The spectacular scenery of Nepal needs little introduction, with the majesty of the Himalayas cutting a swathe from west to east across the country. Any trip to Nepal with the kids is going to play out against this dramatic backdrop of lofty snow-capped peaks, with endless opportunities for trekking (whether for an extended period of time or just a short taster trek) and getting out and about amongst the mountains.
But there is also so much more to this country. If heading to Nepal with the children, you can go on safari in search of tigers and rhino, get a dose of adrenalin when white water rafting, stay in remote Newari villages and jostle with holy cows in the bustling streets of Kathmandu.
Nepal with kids – Our Top 10
1. Trek in the Annapurnas
The Annapurna range is renowned amongst trekkers as possibly the most picturesque range of mountains in the world for trekking. The backdrop is stunning, with many mountains of more than 8,000m soaring into the sky, clouds swirling around their distant peaks. But the foothills are equally beautiful, steep sided forested hills dotted with traditional villages and connected by ancient stone paths that have been used for centuries.
Those looking for a bit more luxury can stay in a series of comfortable lodges all with superb views, while those looking for authenticity can choose traditional trekking teahouses, with an assuredly warm welcome. Treks can be tailored for individual families so any trip to Nepal with kids can include a trek of some sort, whether an easy day hike or a longer two-week journey deep into the Himalayas. (Check out our example Active Nepal itinerary which includes a three-day trek).
2. Safari in Chitwan
Stretching across the lush and fertile landscapes of southern Nepal and feeling a million miles from the Himalayas, are the steaming jungles of Chitwan National Park. This is the preserve of the elusive Bengal tiger, the Asiatic one-horned rhino and a cacophony of monkeys, birds and crocs. Whilst you would be very lucky to see a tiger (although they are there, as the scratch marks and paw prints will attest), rhino spottings are almost guaranteed. Children will love the excitement of scouring the jungle for wildlife, stopping at a remote vantage point to try to spot rhino lumbering down to a waterhole. Boat rides and walking safaris are also a highlight and make an excellent addition to a holiday in Nepal with the kids.
3. Elephant activities in Chitwan
One of the most popular activities on a trip to Nepal with kids is to interact with elephants in Chitwan National Park. Although we no longer endorse elephant back rides, you may be able to help wash these magnificent beasts in the river, make and feed them ‘elephant sandwiches’ and enjoy their excellent companionship on an exciting dawn walking safari. Magic.
(Both our Nepal example itineraries include time in Chitwan.)
4. White water rafting and overnight camp
White water rafting is chest pumping, fist bumping fun and provides a wonderful burst of adrenalin on any trip to Nepal with the kids. There are several different rivers to choose from but our favourite is a particular stretch of the Seti River. The rapids here are perhaps grade 2, which means that this is suitable for children of all ages (including Stubborn Mule founder Liddy’s youngest, aged 6). But equally importantly, the Seti is much warmer than other rivers in Nepal so whilst drifting slowly downstream between rapids, the kids will spend hours jumping off the raft and swimming along behind.
Add to the children’s excitement level by spending the night camping on a beautiful white sandy beach on a bend in the river. There’s a luxury camp if you need more comfort, or simple tents if you are happy to do without. Either way, a night around the campfire under the stars is going to be a great addition to your trip to Nepal with the kids.
5. Everest Base Camp
So, this one is clearly not for everyone. There are two different Everest Base Camps, one in Tibet that you can pretty much drive to, and one in Nepal that you reach as part of a two week trek. It’s difficult, it’s challenging and it’s not for the faint hearted. But oh what an achievement to get there! If your kids are up for something a bit more arduous than a walk in the park or a week on the beach, then consider following in the footsteps of the mountaineering greats as you head deep into the Himalayas to Base Camp. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
For other ideas about how to incorporate a trek into your family holiday have a look at our family trekking blog.
6. Sight-seeing in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is one of Asia’s great cities. Exquisite medieval palaces sit alongside Hindu Temples and Buddhist stupas with prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Holy cows amble along the streets, past dreadlocked sadhus (holy men) and soon-to-be-trekkers searching for a bargain North Face jacket in the markets. Follow narrow alleyways thronging with people, into hidden courtyards presided over by living goddesses. Stop for momos (steaming dumplings) in a rooftop café to enjoy the view before twirling some prayer wheels for luck and dodging the monkeys at Swayambhunath. It’s crazy, it’s frenetic and it’s fantastic fun. Both our example itineraries begin and end in Kathmandu with plenty of time to explore.
7. Overnight in Bandipur in a traditional Newari inn
Bandipur is a picturesque Newari town perched on a hilltop and reached by a (seemingly never-ending) road that winds up into the hills against a most spectacular Himalayan backdrop. Here you can stay in a traditional inn, full of narrow corridors, twisting stairways and hidden balconies. There’s a small restaurant out the back with breath-taking views and delicious Newari fare, and the children will enjoy following their noses along quiet (pedestrianised) streets, flanked by traditional homes decorated with pots of brightly coloured flowers. See our example itinerary, Active Nepal which includes a stay here.
8. Make like a potter in Bhaktapur
Nepal is home to many thriving cottage industries and the kids will love being able to have a go at creating their own ‘masterpiece’. This might mean making like a potter in Bhaktapur, designing and painting your own Thanka (Buddhist painting), learning to cook momos or crafting your own kukri (Gurkha knife). There are lots of options that we can add to your holiday in Nepal with the kids, so please do ask us for details.
9. Stay in a monastery
Buddhism is woven into the fabric of Nepali life and there’s no better way to experience this on a trip to Nepal with the family, than to spend a night in a practicing monastery. Whether you want to find out more about Buddhism or just relax and absorb the incredibly moving ceremonies and chanting that comprise a monk’s everyday life, this is a unique experience. The monks are happy for you to take part in early morning or evening ceremonies in the main hall. You’ll be amazed how absorbed and fascinated your children will be.
10. Find some R and R without a beach
It may be stating the obvious but Nepal is a landlocked country without a beach to be seen. For many families, a bit of R and R is an essential component of a successful holiday but this doesn’t have to be on the beach. Nepal has a handful of really lovely boutique properties, situated in idyllic locations, with tempting pools. You may not have the sea but you will have sun-loungers, somewhere to cool off, delicious food, stunning views and impeccable service. The perfect end to your holiday in Nepal with the children? We think so.
More about holidaying in Nepal with kids
Find out more in our Nepal family holidays section and see example Nepal itineraries for families, with and without trekking. You can also check out our Nepal customer reviews, sent in by families who have travelled with us.
Nepal is a wonderfully rewarding country to travel to and holds a special place in the hearts of many of the Stubborn Mule team. To chat through any aspect of holidaying in Nepal with kids and to plan your perfect itinerary, please do ring us on 01728 752751 or get in touch via our website form.
We always love to hear from families who have travelled with us, so please do send us your photos and reviews of holidaying in Nepal with kids.
Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel