An adventurer's delight,
Nepal offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from paragliding near
the mountains to waiting for the Royal Bengal tiger in Chitwan's wild.
Adventure tourism in Nepal dates back to the early attempts to ascend
world’s highest peak Mt. Everest fifty years ago. The 50th anniversary
of the first ascent of Everest was celebrated recently amidst great
fanfare and extravaganza. Renowned mountain summiteers Sir Edmund
Hillary, Ms. Junko Tabei, Mr. Reinhold Messner, Mr. Appa Sherpa, Mr.
Jamling Norgay Sherpa took part in the celebrations.
Trekking and mountain climbing are still the most popular sport among
visitors. Rafting on white water mountain streams across the typical
cross section of Nepal's geography is equally popular. Jungle safari
in the Terai is preferred by visitors interested to see Nepal's rare
varieties of animals and birds. Nepal also offers bungy jumping above
the wild waters of River Bhote Koshi. Canyoning to explore the rugged
and out-of -reach landscapes is another option at the site. Aerial
activities include taking off in micro-light aircrafts or hot-air
balloons for a good view of the mountains. Mountain flights offer the
closest possible spectacle of Mt. Everest and other peaks. The close
encounter with the tallest mountains of the earth often draws
awe-stricken silence from onlookers.
With eight of the highest peaks in the
world, Nepal has been the focus of some of the most outstanding
achievements in the world of mountaineering. For many decades the
dauntless icy peaks have posed as challenge to those who dare. There
are some 326 peaks in Nepal open for mountaineering today. His
Majesty's Government of Nepal opened around 175 peaks in the last
two years to mark the Mount Everest Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
Climbing permit to scale the Nepal Himalayas is issued in all
seasons by the Mountaineering Section of the Ministry of Culture,
Tourism and Civil Aviation. Certain official documents are required
to seek permission for climbing peaks. Around 121 peaks do not
require liaison officer for expedition. Fees or royalties depend
upon the altitude of the peak starting at US $ 1,000 for peaks below
6,501 meters and rising by US $ 500 for every 500 meters. Climbing
gears and equipments can be bought or rented in Kathmandu. Many
mountaineering and trekking agencies also offer packages that take
care of needs like gear, food, transportation, guide and porter
services. They also arrange insurance. Visitors should choose an
agency that has good track record.
offers excellent trekking options to visitors from the easy walking
excursions to the strenuous climb of the snowy peaks. The most
rewarding way to experience Nepal's natural embellishment and
cultural assortment is to walk through the length, breadth and the
altitudes of the country. Trekking in Nepal is a big part of the
ultimate Himalayan adventure and a majority of tourists have
trekking as a part of their itinerary. One can also trek on ponies
in some remote places, which is equally enthralling for visitors.
Pony treks follow nearly the same routes and are offered mostly in
western region of Pokhara, Dolpo and Lo Manthang (Mustang).
A large number of mountaineers and trekkers are drawn to the
Everest region that leads through the Sagarmatha National Park. To
be seen on the way are astounding views of some parts of the
Himalaya. The path also leads to Dudh Koshi valley and forests of
blooming rhododendron, blue pine and fir. Highlights of this trek
include Namche Bazaar, the Tengboche Monastery and Kala Patthar en
route the Everest Base Camp. This area is abundant with
high-alpine wildlife, that include the Himalayan tar, musk deer,
pikka or mouse hare and rare birds like snow crow, snow pigeon and
pheasant. Access to the Everest region is either by air from
Kathmandu to Lukla, or by bus to Jiri. Private rides, which would
reduce traveling time can be arranged at some extra expenditure.
The Annapurna trekking region consists of peaks Annapurna I, II,
III, IV, and those of Annapurna South peaks. The trek's major
highlights are the ancient mid-western salt route settlement of
Manang, Thorong-La pass between Nepal and Tibet, Muktinath Temple
and the deepest gorge of world Kali Gandaki. Mustang, or Lo
Manthang, the desert plateau located in the upper valley of the
River Kali Gandaki, and to the north of the main Himalayan range
also falls in this region. Tourist access to Mustang is controlled
to help retain its exclusiveness. The highlight of the trek
includes the visit to the Mustang Palace, the visit to Lo Manthang
and pony rides to the Nepal-Tibet border. Annapurna region is
reached via Pokhara, which is 200 kilometers from Kathmandu. It is
five or six hours by road and 30 minutes by air from Kathmandu.
One can ride a bus or hire a cab from Pokhara to reach the trek
head. Food and accommodation is easily available in the popular
tourist city of Pokhara.
Dolpo in West Nepal is located inside the Shey-Phoksundo National
Park toward the north of Dhaulagiri range and the Tibetan Plateau.
The national park is a preserved ecosystem of plants and wildlife
that includes the rare blue sheep, gray wolf and snow leopard. The
view of the Kanjiroba peak, Phoksundo Lake and the Dhauligiri
massif are the rewards of trekking to the Dolpo region. The
easiest way to Dolpo region is by air from Nepalgunj to Juphal,
which is a four-hour walk from district headquarters of Dunai. It
is also possible to trek to Dunai from Dhorpatan that can be
reached from Tansen or Pokhara.
Langtang trek route goes through traditional, ethnic villages and
untouched forests on the way to the peaks of Langtang-Lirung. The
highlights of this tour include a visit to the Langtang valley,
Kyangin Gompa and the Lirung Glacier. One can also climb the Lang
Sisa Peak and visit Lake Gosaikunda, which is nearby. One can
catch a bus to Trishuli Bajaar from Kathmandu and from there again
drive down to Rasuwa headquarters Dhunche and then to Syabrubesi
from where the trek begins.
Nepal's extraordinary contours and numerous tracks and trails make
it an ideal place for mountain biking. It is a challenge for
cyclists to climb up and down rough mountain roads giving them a
chance to traverse the magnificent scenery. Good mountain bikes can
easily be rented in Kathmandu and in other tourist cities. The
70-kilometer road from Balaju in West Kathmandu that traverses
through hill resort Kakani and then Trisuli Bajaar before descending
to Kathmandu from Shivapuri is a popular option for cyclists.
Another option is the two-day bike tour to Dhulikhel criscrossing
ancient townships of Bhaktapur, Namobuddha and Panauti that lie on
the way. The most adventurous, however, is the 75-kilometer ride to
hill resort Daman from Kathmandu via Tribhuvan Highway. Pokhara also
provides ample possibilities for bike lovers.
Nepal has earned the reputation of one of the best destinations for
white water rafting. Cruising down rushing rivers of crashing waves
and swirling rapids can make up excitement of a lifetime. Rafting
trips for some is the highlight of their stay in Nepal. The waters
in Nepal offer something for everybody: Grade 5-5+ rivers with
raging white water rapids for the adventurous, to Grade 2-3 rivers
with a few rapids for novices. Rafters also have a choice ranging
from two to three-week trips to trips of two or three days. The
options include paddling, oaring and kayaking. Paddling requires all
on boat to participate with instructions from river runner. Luxury
safari-style trips with full team are available too. In an oar boat,
the guide rows alone giving participants a chance to observe the
surroundings. Kayaking is another way to travel downstream. A few
companies offer inflatable kayaks, or fiberglass kayaks for hire
while some arrange for kayaks on their own.
A typical day in the river begins early morning when participants
arrive at the site. Instructions on safety and emergency situation
are given to participants before the event. Life vests and helmets
are worn by participants at all times during the trip. Meals are
provided during the trip. Some packages also provide river equipment
and camping equipment. The best time for rafting is from October
through mid-December and March through early May. In winter
hypothermia may be hindrance to some. During monsoons months of June
through September, the white water sections are dangerous, but
gentler stretches are easy to raft on. So far the government has
opened sections of 10 rivers for commercial rafting.
(Grade 5) begins at Tumlingtar and ends at Chatara, Kartikeghat.
The starting point can be approached either by flight or by road.
A mini-trek is required from both the airstrip or from the bus
stop. Some parts of the river are smooth while some are rough and
challenging. On the sixth day Arun River meets Sun Koshi. Rafters
either drive back Chatara via Biratnagar or fly from Biratnagar to
River Sun Koshi (Grade 4 to 5) is Nepal's longest rafting trip.
The rafting site, three hours drive from Kathmandu is more
accessible than the Karnali. The run is 270 km and requires 9 to
10 days from Dolalghat to end Chatara down to the Indo-Gangetic
plains. The first couple of days are relatively easy while
surprises sneak up on you during the last days. The white water
stays white until the very end.
River Bhote Koshi (Grade 4 to 5) is a two-day run of pure
adventure. The rafting site is located only three hours from
Kathmandu. Twenty-six kilometers of continuous white water soaks
rafters as they shoot through a veritable maze of canyons and
boulders. It is the steepest river rafted in Nepal and required a
lot of concentration. Starting above Barabise, you raft down to
the dam at Lamosangu.
River Marshyangdi (Grade 4 to 5) provides four days of
uninterrupted white-water rafting. It begins from the village of
Ngadi from Besishahar in Pokhara. The rapids on the river are
unrelenting, and rafters are advised to consult companies with
lots of experience. It runs sandwiched between 52 kilometers of
boiling foam and towering peaks of Annapurna.
River Trisuli (Grade 3+) is one of the most popular Nepali rivers
for rafting. For first-time rafters it offers plenty of
excitement. Due to its proximity to Kathmandu and the easy road
access most rafting companies offer trips on the Trisuli. At $20
or so per dayIt is the cheapest river trip available in Nepal. A
river trip on Trishuli can be combined with trips to Chitwan or
Bheri's rafting site in Nepalgunj can be reached by half-hour
flight or a 627-kilometer bus ride from Kathmandu. The first
section of the remote and relatively unexplored river has many
twists and turns. The gorge occasionally opens into valleys and
small villages. The trip can be continued with a jungle tour in
the Bardiya Wildlife Reserve.
River Tama Koshi
Koshi (Grade 4 to 6) starts from the Tserolpa Lake and
Gaurishanker Glacier. Rafting or kayaking point starts from Busti
on the way to Jiri. Tama Koshi is not safe for commercial run as
it sometimes has impossible rapids. For kayakers however, this
river is good. Three days of kayaking on Tama Koshi brings one to
River Sun Koshi. Another 4 days paddling leads to Chatara on the
banks of River Saptakoshi and Hindu pilgrimage site Baraha Chhetra.
Gandaki (Grade 5 to 5+) winds through remote canyons and deep
gorges of intense rapids among. Starting at Baglung, you could
raft down to Ramdighat in five or six days. Trips on the Kali
Gandaki begin and end in Pokhara and offer an exciting alternative
to the Trisuli. The run flows 120 km and its challenges are
River Seti (Grade 3-5) can be reached from Damouli roughly 160
kilometers west of Kathmandu. Rafters encounter several rapids
before reaching Trishuli River. Hindu religious site Devghat marks
the confluence of Kali Gandaki and Trishuli and becomes River
Narayani. Rafters have a choice of either coming back to Kathmandu
or continuing the journey to visit the Chitwan National Park.
River Karnali (Grade 4 to 5) in the far west is the longest
and largest river in Nepal. It flows through steep, jagged canyons
where the rapids are tightly packed, offering continuous
challenging water at all flows. A bus ride to far-western Nepal or
a flight to Nepalgunj can take one to rafting site. It takes about
7 days to navigate the 90 kilometers of canyons and waterfalls.
During most of this trip, the wilderness is uninterrupted by human
BOATING AND FISHING
Boating is a
common form of transport in the lowlands and Terai in Nepal. Leisure
boating can be done in various locations. Pokhara with many lakes is
the most famous for boating activities. The city with famous lakes
Phewa, Begnas and Rupa, provides enough space for numerous boating
experiences. Traditional canoe-style boating can be done in rivers
Naranghat and Rapti rivers in Chitwan. With the numerous rivers and
lakes, Nepal is an ideal location for pleasure fishing and angling.
Fishing is also the livelihood for some communities in the hills and
the Terai regions of Nepal. Some of the popular rivers for fishing
and angling are Betrawati, Indrawati, Karnali and Koshi. While
fishing, one should look out for other aquatic species too,
especially the fresh water dolphins in the Koshi, Rapti and Narayani
some of the steepest mountain slopes in the world. Though not
available on a commercial scale, skiing is one of the exciting forms
of adventure possible in Nepal. Skiing can be done on the slopes of
West Nepal, Langtang area and some parts of the Khumbu area. Rental
equipments are hard to find and must be provided on ones own.
a common form of transport in the lowlands and Terai in Nepal.
Leisure boating can be done in various locations. Pokhara with many
lakes is the most famous for boating activities. The city with
famous lakes Phewa, Begnas and Rupa, provides enough space for
numerous boating experiences. Traditional canoe-style boating can be
done in rivers Naranghat and Rapti rivers in Chitwan.
With the numerous rivers and lakes, Nepal is an ideal location for
pleasure fishing and angling. Fishing is also the livelihood for
some communities in the hills and the Terai regions of Nepal. Some
of the popular rivers for fishing and angling are Betrawati,
Indrawati, Karnali and Koshi. While fishing, one should look out for
other aquatic species too, especially the fresh water dolphins in
the Koshi, Rapti and Narayani river systems.