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Overview to Nepal: Travel Guide and Tourist Information
Nepal’s nickname perfectly conveys the country’s two defining features. The spiritual home to many practicing Buddhists and Hindus, Nepal’s territory also contains eight of the highest ten peaks in the world: it is, truly, ‘The Home of the Gods’.
The capital, Kathmandu, has attracted a steady influx of visitors since the 1960s, when the nation lifted its secretive outlook and thrust itself into the modern world. It became a popular stop on the hippie trail, with scores of alternative travelers heading to the infamous Freak Street.
A chaotic city, Kathmandu sprawls out from its central attraction – an intriguing wooden temple in Dunbar Square reportedly carved from one single tree. A little of Nepal’s folkloric spirituality can be sensed here, but it takes a journey away from the city to encounter it properly.
To the West – towards the looming Himalayas – Nepal’s distinct Hindu and Buddhist culture is increasingly apparent. Next to Kathmandu, Patem’s tranquil streets are dotted with appealing temples; further afield the town of Lumbini is considered the birthplace of Buddha.
The Nepalese economy thrives on the contribution of battle-scarred professional mountaineers and the more foolhardy amateur explorers who chance their arms at Everest or other such peaks. In return, Nepal offers an infrastructure sufficient to support such attempts.
The town of Pokhara is considered the gateway to the mountains, and is a good place to begin any type of trekking experience. The numerous guides here offer treks that range from the perilous to the pedestrian, and equipment is easily purchased or hired.
Nepal’s staggering landscape contains much more than just climbing. Rafting down the Kaligandenki River is an unmissable experience, while a safari around the Royal Chitwan National Park presents the chance to see tigers and rhinos in their natural habitat.
But traveling around Nepal doesn’t necessarily result in complete physical exhaustion! There’s something in the air here – something decidedly mystical – and most people find themselves happy to soak up the surroundings at a more relaxed, Nepalese pace of life.