nepali holidays


Add Extra Spice to Your Trip to Kathmandu with these Off-the-Beaten-Track Adventures

Let’s be honest – Kathmandu isn’t the first name that springs to most people’s minds when planning a trip with the kids. A history of political instability and a reputation for pollution and chaotic streets means many families leave it off their Asian itineraries, but families that do make the trip will find a whole host of family friendly adventures, and that sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’ve ventured where relatively few family travelers have gone before. This ‘City of the Gods’ is home to magnificent temples, deep shrine-filled valleys, and some of the most colorful street life anywhere on the planet – (think monkeys and bovine beasts jostling for space with pedestrians in bright religious robes).

Families in Kathmandu are unlikely to find themselves battling to escape the tourist masses, but escaping the thick pollution and the congested streets is more likely to be a concern. Luckily, fresh air is never far away – families can expect to spend time hiking and getting to grips with nature, without straying far from the city.

Spend a Day on a Farm

Kathmandu is better known for its chaos and congestion than its fertile farmlands, but families in the city need only delve a little deeper than street level to find that some enterprising locals are indeed raising vegetable as well as livestock at various semi-rural spots. Some companies such as Backstreet Academy arrange trips to urban farms, where families can spend the day learning how to work the land and see how a self-sustaining vegetable farm can work in a big city, and older children can even enjoy collecting eggs and milking cows. It’s hard work, but one which should work up an appetite to enjoy a meal made with freshly-picked produce. It’s not your average day in the big city, which is part of the appeal, and families prepared to put in the work will learn a great deal about traditional Nepalese farming methods.

Check out a Hermit’s Art Collection

Of all the off-the-wall things to do in and around Kathmandu, visiting the home and art studio of a self-declared hermit could perhaps be top of the list. At the Hermitage – an artist’s cottage set in grand gardens some 6km from the city at Pasang Lhamu Road in Bouddha – Manju Babu Mishra welcomes curious visitors. Those who make the trip can can admire his many very distinctive artworks and stroll around impressive gardens filled with fruit trees and sculptures. He may not choose to venture out himself, but the self declared hermit does enjoy welcoming visitors to his home, and waxing lyrical on his favorite subjects – art and literature. That might not sound like the most alluring prospect for kids, but a quick peek around the garden – and the novelty of the whole thing – should pique inquisitive children’s imaginations.  

Take a Hike

There’s no question about it, the air pollution in Kathmandu is an issue. The air quality ranks among the worst in the world (anti-pollution masks are advisable), and families are likely to find themselves literally gasping for some fresh air. Handy, then, that some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable surrounds the city on all sides, and taking a hike or jumping on a bike is a family-friendly way to explore it. It’s rare to see many other walkers even on well-known routes such as the Chisapani hike and Nagarjun hike, and the sunsets over the horizon are truly magical. Perhaps most stunning of all is the hill station of Nagarkot, which sits at 2300 feet above the Kathmandu Valley, and where the snow-topped mountains make a particularly picturesque backdrop to hikes and nature walks – the trekking route around the town takes some three hours, taking in traditional mud hut villages, bright wild flowers and dense forests. There are guided walks available, but experienced walkers will find it easy to navigate the trails by themselves. About one hour’s bumpy drive Northeast of Kathmandu, it’s possible to see Nagarkot as a day trip, but with plenty of inexpensive places to stay, it’s worth making it into a short side trip to make the most of the mountain air and fresh breezes.

Don’t Miss this Fried Ice Cream

OK, so this is no hidden gem, and it’s not going to win any healthy eating awards, but kids and their parents need a sweet treat sometimes, and the fried ice cream rolls at FunKey Delights rally deliver the goods. Stirred, fried and cooled ice cream is served up in all manner of drool-inducing combinations, many of which feature chocolate in diverse and abundant forms – anyone for the signature fried ice cream roll, featuring chocolate cookies, chocolate syrup, chocolate itself, and chocolate pie. Yes, it’s darned chocolatey.  Fruit puts in an occasional appearance, should parents need to convince themselves that there is a health element to be gleaned from a visit to this calorie-laden cafe, and kids can even set to work making their own ice creams to be devoured in seconds.


For the last few years I’ve been coming to Nepal with my kids for at least a few months a year. So I gathered for you all the things I thought would help planning a trip there. I tried giving you a more general image as well as going into detail, in points that I found important.


Neighbor to India and China, half an hour flight from Delhi, an hour and a half from Bangkok.

Budget for a family per month:

Low budget- cheap hotels, cheap restaurants, and one short trek, 1000-1200$
Medium budget- decent hotels, average restaurants, a trek and rafting, 1200-1400$
High budget- good hotels, expensive restaurants, good private transportation, treks and rafting, 1400-2000$

Getting there:

I recommend Turkish or Qatar airways.
You can also take a bus from India, but be prepared as it’s a grueling 30-40 hours’ drive.


In Nepal you get visa upon landing, 45$ a month or 100$ for three months. You can extend afterwards (up to a combined 150 days a year) in Pokhara or in Kathmandu at the cost of 2$ a day in the immigration office.
Children under 10 don’t pay (and don’t let them charge you for them).
There’s a machine at the airport through which you fill a form and have your picture taken, print the form and wait in line for the Visa.

Recommended seasons:

There are two good seasons a year, from early February until April, that starts cool and clear and gets warmer and wetter, and from late September to late November, that starts warm and a bit rainy and gets cooler and clearer. There’s also the winter, which is very cold but doesn’t get any rain, that’s in December to early February. Late December and early January are the best for view (the clearest visibility).

Exchange rate:

The Nepali currency is called Nepali rupee (npr), and it’s worth less than an Indian rupee in a ratio of 1-1.6 (1 Indian rupee is worth 1.6 Nepali rupees). 1$ is worth about 100 npr.

Central hubs:

Kathmandu- the capital city (the tourist zone is a neighborhood called Thamel). A noisy, bustling city.
Pokhara- the second biggest city. A calm, quiet city on a lake shore. (The tourist zone is an area called lakeside, and it’s right on the lake).

Places we recommend:

Lakeside Pokhara- a quiet, relaxed neighborhood on Pokhara’s Fewa Lake.

Australian base camp- a stunning village in the mountains, two hours’ drive from Pokhara, with amazing views, good guesthouses and restaurants.

Astham village- on the Himalayan foothills, the Annapurna range, a small village with a sweet eco lodge.

Fishling-Charoundi area- halfway between Kathmandu and Pokhara, an interesting point on the Trisuli River. You can stay in resorts and participate in extreme water sports (kayaking canyoning etc…) or just chill on the beach. Great local food, meeting with the local and an introduction to real Nepal.

Foods to try:

Dal-Baht- a meal consisting of rice, lentil soup, vegetable curry, steamed greens, and a type of “pickle”- what puts the spicy in it all- that can come in a number of ways (tomato sauce with chilly, spiced chopped radishes, etc…). Sometimes they add a plate of meat (chicken/fish/buffalo). The Nepalese eat it every day twice a day, breakfast and dinner.

Momo- steamed Tibetan dumpings filled with vegetables or meat.

Thukpa- a Nepali style noodle soup (there’s a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian version) and sometimes has momos inside.


-Nepal is home of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848m’ or 29,029ft). The first woman to get to the summit was Japanese, in 1975

-In Nepal there are many gorgeous rivers, and the Everest and Annapurna mountain ranges, both a part of the Himalayas. The villages still preserve an ancient culture, the houses are made of stone and mud, and the cooking on an open fire, the food taken straight from the field, shower is in the river, etc…

-Food is mostly rice or corn based.

-The national dish is Dal-Baht- a rice dish they eat with their hands, twice a day, every day.

-The national drink is a milk Chai tea they call Chia, and Alcohol – they have a few different kinds of homemade drinks made from Semolina or Rice- Roxi, Chang, Tumba.

-The most special Tikka is the “Tihar” (brother-sister festival) Tikka- given by the eldest sister to her younger brothers. This is one of the most important and holy festivals in the Nepali culture and is celebrated every year around October. (Joins the “Dasai”, the year’s most important festival).

The important holidays- are celebrated towards the end of October. That should be taken under consideration as most Nepalese like to go back home to their families (that includes taxi drivers and trekking guides…), traffic is high, roads are full to bursting, and there’s a shortage of manpower as they’re all celebrating.

Holidays in March-April: the two biggest ones are “Shiva Ratri”- where they smoke marijuana for the god’s birthday, and eat sugarcanes. In the evening they light bonfires and roast the sugarcanes on the flames and after it gets very hot, they slam it against the ground, which creates a loud bang. They afterwards eat the flowing syrup straight from the cane…

The other one is known as “Holy”- the color festival. A whole day where people throw colorful powder on each other in the street. Go with your spare clothes and be prepared for street color fights (they mix the powders with water and sometimes eggs…). Keep a close eye on the kids as there usually are hundreds out in the street on that day.

-clothing: most people wear regular western clothing. Bracelets on the wrists signify marriage.

-The Nepalese are charming, gentle and love kids. They’ll go to them straight away, play with them and carry them around in their arms. If that’s hard for you, put limits on thing and tell your kids it’s ok to refuse if they don’t like it.

Additional information:

Money and ATM machines: ATMs today are easy to find in any city. Usually they even work. The recommended bank is “Nabil Bank”- look for the green ATMs, they allow you to pull 35,000 at one go, for a 500 rupee commission per pull. And you can do that up to 3 times in a row.

Water: you can easily find mineral water in any store both in cities and villages at the cost of 25 rupees a bottle. Hot water for a shower- some places have only solar heating, others also an electric. There won’t always be hot water in the shower so better make sure before going in 

Rain: the rains in Nepal get very heavy, and come very suddenly. When it rains the streets turn to rivers. Take umbrellas with you, and waterproof jackets (easy to get anywhere) and it’s best to just go with flip-flops

Temperature: in Nepal they don’t really have any heater/coolers in most hotels. There’s a ceiling fan (that only works when there’s power) but it doesn’t help with humidity. If you come at very hot or cold seasons prepare accordingly.


Inside the cities you can get around by taxi or simply walking. You should always agree on the taxi price before getting in that taxi. Between cities- the tourist bus is fast, reliable and comfortable. A usual price per seat is 600-700npr (you can share a seat with your young children and not pay for them). The drive is 6-8 hours with 2 stops in the middle, but take under consideration traffic jams and road blocks. Always take some snacks with you.

Another option is a flight. A ticket costs 100-120$. It’s a short flight recommended for those short on time.

Communication – sim card and internet:

The biggest telecommunication company in Nepal is Ncell. To buy a sim card you’ll need a photocopy of the visa page on your passport. Or you can buy a ‘black market’ sim card in some stores. You get call minutes by buying a recharge ‘balance’ card (you can find those at most convenient stores, 20, 50,100, 200 rupees’ worth and so on). You can also buy 3G data, which is usually fast.

Wifi there’s almost everywhere and it’s usually a decent speed.
**plastic bags: it’s getting harder and harder to find simple a plastic bag. In stores they give ecological paper bags, and if you don’t want to have to buy them every time, it’s best you bring a bag with you to carry everything around. I recommend you bring a few plastic bags with you from home because sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Things to do with kids in Nepal:

Rafting: a must for every family. A trip of 2-3 days (or more if you want), on a river raft, high or low extreme levels (up to you). What’s wonderful about rafting is that it’s not just the river, but also the views, the encounter with nature, the little villages along the way, camping meals (that the stuff cooks with impressive competence!).

The rafting company I recommend for family trips is Adrenaline-Rush, their office in right on Pokhara’s main junction (Halown-chawk). They’re not the cheapest but their level of service is very high.

Trekking: of course, there are many routes, of varying difficulties. Go to an agency and check. There’s no need to learn it all in advance, it’s even preferable to get there and get all the info and explanation about the treks. They’ll also know which routes are open and safe, weather-wise. You can decide today to leave tomorrow. There are also trekking equipment stores everywhere. They also rent so everything is nice and organized.

Recommended trek with kids at a very low difficulty level- Dhampus trek, includes the Australian base camp. A short trek that doesn’t go into dangerous altitudes, with picturesque villages and excellent views of the Annapurna range.

For more adventurous families- “around Annapura” trek. I recommend consulting with a doctor before going about how to deal with high altitudes, correct behavior in high altitudes, signs are and warning signs.

**families with younger kids- it might be best to hire a porter to help you with the young ones. In some places, its better an experienced porter carry them (slick trails, steep stairs, river crossings, etc…).

Kathmandu: the monkey temple. Near the Thamel there’s also a very nice artificial rock climbing wall you should try.

Pokhara: the Mountain Museum (recommended before trekking), paragliding (right above the Himalayas!), rafting, mountain biking, the fishing village Pame, Bengas lake. The Tibetan refugee camp and their temple (highly recommended, there are also basic rooms, if you want to experience the temple on another level. There are children learning in the temple…).

Movie garden- open air cinema, great atmosphere. Sit on the couches, or on the floor, and get pillows and blankets if you want, big screen, popcorn, pizza and drinks (including beer). On Saturdays they play children’s movies, and kids get free admission. Movies start at 7:30, but get there half an hour ahead of time just to find a place to sit.

Volunteering: in the Organic Shop in Pokhara they recommend a number of farms ro volunteer in (free of charge), and there are also a few orphanages. More organizations can be found in Kathmandu (more info can be found in “Places” restaurant)

Chitwan- Nepal’s biggest and most famous national park with safari trips where you can see elephants (some safaris are done riding Elephants!), rhinos, tigers and more. Usually what people do is order a tour with one of the agencies that arranges them, including transportation, stay, and a number of activities, if you want to do it yourself you can take a bus, book a hotel and arrange activities through it or through a local agency. The packages offer good value. It’s not recommended to arrive at summer or winter because it gets both very hot and very cold there:-).

Nepal is also mentioned in my new ebook, “How to travel with kids for1400$ a month (or less), as a recommended destination for a low budget family trip. if you want to learn more, please click and download the ebook.