Naturally Nepal, Once is not Enough - officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia located in the Himalaya. The highest country on Earth, lofty Nepal is commonly referred to as the “roof of the world.” That seems like a fitting moniker for this Himalayan nation, where soaring, snow-capped mountains disappear into the clouds like stairways to heaven, Mount Everest is the star attraction. Travelers come in droves to take part in trekking, hike, mountaineering and admire the world’s tallest peaks. But this charming country is much more than just mountains.
The birthplace of Gautama Buddha, Nepal is an important pilgrimage site for millions of Buddhists, who come from far and wide to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini, a temple complex where Buddha once lived. Holy places abound in Nepal, but not just of the Buddhist variety; Hinduism has a strong foothold in the country and there are many Hindu temples scattered across the country.
Kathmandu, which is encircled by soaring mountain ranges, is a beautiful, bustling city standing at a cultural crossroads between India and China, whose influences can be seen in the architecture and tasted in the cuisine. Meanwhile, a Western vibe prevails in the lively Thamel zone, which is lined with clubs, restaurants and bars. Kathmandu is a good starting point for travelers venturing into the jungle at Chitwan National Park, which is home to Bengali tigers, crocodiles and one-horned rhinos, plus myriad bird species. Pokhara Phewa Lake is another draw for tourists, as are the hiking trails in the Himalayas.