Our guide to travelers on what Nepal offers in terms of not so extreme adventures
So what is adventure really? Well, the official definition that we found from one of the official sources is “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity”. We agreed with most of the official definition except for the “typically hazardous” part. We disagreed with the “typically hazardous” part since there are many, many adventure activities that are regarded as a soft adventure that is not at all hazardous in any shape or form. Moreover, according to a study conducted by George Washington University, “soft adventure travelers place a higher importance on exploring new places, time to be in nature, meeting and engaging with local cultures” compared to the hard adventurers that are frequently pushing their physical limits.
Nepal and Soft Adventure:
National Geographic has ranked Nepal as one of the best destinations for white water rafting. Why wouldn’t it when the country has many rivers that rage into the plains from the mighty Himalayas. Similarly, Nepal is arguably the most trekking destination in the world since the country has 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world. While hard adventure While Nepal ranks one of the best destinations for trekking, rafting and other hard core activities such as caving, mountain expedition, and Mountain Biking are very popular here as well. On the other hand, however, Nepal is equally a popular destination for soft adventure that is sure to leave you with a fond memory of a lifetime. In this article, we would like to introduce you to some of the very popular soft adventures that are widely popular here.
It is only natural to think that when you are in a place that has 8 highest mountains in the world and many peaks that exceed 7000 meters, every walking journey is strenuous. That is not the case at all. One of our trekking, the 10 days Ghorepani (Poon Hill) trek, for instance, is a mere 3200 gain in elevation where only 4 of the 10 days requires you to walk about 5 hours a day at a slow pace.
Ghorepani is a popular one of the most popular viewpoints in the area offering spectacular views of Mount Dhaulagiri and the Kaligandaki gorge in early mornings. Ghorepani- Poon Hill is perhaps the most popular short trek in Nepal offering remarkable views of Annapurna range that hosts Mount Dhaulagiri, the 7th highest mountain in the world. Moreover, the accommodations that is offered during this short trek are in comfortable family run teahouse lodges that are along the way.
Aside from the outstanding mountain scenery the trek goes through charming villages inhabited by the Gurungs, dense rhododendron forests full of birds and deep sub-tropical valleys, all set below the Annapurna with the picturesque fluted peak of Machhapuchhare dominating the skyline. At the end of this trek is the climb to Poon Hill at dawn to enjoy one of the view most spellbinding mountains capes on Earth. As the sun touches the snowcapped summits the Himalayan Giants, Dhaulagiri 8,167m and Annapurna 8,091m along with a maze of other peaks slowly begin to appear, like magic, before your very eyes.
If a backpacking trip that lasts more than one day does not tickle your fancy (and it does not for many people), we have for years customized travels for customers that are willing to take a day trip and make the most out of it to get acquainted to the Himalayas. A day trip to Sarangkot in Pokhara for instance is one of the most popular day trip that offers spectacular view of the Annapurna region and an excellent view of the lakes in Pokhara. This is only one example. There are many.
Nepal occupies 0.002% of the world’s space but in that space, it is a habitat for 8% of the total bird species in the world. Just imagine what a Mecca it is for any birdwatcher to be able to see that many bird species in such a small area.
While trekking along the Himalayas with either of our Annapurna Trekking Packages 10 days Ghorepani (Poon Hill) trek 15 days Annapurna base camp trek or 22 days Annapurna Circuit trek or 16 days Everest base camp trek, you will be treated to a rainbow of bird species that adds more to the natural scenery. On the other hand, for those who would like to skip trekking, the 8 days explore Nepal, 10 Days Exotic Nepal, 10 Days Peaceful Nepal and 12 Days Discover Nepal takes you to a safari trip to Chitwan National Park which is has logged 544 different species of birds in the 950 square kilometer area.
Nepal has more than 30 popular festival and arguable a similar number of minor festivals which means that there is an average of one festival in every 6 days! While the month of October and November are the most popular months for these festival, spend a week or two in Nepal and you are bound to run into some type of celebration. Moreover, on Saturdays, temples like Pashupatinath and Dakshinkali are crowded with devotees and on Thursdays, Bangalamukhi temple in Patan are full of worshippers. Similarly, on Tuesdays, those seeking to worship Lord Ganesh line up at the Ganesh temples all across the country. All of these venues are sure to give you an intimate view into the Nepalese life and culture. In hotels, restaurants and other popular tourist venues, you are very likely to find cultural dances and other performances. Rest assured, finding yourself submerged into the culture when you are there is practically guaranteed. Oh yes, in case if we haven’t told you yet, Nepali people are regarded as one of the friendliest people in the world.
Whether it is a Class V rapids that come close to making your heart stop or Class I or Class II rafting that enable you to enjoy a relaxing float along the Himalayan rivers, Nepal has them all. For a relaxing Class I or Class II, plenty of half day and one day trips are available not too far away from Kathmandu. Both the Upper and Lower Sun Koshi rivers offer these tamed water excursions that not only offer the Himalayan water experience but also acquaint you to the plants and animals that make the area their home. These trips start from Dhulikhel (2-3 hours’ drive from Kathmandu) or Dolalghat which is about a three-hour drive from Kathmandu. Spending a day in Dhulikhel offers an opportunity to enjoy amazing sun rise before leaving for the trip over the legendary river with the company of birds and animals including leopards if it happens to be your very lucky day.
We always ask our customers to come with an open mind and leave a changed person and the request is more than just a rhetoric. Nepal is indeed a magical place that is a heaven for all types of adventures. One thing we can say with absolute certainty is that a visit to the country will be very different than any other places you have been or you will even be; in a good and positive way of course.