Header image courtesy of Oren Yomtov (via Unsplash)
Far-flung from the blissful beaches of Bali and lure of Hong Kong’s usual holiday hotspots, Nepal (नेपाल) quietly boasts some of the best hotels and unique accommodation in Southeast Asia. Beds warm and ready for those with a keen sense of adventure, take your pick of safari camps, luxury lodges, and bed and breakfasts with a view of Everest (सगरमाथा) to boot—these are some of the most unique stays in the Himalayas (हिमालय).
Conveniently located just a stone’s throw from some of Kathmandu’s must-sees like the former Royal Palace, Hotel Yak and Yeti is one of Nepal’s most luxurious hotels and such a popular option that for a long time had little competition. Its character and unique charm draw from Lal Durbar (लाल दरबार), a century-old palace and property of the prime minister of the day. However, old and new fit together seamlessly thanks to the influence of Russian hotel founder, game hunter, and ballet dancer Boris Lissanevitch. Not only do the hotel’s 270 rooms ooze ambience, but guests can enjoy the grand Yeti gardens, outdoor pools, jogging track, fitness centre, and spa. With a plethora of dining options, enjoy buffets and bubbly brunches to your heart's content. True to its name, don’t forget to snap a pic of the unidentified footprint unearthed during the excavation of the Durbar hotel wing in 1993!
Hotel Yak and Yeti Kathmandu, GPO Box no. 1016, Paryatak Marg, Durbar Marg, 1, Kathmandu, Province 3, Nepal | (+977) 14 248999
Not to be confused with budget accommodation Nana Hotels, Nana Jungle Resort resides on the quiet banks of Narayani River (गण्डकी), just across from Chitwan National Park (चितवन राष्ट्रिय निकुञ्ज). A hotspot for hopeful adventure seekers tracking tigers, this unique stay opens you up to a tranquil wilderness experience with all the comforts of a modern resort. Spend your evenings spotting wildlife from the animal watchtower, kick back with a beer riverside, or forage from the vegetable garden that promises a farm to fork menu for you to enjoy in your private chalet. What sets Nana Jungle Resort apart from the rest is its experiences. Sign up for a jungle safari, canoe rides along the river, or try your hand at feeding vultures in the nearby vulture sanctuary. Taking it slow? Join a cooking class or simply soak up the atmosphere from the continuous grassland that runs from the forest through the resort, and spot animals from right inside the grounds.
Nana Jungle Resort, Amaltaari, Nawalpur District, The Chitwan National Park, Nepal | (+977) 98 02000916
Hotel Everest View puts its money where its mouth is, delivering on exactly that—some of the best views of Everest in all of Nepal. Holding a Guinness World Record for the highest accommodation—the hotel sits at 13,000 feet—Hotel Everest View offers up 360-degree vistas and ultimate luxury. Sure, it’s not a “hidden” gem but it’s an experience that stands out and one that many hope to tick off their bucket list when exploring the Himalayas. Whether you’re booking in for the week, trekking past, or landing on their helipad to kick-back for the day, make sure to claim a seat on the terrace for breakfast and bubbles just a skip and a hop from mighty Everest. They will have to see the photos to believe it.
Hotel Everest View, Solukhumbu, Nepal | (+977) 15 012142
Nestled in Nagarkot, Hotel Mystic Mountain sounds more Walt Disney World than it does Nepal. However, with every room boasting breathtaking views of the Himalayas from its balcony, it’s easy to get lost in the mystique of Mystic Mountain. Floating just above the clouds, the hotel is modern luxury amidst nature. Guests can make the most of their morning with meditation, pamper themselves at the spa, get close to nature with a long walk, hike or mountain bike session, or simply soak up the sun from the infinity pool and breathe in that fresh mountain air.
Hotel Mystic Mountain, Baluwapati, Nagarkot, Nepal | (+977) 98 51277701
A popular pit-stop for trekkers taking on the mountains of Manang, Alpine Home’s colourful guest houses have a loyal Instagram following thanks to its bright colours and incontestable location. The accommodation is basic at best, but more than made up for in experiences and prime panoramic views. Coffee is always served hot, even on the snowiest of days and guests can mingle in the makeshift bar—bonding over shared experiences and (too much) Nepalese wine.
Alpine Home, Tanki Manang, Nepal | (+977) 98 46229898
If you’re on the hunt for an experience that takes you beyond hiking the hills of the Himalayas, a farm stay at Herb Nepal could be more your speed. Promising a unique and rejuvenating village experience, you’ll not only be close to nature and the wildlife that resides in the area but truly get to know the rural farming community. Based in Bhaktapur, farm stays are built around sustainability, solely using solar energy, farm-to-table produce, and water from its natural source. Centred around its award-winning Farmer Training programme, Herb Nepal works with Nepalese farmers to bring organic land-use and herbal processes back to poor and rural communities, all benefiting farming communities and local ecosystems. The accommodation features a restaurant, bar, and garden as well as offering local cooking classes and tours of the local land.
Herb Nepal, Bhaktapur | (+977) 986 111104
Led by Dalit communities in Aapshawara, this homestay initiative run by Hands-On Institute intentionally disrupts the existing social hierarchy in village communities and stigma surrounding the so-called “untouchables.” Instead, it strives to encourage the self-worth of the Dalit community through homestays. Not only have these community homestays boosted income for the host families, but also morale within the entire community. You will be welcomed as a guest and encouraged to participate in the lives of families in the community. Roll up your sleeves to help with daily duties and celebrate local festivals with newly-found friends—this homestay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse in a different culture and educate yourself about the practices of the caste system in Nepal.
Aapshawara Community Dalit Homestay, Tanahun, Nepal | (+977) 98 06620723