Nepal has launched an ambitious tourism campaign ‘Visit Nepal Year 2020’. The government plans to welcome at least 2 million international tourists in the year 2020. Looking at the headway of international tourism market, Nepal can expect to pull a large number of tourists since the country has so much to offer to them. The theme of the campaign is ‘Lifetime Experiences’, an open invitation to enjoy with the unforgettable activities. If you are looking for causes to visit Nepal in 2020, here are 20 good reasons.
The sky-high Himalayas, deep gorges, mesmerizing lakes, dense forests, endangered wildlife, elusive birds, ancient temples and gompas are the major source of attractions. Nepal is also popular as a trekkers’ paradise. Trekkers are fond of the scenic trekking trails, awe-inspiring social life and overwhelming hospitality of the mountain people. Additionally, the villages are more famous for their unique lifestyle, language, customs and rituals.
Nepal is also a home to Himalayan glaciers and thousands of varieties of plants and animals. It is a famous pilgrimage destination of Hindu and Buddhists throughout the world. The holy Pashupatinath and the birthplace of Gautam Buddha refers to as Lumbini are the foremost inspirations for pilgrims to visit Nepal. Besides, Muktinath, Damodar Kunda, Gosaikunda, Halesi, Janakpur, Pathibhara are other spiritual attractions among religious travellers.
Nepal’s diverse topography is also an opportunity to boost adventure tourism in Nepal. Therefore, it is an ideal place for conducting extreme activities such as bungy jumping, canyoning, rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing, paragliding, rafting etc. The unique landscape of Nepal is the key strength to lure the international tourists. Secondly, monuments, old palaces, temples, stupas, customs and rituals are other potency of the country.
Here, we are signifying 20 reasons why you should visit Nepal in 2020.
1. Unique Geography
Nepal is a landlocked country lying between the two Asian giants- India and China with an area of 147, 181 square kilometers. It extends from 67 meters to 8,848 meters- the highest Mt. Everest. The country has dense forests in the southern plains, green hills, valleys, glacial lakes and highest mountain peaks. Nepal holds about 6,000 plant species which is 2.80% of the global record and 208 mammals, 867 birds, 123 reptiles, 55 amphibians, 230 freshwater fish and 651 butterfly species altogether.
2. Virgin Trekking Trails
Nepal has some virgin trekking trails, yet unexplored and hidden inside the Himalayas. These trails have some specific characteristics, both naturally and spiritually. Among them, some trails are in tourist eyes after they become open for foreign trekkers such as Upper Mustang, Upper Dolpo, Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Nar Phu, Rolwaling and Dhaulagiri. The trekking routes mentioned are considered still virgin where only a few tourists have been before. Those trekking trails remained isolated for long time and are rich culturally.
3. Mountains and Hills
About 15% of the total land area is covered by the snowy mountains while 68% is occupied by hills and the other 17% is the flat Tarai region in Nepal. Nepal hosts the eight of the fourteen world’s highest peaks which are above 8,000 meters such as Mount Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,586m), Lhotse (8,516m), Makalu (8,463m), Cho Oyu (8,201m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,163m) and Annapurna (8,091m). Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit are the famous trekking trails that offer the scenic landscape and the breathtaking Himalayan panorama.
4. Mountaineering and Expeditions
There are several peaks between six and eight thousand meters in Nepal. The government has opened 414 peaks officially for mountaineering expeditions. A total of 92 peaks are unclimbed so far. The legendary climber George Mallory said, “Because it’s there” when he was ready to scale the world’s highest peak- the Mount Everest. There are many other smaller peaks for starters. These peaks are popular as ‘NMA Trekking Peaks‘ in Nepal such as Island Peak, Mera Peak and Lobuche Peak including 24 other NMA peaks below 6,500 meters.
5. Adventure Sports
Nepal’s natural beauty and its geographical structure is a great opportunity for sports tourism such as paragliding, golfing, skiing, canyoning, bungee jumping, mountain biking, mountain flight and rafting etc. The favourable weather conditions and the sport centers with panoramic views of the Himalayas are the key attractions for adventure sports. The stadiums in Pokhara and Kathmandu offer the scenic beauty of the Himalayas. Besides, Mountain biking around Annapurna Circuit is one of the amazing cycling tours that goes over Thorung la pass of 5,416 meters.
6. Sacred Destinations
Nepal is a country with full of myths. There are many religious destinations for Hindu and Buddhist travellers while a significant number of Muslim village settlements found in the southern Nepal. One can find a highly admirable religious acceptance throughout the country. Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Swoyambhunath, Budanilkantha are some holy shrines inside Kathmandu Valley; whereas Kalinchowk, Halesi, Manakamana, Gosainkunda, Lumbini, Janakpur, Pathibhara, Sworgadwari, Muktinath, Damodar Kunda and Gosainkunda are some other sacred places to see outside of Kathmandu.
7. Extreme White Water Rafting
White water rafting on the raging rivers originated from the Himalayan glaciers is another thrilling reason to visit Nepal. Some world famous rivers such as Trishuli, Bhote Koshi, Kali Gandaki, Marshyangdi, Sun Koshi, Karnali, Arun and Tamur are available for rafting. The difficulty of rafting ranges from gentle 1 to 5 depending on the season. During summer, some rivers become really wild and demand a high level of stamina and expertise. Rafting duration varies from a day to two weeks for a perfect exhilaration of river sports.
8. Forest and National Parks
About 45 percent of total area is occupied by forests in Nepal. Therefore, the forests of Nepal provide a great shelter to many wildlife. The government has declared some Protected Areas in order to conserve the rare and endangered wildlife including floral and faunal diversity. There are a total of 20 protected areas including 12 National Parks, 1 Wildlife Reserve, 6 Conservation Areas and 1 Hunting Reserve altogether. Trekking and jungle safari tours to spot the rare animals in the national parks have become a great tourist attraction these days.
9. Wildlife and Birds
The varied wildlife distribution is a major reason that tourists are interested to visit Nepal. A total of 208 mammals, 867 birds, 123 reptiles, 55 amphibians, 230 freshwater fish and 651 butterfly species are recorded so far. Among them, wild elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros and birds such as bengal florican, lesser florican, giant hornbill, black stork and white stork are some endangered species. Nepal’s diverse population of wildlife and birds is a living laboratory for researchers and biologists.
10. Culture and Traditions
Culture and traditions are the integral part of everyday life in Nepal. It differs vastly from one region to another according to the religions people follow. The festivals occurring round the year add colors to the lives of people which they enjoy with great celebration. The diversity in Nepal in terms of ethnicity gives a ground to prosper the various sets of customs and traditions. Most of them come from the Hindu, Buddhist and other religious traditions. People have different rituals for birth, marriage and during death of a family member.
11. Feasts and Festivals
Feasts are the important part of the religious ceremonies. There are varieties of local cuisine prepared during festivities and parties. The ethnic diversity has flourished the unique dishes at the family events. Nepal is also regarded as the land of colourful festivals. Many festivals are influenced by religion. Dashain, Tihar, Chhath, Holi, Maha Shivaratri, Losar, Buddha Poornima, Janai Poornima, Gai Jatra, Naag Panchami, Teej are some major festivals of Nepal. The religious harmony among the different societies shows what an exemplary place it is to visit.
12. Taste of Food
Nepal’s most distinctive and admired dishes are probably the daal-bhaat (rice and lentils) while momos (dumplings) are the next popular food for afternoon lunch. Most Nepali food is quite similar to Tibetan and Indian dishes. Newars are the major residents of Kathmandu and they have their own set of cuisine including meat and local alcohol. Kathmandu has become the food capital of the world since it offers all type of international dishes from Continental, Italian, Mexican, American, Chinese, Indian, Tibetan, Thai and Korean to Japanese tastes.
13. Art and Crafts
Kathmandu is an ancient city popular for traditional art and craft works such as woodcarving, stone masonry, pottery and Thangka or Pauva painting. People have been practicing such skills since generations. It may be enough to realize the glorious history of Nepal with the finely designed temples, palaces, statues, idol of gods and goddesses carved on the metal and stone that how popular was Nepal for art and crafts. The museums in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur have the great collection of historical art and crafts.
14. Monuments, Temples and Stupas
Nepal is rich for historic monuments, age-old temples and stupas. Therefore, UNESCO has listed some of the best masterpieces as World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu is densely populated with the Heritage Sites. There are seven World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu Valley only such as Pashupatinath and Changunarayan among Hindu temples; Swoyambhunath and Boudhanath among Buddhist stupas and palace courtyards of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur known as Durbar Squares. Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha lies outside of Kathmandu Valley.
15. People and Society
There are 126 ethnic castes and 123 ethnic languages recorded in Nepal so far. The cultural evolution started here since centuries. This multi-dimensional cultural heritage encompasses the diversities of Nepalese society in terms of ethnic, tribal and social groups. The societies are following multiple religions- Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. Because of the diversity of religion and multiculturalism, travelling around different parts of the country can be a great experience. However, caste division is strictly prohibited by law.
16. Spiritual Faith
There are still a group of people who believe on faith healing. They have a deep faith on spiritual power. Nepal is a land of legends and fairy tales. The high concentration of temples, monasteries and stupas are the sources of spiritual power. People like to make some resolutions in front of the idols of gods and goddesses for stronger ties. Newly married Hindu couples wish to visit Pashupatinath Temple for blessings for their longer and happier married life. Shamanism is another animistic belief that people try to find positivity over the demons.
17. Yoga and Meditation
Yoga has become an important factor for a healthy life. It is believed to evolve from the eastern Hindu philosophy. The ‘Eight Fold Path of Yoga’ is the popular postures (Aasan) that deal with the body, mind and soul such as Yama (self restraint), Niyama (self observance), Pranayama (breathing techniques), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samaadhi (identification with pure consciousness). Likewise, meditation is gaining immense popularity in the last decades. There are some really good meditation centers in and around Kathmandu.
18. Volunteering Opportunities
Nepal is still far behind from the modern developments. Although there are limited facilities, people are happy and helpful all the time. Due to the country’s remoteness, people living in the rural areas are not getting proper education and health facilities. Therefore, Nepal is a place where you should go for a good reason. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities to become involved and help the local people. Also, this allows you to understand the unique social life, their cultures, traditions and see the hidden beauty of the country.
Nepal’s big secret for travellers is an affordable destination. There are many budget hotels and guesthouses available ranging a cost between $10 and $50 per night. Of course, the prices vary according to the facilities offered. The budget accommodation is clean and comfortable. Due to the expansion of Homestays, this has actually become more competitive and affordable. However, there are many luxury hotels available for expensive options. Activities are also obtainable in really good deal. Many travel companies are offering discount packages to remark the Visit Nepal Year 2020.
20. A Safe Destination
There are not any security threats for travellers in Nepal. In fact, tourists are safer because of the Nepalese culture- ‘Atithi Devo Bhawa‘ which means ‘Guests are Gods’. No need to say that ‘Tourism’ is the national interest and celebrating 2020 as Visit Nepal Year. Due to the modern infrastructure set up in the cities, it may look strange but there are serene valleys and mountains to enjoy with. It is now a stable country politically. However, we suggest using local guides for mountain trekking and tours. You should hire guides and porters only with the registered travel companies.
Lastly, Nepal is well recommended as a place to visit in the year 2020 by the world famous Forbes magazine. Likewise, many travel sites such as TripAdvisor, LonelyPlanet suggest Nepal as a must see country for its uniqueness in overall. The capital city Kathmandu or elsewhere is much affordable than any other high-flowing tourist cities like Paris, London, New York etc. Therefore, we suggest you to visit Nepal in 2020 for ‘Lifetime Experiences’ and for 20 reasons.
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