Famed for being the site of eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world, Nepal is vastly more than just a mountain climber's paradise. Rich in scenery, wildlife, culture, and tradition, this South Asian country is home to two major religions. Beautiful Hindu temples, and ancient Buddhist monasteries, and stupas highlight a visit to Nepal.

Start with a tour of the capital city, Kathmandu, but be sure to leave the crowded tourist areas to explore the fascinating surrounding villages and countryside. Located just southwest of Kathmandu, Kirtipur will immerse the visitor in traditional Newari culture and cuisine. This ancient city in the Kathmandu Valley is home to about 50,000 people. See the famed Bagh Bhairab Temple, holy to Hindus and Buddhists, buy some locally produced weavings, or visit the most extensive library in Nepal at the university.

For breathtaking Himalaya mountain scenery and a glimpse of traditional Tibetan culture, tour Pokhara, the ancient town situated on the trade route between China and India. Home to numerous Tibetans since the mid-1900s, the city hosts many Buddhist temples. This city, with its beautiful lakes that reflect soaring mountains, is the gateway to Annappurna.

No visit to Nepal is complete without a visit to Shivapuri National Park. This natural area is located in the transition zone between subtropical and temperate and is replete with wildlife.

For the truly adventuresome, a trek to the Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, located on the boarder with Tibet, will be the trip of a lifetime. This hidden kingdom is a rare excursion into one of the last remaining places on earth that linger untouched by the outside world.



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