Nepal is an independent landlocked country located in south-central Asia, sandwiched between India and Tibet. The country is located at the southern foot of the Himalayas. Almost one third of the famous Himalayas mountain range is situated in this country.
It is bordered by China (Tibet Autonomous Region), and India (the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim). Bhutan and Bangladesh are also close, just across the valleys of Sikkim.
Quick Facts about Nepal
||Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
||28.09 million (2018)
||147,181 sq km (56,826 sq mi)
|| Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam
||Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Biratnagar, Birganj
||Bidhya Devi Bhandari
||Binod Chaudhary -Nepal's First Billionaire on Forbes
||International call code
Where is Nepal
Nepal is shaped like a long strip stretching from east to west, about 800 km (500 mi) long and 200 km (120 mi) wide. The highest point in the country is Mt. Everest (8,848 m, 29,029 ft) while the lowest point is in the Tarai plains of Kechana Kalan in Jhapa (60 m, 197 ft).
Nepal is about the size of Montana or Germany, the 93rd largest country in the world and 28th largest country in Asia by area, or 21st smallest in Asia, an average-sized country, known principally for its mountains.
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The Landscape of Nepal
What Nepal lacks in notoriety, it makes up for in its magnificent landscape and unique geographical features, with vast regions of natural beauty. These areas include the Himalayan region (north), Mid-Hill region (central), and the Tarai region (south). Each region has its own stunning landscape.
The Himalayan Region
The altitude of this area is between 4,877m and 8,844m, and is therefore called ‘the Roof of the World’ — or part of it, being part of the southern edge of the Plateau of Tibet. Five of the world's six highest mountains are found there.
The Mid-Hill Region (Pahar)
This region is known for its numerous lush valleys, the largest of which are Kathmandu Valley and Phokhara Valley. In the south of the Mid-Hill Region, is the Mahabharat mountain range that parallels the Himalayas.
The Tarai Region
This area is Nepal's most significant agricultural region. In these sub-tropical forest areas, vast marshes and various forms of unique wildlife are found, including Royal Bengal tigers, one-horned Rhinos, and the Gharial crocodile.
The Himalayas — Nepal’s Attraction
Nepal’s portion of the Himalayan mountain range occupies 25% of the country. The mountains are covered with snow all year-round, attracting thousands of trekking and mountaineering fanatics from all over the world to witness the amazing scenery.
Eight of the world’s 10 highest peaks rest in Nepal: #1 Mount Everest (8,848 m), #3 Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), #4 Lhotse (8,516 m), #5 Makalu (8,463 m), #6 Cho Oyu (8,201m), #7 Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), #8 Manaslu (8,163 m), and #10 Annapurna (8,091 m).
Popular Nepal Treks
Most of these peaks are not open for tourists and climbers, and only designated view-points and routes are allowed to be explored. The amazing views of Mount Everest, Dhaulagiri, and Annapurna are always involved in popular trekking routes. Land in Kathmandu and begin your journey from there.
Mt. Everest has for centuries been the most sought-after point of prestige for mountaineers and explorers worldwide. See it on the ever-popular Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal’s top backpacking trail.
Dhaulagiri, the 7th highest peak in the world, is known to many as ‘Devil Peak’ due to its unforgiving climate, and steep slopes. The beautiful sight of Dhaulagiri can be seen on the Upper Mustang Trek.
Annapurna, world’s 10th highest peak, is the only one of the world’s 8,000m peaks that is somewhat easily accessible because of good climbing conditions, accessed by the Annapurna Camp Trek.
Popular trekking trails in the Nepalese Himalayas:
||How to Get There
|Everest Base Camp
||A 30-minute flight from Kathmandu
1. Most famous trek in the Himalayan region.
2. A must-do for every trekker.
|Annapurna Base Camp
1. A 25-minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, followed by a 2-hour drive.
2. An 8-hour drive from Kathmandu.
1. Spectacular view of Annapurna
2. Hot springs
3. Exotic flora and fauna
4. A deep gorge: Kali Gandaki
1. A 25-minute flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, followed by a 2-hour drive.
2. An 8-hour drive from Kathmandu.
1. Sunrise view of Himalayan giant Annapurna
2. Epic views of the Himalayas
3. The famous Poon Hill sign viewpoint
|Upper Mustang Trek
||Two flights: Kathmandu to Pokhara (25 minutes), Pokhara to Jomsom (20 minutes)./td>
1. Distinctive landscapes
2. The desert rain shadow of the Himalayas
|Langtang Valley Trek
||A 7-hour drive from Kathmandu
1. One of the 2015 earthquake areas.
2. Magnificent forests
3. Yak pastures
Himalayan View Flights
The Himalayas’ landscape is covered by steep hills, icy glaciers, and extreme weather conditions, making it difficult to cross. Getting to certain parts of the region and witnessing its breathtaking views can be done by both trekking trails or by airplane if you’d rather not hike.
It is a fantastic thing to have a bird’s view of the entire Himalayan range while flying in an airplane. Flights take off from Kathmandu, and last about 50 minutes, allowing you to catch a glimpse of the highest peaks.
The Main Cities of Nepal
The major cities of Nepal are all located in the central Mid-Hill region. The top four metropolitan cities are Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lalitpur, and Bharatpur. These cities are also the main tourist cities in Nepal. Other cities worth a mentioning include Biratnagar (the industrial capital of Nepal) and Birgunj (the gateway city between India and Nepal).
The capital city, and also the biggest city in Nepal, has a history of 1,200 years. Founded in 723, it now has a population of about 5 million.
To visit Kathmandu, 3 days are suggested to admire the temples and wander around Thamel, the city’s commercial center and tourist hotspot. Seeing Mt. Everest by plane or helicopter is an amazing experience offered from the capital. A trip to nearby Nagarkot in the morning is recommended for stunning sunrise views.
After a tour of Kathmandu, the next popular destination to visit, is usually the old town of Patan, now known as Lalitpur.
Lalitpur, third largest city of Nepal, is about 7 km (4 mi) from Kathmandu. It has a population of over 285,000 and is believed to have been founded in the 3rd century B.C. The city suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on 25 April, 2015.
One full day is enough to have a day trip from Kathmandu. Once you get to the old area, still known as Patan, you may slowly walk through the ancient monasteries and temples and appreciate the serene and spiritual beauty of the place and the local people.
The fourth largest city in Nepal, with a population of over 280,000, is about 14 km (9 mi) from Kathmandu. Bharatpur was founded by the king of Ananda Mara in the 12th century AD.
It is recommended to stay one day in this tiny city. Arrive in the morning, visit Duba square, and witness some of the unique art and sculptures typical of the city.
Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal. It was founded in the 1970’s, and has a population of over 354,000. Pokhara is located in a Himalayan valley, leading to Annapurna. Hence, today, it has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Nepal.
There are lots of exciting activities to do here, such as jungle safari, drifting, bungee jumping, helicopter tours, and various trek trails. Therefore, there is practically no limit to the time that can be spent in this city, and we encourage you to spend at least 2–3 days to enjoy some of these activities.
If Chitwan National Park is on your travel list, start from Pokhara, and maybe stop at Lumbini —birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama.
Incredible India and Mysterious Nepal Combination
Planning a Nepal Tour
For non-trekkers, at the start of your trip to Nepal, it is suggested to take 2 days in Kathmandu. Visit the Buddha Temple, explore the local markets, and eat every momo you can (these dumplings come in many kinds).
Have a day trip to Bharatpur nearby to see some classical architecture.
Next, head to Pokhara for about 2 days. Fera Lake is a great place to spend time, and the Peace Temple has some great views. You could take a flight to see Mt. Everest up close and personal.
Finally, spend a day and night in Chitwang National Park for a special safari experience of seeing rhinos and tigers.
The essentials trip just described takes about 6–7 days. However, many travelers like to extend their trip from Nepal to Tibet or India.
The 900 km (500-mile) mountain route between Kathmandu and Lhasa has become a popular journey. A Kathmandu–Lhasa overland tour takes about 6–7 days. Kathmandu – Mount Everest – Shigatse – Gyantse – Lhasa.
As for India, the most common route from Kathmandu is via Sunauli, then on to Gorahkpur, where you can get to almost anywhere else in India. Just ask one of our travel advisors for more information about travel to India.
Getting to Nepal
The most common route that people take to Nepal is by air. The international airport in Kathmandu has flights to/from almost every Asian country in the region.
However, there are no direct flights to Nepal from Europe, America, South Africa, and Australasia, so going to Nepal must be done via connecting flights in Asia.
Tourist visas for Nepal can be obtained on arrival, via the online platform from the official government website, or via Nepal embassies and consulates worldwide. Read more about applying for a Nepal visa.
Visiting Nepal with Asia Highlights
With our specially-trained local guides, we will ensure that your Nepal trip will be an amazing and memorable experience!
Let us know which parts of Nepal interest you most, and we will help tailor the perfect trip for you. Start to plan your Nepal tour with one-on-one assistance from our travel advisors, and we will create a trip of a lifetime!