Nepal: More Than Mountains

Any self-respecting mountain lover will have Nepal on their bucket list.

Stretched out along the eastern Himalaya between India and Tibet, Nepal is a narrow sliver of a country that is home to eight of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest. But even if trekking across towering ice-capped giants isn’t your thing, Nepal has enough cultural wonders to keep you—and your camera—happily occupied.

A multi-ethnic Hindu nation with a small but significant Buddhist population, Nepal’s warring kingdoms and hill states were unified in the mid-18th century by Prithvi Narayan Shah, founder of the Shah dynasty. Unlike the rest of the Indian subcontinent, Nepal eluded colonization by European powers, due in part to the legendary valor of its Gurkha soldiers. In 2008, the monarchy was abolished and Nepal became a democratic republic.

Most of our expeditions begin in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city—dusty, chaotic, and unexpectedly magnificent. Here, ornately carved temples and stately palaces give way to a maze of backpacker shops, dumpling joints, and quaint hotels; and local families picnic at UNESCO World Heritage-listed squares, embracing their cultural legacy with refreshing ease.

Pokhara, on the other hand, is pure tranquility; set against the backdrop of the spectacular Annapurna mountains, one can linger in this lakeside town for days, hiking gorgeous green trails, attending yoga classes, perusing handicrafts, and feasting on a budget—all with an exquisite, unhurried pace.

Browse the gallery to see a traveler’s view of some of the places we visit on our Nepal trips, from the sacred Bodnath Stupa to Sarangkot, where the sunrise over the Annapurna Himalaya is the stuff of legend.