Atmospheric cities, secluded towns and sacred shrines sit amid lush valleys and in the shadow of the snow-capped Himalayas in this South Asian wonderland.

Home to grandiose medieval towns, ancient temples, emerald-green rice fields and the rambling splendor of the Himalayas, Nepal is a truly captivating destination. This welcoming nation stands nestled among soaring mountain peaks and the sweltering plains of North India. Follow world-famous trekking routes, kayak down fast flowing rivers and spot wildlife while perched on an elephant’s back. Seek spiritual enlightenment at stupas, admire architecturally impressive town squares and relax at mountain retreats.

Visit Kathmandu, Nepal’s beating heart and a popular backpacker hangout that blends holy landmarks, centuries-old monuments and animated commercial districts. See the temples and regal palaces that grace Kathmandu Durbar Square, the historic center which felt the brunt of an earthquake in 2015. Find myriad bazaars, bakeries and bars in the colorful Thamel district. Bargain with street vendors in Indra Chowk, sit at bohemian cafés on Freak Street and escape the noise at the Garden of Dreams.

Experience the spiritual ambiance of temples located in Kathmandu’s outskirts. Spin prayer wheels and stroll with devotees around Boudhanath stupa. Climb the monumental staircase to Swayambhunath temple. Meet Buddhist monks at Kopan Monastery and observe Hindu rituals at Pashupatinath Temple.

Discover picturesque towns and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley. Marvel at over 50 temples and enjoy vibrant festivals in Pathan. Gaze up at skyscraping pagoda-style shrines in Bhaktapur and spend the night at a hideaway in Nagarkot.

Take the multiday trek to Everest Base Camp or hike the Great Himalaya Trail. Travel northwest to the Annapurna Range and explore areas of the Annapurna Circuit. The lakeside town of Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna mountains. Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddhartha Buddha, is another town worth visiting.

Spot Bengal tigers, rhino and varied birdlife on elephant and jeeps safaris in Bardia National Park and Chitwan National Park. Try rafting and kayaking on the Sun Kosi and Tamur rivers.

Reach Nepal by flying to Tribhuvan International Airport or travel overland from India. Get around this beautiful country by bus, bike, taxi or on foot. See it from above on scenic flights.