The land of Sherpas” popularly recognised for being home to eight of the world’s tallest mountains including the iconic Mount Everest draws thousands of mountaineers from around the world every year. But for most Indians, this landlocked nation sandwiched between India and China is visited mainly for extreme sports or spirituality, with little for ordinary people. However, the country filled with ancient temples, scenic landscapes and vibrant culture has much to allure the tourists.
Besides the monasteries, splendid palaces and age-old temples, Nepal also offers a dose of thrill through a wide range of adventure activities and wealthy wildlife. The exotic mountain nation has something for everyone. And as a growing number of Indian tourists, especially younger ones and millennials seek adventure activities and unique experiences while travelling, Nepal Tourism Board has begun to promote the rich dose of adventure that travellers can get in the country. Indeed, adventure is the key theme that NTB is promoting in its largest source market and was also the focus on the recent roadshow that the board organised in India.
Here is a list of a few unique adventure activities that Nepal has to offer:
Waterfall Ice Climbing
While rock-climbing is a fairly common adventure activity offered in mountainous regions, in Nepal you can experience a highly daunting and unexplored adventure, Waterfall Ice Climbing, an activity which is becoming increasingly popular among thrill seekers and which gives you a chance to push your limits and conquer the toughest icefalls, jagged peaks and extreme altitudes to view the most amazing landscapes unique to the country.
Nepal also harbours one of the longest ice climbs in the world, an 18-pitch, 800-meter behemoth, located close to Namche Bazaar, a town in Solukhumbu district in the north eastern region of Nepal.
Best time to visit: December-March
Places which offer the activity: Lantang Valley, Annapurna Sanctuary and Thame, Khumbu Bijuli Power House
Paragliding, a popular adventure sport across the globe, can be experienced with an added twist in Nepal by combining the thrill and adventure of paragliding with falconry which makes this sport even more enthralling. Parahawking involves paragliding with trained birds like eagles, hawks and vultures. Flying with the birds in their natural environment might seem like a dream, but Nepal fulfills it with well-developed parahawkers to guide and help you in the process. The birds guide you through the flight towards the best thermal pockets and they are in return awarded with chunks of meat.
Scott Mason, founder of the Parahawking Project, uses two rescued Egyptian vultures, found and rehabilitated in Nepal, for his parahawking flights. This unique sport is much more than just an aerial adventure as through it, organisations are able to provide support and funds for vital conservation projects like Himalayan raptor rescue and income generation projects. These birds are well protected and are being taken care of, the organisers say.
Best time to visit: September to April
Places which offer the activity: Pokhara
Imagine exploring the magnificent mountains, gorgeous landscapes, different off-road and high altitude trails of the Himalayan ranges in an economic and environment friendly manner. Mountain biking is one of the most enjoyable activities for high spirited adventure seekers. While hard-core bikers prefer rough terrains in northern regions of the country where the thin mountain air can challenge even the fittest, tourists can enjoy much simpler routes with equally fascinating views. Dirt trails up and down the valleys are filled with views of lush green hill sides, snow-capped mountain peaks, verdant valleys and waterfalls looming in the background. The activity also has proven benefits like better heart health, reduction in stress levels, and the fresh mountain air rejuvenating your tired body. Annual mountain biking championships are held in Kathmandu and Pokhara where tourists are invited to participate.
Best time to visit: Spring and Autumn
Places which offer the activity: Pokhara, Sankhu, Budanilkantha, Nagarkot, and the Kathmandu valley rim which includes Khokana, Dakshinkali, Godavari, etc.
Ultra Light Flying
While paragliding and mountain flying are already very popular adventure sports in Nepal, Pokhara offers an even more exhilarating alternative to enjoy the serenity of the Himalayan Mountains through a ride in a microlight aircraft. The thrilling 90 minute experience allows you to fly in an open cockpit through the clouds with a completely unhindered view of the mountain peaks while trained and experienced pilots make sure that your flying experience is as smooth as possible. Even though Ultralight flights are completely safe, but just like any other flight, it could encounter minor turbulence which is normal. Therefore adventure enthusiasts are briefed about the flight and what to expect.
Best time to visit: Autumn to Spring
Places which offer the activity: Pokhara
High altitudes, unique topography and the hidden, unexplored gems of Nepal, the breathtaking waterfalls and rivers makes canyoning, a water adventure sport you cannot miss. While canyoning one can enjoy the beauty of rivers, canyons, waterfalls, Himalayan mountain caves, dense forests and the rolling hills of Nepal. The unique adventure sport involves repelling down a water canyon by either jumping, abseiling or sliding through the magnificent canyon walls and waterfalls into deep pools of water below.
While the activity involves high risk settings like travelling through rugged terrains and jumping off cliffs as high as 25m, it can also be enjoyed by beginners and people of all ages at the Jalbire Canyon located at the Chitwan National Park.
Best time to visit: September–December
Places which offer the activity: Raindi Hola, Jalbire Canyon
Not to miss!
Plunging off a tropical gorge in Kathmandu, over one of the wildest rivers in the country gushing below, Bhote Koshi is an adventure you simply cannot miss.
White Water River Rafting
White water rafting at the Bhote Koshi river is a truly thrilling activity filled with exciting rapids and impressive gorges. It is one of the most popular attractions for tourists in Nepal and an enriching experience you can enjoy with your entire family.
Venturing into the lush green forests while riding on an elephant in the Terai region of Nepal gives you a chance to closely explore the rare varieties of flora and fauna preserved in the national parks of Nepal.