With India close by and the Himalaya on its doorstep, Nepal is a perfect destination for gap year travellers with a taste for adventure. Known as “the roof of the world”, it’s much more than a mountain settlement: art, architecture and even a major world religion have been born here. You may well find the spirit move you too.
Nepal has become quite an adventure travel centre. The focus, of course, is the Himalaya and Everest, and there are many opportunities for trekking and climbing but there’s also bungee jumping, whitewater rafting and kayaking, as well as elephant treks in Chitwan National Park. All take place against a backdrop that will take your breath away every time you look up.
Nepal has been a target for student travel for decades now. The capital Kathmandu may not be the hippy centre it was in the 60s and 70s, but it’s still a cultural hotspot, tradition holding its own against the influx of modern Asian influences. This is a spiritual land, too, as you’ll see from the stupas, white-painted mounds of relics scattered over the mountains. Lumbini, birthplace of Buddha, is a peaceful, uncrowded site that demands a visit.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and volunteer work here is an excellent way to contribute. You can teach English at a school, childcare centre or monastery, help with building projects or even volunteer at Everest base camp.