Nepal has many places to offer for sightseeing tour. The natural beauty and Himalayan views are popular alongside but Nepal is rich for culture and traditions. The historical monuments, art and architecture, Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas and monasteries are the highlights of cultural sites. Sightseeing in Nepal offers the perfect chance to experience the culture, tradition and history as well as natural beauty of various location throughout Nepal.
Nepalese people and rites, myths and mysteries which are a part of the daily life of the people of Nepal. Kathmandu is the first arrival point for most visitors. Mountains surround the valley and it is divided into the three major cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. These were once three different kingdoms and to this day they retain their own rich artistic styles and traditions.
Some of the major sightseeing places in Nepal are described below:
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is undoubtedly one of the most interesting locations for sightseeing in Nepal. From numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites to distant mountain views to the hustle and bustle typical of a capital, there is so much to unfold here.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar is one of the three durbar squares in the valley. It is the old palace of Kantipur and is arguably the most popular palace due to its location in the central part of the city. The palace complex has mostly been converted into a museum now, but the feel of ancient architecture is still preserved. The major things to view here include the Kumari Bahal which houses the Living Goddess Kumari, Kasthamandap, and of course the 9 story palace. Aside from these, the numerous shrines and temples scattered throughout the square are also quite interesting.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is the old palace of Lalitpur. It is a mesmerizing display of Newari architecture, which a number of fascinating temples that can hardly be found anywhere else. Similar to Kathmandu Durbar, the palace complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been partly converted to a museum but most of the ancient architecture and feel still remains intact. Recently, it has become a popular hub for locals to gather around and share their day\s stories in the evening. Krishna Mandir, a century’s old temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is the crown jewel of the Patan Durbar Square.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
You probably already guessed it following the pattern, but here it is. The third old palace in Kathmandu palace and the former seat of Bhaktapur’s royal family, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The main attractions of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square are definitely the 55 Window Palace and Nyatapole Temple. But that’s not all there is. The Vatsala Temple, Bhairavnath Temple, Mini Pashupatinath Temple and Statue of Bhupatindra Malla are equally as impressive too.
Swayambhunath is a hilltop stupa complex located shortly southwest of the main capital. It is mix of Buddhist stupas and Hindu shrines co-existing in harmony – symbolic of the situation of Nepal as well. Swayambhunath is a very important monument as it has mythical as well as historical ties with the start of civilization in the valley itself. Due to its historic and religious significance, the site has been listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well. Aside from the fantastic architecture and depth of culture to explore here, the view of Kathmandu valley is also quite superb from Swayambhunath.
The Boudhanath Mahachaitya is the one of the largest stupa in the world. Almost 50 monasteries have been established in the vicinity of Boudhanath, which is a sign of the immense importance it holds for the Buddhist people that have settled around the stupa. It is also one of the popular locations in Kathmandu for sightseeing, observing Buddhist culture and tradition as well as shopping for Buddhist and Tibetan handicrafts.
Pashupatinath is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the whole world. Built on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees every year. The influx of pilgrims is particularly noticeable during the festive occasions like Teej and Shivaratri. Entry to the main temple complex is restricted for anyone who is not a Hindu. However, observing the temple and the various ongoing rituals and ceremonies from the hills beside Bagmati is an interesting and popular option among tourists.
Changunarayan is the oldest temple in Nepal, with records dating it as far back as the 4th century AD. The temple is an excellent display of Nepalese Pagoda style architecture. The local museum, as well as the inscriptions at the temple offer some quite interesting insight into the fascinating myths and history surrounding Changunarayan. The temple is not only a historic but also a religiously significant site. Locals regularly visit to pay homage to Lord Vishnu, the godhead of the Hindu gods, to whom the temple is dedicated.
Pokhara is the center of tourism in Nepal and is the second major city of Nepal after Kathmandu. The lakeside city is easily one of the top places for sightseeing in Nepal. Its prime location beside the Phewa Lake and being surrounded by the mountains have led to it being dubbed the ‘Switzerland of Nepal’ at times. The iconic picture of the Phewa Lake reflecting the panorama of various distant peaks including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Machhapuchhare is what comes to mind when you think of the natural beauty of Nepal. If you are visiting purely to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Nepal, then Sarangkot is the top place to visit in Pokhara. Of course, scenery isn’t all there is to Pokhara. The major landmarks and popular attractions here include the Tal Barahi Temple, Davis Falls, Mahendra Cave and World Peace Pagoda among various others. In addition to boating in Phewa Lake, Pokhara is popular as the go-to spot in Nepal for various adventure activities such as white-water rafting, kayaking and paragliding.
Gorkhali, a word synonymous with the bravery and valor of Nepalese, originates from the land of Gorkha. Gorkha is the birthplace of King Prithivi Narayan Shah. He founded modern Nepal by unifying the 24 small warring states in the 18th century. Although the spotlight was taken away from Gorkha after Kathmandu was made the capital of the country, it is still a fascinating place to explore. The local committee overseeing tourism as well as the maintenance of the Gorkha Durbar has promised to devote all their efforts into making Gorkha one of the top places for sightseeing and tourism in Nepal, especially in the face of upcoming Visit Nepal 2020 year.
Nagarkot is the go-to place for anybody who wishes to enjoy the best views of shimmering mountain peaks from near Kathmandu. Its accessibility thanks to the close proximity to Kathmandu (30km) along with the quality of tourism-related services has made it one of the top places for sightseeing in Nepal. On a clear day, this viewpoint sports a panorama of peaks ranging from Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa and Sishapangma to Gauri Shanker and more. The sunrise and sunset views are particularly amazing from Nagarkot.
Dhulikhel is one of the major junction points, situated around 30km away from Kathmandu. It can be reached with a couple hour drive via the Araniko Highway from Kathmandu. Similar to Nagarkot, it is popular spot to observe the stunning panorama of mountain vistas from near Kathmandu. Aside from the scenic mountain vistas, another reason tourists visit Dhulikhel is in the course of hiking. Dhulikhel is part of various short hikes near Kathmandu, such as the Chisapani Nagarkot hike and the Namo Buddha hike.
Daman is one of the hidden gems for sightseeing and mountain viewing in Nepal. This small village in Makwanpur can treat you to a panoramic view ranging from Everest in the east to as far as Dhaulagiri in the west. A helipad is available at the Everest Panorama Resort for those who wish to reach it this way. Mountain Biking is also a popular activity here.
Situated at around 1,300m altitude near the Siddhartha highway, Tansen is a vibrant village that offers a unique tour and sightseeing experience to visitors. Tansen is definitely a beacon of diversity, from its residents to the experiences here, there is diversity in every field. The locals comprise mostly of Magar, Brahmin, Chhetri and Newar people. The Tansen Durbar is the major attraction, while Amarnarayan Temple and Shrinagar Hill are also popular places to visit.
Bandipur is an ancient town that used to be a historically significant stop in various local as well as international trade routes. In present day, Bandipur is not a trading point but a typical Newar village, popular among tourists for its rich culture and history. Due to its ideal location on top of a ridge, Bandipur is also a good place for viewing various peaks including Annapurna, Dhaulaigiri, Langtang, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and more. The prime attraction in the locality is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple, which pays homage to the goddess Durga.
Lumbini is a very recognizable name as it is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. Lord Buddha was the founder of Buddhist and is also referred to as the ‘light of Asia’. Lumbini is one of the most visited locations for sightseeing and pilgrimage tours in Nepal. There are numerous places of interest to explore here, starting with the Sacred Garden, Tilaurkot Palace, Ashoka Temple, Bodhi tree and more. The various newer monasteries constructed with help from Japan, Thailand and other countries are also interesting places to visit.
Everest Base Camp
As the base camp of the world’s highest peak, the Everest Base Camp is must-visit location that trekkers throughout the world dream to visit at least once. It is one of the main stops for adventures in the Khumbu region including the Everest Three High Passes Trek, Everest Heli Tour, Everest Expedition and of course, the Everest Base Camp Trek. In the course of visiting the Everest Base Camp, you get to the witness the unique lifestyle and culture of the legendary Sherpas. The stunning views of some of the highest peaks in the world surrounding you makes the experience even better. Considering all these factors, the Everest Base Camp is certainly one of the top places for trekking and sightseeing in Nepal.