Backpacker’s Guide to Nepal

  • April 18th, 2018
  • Asia, Travel
  • Jennifer

Nepal – could there be a place quite as magical and mystical in all the world? The home of the Himalayas and the famed region of Kathmandu, this is a ‘must-do’ destination for so many people around the world. It is especially popular for those that wish to go trekking in nepal.

Whatever you are looking for in Nepal as a backpacker – you have come to the right place. This nepal travel blog will whet your appetite for all the majesty that Nepal has to offer. And, have you packing your bags in virtually no time at all!

Give me the good stuff
Many backpackers are seeking those truly awe-inspiring mountain climbs and hikes, while others may be searching for a bit of a cultural and spiritual awakening (amidst the many temples and other sacred/historic attractions that Nepal has to offer). If you are travelling to Nepal, then there are some places that are do – or, die!

Mt Everest (and the rest)
Returning home without at least glimpsing Mount Everest would surely equal a travesty (to cry bitter tears about for years to come). Even if you don’t set your sights on actually assailing the highest mountain in the world, there are many other ways to experience this natural wonder from close-by.

One of these methods is to visit the Shigatse valley. This cluster of towns is located near the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway. It is the perfect spot to seek lodgings, as it is central to many of the the main sights and attractions that are located near the Nepalese border (and also cross over into neighbouring countries Tibet and China).

This in order to explore the Everest Base Camp. The Shigatse valley is also located within an easy distance to a vast array of other lauded landmarks and geographical gems, such as revered monasteries, medieval ruins and bubbling hot natural springs. Some distinct places of interest include Mount Cho Oyu, the Rongbuk Glacier and Tashilhunpo Monastery.

Kathmandu (and other killer locations)
Any Nepal blog worth its salt will mention the Kathmandu valley as a prime ‘bucket-list’ destination. Here you can visit the 7 monuments of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area encompasses the cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. As a backpacker you can explore these cultural melting pots, as well as venture future to discover the region in all its natural diversity and pure, divine majesty!

Trekking in Nepal in the Kathmandu Valley will allow you experience all the rugged beauty of ancient hallowed sites and unadulterated, high altitude vistas. Plus, a host of other popular attractions such as ‘Swayambhunath’ aka the Monkey Temple. Other interesting places to explore across the entire span of the country (destinations you will likely find on any nepal travel blog) include the Annapurna Circuit, the Langtang Region and Chitwan National Park.

Bunking down
Backpacker accommodation in Nepal often equals bunking in small villages and teahouse style lodgings (known as Bhati in Nepalese). A lot of trekkers make use of these quaint spots that offer a bed and some home-cooked local fare. This can go down a treat in the altitudinous climate after a day spent trekking the wilderness!

The price for local accommodation is very affordable (you can budget for around or under 10 dollars a night) and varies from facilities that offer hot showers and toilets in the more urban and populated regions, to more ‘rough and tumble’ amenities as your surrounds become increasingly more intrepid and remote.

Getting from A to B
Getting from A to B in Nepal (as a backpacker) means narrow roads, busy honking traffic and quite a bit of a general ‘how ya going’ vibe. It’s all a part of the experience! Most backpackers will opt to travel by bus via the extended commuter network that now exists in Nepal. Just don’t expect a coach (unless you specifically book a tour).

Getting on a local bus is understanding that there will be massive overcrowding, ‘roof surfing’ and maybe even some goats and chickens to share the journey! While this is a really economical option, it is not for the faint of heart. Alternatively, reputable tour operations will offer guided journeys in well maintained vehicles that offer a lot more roominess and comfort – and, they might even be equipped with A/C!

Nightlife (and the nosh)
Nightclubbing, casinos, fine dining and shopping in mega-malls is not exactly what Nepal is about. After all, it’s not Vegas (some would say all the better for it). But, that doesn’t mean you won’t be having a blast and tucking into some truly delicious nosh whilst you travel as a backpacker. The national dish of Dal Bhat (a rice/lentil/lightly curried vegetable and pickle masterpiece) is definitely worth a try! Sure, there are restaurants in Nepal, but the street food is second to none. However, always observe proper hygiene and safety (as you want to keep it all in your stomach, and not on the floor!)

The region of Thamel (in Kathmandu) is widely known as the hub for all things nightlife. Bars, live music and a thriving artist and jazz scene are all major draw cards to this swanky corner of Nepal. Do check out Sam’s Bar. This place is a bit of an institution, offering reggae nights and a good ol’ whisky cocktail, plus a good chance to mingle with other travellers and get down and have a bit of a groove. Bottoms up!