3 Life-Changing Reasons You Need To Travel Nepal

The saying goes, “It’s a small world after all,” and while it grows smaller with each new technological leap, sometimes we need to be reminded of just how grand our home is.  So the next time you find yourself trying to think of something to type in a Google search, consider looking up how to get site-seeing destinations, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. 

One place I would suggest from personal experience is a small European country called Nepal.  The recent earthquake that devastated portions of the country in April has limited some of the available sightseeing, but the people there are strong and the charm and beauty of the mountainous nation stands as strong as ever. 

Here are a few reasons you might consider Nepal as your next sightseeing destination: 

You'll See Nature

If you love nature, Nepal is a gorgeous country for you to experience.  Outside of Kathmandu, mountain villages rise high above the clouds, rivers run through mountains, and thick forests sit in valleys filled with wild life.  One popular destination is Chitwan National Park.  There, elephant rides through the jungle and personal tours to see wildlife draw people to the site from across the globe.  The national park is also known for its rhino population, which I can personally attest to; walking through a forest and seeing a rhino and then watching it run away is among the most unique experiences of my life.

During my first visit, my family went to a river where elephants that are used for tours were bathed.  The handlers allowed us to play with the elephants and some people were even brave enough to swim with them in the river, where the elephants would shovel water at people and toss others from their back.  While there was certainly a bit of showmanship to this, it reflects on the laissez-fair nature of Nepal.

Near the center of the country, the city of Pokhara sits on the edge of the beautiful Phewa Lake. Mountain peaks loom in the near distance, and on a clear day the sight is unbelievable.  The city is one of the most popular to visit for tourists from around the world, but also from within Nepal itself.  During my last stay in Kathmandu, children I talked to and people I met urged me visit Pokhara before I left.  They are proud of their city, and its history is represented by the temples and ruins located around the area.

Experience A City Unlike Any Other

If you wish to have a less tourist experience in Nepal, Kathmandu is probably the destination for you.  It’s one of the most unique cities I have had the pleasure to visit.  There is a fascinating mix of century old architecture intertwined with modern cement buildings.  At one moment, it’s all charming narrow streets that are full of life, and at another, empty lots of refuse.  The city was hit hard by the earthquake that hit back in April, which has since prompted the government to consider tightening down on their lax enforcement of construction code.  But unlike many villages which were completely flattened, the destruction was concentrated in separate, spread out areas.  It all makes for a city that is at once stunning and rundown.  I suggest visiting Kathmandu if only to experience a cityscape unlike any of the high rise skylines you will find in the States.

You may also experience some culture shock at their approach to business and life as opposed to our own.  Government corruption and shady business practices, are, unfortunately, issues that are commonplace in their society; simply take a taxi in Kathmandu and you will quickly learn it is nearly impossible to come out on top of a deal.  While the Nepali people, themselves, have been taking steps towards improving their society, they have many hurdles to face, and likely many more to come.  But they are welcoming to visitors and if you have the opportunity to make friends, it is well worth the trip.  I was lucky enough to visit a few homes while I there, and was able to get a small idea of what peoples’ individual lives were like.

Meet People

The people of Nepal are incredibly unique, resilient, and cultured.  During my visit, I met a pastor that lived in a sparsely furnished apartment; he had recently moved after the earthquake made his home unsafe, and was happy that his new home was built up to code.  I also encountered a TV personality that lived in a fabulously decorated home of his own design; handmade carpets covered the ground and art hung from the walls and ceiling.  He was proud of his top floor workspace where he created music and performed a small ditty for us.  A friend of a friend also invited me to watch soccer one night with him and bunch of other people.  We were all crammed into a tiny apartment, avoiding his small pug, which he could be heard constantly doting over. 

Traveling isn’t always the most comfortable experience, but your bed and shower will always be waiting for you when you get back!  Go out into the world and discover how other people live.  See for yourself how the rest of the world reacts to your presence in it, and create your own observations on the people and nature you find there!  People are still immersed in their own culture, but teenagers in Nepal still walk around with Curt Cobain t-shirts, and you can easily pick out what hair and clothes styles are considered fashionable.  Do not be afraid to experience something outside of your comfort zone.  At the end of the day, you’ll find that people are the same, no matter where on Earth you go.