Ilam is a beautiful hilly district in eastern Nepal. Situated 600 km east from Kathmandu, Ilam is best known for its tea gardens. Tea produced in Ilam is famous all over the world, especially in European countries. Ilam is home to different species of bird and animals, including the endangered Red Panda. Apart from beautiful tea gardens, Antu Danda is another attraction in the district. Antu Danda, also known as Shree Antu, is a great place to view sunrise. Malpokhari is another important destination in the district having both religious and natural significance. Siddhithumka is another attraction of the district which is also famous for views of sunrise and sunset. Mane Bhanjyang, a pass that connects Ilam with Darjelling in India, is another attraction in the district.
Basantapur lies at Terhathum in Koshi zone in eastern Nepal at an altitude of 2,323m. It is famous for its natural beauty, diverse culture, beautiful landscape and cool climate. Tinjure, Milke and Jaljale areas are home to one of the largest rhododendron forests in Nepal. This is long and high forest ridge that divides the Arun and Tamor valleys in the eastern Nepal. The trek to the region can be started from either Basantapur of Tumlingtar. The trek can be expanded from 7-14 days up this ridge, which offers views of Makalu (8463m) to the west and Kanchanjunga (8586m) to the east. The forest is home to different species of rhododendrons, the national flower of Nepal.
Bhedetar is a small hill in Dhankuta district along the Koshi Highway. The place became famous after Charles visited it. There is also a place called Charles Point, which offers magnificent views of mountains in Eastern Nepal. Bhedetar also has a view tower at a vantage point offering attractive views of Tarai Plains in the South and snowcapped mountains in the north. Bhedetar is a popular stopover for visitors heading to hilly districts in eastern Nepal.
Barah Chhetra is one of the sacred places in Nepal – the other three being Ruru Chhetra, Pashupat Chhetra and Mukti Chhetra. Barah Chhetra is situated at the banks of the mighty Koshi River in Sunsari district. The temple of Barah, the third incarnation of Lord Bishnu, is the major attraction in Barah Chhetra. People visit the place to offer homage to their deceased parents and relatives.
Namchhe Bazaar is often regarded as the gateway to Mt. Everest. It is a Sherpa settlement and a meeting point for trekkers heading to different destinations in the Everest Region. Namchhe Bazaar can be reached after a two-day trek from Lukla air strip. A trek of around three haurs from Namchhe Bazaar takes visitors to the beautiful Sherpa villages of Khumjung and Khunde lying on the laps of Khumbi-la, a beautiful greatly revered by the Sherpa people. There is a beautiful monastery on the upper part of Namchhe Bazaar.
Sindhuligadi is a place of historical importance in Sindhuli district. Sindhuligadi is a fort where Nepali people fought bravely with the troops of East-India Company, when it was heading to attack Kathmandu, in the 18th century. The Nepali people chased away the English troops and seized their weapons. Sindhuligadi is also home to the temple of Siddheshwori.
Janakpur, often regarded as the capital of Mitilanchal, is home to the famous Naulakha temple also called Janaki temple. Janakpur is believed to be the home of Sita (Janaki) who married Lord Ram from Ayodhya, India according to the epic Ramayan. The place takes festive look during the Bibah Panchami festival when a symbolic wedding procession from India comes to Janakpur.
Kakani, located at the altitude of 1982 meters in Nuwakot district, is a popular hill station outside the Kathmandu Valley. Kakani adjoins Nagarjunga-Shivapuri National Park and can be reached after one-and-half-hour drive from Kathmandu. The place offers magnificient views of mountains like Gaurishankhar, Langtang, Choba, Bhamare, Ganesh Himal, Manasulu and Himchuli.
Dhulikhel, located just 30 km east of Kathmandu along the Araniko Highway, is another popular hill station in Kavre district. Dhulikhel is an ancient Newari settlement which always comes alive with different cultural activities and processions. Dhulikhel offers magnificent views of mountains like Ganesh Himal, Lakpa Dorjee, Jugal and others.
Helambu is a beautiful Sherpa village in Sindhupalchowk district. The beautiful settlement of Hyolml Sherpas is famous for its apples. The place is a popular stopover on a trek in the Langtang Region. Beautiful monasteries, pleasing climate, beautiful scenery and hospital people are the major attraction in Helambu.
Gosainkunda is one of the most sacred pilgrimages for all Hindus. Situated at an altitude of 4,360m above sea level in Rasuwa district, Gosainkunda is a glacier-fed lake which later drains into the Trishuli River. Apart from Gosainkunda, there are three other lakes-Surya Kunda, Bhairav Kunda and Naag Kunda. The place wears a festive look during the janai poornimal when hundreds of people throng to the sacred lake. Trek to Gosainkunda begins either from district headquarters Dhunchhe of from Sundarijal.
Gorkha is the ancient seat of the Shah dynasty which used to rule the country until two years ago. Gorkha is the birthplace of late Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified small territories into a strong nation. It is because of Gorkha that Nepali soldier inherited their name as Gorkhalis. Situated on the top of a hill around 1,000 feet above the Gorkha Bazaar, the Gorkha Palace is the major attraction in Gorkha. The palace complex offers attractive views of mountains in the likes of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manasulu, Himchuli, Lamjung Himal and other peaks in the north and Iush green valley in the south. The temple of Gorkhanath is another attraction in Gorkha.
Pokhara, located about 200 km west of Kathmandu, are beautiful lakes – Phewa, Begnas, Rupa, Dipang, Maidi and Khoste among others. But the Phewa lake is the major attraction in Pokhara. The towering peak of Machhapuchre lake is the icon of Pokhara valley. Other attractions in Pokhara are: David’s Fall, Mahendra Cave, Barahi temple, Bidhabasini temple, Chamero cave, Gupteshwor Cave, World Peace Stupa and Seti Gorge among others. Sarangkot is a popular hill station in Pokhara and offers magnificent views of mountain peaks in Annapurna Range. Sarangkot is also the take-off point for paragliding trips. Pokhara is also home to International Mountain Museum, the only mountain museum in the country. Visitors also can enjoy with various adventurous activities like rafting, kayaking, mountain flights, paragliding, flying in ultra-light aircraft among others.
Ghalegaun and Ghanapokhara:
Ghalegaun and Ghanapokhara are beautiful Gurung villages in Lamjung district. Situated at the altitude of 2016m above sea level, the Ghalegaun villagers offers a magnificent view of Machhapuchre, Annapurna, Annapurna II, Lamjung Himal, Bouddha Himal, Himalchuli and many more smaller peaks. Besides the mountain views, the warm and sincere hospitality of the Gurung people is also bound to overwhelm the visitors. In addition, the lifestyle of the village truly reflects an exotic living ethnic tradition handed down over generations. Talangyo Lake, Utter Kanya Temple, Pempro Fall, Batase Cave and the Khudi hydroelectric dam site are places of interests in Ghalegaun. Ghanapokhara, lying north of Ghalegaun, is also a Gurung settlement.
Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang district, is a beautiful Thakali settlement and a popular stopover on the famous Annapurna Circuting trekking trail. Jomsom is famous for Thakali people who are renowned for their hospitality and culinary art. Jomsom offers magnificent views of mountain peaks in the likes of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna among others. Jomsom is the hub for pilgrims heading to the temple of Muktinath. Situated at an altitude of 3,749m, the pagoda-style temple devoted to Lord Shiva. There are 108 waterspouts, where pilgrims take bath, before worshipping the main shrine in the temple. There is also a small volcano in the temple premises which pilgrims worship as Jwala Devi or the goddess of fire. Jomsom is the starting point for treks in Upper Mustang. Regular flights are available to Jomsom from Pokhara on mornings as strong winds in the afternoon makes it difficult for flights to land.
Manang is a small mountainous district lying in north-western part of the country beyond the Annapurna Range. Major portion of the famous Annapurna Circuit trail lies in Manang district. Manang offers closest possible views of mountains like Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna and their glaciers. Tilicho, the lake lying in the highest altitude in the world, and Gangapurna lake are another places of interest in Manang. Likewise, Manang is the starting point of trek to newly opened settlements of Nar and Phu in the district.
Meghauli is a beautiful Tharu village adjoining the Chitwan National Park. It is one of the major entry points to Chitwan National Park and hosts the world famous World Elephant Polo Championship every year. Jungle safari on elephant back is the main tourism activity in Meghauli. Apart from this, bird watching, jungle walk, boating, village tour and cultural tour are other activities can foreign visitors can enjoy in Meghauli. The sunset over the confluence of Rapti and Narayani rivers is another attraction in Meghauli.
Sirubari is a beautiful Gurung village in Syanga district where the concept of village tourism was first tried. Situated at the altitude of 1700m above the sea level, the village lies at a distance of five hours drive from Pokhara. The village is managed by a local committee and each household in the village get to accommodate visitors as per the rotation system. Visitors are accorded warm welcome by offering Tika and garland amidst the singing of fold songs. The accommodation is simple and food is local yet delicious. In the evening, the local mother’s group perform cultural programme, presenting traditional Gurung songs and dances. Visitors are also encouraged to dance with locals. Thumro is a popular viewpoint in Sirubari, which can be reached after an easy walk from the village, offering magnificent views of mountains peaks in the Annapurna Range. Your stay in Sirubari will help get an insight of the day-to-day life of rural Nepal.
Tansen, the district headquarters of Palpa district, is another famous destination in western Nepal. Situated at the altitude of 1,343m above sea level, Tansen is a small town with a dominant population of Newars. Visitors to Tansen can watch scenic view of Tinau river valley surrounded by Churia and Mahabharat hills. Located on the south flank of Shrinagar hill, Tansen bazaar is a fascinating place with an ancient culture, friendly people and excellent mountain views. Shrinagar hill offers magnificent view of sunrise and other mountain peaks. Baggidhoka, constructed during the Rana regime, is a major landmark in Tansen. Tansen is also a city of artisans and dhaka clothes and bronze wares produced here are famous all over the country and even beyond. A little below Tansen on the banks of Kali Gandaki lies a popular landmark Rani Mahal, often touted as the Taj Mahal of Nepal.
Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, is the fountain of world peace. Situated in Kapilvastu district, Lumbini is a pilgrimage of lifetime for all Buddhists throughout the world. Mayadevi temple, renovated recently as per the Lumbini Master Plan, is the biggest attraction in Lumbini. The temple has a stome image of Maya Devi giving birth to Lord Buddha as she holds unto a branch. The Ashok Pillar, which signifies Lumbini as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is another attraction in Lumbini. Remnants of stupas and monasteries, believed to have been constructed centuries ago, can be found all over this sacred area. International Monastic Zone is another attraction in Lumbini which houses monasteries constructed by Germany, Korea, China, Myanmar, Thailand and others. Besides its religious significance, Lumbini offers cultural insights into the village life of the western plains. Of late, efforts are on to promote tourism in rural villages in and around Lumbini. Lumbini flights are available to Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa from Kathmandu. Regular bus services are available from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Other cities.
Dolpa is one of the remotest districts in the country but one of the richest in terms of tourism potentials. Dolpa was first opened to foreign trekkers in 1989 AD and visitors need to obtain special permit to trek in the upper Dolpa area, which has been categorized as controlled tourism area of the country. Bhotiyas are the major inhabitants of Dolpa and the community is yet to be influenced by modernization. Most of the people practice Buddhism while a few of them have faith in Bon religion. Animal husbandry and medicinal herbs trading is the main occupation of Dolpali folks. Of later, many people from the district are also involving in the tourism sector. Shey monastery and the Phoksundo Lake are the major attractions in the monastery and the lake as Shey Phoksundo National Park. Dolpa came to light after the success of Eric Ville-directed movie Caravan all over the world. Flights to Juphal airstrip in Dolpa are available from Nepaljung airport.
Ramaroshan is a beautiful village situated in Achham district. Located at the altitude of 3,000 meters above sea level, the village boarders Bajura and Kalikot district south. Romaroshan is famous for its beautiful landscapes and abundant greenery. Romaroshan, which inherits its name from Romaroshan lake, is a place of great diversity as it is home to different species of birds, wildlife and vegetation. Visitors can observe views of different mountain peaks from Ramroshan. The place has different religious pillars which have been drawing researchers to the place from far and wide. Ramaroshan is home to 12 lakes, some of which are dying because of the lack of proper conservation. Likewise, there are 18 pasturelands which add beauty to the village. Beautiful scenery, green pasturelands, lakes and swamps and rocky mountains among others are the attraction of Ramaroshan.
Khaptad is often touted as the paradise in far-western Nepal. Khaptad is a land of grasslands and forests with diverse geographical features from high mountains to deep gorges and mid-elevation plateaus. The place inherits its name from Khaptad Swami, a Hindu sage who lived in the area for many years. The government has gazette 225 aq km of the area as Khaptad National Park to conserve wildlife and biodiversity in the area. A 5 km area inside the park has been separated for meditation and tranquility where consumption of meat, alcohol and tobacco is prohibited. Khaptad lake is a place of religious significance and draws hundreds of people on the full moon day of July-August every year. The park is home to different wildlife species, including barking deer, wild boar, ghoral, Himalayan black bear, yellow-throated marten, rhesus monkey and langur monkey and different species of birds. The area is a fertile land for different medicinal herbs and other rare vegetation. Khaptad can be reached by taking a flight to Dipayal, Chainpur in Bajhana, Kolti in Bajura and Sanfebagar in Achham.