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The tiny Himalayan nation of Nepal has long been a Mecca for trekkers, mountaineers and nature lovers. Sandwiched between India and China, Nepal’s borders contain 8 of the 10 highest mountain peaks in the world, including, of course, the highest: Mt. Everest. Though Nepal is a small country (its territory is roughly 500 miles long by 150 miles wide, slightly smaller than the state of Florida), Nepal contains varied ecosystems ranging from tropical lowlands in the south to the arctic conditions of the mountainous north. This geographic variation is responsible for an incredible range of bio-diversity, including over 640 species of flowering plants, over 200 species of butterflies, and more than 400 species of birds. The bustling capitol city of Kathmandu is located in the temperate central valley, making it an ideal starting point for treks in the mountains or safaris in the jungle.
In addition to geographical and ecological variety, there are very few countries that can match Nepal’s cultural diversity. Strongly influenced by India to the South and Tibet to the North, Nepal’s 28 million citizens include 82 distinct ethnic groups speaking 120 distinct languages. Nepal is also the birthplace of the Buddha and, while the majority of Nepalis are Hindu, they live and worship side-by-side with a sizeable and thriving Buddhist minority. The result is no shortage of cultural wealth, including 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu valley alone.
Though Nepal is a developing economy, the country boasts a robust trekking and mountaineering infrastructure. All of Nepal’s major trekking routes are well-marked and served by a series of “teahouses,” small lodges that offer food, drink and accommodation at extremely reasonable rates. There’s no need to carry in food, tents or camping stoves, and most teahouses can offer a hot shower and a warm fire – well-deserved luxuries at the end of a day of trekking.
Whether it is high-altitude trekking to Everest base camp or an elephant ride through the jungle, there is something for everyone in Nepal. The amazing people, majestic landscapes, bustling cities and impressive architecture all ensure that Nepal’s visitors leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
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Tibet, known as the “roof of the world”, is the largest and highest plateau on earth. You are surrounded by either hills or mountains; in many cases by both while traveling in Tibet. Great views of the Himalayas are unmatched by any other destinations in the South East Asia region. Most places in Tibet have elevation of higher than 3,500 meters. Here, a minivan or a jeep can take you to the Everest base camp and enjoy the spectacular north face view of Mt. Everest.
Most travelers in Tibet are awe by its peaceful people. Discover the most hospitable and kindest humans in the world through adventure tours in Tibet; these devout Buddhists are generous and will open their hearts and doors to total strangers. It is also the land of Lamas, most of the famous Buddhist teachers in the West are from Tibet; they were educated, trained and mastered in Tibet. Tibet once used to host ten thousands monasteries and one million monks prior to the Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Buddhist philosophy and rule of Karma are mantras for the people of Tibet. Buddhism has strong influences on arts, music and architecture. Combinations of Chinese, Indians and Nepalese and Indian arts are embedded in Tibetan cultures. The 7th century Jokhang Temple and 17h century Potala Palace has strong influences from Chinese, Indianan and Nepalese arts.
Despite recent fast development in infrastructure and modern amenities, you will witness and learn that the Tibetan culture and traditions are still practiced and trying to perfect. Locals circling at temples or praying in a monastery with their colourful dresses, indicates their unwavering faith in Buddhism, is simply inspiring. Visit the rural villages and their remote monasteries on a beaten track. Enjoy spectacular mountain views of Everest and it’s sister mountains via high passes on minivan or 4×4 vehicles. Trip to Tibet will leave you enchanted and inspired for years to come.