8 Great Surprising Things to See in Nepal
Traveling to Nepal last month was one of the coolest things I have done. I expected to see amazing mountains, trekking trails, and prayer flags but I did not really know what else to expect. Some surprising things to see in Nepal, I learned, included amazing sunsets, colorful vivid street art, and clever transportation and technology.
The ITBMC travel conference occurred during one day during the Himalayan Travel Mart. The Nepal Tourism Board and PATA paid for 107 travel bloggers and media, from 53 countries, to experience Nepal. Half of us went on multi-day treks while the other half went on multi-day cultural experiences.
My trekking group (one travel agent and seven travel journalists) came from all over the world — Argentina, Philippines, Greece, and USA. Some of their travel coverage appears below but first are some of my impressions from our Nepal experience.
The country of Nepal borders India so I expected some Indian influence on the Nepali cuisine. Indeed, we found curry (chicken and vegetarian) on almost every menu. What I did not expect was the elegant presentation of the Dal Baht (lentil curry) ingredients. Lentil soup/sauce is a main feature of Dal Baht.
Nepal Mountain Transportation
During my short five day trek on the Annapurna Circuit, I learned that the mountains are full of tea houses and villages. There are no roads, yet the tea houses are always fully stocked with food, beverages, and supplies. At the end of the first day of hiking — I mean trekking — I learned the secret. Supplies are delivered by donkeys, mules, burros, whatever. I saw donkeys carrying big rolls of electrical wire, building supplies, and baskets with live chickens. It is actually quite amazing to see.
I actually had pretty good wi-fi service in my Kathmandu hotel and even some internet service in the trekking route tea houses (although there was a small charge to connect to it). Walking around the city of Kathmandu is a feast for the senses. This is one of my favorite scenes. Is it any wonder there was any wi-fi service at all?
Nepal Street Art
Another favorite Kathmandu Nepal sight was this street art mural. I walked a few miles in each direction from my hotel but the only street art I saw (this mural) was across the street from the hotel. So, street art in Nepal is not a popular thing, I would say, but the mural I found was quite vivd and colorful.
My impression of Nepal was of the perpetually snow covered Himalaya mountains. Indeed, Nepal has 8 of the 10 tallest mountains on Earth, all over 8,090 meters (26,500 feet). So, while the Himalaya mountains dominate the country’s travel coverage, there are so many other things to see in Nepal. For instance, 36% of Nepal’s land is tropical and 22% is subtropical. Much of the time we drove and trekked in Nepal, I saw more banana trees than alpine features.
Poon Hill Sunrise
You might wonder why the next photo is one of my surprising things to see in Nepal since I knew I was going on a trekking trip. Well, two reasons. No, three reasons. The first reason is that my itinerary said I would be on a different trek, so this entire trek was surprising. The second reason is that our guides told us that the mountains are only visible about 25% of the time from Poon Hill. When we arrived at the top of Poon Hill, sure enough, the fog was thick. After 20 minutes or so, the sky cleared and we were treated to this gorgeous view. The third reason is, heck, me trekking in Nepal? That surprised even me!
Of course I knew sunsets occur daily in Nepal. I loved this scene at in Pokhara, Nepal. Not only did dozens of people occupy the platform but I thought the blue boats and the red outfit (especially) complemented the gorgeous sky. The resolution of this photo is reduced (for page optimization) so please see a better quality one on Instagram.
Himalaya Mountain Range View
Speaking of views, I was astonished how gorgeous of a view I had on my flight from Kathmandu. Is one of these peaks Mt. Everest? Let me know. McCool Travel tip: on flights between Kathmandu and points west (Europe, Africa, India, etc.), reserve a seat on the right side of the plane.
Thank you to Nepal Tourism and PATA for hosting me at Himalaya Travel Mart and ITBMC, and for Turkish Airlines as an official airline partner.
These are some surprising things to see in Nepal. Do you have others to recommend? Leave a comment below.
Please see also these articles written by my Nepal trekking friends:
- Experiencing Traveler’s High in Nepal by Solitary Wanderer
- 10 Random Things I Learned From My Trip to Nepal by Dave’s Travel Pages
- Kathmandu City Photos by Adventure in You
- Travel Prices in Nepal by Cheapest Destinations Blog