Nepal: the Holy Grail of hiking locations

Recently Nepal has been in the news. The country held parliamentary elections some ten years after the end of the country’s civil war—which plagued the Asian country for nearly twenty years—when the monarchy was finally ousted by the communist rebels. Unlike most other countries’ elections Nepal had to have the election staggered over a couple of different days, spanning a few weeks. That’s because this mostly rural country is covered in mountains and getting everyone’s vote was an arduous task as it involved election officials traversing some of the world’s highest mountains—eight of the ten highest, in fact—as well as broad swaths of jungle in the south of the country and just about everything else in between.
The nature of the country is why Nepal normally makes the news, when it does, and its mountains are what make Nepal the ideal place to go on an unforgettable hiking holiday. Even if you’ve spent your whole life in the mountains, as I almost have, there’s nothing that can quite compare to Nepal.
Seeing its peaks in person will quite probably take your breath away—and not just because the altitude makes it difficult to breathe!—but because these is literally nothing like these mountains anywhere in the world. While the Andes are huge and impressive as are many other ranges, Nepal goes from sea level to the highest point on the entire planet within the relatively small space of just a couple hundred kilometres. There is truly nothing else like it on the planet.
Beyond the country’s nature however it has a wealth of culture to offer the visitor. Roughly the size of Greece, Nepal has about 100 different languages and distinct cultures. While they often get lumped together and put under the sloppy label of ‘Nepalese’, anthropologist could spend lifetimes—and indeed they have!—and not run out of inspiration of new peoples to study.
The most common and by far the easiest way to get to Nepal is flying into the county’s capital Kathmandu. While there are a couple of airlines that fly directly from Europe, most likely you will have to change planes in India or elsewhere.
Don’t by any means let the journey dissuade you from visiting however because Nepal is a dreamlike world for people who haven’t been there before and it offers some of the world’s best hiking.