The Himalayan country Nepal is a great destination for any traveler. Home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains and a country famous for its rich culture, diverse wildlife, and stunning natural beauty, Nepal has an interesting history of tourism. It’s not uncommon to find tourists travelling to Nepal on guided tours and treks. However, if you want to go beyond the conventional way of traveling in Nepal, you need to be prepared for what lies ahead. While it may seem like a daunting task to explore Nepal beyond the conventional way, it is actually quite easy. Here we have listed four ways of traveling to Nepal differently. These ways will give you a chance to explore Nepal and see local and unexplored communities that offer great views and experiences at every turn.
1. Road Trip in Nepal
Out of many other ways to explore this beautiful country, one of them is by a road trip. This gives travelers a chance to see local communities and their unique lifestyles. Keeping this in mind, we at Community Homestay Network have curated and tried to offer a different type of adventure while exploring the local communities via Eastern Nepal Road Trip.
Although fewer travelers visit Eastern Nepal compared to the central and mid-western areas, it does not mean it has lesser charm than others. If you love to travel and experience the beautiful tea garden, explore the natural beauty, culture and bio-diversity from the flat plains to the mesmerizing view of the world’s third-highest mountain Kanchenjunga, the road trip to Eastern Nepal is a perfect journey to take. You would start your journey by staying and experiencing Newari culture in one of the authentic ways by living with the locals at Panauti Community Homestays. Around only two hours from Kathmandu, you will find a community that has successfully kept its tradition and culture from the 13th century. While continuing the journey towards the east you will visit Namobudha, hike around there and Patlekhet. Pathlekhet is a farming village, where you would be able to enjoy simpler ways of life while getting engaged in organic farming. The next stop Janakpur would be waiting to welcome you with vibrant colors and the majestic Janaki temple, an important pilgrimage for Hindus. Here you would be able to enjoy the different cultures and visit local organizations that support women to create and promote the traditional Mithila art and indulge in some shopping. Moving forward from the plains, you will get to enjoy the warm hospitality of the Magar farming community. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you will arrive here just in time to enjoy the sunset with Mount Makalu,( the fifth highest mountain in the world) in the background. As you continue the journey, you will come across beautiful tea gardens with majestic waterfalls and stops to hike around. While enjoying the scenic gardens with the views of Mount Kangchenjunga, (the third highest mountain in the world), you will visit a tea factory in Ilam to learn about bringing your cup of tea to the table before returning to Kathmandu.
2. Alternative Trekking Routes
When you google search ways to explore anywhere beyond the conventional way, the top searches show you the options to travel cheaper. Traveling differently always does not equate to cheaper options but way more than that. It is an alternative idea to experience places beyond the well-marketed ones. This option helps to share the benefits of tourism among the locals in small villages while helping to curb the problems of over tourism. While tagging it as a cheaper way to travel could attract travelers in an unwanted way. As trekking is one of the most popular activities to do while visiting the country, finding off-beaten paths and alternative routes gives you a chance to understand and travel Nepal differently than others.
While reconnecting with nature and facing the unknown changes, the lessons learned while trekking has always left trekkers with humbling experiences. The alternative trekking routes help to explore forests, rivers, villages, people, and mountains themselves leaving a life-long impression and a longing to know more about Nepal’s geography, tradition, lifestyle, and culture. While some routes in Nepal are well known, unexplored alternatives exist. Seeking out the routes like Langtang Region’s Tamang Heritage Trail and Annapurna Region Khopra Community Trek, among others, will support lesser-visited communities along the way and help you travel more sustainably and connect with the culture more deeply.
3. Staying in Community Homestays
Sharing the roofs and meals with locals allows you to authentically enjoy Nepal’s diverse culture and traditions. As experiential traveling is gaining a lot of attention these days, from our experience of sending travelers to the communities, we without a doubt can vouch that enjoying local communities via community homestays is one of the best ways.
Experiential travel is a win-win scenario for both the locals and the travelers. The feedback from our previous guests has helped us understand the potential and the importance of promoting an off-beaten path. Their testimonies on how they have built strong relationships with Nepalese families and created an impact by choosing meaningful travel showed a unique way to understand Nepal. Some of our communities are far away from the usual travel destinations, making the journey and destination even more beautiful. Be it experiencing traditional Newari culture in Panauti, understanding the basics of farming in Patlekhet and Nuwakot, immersing yourself in natural beauty in Narchyang and Ilam, or exploring the wildlife in Bardia, Bhada and Rana Tharu, exploring Nepal via community homestays have something for everyone. Along with experiencing the things you love, you will be able to stay with locals and learn about their way of life while promoting equitable benefits to the areas that receive limited travelers.
4. Exploring Kathmandu Valley like never before
With more than 130 ancient monuments Kathmandu Valley is a melting pot of culture, tradition and history. The usual way to travel around Kathmandu is going around the Durbar Squares or traveling to some touristy sides of Nagarkot. Even while you are at Nagarkot, you could always opt to stay in the less crowded area, a bit further away from the hotel side and explore it like never before. Hiking along with the lush forests and chasing the waterfalls in Nagarkot gives you an immersive experience to explore around. Although the monuments, stupas and temples of Kathmandu symbolize the rich architectural heritage, the valley is much more than that. One can be amazed when you start to explore the valley beyond that, within a short distance, you could explore the urban, semi-urban and rural parts that are equally rich in culture and landscape. One would never think of exploring the valley via community homestays, but they give you a unique perspective to travel differently. Whether it be hiking the picturesque hilly trails or exploring the local Newari foods and handicrafts, the communities around Kathmandu will leave you mesmerized by their authenticity.
While doing all this, you could support local communities and women by choosing socially responsible organizations.
If you are interested in exploring Nepal in an unconventional way while benefiting the local communities and women directly, give a closer look at Community Homestay Network. We connect global travelers with authentic Nepal by letting them stay with the locals and experience a typical Nepali lifestyle. Our experiences are designed with the goal of leaving a positive impact on the local communities and environment.