Header image courtesy of Everest Skydive
It’s no secret that Nepal (नेपाल) is notorious for adventure. A playground for thrill-seekers all over the world, hikes across the Annapurna (अन्नपूर्ण) and beyond are legendary, but it’s not only the trails that will have your thighs shaking if you’re looking to book in adrenaline activities across your stay in the Himalayas (हिमालय). From paragliding to white water rafting and mountaineering, there are endless ways to get your blood pumping. Here’s a list of activities in Nepal to partake in for those who enjoy living on the edge.
If paragliding is on your agenda, Pokhara (पोखरा) undisputedly offers the best panoramic views high up over the valley and amongst the Annapurna mountain range. Numerous companies can be found in town who provide tandem paragliding experiences and packages, but as with any activity that holds some element of risk (even in the hands of trained professionals), do your research, shop around, and speak to the staff about any concerns or reservations you may have before taking flight.
And if swooping through the clouds isn’t enough of a thrill for you, why not give parahawking a shot? Involving all the same elements as paragliding, a trained bird of prey travels the skies with you to find the best thermal pockets for the most intense thrills. In turn, the bird receives a snack from your outstretched, gloves hand—2,000 feet in the air.
Note: We do not support animal tourism. All birds of prey are rescued, rehabilitated, or orphaned, and would no longer be able to survive in the wild alone. You are encouraged to do your own research to ensure that the experience is as ethical as possible!
Skydiving trumps the list for many adventure-junkies, so if you’re already amped to fall from thousands of feet, why not do it in front of Everest? A relatively new sport in Nepal, Everest Skydive is one of the only fully-licensed skydiving centres in the region, with safety being their primary focus. The season falls between October and November every year over the spectacular Khumbu (खुम्बु) region where free-fallers will take in lush landscapes and vertical vistas—don’t hesitate to book as spots can fill fast!
With eight of the highest mountains in the world residing in Nepal, it’s a mountaineer’s dream location. The Himalaya range can be formidable and are not necessarily recommended to anyone other than trained professionals; however, there are 326 other mountains across the country that might be more your speed. Grouped by height and under which authority they reside (The Ministry of Tourism or Nepal Mountaineering Association), the first thing to consider before booking an excursion is when to climb. There are two main climbing seasons in Nepal where weather conditions are optimal and safest.
March to early May make for warmer nights and crystal-clear mornings, although afternoons tend to be cloudy, making views unpredictable later in the day. September through to November is one of the best times to climb. Nights are chilly, but clear skies make for uncontested climbing conditions. This season tends to book up fast and trekkers will be in abundance across all routes, but it won’t be difficult to see why. You will need to ensure that you have a guide, secure your permits, and ensure that you are experienced with your gear. Your best bet is to book with a reputable tour company that are experts in the area and can provide you with an unforgettable mountaineering experience.
Once the longest zipline in the world, ziplining in Pokhara will see you dangling from 2,000 feet and speeding alongside the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre (माछापुच्छ्रे) mountain ranges at over 100 miles an hour. There are plenty of companies on hand to help you book, with packages offering tag-on offers like a champagne breakfast or—if you’re feeling brave—bungee jumping. Not travelling to Pokhara this time around? Although not as long of a line, Sarangot (सारंगकोट) and Kathmandu also offer similar experiences.
There is a vast selection of rivers to choose from in a range of grades, from cruise to hardcore and torrent waters that require an experienced rafter to ride them. Famous for its multi-day trips, book as long as you like and enjoy the wilderness coupled with hikes, and even kayaking along the Karnali River (कर्णाली). Short on time? The Trishuli River (त्रिशूली नदी) is perfect for day trips that will see you back in Kathmandu in time for sundowners. The rafting season is available all year round, except during monsoon which runs from June through to August, with October and November considered as the best months for making the most of Nepal’s stunning scenery and fast waters.