Nepal adventure sports and activities
Nepal has always attracted intrepid trekkers and travellers wanting to explore the unique culture and spectacular scenery, but in recent years a more modern form of tourism has started to bring in visitors from all over the world – adventure sports.
The infrastructure for Nepal adventure activities has improved rapidly to meet this demand, and there are now some top-class facilities across the country.
What makes Nepal so good for adrenaline junkies?
Nepal’s landscapes are some of the most dramatic in the world, with 8 of the 14 highest mountains on the planet, sweeping valleys, vast lakes and thunderous rivers. It’s almost like it was made with adventure sports in mind!
Whether you’re paragliding beside the Himalayas, scaling a mountain peak or rafting on fierce rapids, the scenery around you is what makes it that little bit more special.
Nepal is also a very outdoor nation, and the people have spent centuries exploring and adapting to their often challenging environment. This means a plethora of expert guides and remote spots to give you the ultimate outdoor experience.
Safety standards are also higher than in many other parts of the world, both in terms of equipment and training, so you’ll have some peace of mind whilst you’re getting your adrenaline hit.
What adventure sports can I do in Nepal?
If there’s a demand for it, then the chances are that some enterprising Nepali has made it happen!
Here are some of the most popular activities available in Nepal;
Paragliding and Ultralight flights
Experiencing Nepal from the sky is unforgettable, with incredible views over the terrain stretching over the valleys and into the Himalayas.
Pokhara has become the centre for aerial activities, although there are other spots such as Bandipur where you can take to the air. Pokhara is situated by the shores of a large lake and next to the giant mountains for the Annapurna range, making it one of the most scenic places in the world for paragliding.
To get further into the mountains, however, you’ll need an engine. Ultralight planes are usually tiny 2-seaters with open cockpits, so you’ll feel the wind on your face and almost feel like you can touch the mountains (they don’t get quite that close though, don’t worry!). Various different routes operate, mainly from Pokhara, so you can choose how long you want to be in the air and how deep into the Himalayas you want to explore.
Parahawking is something even more unusual, where you’ll paraglide in the company of a trained bird of prey, saved from injury or orphanage. The bird helps the pilot navigate to the best thermals in the area, and will even perch on your arm if commanded. It’s a surreal experience which you won’t forget in a hurry.
There are a number of operators in and around Pokhara, including Avia Club Nepal who offer both paragliding and ultralight flights.
White-water rafting and kayaking
With everything from fun grade 2 and 3 rapids, right up to extreme challenges on raging river sections, Nepal offers some great opportunities for white-water rafting and kayaking. The rivers carve through the valleys and into the mountains, giving you a unique way to experience Nepal’s wilderness.
There are some famous multi-day routes you can take on, such as the Karnali River or the Sun Kosi near to the Tibetan border, or shorter day trips like the Trisuli River or Bhote Kosi.
The Last Resort is based a few hours from Kathmandu and offer professionally run rafting trips all across the country.
Skydiving and Bungee Jumping
If your idea of a thrill is freefalling at high speed, then Nepal has you covered. There are few more spectacular landscapes to look down as you’re plummeting towards the ground, and a number of reputable companies operate trips throughout most of the year (weather dependent, of course).
Pokhara is a popular spot for skydiving, with its vast Phewa Lake and proximity to the Annapurna range providing an unforgettable view. Intrepid (and wealthy) skydivers can also take on the Everest Skydive – a once-a-year expedition to take on two skydives over the world’s highest mountain.
Nepal also offers a couple high-quality bungee jumps and canyon swings, with a tower bungee at Hemja near to Pokhara, and a wonderfully located bridge bungee at The Last Resort to the east of Kathmandu.
A different type of thrill, of course, but if reaching the summit of Mount Everest doesn’t thrill you then nothing will! The Himalayas have long attracted explorers from all around the world, and with 8 of the highest 14 mountains on earth, Nepal is widely regarded as the mecca of mountaineering.
There are a huge number of different mountains and routes, each with their own challenges and rewards, so do your research and decide which is right for you. If it’s your first time then we really recommend speaking to a professional local company before making any decisions. You can get in touch with us or our partners at Royal Mountain Travel if you’d like some recommendations and help arranging your itinerary.
The rural tracks of Nepal are a mountain bikers dream, and a great way to get away from the highways and see parts of the country which other tourists won’t. Around the Kathmandu Valley and further afield, you’ll find trails which take you to cultural sites and into remote areas.
Serious bikers often bring their own kit, but there are a few companies in Kathmandu who will hire out quality equipment, help you to plan your routes and even run escorted tours and heli-biking. It’s always worth consulting a professional company before you set off – Nepal has wild terrain, so you need to know where you’re going and what to do if you have problems. You should also take the altitude and steepness into account, so make sure you have acclimatisation days and don’t take on more than you can handle.
For a gentler mountain biking experience there are some good day trips suitable for most abilities, such as the community-run Panauti Bike Station, just a short drive from Kathmandu.