‘Heaven is a myth, Nepal is real’.

Nepal is an independent country in Southern Asia, between the Tibet autonomous region of China and India. It contains 8 of the world’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest- the world’s tallest- on the border with Tibet, and Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. A monarchy for hundreds of years, Nepal was declared a republic in June 2008. Hinduism and Buddhism co-exist here peacefully. Mt. Everest, Pashupatinath, Lumbini, Boudhanath, Janakpur Dham, and Chitwan National Park are some of the many attractions.

Nepal, long under the rule of hereditary prime ministers favoring a policy of isolation, remained close to the outside world until a palace revolt in 1950 restored the crown’s authority in 1951; the country gained admission to the United Nations in 1955. In 1991, the kingdom established a multiparty parliamentary system. In 2008, however, after a decade long period of violence and turbulent negotiation with a strong Maoist insurgency, the monarchy was dissolved, and Nepal was declared a democratic republic.

Travelers prefer to see it at a more refined pace, admiring the peaks over a sunset gin and tonic from a Himalayan viewpoint, strolling through the medieval city squares of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur, and joining Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims on a spiritual stroll around centuries-old stupas and monasteries. Even after the 2015 earthquake, Nepal remains the cultural powerhouse of the Himalayas; the Kathmandu valley, in particular, offers an unrivaled collection of world-class palaces, hidden backstreet shrines, and sublime temple art. Nepal is also a great place to learn about everything from Tibetan Buddhism to how to make the best momos (dumplings).

There are few countries in the world that are as well set up for independent travel as Nepal. Wandering the trekking shops, bakeries, and pizzerias of Thamel and Pokhara, it’s easy to feel that you have somehow landed in a kind of backpacker Disneyland. Out in the countryside lies a quite different Nepal, where traditional mountain life continues at a slower pace, and a million potential adventures glimmer on the mountain horizons. The biggest problem you might face in Nepal is just how to fit everything in, which is one reason why many people return here over and over again.

A trekker’s paradise, Nepal combines Himalayan views, golden temples, charming hill villages, and jungle wildlife watching to offer one of the world’s great travel destinations.

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