nepal with kids


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.

Spice up your family trip to Pokhara with these off-the-beaten-path activities!

The pretty lakeside town of Pokhara attracts large numbers of visitors, ranging from thrill-seekers enjoying adventure sports, to serious trekkers embarking on hikes around the Annapurna Circuit, to families looking for a little R&R around the lake. There are welcoming, affordable guest houses, cozy restaurants, and yoga studios, making the place a breeze for family visitors to Nepal. Moreover, the compact nature of the place means families can see the major sites in just a few days. The mountain breezes make Pokhara a literal breath of fresh air for anybody who has recently spent time among the traffic fumes of Kathmandu, but the swathes of North Face-clad tourists who flock here can make a visit to Pokhara feel a little like following the herd. Follow these tips to get off the beaten path with your family in Pokhara!


Head to Begnas Lake

Pokhara sits pretty on the shores of beautiful Phewa Lake, and it’s not surprising that this lovely stretch of water is a major draw for nature-loving families heading out to the water for boating, windsurfing and other water sports. It’s undoubtedly a gorgeous spot, but it’s also a very popular one, drawing more visitors than any other lake in the country. For something that feels more satisfyingly off-the-beaten track, Begnas Lake is just as picturesque, but lacks the big crowds and bustling restaurants. Regular buses make the 18km ride out to the lake, but it’s also possible to combine a visit with a relatively easy trek. Keen walkers will be able to do it in a day, with ample opportunity to stop for picnics in stunning surroundings, and it’s even possible to hire a sherpa guide and/or a porter who can carry little ones in a wicker basket, taking some of the strain off parents’ weary limbs and freeing up space for backpacks. The north side of the lake is particularly quiet, even in high season, and visitors to Pokhara with kids will find plenty of budget-friendly spots for a night’s stay, as well as simple restaurants that feel a whole lot less touristy than those in Pokhara itself.


Visit Nearby Villages

If you and your family want to get a taste of how local people live in the mountainous Annapurna region of Nepal, you’ll need to leave Pokhara and head to the nearby villages. Luckily, there’s gorgeous scenery galore as you set off along trails that follow trickling rivers past terraced fields to small, traditional villages inhabited by Gurung and Ghale people. You’ll be met with friendly curiosity, and following trails onwards (it’s possible to do this alone with a reliable map, or with a guide if your navigation skills are likely to fail you) to reach the village of Kalikasthan. Kalikasthan is famous because it is the starting point for the Royal Trek, the route so-named because Prince Charles walked along it with a 90-person entourage back in the 1980s. There are plenty of places to enjoy a peaceful hot drink and bite to eat in this small village, but the real beauty of the place is the view of snowy mountains, stretching as far as the eye can see. From here, three central Himalayan ranges, Manaslu, the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri, are clearly visible, while the nearby Kalikasthan Ridge houses still more villages and camps, as well as a large local school.


Socially-Responsible Shopping

Pokhara’s shops and markets offer any number of opportunities to pick up colorful souvenirs and climbing gear–just watch out for “North Fake” items that will do little to protect you in extreme conditions, as counterfeit items are commonplace! There is one store that merits a visit over the others: the Women’s Skills Development Organisation is a not-for-profit, fair-trade group that works with socially and economically disadvantaged women from rural communities. The gorgeous, expertly crafted bags, scarves and knitted toys are worthy of your investment even without the feel-good factor. You’ll find the store right by the lake in Pokhara.

Visit a Tibetan Refugee Village

A little out of town in Chhore Patan, visit the Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Settlement, which is home to about 500 Tibetans who have fled their homeland after Chinese troops invaded Tibet. Here you can meet some Tibetans and attend the puja (Buddhist ceremony), which occurs daily at 3 PM. The ceremony involves the young monks playing traditional instruments and chanting from religious texts. If you’re in need of some authentic Tibetan souvenirs, check out the Tashiling Handicrafts Centre outside the gates of the village. Chhore Patan showcases the rug-making skills of Tibetan refugees, and the goods are first rate.

Chill Out at the Movie Garden

Head to Northern Pokhara for movie night, every night! Located in the quieter northern end of town, the Movie Garden screens different films every night (time differs depending on the season). Their outdoor area is filled with comfy bean bags and couches, and they project the movies on a large screen. They also serve beers and non-alcoholic beverages, along with snacks (popcorn is a must!). On Saturdays, there is a double-feature with a kids’ movie in the early evening and a film for more mature audiences afterwards. Check the schedule on their Facebook page to see what the movies are going to play each week.

Eat This: Momos

Whether you’re visiting for a relaxing few days in Pokhara with the family, or taking a pit stop before an energy-burning trek, food is likely to be a focal point of your stay here. Tibetan momos are hugely popular in Pokhara, and the meat-or-chicken-stuffed dumplings are usually a big hit with kids. Wash those momos down with sweet and spicy masala tea or, if you’re brave enough, potent raksi (the local firewater) at any number of family-run spots. Opinion is strictly divided about which Pokhara restaurant serves the best momos, but most people agree that the most authentic taste of Tibet, (and a tourist-free experience!), take a 20-minute ride out of town to Mount Kailash Tibetan Restaurant, at the entrance to the Tibetan encampment at Chhore Patan, and run by a friendly Tibetan family. Just ask them to hold the chili sauce if the little ones haven’t acquired a taste for spice!

Famous for its sky-skimming mountains and tough trekking, Nepal isn’t usually the first name that comes to mind when it comes to planning vacations with the kids; however, active families will find an awful lot to love about this this mystical country! Aside from some of the best hiking opportunities on the planet (with options for every level–nobody’s suggesting that families in Nepal should be scaling Everest), visitors can visit National Parks where big cats prowl, see perfectly-preserved ancient kingdoms, marvel at magnificent temples, and camp out at hilltop lodges with views to thrill even the most cynical of older kids and teens.

Our 30-day Nepal Itinerary takes in the best natural attractions and outdoor experiences that a family trip to Nepal can offer, while also taking in the big cities and leaving time to enjoy the experience. Families coming to Nepal should be aware that the best-laid travel plans often go awry, so it pays to be flexible with timings in order to avoid soaring stress levels.

? Box out: Plan for Weather

The weather can have a big impact on your family trip to Nepal. The best trekking conditions are found from September-December and March-May: think clear skies, cool nights, and warm days. From December through February nights are cold, especially at altitude, and summertime offers heavy rainfall and limited visibility. Strong sunscreen is a must at any time of year, especially for young children.


Days 1-7: Kathmandu and Surrounding Area

Kids on a trip to Kathmandu tend to take great delight in the fact that cows have right of way here, and cattle stroll at a leisurely pace through this hot and hectic city. Take a day or so to recover from the flight and just adapt to the way of life here, riding rickshaws, goggling at the ornate temples and generally soaking up the fascinating street scene.

? Tip: It’s not uncommon for tummy trouble to impact on a family visit to Nepal. Use hand sanitizers, wipe little hands carefully, and use straws rather than drinking directly from cans. Street food can be a large part of the fun, but exercise caution and, if in doubt, seek recommendations from fellow travelers and/or hotel or hostel staff about places (or foods) to avoid.

Nature-loving families in Kathmandu should be sure to visit Swayambhunath (better known as Monkey Temple), a magnificent temple sitting pretty on a hilltop where the fresh air is welcome contrast to the pollution of the city. The biggest attraction for kids are the holy monkeys that keep watch over the entrance, giving the temple its nickname. Next, visit the Hindu temple Pashupatinath, with its robed, dreadlocked and painted saddhus (holy men) flanking temple courtyards. Families should also check out the ancient city of Bhaktapur, a 40-minute drive from the city center (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Bhaktapur hosts its own resident Kumari, a child who assumes the role of Living Goddess (there’s also a Kumari in Durbar Square in Kathmandu). Rattling through the streets of Kathmandu on a rickshaw is a fun introduction to Nepal, and the surrounding Kathmandu Valley is strewn with temples and a good place for short treks (ranging from half a day to several days), and family accommodation in Kathmandu is both plentiful and affordable.

? Tip: It’s perhaps the ultimate hack for families hiking in Nepal: “baby porters” will carry young children and babies in wicker baskets, allowing parents to keep their hands free and stride on with confidence. Intrepid families can bed down in stone lodges, which are found along most established trekking routes. It makes sense to limit the duration of these treks to a day or so, though, as all but the most patient of small children will soon want to stretch their own legs.

Day 8-14: Sagarmatha National Park 

It’s remote, but for the maximum bragging rights, your family trip to Nepal needs to include a stay at Sagarmatha National Park, home to the most famous mountain in the world: Mount Everest. Officially the highest national park in the world, most of the terrain is more than 3,000 meters above sea level. At around 135 kilometers from Kathmandu, the best way for families to arrive is by organized excursion. Prices from around $50 USD include transport only, and expect to pay more for accommodation, food and activities. Accommodations range from mountain lodges and rustic campsites to slightly more luxurious options, and there are even family-oriented treks up to the legendary Everest Base Camp. Of course, it’s vital to research any trekking companies in advance, and make sure it’s not too taxing a trek for your little ones. Visits here are ideally suited to families with some solid hiking experience, but just admiring the snowcapped peaks (along with Everest, many others rise more than 6,000 meters above sea level) and walking through the gorges and silver fir forests is an unforgettable experience. In the spring, the lower-lying areas of the park are a riot of color as rhododendrons and other wildflowers bloom in abundance.

? Box out: Animal Inhabitants

Bring powerful binoculars. Eagle-eyed visitors to the park may spot resident animals such as the Himalayan tahr, serow, wolves, and even Himalayan black bears. Harder to spot are the rare snow leopard, red panda and crimson-horned pheasants.

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Day 15-21 Pokhara and Annapurna Hiking (Via Kathmandu)

Via a return visit to Kathmandu, board the tourist bus (more comfortable, and a lot faster, than the local mini-buses, and an inexpensive option at around $7 USD) for Pokhara, Nepal’s second biggest city. Framed by jaw-dropping views of the Annapurna Range (a stretch of the Himalayas), the city is famous for the vast lake at its centre, and the city soon gives way to wild nature. Outdoorsy activities for families in Pokhara include boating, horse riding, trekking and – for those with a head for heights – paragliding. The most obvious outdoor attraction in Pokhara, however, is trekking around the magnificent surrounding countryside and drinking in the fresh air and the views. A good short hike is up to the Shanti stupa (temple) above the town, and reached by a boat across the lake followed by a wooded walk. More challenging is the route up to Sarangkot lookout point (this is where daredevil paragliders set off from, for birds eye views of city and mountains).

After spending a couple of days enjoying this low-key town and its family-friendly attractions, set out to explore the mountains. The Annapurna Circuit, and many more hiking opportunities, spread out from here, and offer ample opportunity to spend quality family time in the hills. Some treks are more challenging than others, and all involve (naturally) some hills, but it’s a richly-rewarding experience.

Older children and teens with some hiking experience (younger kids can be carried by porters) may relish the challenge of the 40-mile Poon Hill hike, which is spread out over several days and takes in peaks such as Annapurna I (over 26,000 ft/7,200m), and the enormous ‘holy mountain’ of Machhapuchhre, otherwise known as Fish Tail, which dominates the skyline.

Day 22-24 Kurintar

Regular buses make the 2-3 hour drive to Kurintar, a pretty riverside town famed for its white water rafting and its cable cars. Older children, teens and adults can spend a day enjoying some white knuckle thrills on the Trisuli River (instructors are on hand to show newbies the ropes). A couple of good accommodations here include a famous spa resort, with kid-pleasing playground, and the dizzying 20-minute cable car ride up to the Manakamana Temple (cable car fare approx $7) offers breathtaking birds’ eye views without taxing little legs. With the mountain views, fresh momos (Nepalese dumplings) and river fun, families in Kurintar may well want to linger here a few days.

Day 25-29 Chitwan

Prepare for some serious kiddie kudos as you head to one of Nepal’s biggest natural attractions – Chitwan National Park – a vast forested wetland whose inhabitants include tigers, rhinos, and crocodiles. Accommodation options here include eco lodges, safari camps or simple homestays – visitors to Chitwan with kids can pick their desired price range, and comfort level. The best way to reach here is by private transfer or bus – it’s a drive of around one hour, expect to pay around $10 USD for a private car ride.

A trip to Chitwan will likely be a highpoint of any nature-based family trip to Nepal, and visitors should set aside the best part of a week to make the most of it. Visitors can take self-guided treks, but given the wild beasties that live here, and not to mention the possibility of getting lost, it’s advisable to go with a guide (individual or group).

Active families in Chitwan can enjoy thrilling activities such as early morning riverboat rides and kayaking through jungle wetlands (keep little fingers inside the canoes – snapping crocodiles live here!), and can also take part in jeep safaris, keeping eyes peeled for the resident rhinos and elusive Bengal tigers. Birdwatching is another highlight of a trip to Chitwan National Park – make it fun for kids by making a list of the colorful birds that live here, and seeing who can tick the most off the list.

? Tip: Ethical Elephant Excursions
For ethical reasons, many visitors to Chitwan will choose to avoid the elephant back rides that are still easily available at the park. A more ethically-sound alternative is to arrange a stay at one of the cruelty-free camps such as TigerTops, where guests can stay as an honorary member of the chain-free elephant pack, helping with feeding and washing and taking strolls alongside the magnificent animals.

Day 30: Kathmandu

Tourist buses make the 5-7 hour ride back to Kathmandu (prepare for some hair-raisingly high and narrow passes as well as some breathtaking views. Once back in the big city, you might want to overnight (and sink a couple of nerve-saving drinks) before boarding your plane back home.


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.

The destination where you begin your travels has a lot of consequences. It’ll dictate the way you’ll see the crazy decision you made (honestly, who takes their kids to Southeast Asia??) in the mirror of reality. Meaning, if you’ll go to an unsympathetic destination you’ll feel you made a mistake.

The right destination, on the other hand, will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

In my opinion, choosing the first destination is the hardest choice. A choice with a lot of things to consider.

Always dreamt of India? Been to India when you were younger and now you want to take your kids there?


So you’ll go to India, at some point on your travels but the first point to look at is:

  • You don’t decide on a destination based on fantasies.
    The correct decision goes through some basic points:
  • When are you planning to arrive
  • How old are the kids
  • Who are you, what your limits as parents are and what kind of lifestyle you are used to
  • What scares you most about Southeast Asia?

The question many people struggle with and even ask me about is: what’s better, to start off sprinting and then everything will look simple afterwards, to start gently, slowly?

I’m always in favor of starting gently.

To anyone that thinks otherwise I (accepting and respecting) recommend you start with Varanasi, India. Delhi and Mumbai aren’t bad options either.

And if you want gentle:

Choose a destination where most people speak English. I would never start from a place where I can’t communicate the locals. That rules out China, Vietnam, Mongolia (Mongolia is a different story because in the capital city there is no problem) and more.

  • Choose a destination where the sanitation levels are high, especially concerning food. Give your digestive system time to get used to Southeast Asia slowly. Give the kids time to understand the hygiene rules there. That rules out India, Laos, and parts of China.
  • A destination where the season is pleasant and comfortable. No monsoon. No freezing temperatures. The tourist season. A bit before or after at the most. Beyond comfort, the weather effects many things like sanitation, diseases, mood… in addition, starting when there are so many other travelers around, when meetings are exciting, daily, and simple, gives you a lot of confidence.
  • A place where it’s easy to travel. Where there’s comfort and accessibility. The challenges save for later.

The things you’ll have to deal with in the beginning will not be neither few nor simple. And that’s the reason I think you need to choose a place where you can deal with them peacefully. This is a huge change in your way of life, in your everyday routine. Getting used to that change takes time, and requires patience, mental strength, and flexibility.

Every family member will undergo this change differently. And as parents, you will need to know how to deal with each one of the kids. And of course with the changes happening to you.

That’s why I warmly recommend you go to a place where you can relax, pass this time of changes without a million attractions and distractions, but first deal with them. Let the gears spin together smoothly again between all family members and for each one separately. And after that, the skies are the limit.

The three destinations I recommend:

  • If you have a high budget/very fearful- Thailand, around the beaches. Choose an area where you can meet more families. (Not recommended for everyone, just for those that feel they really need something gentle).
  • If you have a low budget/average family/averagely fearful parents- Nepal. This is my favored destination from every aspect. Nepal is gentler than India, its easy and light and pleasant, but also challenging in just the right amount. After all, landing in Kathmandu is not easy for those who haven’t been to Southeast Asia yet.
  • If you set out during the monsoon (July-August) only- the monsoon in Southeast Asia in problematic. It’s difficult to find a proper first destination. That’s why, only if that’s the situation, I recommend north India. Manali, Ladakh. This is the good season for those destinations. Still- India is India, even though the north is less wild than other areas.

Southeast Asia is made of a lot of countries, and in every country there are lots of options. You can open your mind and look outside the known and familiar beaten path. What about Taiwan? Korea? Myanmar? I haven’t been everywhere and I write here only from my personal experience. But I can tell you, I always enjoy finding a new and surprising destination, one that I haven’t thought of before.

It’s fun to travel with kids in Nepal. It’s cleaner and cheaper than India. The Nepali people love kids so prepare them to an almost royal treatment. The views are stunning and (almost) everyone speaks English. And the biggest advantage over all the other southeast Asian countries is that there are almost no mosquito transferred diseases (other than in the south, on the Indian border).

I’ll write here a few tips for those planning a visit in Nepal in the hope they’ll help.

Landing there:

If you’ve never been to Nepal before- their airport looks like it’s taken from an old low budget film. After a long tiring flight, you stand in the very long line for visa. The Nepalese are very friendly and will take the younger kids (under 10 years old) to a shorter line for their free visas. the older ones will have to stand in line. Prepare a place for the kids to sit comfortably (maybe a small blanket to spread on the ground or something similar) because they’ll be very tired. If you have a cart- try to get it the minute you get off the plane, or if you have a Yuka use it.

Kathmandu is not an easy city to process. Make the trip from the airport to the hotel quickly, and stay in the Thamel area to begin with. I would recommend you leave Kathmandu and save it till the end of your visit, after you’ve had some time to get used to Nepal. It’s better to get to Pokhara as soon as possible, and start the trip there.

Make the way from Kathmandu to Pokhara in a hired minivan. It’s a long bumpy twisty road with high throw-up potential (7/10 by our measuring) so it’s best if the vehicle is hired by you, that way you could ask the driver to stop as needed. Invite other travelers to join you, they’ll pay their part and the kids could make a few friends.

Other option is the tourist bus, which is nowadays very comfortable and relatively safe. Few of them even have wifi that is actually working.

Food, water, showers…:

The water quality in the taps in Kathmandu is very low. In Pokhara it’s relatively fine. I wouldn’t drink it but they do go through some purification process.

Hot water- most places have hot water. Some only have a solar heater, which means there’ll only be hot water if there was sun.
Western food there is everywhere. Its quality- good. Pasta and pizza you can get anywhere. The local food in delicious and very nutritious, but don’t forget to ask not spicy if that might be a problem for you.

Here’s a Video showing the best breakfast in Nepal. and one about the well known local snack :-).

Electricity, weather:

In my opinion the best time to travel to Nepal with kids is in October-November-early December. The weather is amazing; it doesn’t rain the skies are crystal clear. March-April-May is also a good time, but less so as visibility is less good.

In Nepal there is a hydroelectric system, but for political reasons, the Nepali people don’t really get to enjoy it. Power cuts are a part of everyday life. The more water flows in the rivers, the more power there is. Hence, in the monsoon and a few weeks after (July-November), there’s power almost all day long. The further away from the monsoon you are, the longer the power cuts become. In March for example there’s no power for 14 hours a day(!). during the day it doesn’t really bother but at night it could be unpleasant. Most good hotels, restaurants, and shops have generators, but they turn them off at around 11pm.

Safety, health, transportation:

There are decent hospitals and ambulances. And pharmacies everywhere.
There are some (few) taxis with sit belts. Make sure to choose only those and insist they take them out of the trunk.
Sidewalks- there are more in Pokhara than in Kathmandu.
I would recommend putting very young kids in a Yuka so you won’t have to worry about them crossing roads or disappearing in an ocean of humanity. Hold hands with older kids when walking in busy streets.
Keep the kids away from the stray dogs and Monkeys (yes, you’re reading it right, Monkeys). In the event something happens- go to a private hospital they’re experienced in giving rabies shots.
A local bus can be an interesting experience…
There are bicycles for rent everywhere, and it’s fun to paddle, but it’s nearly impossible to find bicycles for the kids.


In the Thamel in Kathmandu you can find anything. But it’s not as cheap as you’d think.

That’s why it’s better to shop in Pokhara where it’s cheaper.

Or if you are looking for brands etc- there is a nice variety in kathmandu to choose from.

Books: in most book stores you can find a small but high quality selection of books in many languages. If your bags are already heavy, don’t bother taking books with you you’ll find some here. The deal is that you buy the book, read it, then return it to the store to get half your money back. few children’s book are also possible, as well as books for young kids and teens.


Have no fear. In Pokhara and Kathmandu there is everything you need. Diapers (not of a great quality), wet wipes, soaps, hand sanitizers (a large, high quality selection), cornflakes, mosquito repellents, bandages and wound disinfectants, sunscreen (a large selection, including naturals and international brands), tooth paste and brush, pacifiers, vitamins.

You should bring baby food and medicines with you from home. Even though now, slowly, is gets easier to find formula in the big cities.

Here’s an article with all you need to know about traveling to Nepal 

Things you can do that won’t be mentioned in the travel guides:

∴ A yoga course in Pokhara with the kids- warmly recommended.

∴ Go on a short easy trek to the village Astham. There is an amazing, friendly guesthouse there.

∴ You can visit Tara’s shop in front of Be happy restaurant in lakeside. It’s an organization that supports working women. See how they spin the strings, dye them, make them into fabric to use later in all sorts of bags, gloves, stunning hats, etc…

∴ Do a family Rafting.

∴ Taste organic Honey from wild flowers that grow only in high altitudes, or Butternut, or Mustard flowers in the organic shop in lakeside.

∴ Buy colorful Tikas in a stand just outside of Thamel in Kathmandu.

∴ Go to watch a movie at “movie garden” (pokhara) its awesome. On saturdays they show a children’s movie and kids can come for free.

∴ Go sit at “silkroad” in the evening. they have some local and international live bans on a low-volume levels, perfect for family bonding. they also have sweet momo and a pool table. the grownups can enjoy nice refreshing cocktails for a reasonable price.

here is a full article about how to explore the Nepali culture with your kids. 


Nepal is one of the destinations that i cover in my new ebook “How to travel with kids for 1400$ a month (or less)”. download and see for yourself how simple and easy it is.

A good high quality hotel in kathmandu 40$-80$ a night. In Pokhara 15$-35$.
Guesthouse (definitely good enough)- 5$-10$ a night.

A meal for five– Kathmandu- 2000 rupees (1$= about 100 rupees). Pokhara- 1000 rupees.
indian pants– 300-600 rupees.
Family pizza– 250 rupees.
Small hand sanitizer– 100 rupees.
Fresh squeezed juice– 100-150 rupees.
Coffee– regular- 50 rupees, High quality espresso- 250 rupees.
Laundry– 80 rupees per kg (about 2 pounds)

A second before summer vacation, a lot of the families I escort can already smell the flight date getting nearer. And the closer the moment comes for them, I feel a sort of confusion, a need to hold on to something, a minute before they lose control and head into the unknown.

So for their sake, and for any others that feel the need, here are the two most important tips I can give:

1. you already made a basic plan (after in depth research or maybe in less depth), bought flight tickets, consulted with a traveler’s clinic. Everything is more less arranged? Great.
Now let go. Leave the travel guides be. Leave the facebook groups, leave the blogs (even mine).
From now on, let the road set the way. Sit quietly, breath deep. Live already knowing that each one will get his/her own journey. It doesn’t matter if it rained on you on the way to Dharamsala or if it was boiling hot. If you have a hotel in New-Delhi or not. Those things are no longer in your control. All that’s left is to look on the road, the view, on what your journey will bring you.
That the decision that whatever comes your way- you’ll deal with. That you’re open and ready for adventures, of every kind and color. To meetings with others, with yourselves, with your family members. Accept that the way won’t necessarily be what you imagined it would be, or (and especially) what you planned. Changes and surprises will come. They’re part of the journey.

2. the hot springs in Vashisht are a huge gift. A little piece of heaven I’m grateful for everyday I’m here. We enjoy them and learn a lot from the experience of going to them.
Things that would’ve been very hard to teach my daughters any other way. And that I probably couldn’t teach them any other way, if it wasn’t for our stay here.
But not everyone sees it that way. In fact, most tourists that come here to see the hot springs don’t spend time on them, and definitely don’t dare to actually swim in the pools.
They see that place in an entirely different way. They see grey cement, dirt, bare brick walls.
And they run away.
And I want to thell them- wait a moment. Stop. Take those western glasses off for a minute. And look. Lean. Without prejudice, without criticism, without judging. Leave the west outside. Come try. Open a door to experiences, to curiosity, to love for something completely different, and not necessarily better or worse.
Open yourselves. Completely. Don’t close down because that’d be a shame. To visit a different place, a new place, totally different from anything you know and manage to really experience it on a deep level- that’s amazing. A whole world suddenly opened. A million flakes of inspiration, a million new points and each one of them can lead to a different and spectacular way. And it’s a shame to miss that.
Oh… all the things I learned in the last five years. From everyone. The tourists. The travelers. The views. The locals. There’s so much wisdom in them, a different wisdom, odd and fascinating. Yes, they think very differently from us. They see things differently. But that’s what’s so interesting!
I see tourists that made an effort and saved money for a very long time, invested a lot of money and and went really far. And all that for what?
Leave the books, the researches on the internet. Leave them. Go see the world with clean eyes. Sit with the locals, talk with them, ask them where they think you should go. Where is the best local food. And how exactly do you eat it. How to get from this village to the other one. Join that journey you took yourself into.
Come take of your clothes, slowly slowly dip your legs in the hot water, until you get used to them, look around you, see the women, the youths, the old ladies. How everyone here, free with their bodies, washing each other, dipping naturally in the pool, chit-chatting, laughing.
Come, get in, like it’s your first day alive.

watch this video– the girls talk about their experience at the hot springs in vashisht.

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Travelling in southeast Asia, even with kids, doesn’t mean being banished to the land of the wild things.

I write this post following a number of inquiries I got on the subject. The fear that becomes bigger the closer your flight is, that you’ll have to sacrifice your soft skin, not to mention those killer selfies, in return for the dust of the roads and adventures, probably lurks in every woman’s head.
(ok maybe it skipped me, after all, I ooze sexiness naturally).

So here are a few tips I learned from my five years of experience:

♦ Southeast Asia is a cosmetic heaven. It only looks scary from the outside. Once you get here, once you stick your head to the first store in India, you’ll see that a lot of your fears were empty. But really empty. A wide range of amazing companies (and every ‘Himalaya’ product you can dream of), tons of natural products, oils, soaps, creams, scrubs. In short: pack light.

♦ Just never forget to check the expiry date before buying anything.

♦ One of the more important parameters is the weather. The main principle in taking care of your face is matching the cream to the weather.

♦ Invest in a night cream, something that gets the job done. And during the day find something appropriate for the weather.

♦ When we made our way by night bus from Beijing to the Mongolian border, I slept on a bunk when underneath me was a beautiful young Mongol woman. at some stage, before she went to sleep, she shamelessly pulled out her toiletries bag, and during the drive, in front of everyone, took cotton swabs and tonic, cleaned her face, put cream, oiled her hands and went to bed. Since then I take her with me everywhere. 40 days and 40 nights of staying in the Mongolian wilds (you thought I was kidding with the title?!), no matter how tired or lazy I felt. Cotton, tonic, face cream. In darkness, cold, heat, rain, in the good, the bad. No half assing.

♦ Keep those in a place that’s easy to reach.

♦ Make sure to wash your face in clear water (even a river, waterfall, lake… whatever) at least once a day.

♦ Have a scarf in your bag. The local women use it to cover their faces and protect them from the road’s dirt whenever they find themselves on a bus/bike. I don’t do it but I’m just lazy.

♦ Watch what you eat. In southeast Asia it’s easy to take care of your face’s skin using fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, different kinds of tea, fruit juice. Pay attention and don’t go wild with the junkfood.

♦ Even if you’re trekking or adventuring in remote places- eat fresh cooked food (over instant for example)- what the locals cook for themselves, drink water or tea (not chemical juice), snack on nuts and dried fruits. Sweeten with honey.

♦ Beauty salons are everywhere. But everywhere. Waxing, eyebrows, moustache. And maybe some face treatments, haircut, color. You can maintain everything even during a trek. Just ask the locals. And there’s a chance you’ll earn a conversation with a fascinating local woman and maybe even learn a few new techniques.

♦ Invest in a hat that looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g on you. You’ll be surprised how useful it can be…

♦ Don’t let pimples erupt. For that there’s a small narrow tube containing a colorless jell for focused treatment (In every other shop in southeast Asia) that neutralizes them within hours.

Make-up: personally I’d recommend one core principle when it comes to make-up: keep your face skin soft and pretty, so you’ll need the minimum and the minimum.

◊ Now, depending on the season but southeast Asia can get reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally humiiiiiiiid. No make-up is equal to this kind of weather. For this reason, I wouldn’t use much powder, mascara, or black pencil and all its variations.

◊ If anything, it’ll be in the locals stores that you’ll have a chance of finding the super eye-liners that you you could fly to the moon and back with without a single smudge. And it’ll probably cost 20 rupees.

Hair: same thing here. Keep it shiny and healthy. Not so hard in southeast Asia because the range of hair products is simply never-ending. Asian women take care of their hair obsessively.

◊  And of course all the gadgets and stuffs and things for your hair. Everything is dirt cheap and the range is unbelievable.

◊ And let’s say you went on a trek and didn’t wash your hair for a few days- baby talc will absorb the extra oil and give off a nice smell. I heard there’s also “dry shampoo”.

Skin and body care: depends on where you’re traveling. In Vietnam for example there are amazing (and cheap) spas. In India there are hot springs and natural oils, in Nepal there are amazing organic products, in short… go and discover. One of the pleasures or traveling this way is entering a cosmetics store or try out a new massage. I can tell you that the mud bath I did with my daughter, and the swim in a mineral water pool, and the other experiences we had in that area will not be soon forgotten :-).

◊ I use salt as cleaning-disinfecting pilling mask to the skin, preferably natural Himalayan salt (sometimes mix it with a bit of some oil) and honey as massage/cleaning face mask. But that’s only because I am too lazy to carry too much with me. I buy a small amounts and if anything is left I leave it behind.

Nails– mani and padi there’s everywhere. I don’t see a problem. All the other decorations for nails I also saw almost everywhere.

♦ Yoga- it balances you both inside and out.

♦ It’s likely that travelling and the freedom and that feeling of letting go will also express themselves in how you take care of yourself. Don’t be surprised if you want to make rainbow stripes in your hair. Or if your whole definition of beauty completely turned on its head.

♦ And it’s also likely that your adventures, passion, love, adrenaline, and pleasure will all show themselves in the spark in your eyes, the flash of your cheeks and the light in your eyes. Spread out all the love within you.

♦ And then there are places that make you feel like the hottest woman in the world. Let them.

And a few nice links on the subject:

 Packing Secrets from Travel Pros
 Travel Beauty Tips! What to Bring with you on Vacation/Holiday!
 18 Travel Beauty Tips — to Go
 35 travel bloggers reveal their-top beauty tips and tricks
 Stay Sexy on the Road: 6 Beauty Blogger Tips

BTW- you don’t have to be skinny to look hot. here is an awesome link for plus size hotness.