A typical and traditional hill village in the foothills of the Himalayas, easily reached by vehicle from Kathmandu, slightly off the beaten track too.
Monster downhills in the Himalayas, gnarly technical single track trails in the Kathmandu Valley to more leisurely back road cycle exploration can be enjoyed in Nepal.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek is now also considered to be an extreme mountain biking route, but you don’t need to be an Olympian to go Mountain Biking in Nepal. There’s something for everyone to enjoy their own version of what they consider to be fun on two wheels.
Take to the skies
Airborne activities have really taken off (sorry….another irresistible pun) in Nepal in the past few years. Pokhara has evolved from it’s reputation as being the “chilled out lake side retreat” to being the hub of many adventurous activities….paragliding in particular.
Not only can you soar like a bird with a qualified pilot on a tandem paragliding flight and enjoy magnificent views of the Himalayas too…you can even fly with a bird along side….a trained bird of prey! (Update….as at October 2108, the Hawk Centre was closed)
Now it’s possible to crank up the thrill factor and take a micro-light flight for even closer views of the mighty Annapurnas.
Parahiking is the latest addition if you fancy paragliding with a lawn mower engine strapped to your back!
It’s claimed that the longest and fastest zip-line in the world is in Nepal.
If you really want to give yourself a big thrill, then a bungee jump may be just the thing. There’s a couple of places you can hurl yourself off a bridge in Nepal. From either just outside Pokhara or a full day round trip from Kathmandu close to the Tibetan border.
If you’ve just won the lottery, or are already loaded a few thousand dollars will buy you a private helicopter trip to see Everest.
Mix it up a bit
In just a two week holiday you can readily combine a “bit of this and a bit of that”…a multi-activity adventure. From extreme to (what is often called) “soft” adventure.
See some example multi-activity adventures here
Why not make a trip to Nepal even more spicier with a couple of things you’ll probably not find on a mass market group tour…
Meet the Kung Fu Nuns – A day trip from Kathmandu with a difference. Located atop Druk Amitabha hill outside of Kathmandu the Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery has a secret. The nuns here practice Kung Fu!
Stay at a Buddhist Monastery – Engage in prayers and chants with the Buddhist Monks at the delightful Neydo Monastery in the Kathmandu Valley and spend the night there too in a very comfortable guest house in the monastic complex itself.
Of course if lying on a sun-kissed beach with hordes of other tourists is what you like best……that’s fair enough….but, if you want an entirely different travel experience, then Nepal and its friendly people may just enlighten you…and you don’t even need to go trekking!