Nepal: The Land of Adventure & Serenity

By Rana Kamaly

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Nepal, the south Asian piece of paradise, exerts beauty and charm.  This was  my first adventure travel experience, and so I was just as nervous as I was excited.

Since these types of destinations require a lot of planning ahead, I booked with Destination 31, along with all of its activities.

I was promised a holiday full of backpacking adventures, river rafting, mountain climbing and wildlife safaris, among many other activities, and that is indeed what I got.

Accommodation

As there are endless amounts of things to do throughout Nepal, and we did not want to miss out on anything, so we spent four nights in Kathmandu and Pokhara and two nights in a mountain lodge in Dhampus and Sarangkot.

The entire trip was magical and the landscape was breathtaking, however, if you enjoy staying at luxury hotels, then I would not highly recommend this destination. Though the lodge we stayed at in the mountains offered spectacular views, it was not very clean, and we were constantly fighting with all different species of insects inside the room, leading to us barely getting any sleep. Unfortunately this is how most of the overnight places are like there.

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Activities and Landscapes

One of the first activities we did there was river rafting, which indeed proved to be a once in a lifetime experience, as while the adrenaline was rushing through us, we were still able to admire the beautiful landscape that surrounded the rivers and streams.

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We also went canyon swinging, where you jump between two mountains at the height of 160 meters with a river underneath you, reaching a speed of 150 kilometers per hour.

The place is called The Last Resort, and is a popular location in Nepal that offers bungee jumping, canyoning, high ropes, white water rafting and tandem swings, as well as the canyon swing. The resort provides accommodation, dining and nightlife as well as relaxing facilities like saunas, spas and massages.

My heart was about to stop when I was on the ledge looking down at the view that made me go back and forth several times. Millions of thoughts were going on inside my head and every emotion was heightened more than I could handle. When I finally got the courage to do it, saying that I enjoyed it would be an understatement, even though I temporarily lost my voice in the process. That moment of complete chaos in my head when I decided to jump was followed by complete silence, and that was the first time in my life when my head was completely devoid of any thoughts and could not hear anything around me. A few seconds later, reality kicked in and excitement and joy were all I could feel.

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We also climbed many mountains and visited numerous villages, which made us experience a lot of cultures in the midst of breathtaking nature.

There were many other firsts during this trip, including my first time to ride an elephant, go rafting, canyoning, elephant trekking, paragliding, zip-lining, bungee jumping and canoeing, all of which were life altering experiences that left me pumped with adrenaline.

We were also fortunate to witness sunsets and sunrises from the tops of mountains and by lakes and rivers. The contrast between the greenery, water, blue skies and shades of orange was just spectacular. For meditation lovers and yoga enthusiasts, I would highly recommend this trip as you get to connect on a deeper level with who you are. I am a very active and anxious person most of the time, but during the weeks that followed my return, a certain calmness filled me.

Though we did not have the chance to go to any monumental sites, I would recommend visiting the Patan Durbar Square, a museum with Hundu and Buddhist sculptures, the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu that was a popular Hindu cremation temple and the Changunarayan Temple, the oldest temple in Nepal.

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Locals and Cuisine

Being in a country where most of the locals were Hindu or Buddhists was definitely not something I was used to, however, the people there were very welcoming, polite and generous. Though most of the village residents were in bad living conditions, they were still very hospitable, kind and optimistic, which was beautiful to witness. Connecting with people you do not know along the way is an experience in itself that proves to be very easy, as I went with one friend and came back with 30.

The food, however, was the one major downfall of the trip. We resorted to noodles for the entire stay, but the adventure and friendly locals made it worth it.

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General Tips

Best time to visit: October and November.

Pocket money: You can spend around half of what an average person would in a day in Egypt and manage to enjoy yourself. Two hundred USD for a week’s time will be enough for you to get around and buy souvenirs, given that you book with an agency that includes the cost of transportation, accommodation and most meals and activities.

Nepal was an experience that allowed me to mingle in with different cultures and people, all the while ticking off most of the items from my bucket list. Not only are the views there incredible, but the endless amount of activities, whether adrenaline-fueled or relaxation-oriented, all create a perfectly balanced trip.

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