8 Great Surprising Things to See in Nepal

Traveling to Nepal was one of the coolest things I have done. I expected to see amazing mountains, trekking trails, and prayer flags but I did not really know what else to expect.

Some surprising things to see in Nepal, I learned, included amazing sunsets, colorful vivid street art, and clever transportation and technology.

The ITBMC travel conference occurred one day during the Himalayan Travel Mart. The Nepal Tourism Board and PATA paid for 107 travel bloggers and media, from 53 countries, to experience Nepal. Half of us went on multi-day treks while the other half went on multi-day cultural experiences.

My trekking group (one travel agent and seven travel journalists) came from all over the world—Argentina, Philippines, Greece, and USA. Links to some of their coverage appear at the end of this McCool Travel article but first are some of my impressions from our Nepal experience.

8 Great Surprising Things to See in Nepal

Nepal sign spelling out Nepal as anagram Never End Peace and Love
Nepal sign: Never End Peace and Love

1. Dal Baht

The country of Nepal borders India and I expected some Indian influence on the Nepali cuisine. Indeed, we found curry (vegetarian and chicken) on every menu. What I did not expect was the elegant presentation of the Dal Baht ingredients. Lentil soup/sauce is a main feature of Dal Baht.

elegant dal baht plate in Nepal
Dal Baht is one of the most popular things to eat in Nepal

2. Nepal Mountain Transportation

During my short five day trek on the Annapurna Circuit, I learned that the mountains are full of tea houses and villages. There are no roads, yet the tea houses are always fully stocked with food, beverages, and supplies. At the end of the first day of hiking—I mean trekking—I learned the secret.

Supplies are delivered by donkeys, mules, burros, whatever. I saw donkeys carrying big rolls of electrical wire, building supplies, and baskets with live chickens. It is actually quite amazing to see.

donkeys stepping down stone staircase in Nepal
donkeys on trekking paths are surprising things to see in Nepal

3. Nepal Technology

I actually had pretty good wi-fi service in my Kathmandu hotel and even some internet service in the trekking tea houses (although there was a small charge to connect to it). Walking around the city of Kathmandu is a feast for the senses.

This is one of my favorite things about Nepal. Is it any wonder there was any wi-fi service at all?

jumbled mess of wires on telephone pole in Nepal
how do emails get through these jumbled wires in Kathmandu Nepal

4. Nepal Street Art

Another favorite Kathmandu Nepal sight was this street art mural. I walked a few miles in each direction from my hotel but the only street art I saw was this wall mural across the street. Although I would say that street art in Nepal is not a popular thing, I found this quite vivid and colorful.

very colorful wall mural of Nepalese woman dancing
Kathmandu Nepal mural. This Nepal street art is so vivid and colorful.

5. Tropical Nepal

My impression of Nepal was of perpetually snow covered Himalaya mountains. Indeed, Nepal has 8 of the 10 tallest mountains on Earth, all over 8,090 meters (26,500 feet). While the Himalaya mountains dominate the country’s travel coverage, there are many other things to see in Nepal.

For instance, 36% of Nepal’s land is tropical and 22% is subtropical. Much of the time we drove and trekked in Nepal, I saw more banana trees than alpine features.

lush green forest and stone trekking path in Nepal
one of the surprising things about Nepal was this tropical landscape

6. Poon Hill Sunrise

You might wonder why the next photo is one of my surprising things to see in Nepal since I knew I was going on a trekking trip. Well, two reasons. No, three reasons. The first reason is that my itinerary listed a different trek. When I arrived at Kathmandu airport, I was checked into a different hotel and later went on an entirely different multi-day trek than I expected.

The second reason is that our guides told us that the mountain view from Poon Hill is only visible about 25% of the time. When we arrived at the top of Poon Hill, sure enough, the fog was thick. After 20 minutes or so, the sky cleared and we were treated to this gorgeous view.

The third reason is, heck, me trekking in Nepal? That surprised even me!

smiling hiker with prayer flags in Nepal
Charles McCool with prayer flags atop Poon Hill, Nepal

7. Nepal Sunset

Of course I knew sunsets occur daily in Nepal but I loved this scene in Pokhara, Nepal. Not only did dozens of people occupy the platform but I love how the blue boats and red outfit (especially) complement the gorgeous sky. The resolution of this photo is reduced (for page optimization) so please see my better quality Nepal picture on Instagram.

blue boats on lake with sunset and one woman wearing red outfit
catch a gorgeous Nepal sunset at Phewa Lake, Pokhara

8. Himalaya Mountain Range View

Speaking of views, I was astonished how gorgeous of a view I had on my return flight from Kathmandu airport. Is one of these peaks Mt. Everest? Let me know. McCool Travel tip: on flights between Kathmandu and points west (Europe, Africa, India, etc.), reserve a seat on the right side of the plane.

Himalaya mountain range from an airplane
view of Himalaya mountains from Turkish Airlines flight

Thank you to Nepal Tourism and PATA for hosting me at Himalaya Travel Mart and ITBMC, and for Turkish Airlines as an official airline partner.

Please see also these articles written by my Nepal trekking friends:

Surprising things to see in Nepal included amazing sunsets, colorful and vivid street art, luxury hotels, and clever transportation and technology. Article and photo by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

Sharing is caring!

34 thoughts on “8 Great Surprising Things to See in Nepal”

  1. Thanks for taking your time to write this article and helping us to promote Nepalese Tourism. loved it.

  2. Pingback: The Best Street Art Around the World - Street Art Chat
  3. Pingback: How to Go Trekking in Nepal and What NOT to Do - Poon Hill Trek - Where in the World is Nina?
  4. Looks like an amazing adventure. I loved the donkeys make the trek. I saw a similar tangle of cables while visiting Viet Nam. It’s amazing any one gets service.

  5. My husband and his sister went trekking for two weeks on the Annapurna trail last fall. I didn’t go because it didn’t sound like fun to me to spend so many days walking in the cold. Much of what you saw does sound like the kind of things I’d like to see, especially Pokhara and those tropical landscapes. Maybe next time they decide to go, I’ll leave them to the high-elevation trekking and take off on my own!

  6. Am surprised by the tangled wires and elaborate street art you found in Nepal. I would more expect to see that in Beijing–didn’t know Nepal is big enough to have so many wires.

  7. Sounds like you had a quite fascinating (and maybe a little physically challenging) time. I’ve been following your Instagram photos (or were they someone else’s); in any case, Nepal seems tops for photogenicity. (My spellcheck doesn’t think that’s a word, but it should be).

  8. I enjoyed reading about things to see in Nepal. I haven’t decided if it is a place I really want to go. And wow, it’s surprising to see Tropical Forests there. Your photos are gorgeous!

  9. Nepal has been on my list but didn’t know a lot about it so your post really helped. Having been to Bhutan, I was curious to see how Nepal might be different. Would definitely do the trekking.

  10. That jumble of wires makes me laugh. One day driving by I saw a monkey sitting amidst them all.

    I think I was a day behind you doing the same Poon Hill trek and we never really got a clear view. Actually, the weather was so bad the morning we were to do the sunrise trek up there that we couldn’t even go.

  11. I never got that airplane view, was always stuck in the aisle seats. A few of us ended up in the tropical areas of Nepal and yes it was extremely hot indeed!

  12. Where did you see that Never End Peace And Love? That’s so cool! 😀 Another surprise for me was how cheap the mangoes were. They were so sweet!

Comments are closed.