OUTDOOR COUNTRY



Nepal a blend of ancient history, vibrant cultures and scenic grandeur. Located between China and India, Nepal's main geographical features include snow-capped peaks, lower mountains, mid hills and fertile plains of tropical jungles. Close to a third of the length of the Himalayas and 8 of the world's 14 highest peaks lie within Nepal. The landlocked country covers an area of 147,181 sq. kilometers ranging from 70 meters to the highest point at 8,848 meters above sea level. Nepal's popularity as a tourist destination has increased vastly over the last three decades. While trekking and mountaineering have long been popular, an entire range of other activities are also being carried out in the recent years.


Top of page


TREKKING


Trekking is the highlight of a visit to Nepal. On account of the wide range of geographical features, the country nurtures a variety of vegetation and landscape. In addition to the natural endowments is the rich Himalayan culture. Thousands of visitors trek to different parts of Nepal every year to experience its rustic charm of nature and culture. Most treks go through areas, between 1,000 to 3,000 meters, although some popular parts reach over 5,000 meters. Protected regions along the Himalayas, like Shey-Phoksundo National Park, Annapurna Conservation Area, Manaslu Eco-Tourism Area, Langtang National Park, Sagarmatha National Park, Makalu Barun National Park, and Annapurna Conservation Area provide excellent trekking options. For group trekkers arrangement for food and accommodation are managed by the trekking crew, while independent trekkers can find night rest and food halt at small lodges and tea houses that dot the main trails. Independent trekkers should be self sufficient. In remote areas like Makalu, Kanchanjunga in East Nepal or Jumla, Dolpa in West Nepal, one must be self-sufficient in terms of food and water.


Top of page


MOUNTAINEERING


Mountaineering is another prime attraction of Nepal. The mountains of Nepal have stood as irresistible landmarks for the world's adventurers since Nepal opened its doors to visitors in the 1950s. Muntaineering can range from climbing the highest peak of the world to climbing lower peaks. Although by Himalayan standards 33 "trekking peaks" are considered minor peaks, they nonetheless provide snow and ice-climbing, and are technically quite challenging. Mountaineering teams can apply for permit at mountaineering section of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Climbing gears can be bought or rented in Kathmandu, Many of the mountaineering and trekking companies also offer packages, where they provide gear, food, transportation, guides, and porter services and also arrange for Insurance coverage. It is best to shop around for agencies that have good experience and good track record. Knowledge of altitude sickness and acclimatization process is a must for every mountaineer. The fatal sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a danger for climbers ascending 3,000 meters and above. Symptoms include headache, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. Immediate descent or evacuation to lower altitude is the best cure.


Top of page


ROCK CLIMBING


Rock climbing is another challenging sport for outdoor lovers. Most of the areas for rock climbing are situated toward the north of Kathmandu Valley in the vicinity of the Nagarjun forest and the Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve. Because one is a national park and the other a protected area, trip to these places can be combined with hiking, bird watching and other activities. Nagarjun, 3 kilometers from Kathmandu city can be reached via Balaju near the New Bus Park. Shivapuri, can be reached via Budhanilkantha which is 9 kilometers away from Kathmandu.


Top of page


HOT AIR BALLOONING


Hot air ballooning in Nepal is popular among tourists as it offers a spectacular view of the Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan ranges. The best months for hot air balloon flights are October, November and March. The balloon takes off from Thimi, near the historic town of Bhaktapur. Reservations for a balloon flight can be made through travel agents. Tickets must be purchased at least three days before the flight.


Top of page


PARA GLIDING


Paragliding in Nepal gives an opportunity for aerial view of the

Himalayas. Pokhara, the beautiful lakeside town at the foot of the Annapurna mountains offers paragliding to see the Mahabharat range. As other flying sports gliding season in Nepal is November through February, the best months being November and December. There are various deals for the paragliding veterans and novices. Three-day introductory course is offered to beginners while tandem flights where one can fly with instructor are offered for those not so experienced. Some companies offer package deals that include introductory flights before taking off on a six-day para-trek. While on the paratrek, the flyers camp in villages with local Sherpa guides. The take-off point for these flights is Sarankot near Pokhara. The bus trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara takes? to 8 hours. Daily flights operate between Kathmandu and Pokhara. A wide variety of accommodation and other facilities are available in Pokhara,


Top of page


ULTRA LIGHT AIRCRAFT FLIGHTS


Ultra light aircraft flights offer a breathtaking bird's-eye view of Pokhara Valley and the surrounding mountains. The flight is offered beginning September through June. The flights take place from sunrise to 11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to sunset every day during these months. In the half-hour flight, one can fly over Pokhara city, Phewa Lake, Sarangkot hill and get as close to the Mt. Fishtail as it is possible. Another option is the exploration of the Annapurna range from 12,000 feet or higher in an hour. Pokhara is easily accessible from Kathmandu and other major cities. Tourist facilities are also easily available here.


Top of page


MOUNTAIN FLIGHTS


Mountain flights offer passengers a spectacular view of the Himalayan peaks. The one-hour mountain flight takes within camera range of some of the highest peaks in the world. The peaks seen are Gosaithan, Dorje Lhakpa, Phurbi Chyachu, Choba Bhamare, Mt. Gaurishanker, Melungtse.Chugimago, Mt. Numburbur, Karyolung, Cho-Oyu, Gyachungkang, Purnori, Nuptse and finally, Mt. Everest, Mountain flights are offered by several airlines.


Top of page


BUNGY JUMPING


The ultimate thrill of a bungy jump can be experienced in Nepal at one of the best sites in the world. Nepal's bungy jumping site is situated 160 meters over the wild River Bhote Koshi. The site is located close to the Nepal-Tibet border at Barahbise and is a three-hour bus ride from Kathmandu. A package deal includes the jump, bus ride to the site, and even meals. Nepalis are entitled to a 30 percent discount. Accommodation and other facilities are available in Barahbise.


Top of page


RAFTING, KAYAKING AND CANYONING


Rafting is one of the most exciting ways of exploring the nooks and crannies of Nepal. Options range from paddle rafting as a team to luxury safari-style trip where staff is provided to address the group needs to kayak alone in the waters. Yet another extremely popular water-sport option is cannoning to explore hidden landscapes. The best time for these activities is October through mid-December and March through early May. The government has opened sections of 16 rivers graded on a scale of 1 to 5 for commercial rafting. Since safety is of utmost importance, choosing veteran rafting company is a wise move. It is also important to observe all the safety rules and precautions while on the raft.


Top of page


BOATING


Nepal provides fine option, for boating, from glacier-fed lakes up north, down to where rivers are into the Terai plains. With famous lakes like Phewa, Begnas and Rupa, Pokhara is one of the most popular destination for recreational boating. While Phewa is bustling with the tourism-created lakeside area, Begnas and Rupa have remained largely pristine. In the Terai, one can go canoeing on Narayani or Rapti rivers near Royal Chitwan National Park. Boats and canoes can be rented from local dealers on hourly basis. Pokhara and Chitwan are accessible both by air and road from Kathmandu. A wide variety of accommodation and other facilities are easily available in both cities.


Top of page


FISHING & ANGLING


Sport fishing is also gaining popularity in Nepal. There are approximately 118 varieties of fresh-water fish in the Himalayan Rivers ranging from the much sought after mahseer to the mountain stream trout-like varieties. The best season to go fishing on the white waters is before and after the monsoon from February till April and October and November. Some popular fishing areas are Karnali, Babai in Bardiya, Chitwan's river confluences, Dolalghat. On Kodari Highway and Pokhara's lakes. Boats, fishing rods and tackle are available on hire. Fishing is all the more fun in mountain streams. In the Terai fiver waters large catfish, murrel and carp are found in abundance. There are agencies in Kathmandu that organize fishing trips to streams around the Valley.


Top of page


JET SCOOTER RIDING


Jet scooter riding is yet another fun water sport and is offered on River Trishuli. The 6-kilometer ride starts near riverside resort in Thimura, situated 8 kilometers from Narayanghat and 28 kilometers from Mugling. The Yamaha scooter that speeds at 60 to 70 kilometers per hour carries two passengers only. A one-night package offers deal that includes meals and interaction with the local people. A two-night package offers a visit to Devghat, a Hindu holy place at the confluence of the Trishuli and Kali Gandaki rivers.


Top of page


JUNGLE SAFARI


The tropical jungles of Nepal's Terai preserve some of the best wildlife habitat in the subcontinent. Nepal has 16 national parks, wildlife reserves and conservation areas. Jungle safaris on elephant back or jeep rides are offered at the Parsa Wildlife Reserve, Royal Bardia National Park, Royal Chitwan National Park and the Royal Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, all located in the Terai. The best time to visit the Terai is during winter months when the weather is more temperate. A wide range of tourist facilities are available in and around popular areas.


Top of page


HUNTING


Licensed hunting is allowed in Royal Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve in West L Nepal. Dhorpatan is a prime habitat of the even-toed ungulates of the B upper regions, blue sheep, ghoral, serow, Himalayan tahr, black bear, ^P* pheasant and partridge. Endangered species here are chir pheasant and » red panda. Hunting is allowed only after acquiring license from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu and is restricted to certain times of the year. Dhorpatan is accessible from Pokhara, from where it is a five-day trek away. The best time to visit Dhorpatan is during February through April and August through October. Accommodation is offered in tented camps by agencies or at one of the village houses.


Top of page


MOUNTAIN BIKING


Nepal's diverse terrain is what mountain bikers’ dreams are made of. Biking offers an environmentally sound way of exploring the country. It is possible to go biking the entire length of Nepal. Centuries-old dirt roads and trails offer a chance to go on extended trips to exotic locales like Annapurna and Kanchanjunga areas. 21 to 27 gear bicycles are recommended when riding through tough terrain. Mountain bikes are available for rent by day or longer in the numerous bicycle rental outlets in and around Kathmandu or Pokhara. Riders can explore rims and ridges of Kathmandu and Pokhara through off routes that weave in and out of the cities. Food and accommodation are easily available around the Valley and the main trail. However, it is recommended to use the services of licensed biking companies.


 Top of page