Breathtaking vistas of the high Himalayas and the Annapurna range vie for attention with ancient monasteries, temples, villages, festivals and glorious rivers and lakes, and there’s never enough time to take them all in. Nepal is a large country east to west with many variations in altitude from the high peaks to the sub-tropical plains along the Indian border, and travel, except by air, takes time and is often unpredictable. Thus, deciding what attractions to include on the itinerary may be tricky, but it’s worth it.


The country’s capital, Kathmandu, gives the first taste of Nepal to arrivals, and is a mix of new developments, ancient landmarks and traditional districts. You’ll find the home of a living goddess in the Kumari palace, dozens of temples, Old Town, the former palace of the Royal family, which is now a museum, and charming back streets lined with picturesque homes. The heart of the small city is Durbar Square, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Address: Kathmandu, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:


One of the world’s holiest places, the small town of Lumbini was the birthplace of the Sakyamuni Buddha 2,600 years ago. A pillar marking its location was erected by the great king Ashoka a century after the Buddha’s death. Many other sites in town have connections to his life as a Royal prince until he began his mission at the age of 29. Address: Rupahendri district, southern Nepal Phone: n/a Website:

World Peace Pagoda

Set atop a hill overlooking the lovely Phewa Lake, Shanti Stupa was built just 16 years ago to receive prayers for world peace. The views across Pokhara city and the towering Annapurna range are breathtaking, particularly at sunset, and the site can be reached by boat across the lake followed by a trek through forested slopes. Address: Pokhara, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:

International Mountain Museum

Pokhara’s International Mountain Museum gives a fascinating overview of the world’s tallest mountain range, its formation, and the lives of the people who reside on its slopes. A highlight is the history of mountaineering in the region. Address: Pokhara, Nepal Phone: +977-6-146-0742 Website:

Khas, Gurung and Tibetan Villages

For visitors interested in Nepal’s ethnic origins, Pokhara is a good base for visits to the Gurung, Khas and Magar communities in the hills above the city. The villages welcome guests and are fascinated by their contrasting lifestyles. Don’t miss the Tibetan village 10 kms from town that was established by the Red Cross after China’s invasion. Close on 1,000 former refugees live here, sustained by weaving carpets and traditional textiles. Address: Near Pokhara, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:


For the finest view of the Annapurna Himalayas, a trip to Sarangkot is a worthy attraction. From the village, climb to the ancient ruins of a hilltop fort that open up to a panorama of dramatic snow-covered peaks. You can see Annapurna itself at 7973 m in the east through to the holy mountain of Machhapuchhare 8167 m in the west. At sunrise and sunset, the mountaintops glow with brilliant colors, giving the view of a lifetime. Address: Near Pokhara, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:


A towering golden spire tops this glimmering white stupa, the most famous Buddhist landmark in Nepal. Multicolored prayer flags flutter in the winds and Bodnath is an important pilgrimage destination for the many thousands of Tibetan exiles living in Nepal. The spiritual energy is palpable, and many people circumnavigate the stupa to continue on their journey. Address: Chabahil, near Kathmandu, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:

Royal Palace of Patan

The entire eastern side of Patan’s Durbar Square is taken up by the architectural highlight of the town’s Royal palace. Its earlier structures date back to the 14th century, with most of the spectacular buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The connecting courtyards link three temples, and the complex pre-dates the palaces of Bhaktapur and Kathmandu by a longshot. One building is home to the Patan Museum and its displays of ancient Nepalese sacred art. Address: Patan, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:

Changu Narayan Temple

Set high in the hills to the north of Bhaktapur, this historic and simply beautiful temple is a living museum for its exquisite collection of carved images dating between the 4th and 9th centuries. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and in spite of its closeness to Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, isn’t crowded with hordes of tourists. Address: Near Bhaktapur, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:

Gorkha Durbar

One of the most exquisite renderings of Newari architecture, Gorkha Durbar lies on a steep ridge above the Trisuli Valley. It’s a palace, temple and fort, guarding the little town of Gorkha and offering superb views over the valley and as far as the northern Annapurna Himalayas. Address: Gorkha, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:


One of the premier sacred sites of the Hindu religion practiced by 80% of Nepali people, Pashupatinath in Kathmandu is famous for its 4th century architectural splendor. Dedicated to the Lord Shiva, devout Hindus regards the temple as the most sacred place on earth. Known as the Temple of Living Beings, it’s visited by pilgrims from all over the world. Address: Kathmandu, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:

Potters’ Square

Bhaktapur is known for two handicrafts, exquisite wood carvings and pottery. A visit to the town’s Potter’s Square is a journey back in time to the 17th century, with artisans sitting at the wooden wheel on the street and shops looking exactly as they did in the period. The square is lined with little workshops and two pretty temples and there’s a great view across the river to the southern hills. Address: Potters’ Square, Bhaktapur Phone: n/a Website:

Dattatreya Square, Bhaktapur

A living museum of stunning traditional architecture and monumental wood carvings, Dattatreya Square is home to masterpieces of the craft for which the town is famous. The seat of local royalty until the late 16th century, the square boasts a palace, woodcarving museum and a bronze and brass museum displaying cast and gilded religious statues. Address: Bhaktapur center Phone: n/a Website:

Sagarmatha National Park

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Sagarmatha National Park is set in an exceptionally dramatic region of Nepal dominated by Mount Everest. Glaciers, deep valleys with roaring cascades of melt water, rock faces, and Sherpa villages are all here, in addition to rare species such as the panda and snow leopard. Address: Solu-Khumbu district, Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal Phone: n/a Website:


Under consideration to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, the medieval town of Tansen lies in the Palpa district of Western Nepal and dates back to the 11th century. It was founded as a trading center for Newari cloth and metalwork. Crafted in classic Newari architecture, the compact settlement boasts monasteries, temples, exquisite sculptures, an ancient fort and a traditional Durbar square. Address: Palpa District, Western Nepal Phone: n/a Website: