There are few other countries that scream adventure like Nepal does. Thanks to the Himalayas it is a country of superlatives and it shows in the activities people come here to do. Of course, on top of this list is a trip to Everest or Annapurna base camp – trekking is the name of the game. But just because it is called basecamp doesn’t make it any less of a challenge for the average hiker and if you are not a mountain goat you are in for a quite a trip. The experience is as exhausting as it is rewarding and shouldn’t be underestimated and probably skipped if you are not reasonably fit (and by reasonably I mean very).
Luckily Nepal has much to offer even for non-trekkers and is worth a journey even if you only plan to see the mountain tops from the distance or below. What else is there to do you may ask? Let me show you because Nepal has adventures for everyone and much to see and explore.

Nepal for non-trekkers

Kathmandu Food Tour

Nepali cuisine is so much more than momos though I dare say these delicious dumplings are worth alone a trip to the country’s capital. If you want to explore what is happening on Nepal’s plates I recommend a food tour with Backstreet Academy in Kathmandu.

On this food tour, you will explore the hip Thamel district, visit the lively Ason market square and explore – as the name implies – the backstreets of the city. Luckily you will have a trusted guide at your side because the streets of Kathmandu are a wonderful maze. Start with a fresh fruit juice with flakey sweet condensed milk followed by samoosas and dahi puri. A highlight is a visit to a small family run place where you stop for bota, a lentil pancake served with potatoes. Neither restaurant nor snack shop you are simply in someone’s home – grab a spot on a bench or the windowsill and watch the lady of the house work her magic and dig in – Nerawi kitchen at its best!

And fear not – this food tour will still show you where to get the best momos in town. Be daring and try the buffalo ones as they are the most delicious and come served with spicy broth.

Chitwan National Park

The Chitwan National Park is famous for its rhinos and a safari here is a real adventure that will get your heart rate going without having to trek up a mountain. Many resorts and homestays offer jeep safaris with a naturalist that allow you to explore this beautiful area and its inhabitants. In addition to rhinos, you will have a chance to see deer and birds and those who are very lucky can even spot an elusive tiger or leopard.

Make sure to take a canoe tour down the Narayani River as well as you can spot much more wildlife from and in the water including some huge crocodiles that will make you appreciate your sturdy boat.
The National Park has done wonders for the local rhino population which has increased steadily over the last few of years and is a prime example of conservation work done well.

Note that the Chitwan National Park borders to India and is all the way in the south of Nepal – temperatures here get scorching during the summer month so make sure to bring sun protection, mosquito repellant and neutral colored cotton clothing for your safari.

Getting high in Pokhara

No, not as you may think…! Pokhara is the backpacker and adventure town in Nepal and offers enough entertainment to spend a couple of days without getting bored. Take a scenic boat ride on the Phewa lake and hike up to the World Peace Pagoda. The hike is steep but short and the view from the top is oh so worth it: when the weather is good you have a beautiful view over Annapurna.

Care to get even higher? Go ziplining or bungee jumping. Just a short bus ride away from town you will find the Zipflyer, the longest, highest, and steepest zipline in the world. Over 2 kilometers long and with a 600m drop you will have butterflies in the best way possible – don’t close your eyes because otherwise, you may miss the amazing views!

If this isn’t enough excitement for you, you can bungee jump into the valley once you get off the zipline to get your ultimate adrenaline kick.

Lumpini Garden

If you prefer to get your excitement through culture, Lumpini is the place to be. In the Lumpini Garden, you will find one of the holiest places for Buddhist, the Maya Devi Temple. According to archaeologists and historians, Sakyamuni Buddha’s birthplace lies in the heart of this temple. The Marker STone inside marks the exact spot and is an important pilgrimage site for worshippers.

Outside you will find the Asokan Pillar, the Holy Pond as well as a huge Bodhi tree where you can often see monks chanting. Nobody will mind if you join them!

Take a tuk-tuk to get around because the Lumpini Garden complex also boasts a stunning collection of monasteries and temples, donated by other countries. Don’t miss a visit to the German Temple – photography inside is not permitted but a visit is well worth it as it has beautiful light blue dome painted with intricate frescoes.

Everest Flight

Photo by Nam from Laugh Travel Eat

Even if you can’t experience Everest up close and in person, there is a way to see the top for a non-hiker: take a scenic flight with Yeti Air. Starting and landing in Kathmandu a small plane will take you close to mighty Everest and let you enjoy amazing views without panting and sore legs. Everyone gets a window seat on these one-hour flights and even though trips happen before breakfast champagne is served – after all, seeing Everest eye to eye is a reason to celebrate regardless of how you got there.

This post was written by Annika Ziehen who was a Travelette until 2019. Originally from Germany, Annika has lived in New York and Cape Town and now travels the world full time. She considers herself a very hungry mermaid and writes about her adventures, scuba diving and food on her blog The Midnight Blue Elephant. You can also find her on Instagram here!