Really, the only way to get out to the east and the west of Nepal is by domestic air or very long road journeys, both of which the weather can play havoc with and delay for days. If you have time though, head out far west to Dhangadhi, an interesting homestay area with a committed afforestation policy and a restaurant where everything is made from banana.
Nepalese food is delicious and the ritual of food is a very important part of local life - there are over 100 ethnic groups in Nepal, so be adventurous and your taste buds will be richly rewarded. Newari dishes, of which there are over 200, are unique to the Kathmandu Valley and are heavy on buffalo; try chhoyla, spicy grilled buffalo meat, for energy with a kick.
Kathmandu is extremely tourist driven, but not all of its shops are tourist traps. You can buy fairtrade goods in the capital, especially on Kupondole, a street full of shops belonging to Nepalís Association for Craft Producers. Try Mahaguthi for heritage and cultural products, and Dhukuti for authentic interiors and homeware.
Manaslu is an amazing high altitude trek that circles between Manaslu and Annapurna, the worldís 8th and 10th highest mountains. The isolated region has only been open to westerners since 1992 and is a natural paradise of alpine meadows, thick forest and huge glaciated mountains wrapped up in a rich culture thatís remained unchanged for thousands of years.
When tourists rave about Nepal, they rave about the Nepalese, which speaks volumes considering theyíre up against Everest. Without question one of the worldís friendliest nations, the localís fervour for handicrafts and their openness about how the community works outside of teahouses is both infectious and inspirational.
This incredible trek has peaks that stand at 7,000m, allowing you to visit the worldís roof and then climb all over it. The range forms a natural amphitheatre, reached via a testing combination of steep stone steps and forested hillsides ablaze with colour, and is circled by Himalayan giants like the Glacier Dome and the infamous twin-peaked Macchapucchare.
Chitwan became a World Heritage Site in 1984 and covers a whopping 360sq-miles of subtropical lowland in south-central Nepal. Once youíve navigated your way through the throng of guides vying for your business, make sure you tell the chosen one that youíre not there just for rhinos and tigers; more than 500 species of bird, 150 types of butterfly and 56 mammalians also call it home.
Probably the world's most renowned base camp, Everest Base Camp is a classic trek that takes walkers straight through Sherpa country past small villages and their amazing local markets, and up to incredible high altitude scenery including breathtaking views of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, after an essential photo stop at the iconic Base Camp rock.
The nightlife in Thamel Ė if you can call it that: everything shuts at 10pm except the misplaced go-go bars Ė is all just a bit odd. Itís clear a lot of the dancing girls are performing their way out of poverty, which is uncomfortable, and, unless your idea of an authentic Nepalese night out is a warm pint of Guinness at an ĎIrishí bar, then itís best avoided.
Litter isnít a huge problem in the Himalaya, but itís one thatís growing. Up in the mountains, rubbish is often burned or buried and the bulk of it is made up of plastic water bottles and wrappers from packaged snacks. Take a spare bag trekking with you and throw all of your rubbish away at the end of your trip in Kathmandu where it will be disposed of properly.
Flying in the mountains is inherently dangerous because weather can close in quickly and unexpectedly. Airlines with poor safety records close yearly in Nepal and in December 2013 the EU banned every Nepal airline from flying to the EU on safety grounds. Crashing is by no means a certainty, but flying does carry a risk. Our tours typically donít involve flights into the mountains, although this is something you could request.
Smog in Kathmandu is 5 times the level that prompted Paris to ban cars and in 10 years the number of vehicles on the capitalís streets has increased threefold. To boot, the city sits in a bowl-shaped valley, so air pollution blown away during the day falls back in at night, which all equals a major problem; find your way round on foot instead of hopping in a taxi.