No bigger than England with a small slice of Wales, Nepal is home to eight of the highest peaks in the world. Looking out across Nepal Himalaya, it is hard to believe that anything could stand so high in the sky and still have its feet on the ground. But you neednít don crampons and karabiners to experience the majesty of this mountainous region.
The gateway to the Nepal Himalaya is Kathmandu. Its brick and dark wood heart is an eye-boggling, fragile-looking, hive of merchant and craftsman workshops, palaces and temples. One sneeze and you feel the whole place might disappear, toppling in a cloud of dust. Give yourself a couple of days to explore the cityís rich artistic heritage before heading for the peaks.
Explore the Himalayan foothills
A trek doesnít have to last a month or reach dizzy altitudes (although we can of course arrange it). There are some fantastic walks in the foothills below 10,000 feet, but that will still offer stunning views. Wander through villages which appear to have no beginning, past terraces of wheat and maize with tattered prayer flags waving high on bamboo poles.
Follow the Seti River to the jungle
Make sure to make time for an overnight rafting trip down the Seti River to the Royal Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the south of Nepal. You can stay in lodges on the edge of the park, track rare one-horned Asiatic rhinos and Royal Bengal tigers through the jungles, and even get to wash your own elephant at the end of the day!
For treks in the Annapurna and Everest regions, we recommend that you stay in lodges. Elsewhere it is best to camp, supported by a team of Sherpa guide, cook and porters.
When to go: Any time from October to May, but if you have the choice go in November for the best mountain views or in March and April for the spring flowers.
Nick Van Gruisen is Managing Director of†The Ultimate Travel Company.