Nepal: a Natural Paradise
Discover natural beauty like you've never seen before
(this article is from Studio Classroom 2006 May p18~21)
Where can you stand on steamy, tropical plains and looks up at the highest mountains in the world? In Nepal, you can. In this small kingdom sandwiched between China and India, you can enjoy nature at its grandest.
Here, you can leave the modern world behind, if you like. It's not hard to get away from phones, TVs, e-mail. You'll find plenty of places to go hiking, white-water rafting or even hot-air balloning. The possibilities for adventure in Nepal are endless.
Most travelers arrive in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. You will find all the tourist amenities in the Thamel area. But don't spend too much time there. Venture out into other parts of the city.
Visit Durbar Square, the heart of the old town. Nepal's kings were once crowned here. You'll see temples and palaces built in traditional Nepalese style. Sit on the steps of the towering Maju Deval temple and look around. You'll see fruit and vegetable sellers, souvenir hawkers and the comings and goings of taxis and rickshaws.
A city visit and a mountain escape
Stroll around the city without any destination in mind. You'll come across plenty of intriguing sights. Many of them are in the market area north of Durvar Square. Kathmandu should be experienced, rather than just seen. Bargain for souvenirs with a street hawker. Taste some spicy sukuti, an kind of dried meat.
You'll see cows wandering around, too. Sometimes they lie in the middle of the street. The traffic just goes around them. Cows are considered holy in this Hindu country. They go pretty much wherever they please.
After a few days in Kathmandu, head for the Limalaya Mountains. These majestic mountains cover 80 percent of Nepal. A hike through them allows you to experience their beauty up close. You can stay in small guesthouses built on the mountain slopes.
If you have time, hike the Annapurna Circuit. For spectacular mountain scenery, this is the best hike in Nepal. Unfortunately, hiking the whole circuit takes almost three weeks. For a quicker mountain tour, take a hot-air ballon ride. You'll enjoy panoramic views of the beautiful mountains.
Nepal has more to discover than its mountains. In the south, the tropical plains of the Terai hold a rich variety of wildlife. In Royal Chitwan National Park, you can see rhino, deer, and if you're lucky, the elusive tiger.
Spend the night in the park at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge. All the buildings are on stilits. Right outside your room door you can climb aboard an elephant for awildlife safari! Come in the fall, and you can even watch the spectacle of elephant polo!
Nepal has also earned a reputation as one of the best places for white-water rafting or kayaking. The adventurous can make the heart-thumping trip down the Karnali River over its wild waters. Those wishing to enjoy a milder trip can raft the more serene Trisuli or Seti rivers.
Nepal measures just 800 km long and 230 km wide. But it's full of adventures just waiting to be experienced. You can't do it all in one trip. As soon as you finish one trip, you'll find yourself planning another!
white-water rafting n. 激流泛舟
amenity n. 便利設施
comings and goings n pl.來來往往;熙來攘往
holy adj. 神聖的