In adventurer’s delight, Nepal offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from paragliding near the mountains to waiting for the Bengal tiger in Chitwan’s wild. Adventure tourism in Nepal dates back to the early attempts to ascend worldâ’s highest peak Mt. Everest fifty years ago.
The 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest was celebrated recently amidst great fanfare and extravaganza. Renowned mountain summiteers Sir Edmund Hillary, Ms. Junko Tabei, Mr. Reinhold Messner, Mr. Appa Sherpa, Mr. Jamling Norgay Sherpa took part in the celebrations.
Trekking and mountain climbing are still the most popular sport among visitors. Rafting on white water mountain streams across the typical cross section of Nepal’s geography is equally popular. Jungle safari in the Terai is preferred by visitors interested to see Nepal’s rare varieties of animals and birds. Nepal also offers bungy jumping above the wild waters of River Bhote Koshi. Canyoning to explore the rugged and out-of -reach landscapes is another option at the site.
Aerial activities include taking off in micro-light aircrafts or hot-air balloons for a good view of the mountains. Mountain flights offer the closest possible spectacle of Mt. Everest and other peaks. The close encounter with the tallest mountains of the earth often draws awe-stricken silence from onlookers.
Sport fishing, like hunting receives little attention in Nepal as few Nepalese pursue this leisure sport. Amazing for a country that is blessed with countless lakes and fast flowing rivers from the far west to the extreme east.
There are more than 118 varieties of fresh-water fish in these Himalayan waters, ranging from the much sought after Mahseer in the Seti and Karnali in far west Nepal to the many varieties of trout. Other favored spots are the other Seti that merges with the Trishuli. The confluence of these two rivers is prime spot for fishing. Or try some quiet spot in the Begnas Tal or Rupa Tal in Pokhara. Phewa Tal is also on the anglers list of places to fish. Hire a boat and spend the day fishing.
In the mountain streams there are rainbow trouts and common trouts that provide good sport. There are agencies in Kathmandu that organize fishing trips to streams around the Kathmandu valley. Other spots for avid anglers, is the Modi Khola near Pokhara and the very popular Dolalghat east of the valley on the Kodari Highway.
The best time to go sport fishing on white waters is before and after the monsoon from February to April and from October to November. During these times the fishes swim upstream to spawn and they consume less food.
Let your spirits fly and take a leap down 160 meters with nothing but a bungy rope attached to your ankles. Bhote Kosi, one of Nepal’s wildest rivers awaits true adventure seekers who are ready for anything. Not for the faint hearted, Bungy jumping is an extreme sport that has your heart racing and adrenaline pumping at an all time high in an instant.
Located at one of the beautiful spots along the Arniko Highway that leads to Tibet, it is a 3 hour drive from Kathmandu to The Last Resort. The resort even built the bridge over the Bhote Koshi so you could get the ultimate high of jumping off from a height of 160m above the river. Specially designed for bungy with a 4x-safety factor the bridge has a loading factor of 41,500 kg or 4.5 tons according to Swiss standards. Rest assured you are safe.
Paragliding is perhaps the most rewarding of short duration adventure sports given the fact that there’s nothing between you and the scenery unfolding before you. This sport comes closest to flying like a bird as you share airspace with vultures, eagles, kites and other birds as you glide over Pokhara valley. In the distance lie the majestic Himalayas and down below are the villages, monasteries, temples, lakes and jungles, a true bird’s eye view and a fascinating one at that.
Gliding is a weather dependent sport and the flying season in Nepal commences from November lasting through February, the best months being November and December. By virtue of its latitude and monsoonal climate, the tree line in Nepal is at an incredible 3,900 m above sea level. With conditions milder than summer alpine, these are excellent and constant atmospherics.
The most suitable terrain for flying in Nepal lies in the Annapurna region, more specifically the Pokhara valley. This lakeside town is Nepal’s second “city”, nestled at the foot of the Annapurna range, the views commanded from here, of 3 of the worlds 8000m peaks, are unsurpassed. At an altitude of 800m ASL the subtropical climate means that, year round, it is short and T-shirt weather. The micro-climate of the valley makes it an ideal area for flying, with far more constant conditions than the Kathmandu valley 150 km east. There are several sites around Phew Tal (the lake) but the most accessible is Sarangkot (1500m ASL).
Ride an elephant through the silent jungle catching wildlife by surprise; it will be one of the most enduring experiences in Nepal. The jungles in the southern and south-western parts of Nepal are only a half hour to an hour’s flight away.
The Chitwan National Park and the Bardia National Park are home to an incredible variety of mammals, reptiles and birds. The former is recognized as the best preserved conservation area in all Asia with a fascinating range of wildlife roaming free. With their natural habitat well preserved the animals are thriving. Among these are the endangered species: the Greater one-horned rhinoceros and the most sought after Royal Bengal tiger.
The many safari lodges in Chitwan and Bardia provide excellent accommodation and facilities for guests to enjoy wildlife activities. See wildlife up-close on an elephant safari or a jeep drive, a boat ride or nature walk under the guidance of expert naturalists with years of experience. Each trip is unique as one never knows what will show up: a bear, a herd of deer, a flock of peacocks, Langur monkeys on treetops, a pair of rhinos and some lucky guests get to see the elusive tiger prowling among the tall grass.
Away from the noise and distractions of city life, there is unbelievable peace in the middle of a jungle listening to bird calls and animal sounds. Surrounded by greenery and filled with natural sounds, the mind relaxes and one finds peace in the wilderness. It’s an experience of a lifetime.
Mountain flight is a much easier way to see the Nepali Himalayan peaks. Most flights are in mornings and operate at all times except in the monsoon seasons of June and July. Air planes fly along the Himalayan range and also beyond for passengers to get a good view of the Himalayan range. All the domestic airlines of Nepal offer various forms of mountain flights.
The flight takes you within camera range of some of the highest peaks in the world, and cruising this close to the awe-inspiring massifs of rock and ice is an out-of-this world experience. A few domestic airlines offer mountain flight from Kathmandu to see Mt. Everest. This unique experience gives visitors a quick glance at Nepal’s untamed landscapes and a fly-past through the world’s tallest peak.
The aircraft takes off and heads eastward and almost immediately the peaks come into view. The first peak that appears on your horizon is the majestic Gosaithan, also called Shisha Pangma, standing at a height of 8,013m. To its right appears Dorje Lhakpa (6,966m), looking like a massive figure of eight lying prone and covered in snow. To its right is Phurbi Chyachu, which looms over the Kathmandu valley
Hurtling down dirt roads on a mountain bike and getting a big thrill out of it is for the hardy and the fittest adventure seekers. And Nepal is just the place for such high spirited people. Beginning right here in the Kathmandu valley, there are endless possibilities for bikers. The dirt trails up and down the valley lead to far flung settlements with great views along the way as the fields are covered in lush green and mountains appear in the distance as you climb to higher elevations.
Out of the valley there are terraced hillsides, waterfalls and better views of mountains that loom large in the background. Or if you choose to ride in the mountains, there are serene valleys, pristine glacial lakes and you’re ever so close to the Himalaya. And the ever-smiling people who greet you along the way will warm your hearts enough to make you want to stay. It’s a great way to discover the heart and soul of Nepal. Hard core bikers can go all the way to Tibet.
There are many agencies that lead organized trips to most destinations in Nepal as well as to Tibet. The popular destinations around the valley are Bhaktapur, Sankhu, Budanilkantha, Nagarkot and the Kathmandu Valley Rim. Pokhara is fascinating for bike rides with its incredible natural beauty. Each year there are Mountain Biking Championships held in Kathmandu and Pokhara in which many tourists also take part.
“If I had wings I would fly”. You can come close to flying; just go up in an ultra-light aircraft and get a sweeping bird’s eye view of the entire Pokhara Valley. It is an exhilarating ride that allows unhindered views of the mountains and the scenic lakes far below. For those who always dreamed of flying like a bird, here’s your chance. Soar into the blue skies, brush the clouds and get the feeling you can touch the sparkling mountains. It’s a heavenly flight.
Ultra-light flights are operated from Pokhara Airport beginning September through June. Easy to operate, Ultra-lights can take off and land on a field or even a dirt road, and in areas where other planes fear to tread. With a limited capacity, it seats only two, a passenger and the pilot. Ultra-lights can fly for hours and ascend to a maximum height of 5000 meters. With its aerodynamic design, it can fly for hours even with the engine shut off. Safety is ensured as the pilots have over 6000 flights under their belt.