in the middle
Nepal is a country of mists and mountains. With thousands of years of history and culture, a trip to this landlocked country will certainly be a unique experience. Home to the stunning Himalayas, Nepal is known for its impressive trekking routes and quaint way of life, so it's definitely not for the faint-hearted or for those reliant on home comforts. Here you will be out of your element, so revel in the change of pace and immerse yourself in one of the world's most fascinating cultures.
For cheap flights to Nepal, you will need to research what is available with airlines such as Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Air India, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and China Southern. These flights depart from a number of UK airports such as London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester and London Gatwick. Try to avoid booking during festivals, such as Diwali on 19th October 2017 and Dashain which is held over several days in September and October 2017.
Flight times vary, but flights to Nepal from the UK will generally take about 12 hours. Most stopovers are in Delhi, Doha, Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Tribhuvan International Airport is the main travel hub for those on a flight to Kathmandu and it's about 25 minutes outside of the city's heart so onward transfers should be speedy if you're staying locally.
Given its climate and landscape, travelling around Nepal is never going to be a simple affair. You can rent a vehicle but you aren't allowed to drive yourself; instead your rental car will come with its own driver. Be aware that you will have to pay for the driver's accommodation and food if your trip is an overnight one. If you choose to rent a motorcycle, make sure you check whether your travel insurance will cover you. Rental cars and motorcycles are a good way to cover long distances but if you have a little more time on your hands then it's significantly cheaper to use public buses.
The bus system is both inexpensive and uncomfortable. For longer distances, it is best to book seats on a private bus in advance. It is also not advisable to travel by bus overnight as accidents are more likely to occur at night. If you hop on a local bus, don't be surprised to have goats, ducks and other animals for fellow passengers!
If you are able, getting around on foot or bicycle is a great, cheap way to see Nepal. Combining walking and touring is the popular 'tea house trekking', which involves staying at different tea houses each night as you trek around the hills and mountains of Nepal with a guide. The accommodation is often rustic and the walking constant, but what a great way to meet the locals and stay healthy!
Once you've re-energised after your long flight to Katmandu, get ready to explore Nepal's capital and largest city. It may take time to acclimatise to the sights, smells and life of this bustling city, but you will no doubt be fascinated as you walk through the streets and soak up the atmosphere. Be sure to swing by Durbar Square and see its unique architectural structures; you'll feel as though you have travelled back in time to some ancient civilisation.
Nepal's key draws are its trekking and hiking routes, so get ready to rough it. The Annapurna Region in the north-west is a hugely popular area with trekkers and is a sub-range of the famous Himalayas. The Annapurna Circuit will have you trekking for three-weeks through truly magnificent landscapes: you will pass rivers, plains, forests, canyons and of course mountains. Let's not forget the many ancient monasteries such as the Tengboche Monastery in Khumbu.
Of course, the main attraction of Nepal is the iconic Mt Everest, located in north-east Nepal. Hundreds of brave tourists make the Everest Base Camp Trek each year, travelling through mountains and valleys to reach Everest Base Camp. Imagine being able to tell people that you'd visited Mt Everest! Just don't forget to take your camera for some photographic evidence.