Tourism is the largest industry in Nepal, and the largest Source of foreign exchange and revenue. Possessing 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world, Nepal is a hotspot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and people seeking adventures. The Hindu and Buddhist heritage of Nepal, and its cold weather are also strong attractions. Diversity in terms of geography, climate, cultures are the sources of attraction for tourism in Nepal. Warm welcoming by Nepali, English, Hindi speaking people, efficient travel services, pretty nice hotels and resorts at cheaper prices are the inspiring factors for tourist in Nepal.
Nepal is a naturally beautiful country, the country where Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world, is located. Mountaineering and other types of adventure tourism and ecotourism are important attractions for visitors. The world heritage site Lumbini, birthplace of Gautama Buddha, is located in southern Nepal, and there are other important religious pilgrimage sites throughout the country.
A total of 790,118 tourists visited Nepal in the period between mid- January 2014 and mid- January 2015. The length of the stay for tourists in average is 12.4 days. Out of this number, 50% of them came for vacation/recreation and travels, 12.5 percent for religious trip, 12.3 percent for trekking and mountaineering, 4% on official travels and rest others. On the top five countries from where tourist arrived in this period are India, China, USA, Sri Lanka, UK respectively.
According to Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism, major tourist activities include wilderness and adventure activities such as mountain biking, bungee jumping, rock climbing and mountain climbing, trekking, hiking, bird watching, flights, paragliding and hot air ballooning over the mountains of Himalaya, exploring the waterways by raft, kayak or canoe and jungle safaris especially in the Terai region.
Major Peaks of Nepal (8000 meters and above) are Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) -8848, Kanchanjunga Mechi -8586, Lhotse Sagarmatha -8516, Yalung Kang Mechi- 8505, Makalu I Koshi -8463, Choyu Sagarmatha- 8201, Dhawalagiri I Dhawalagiri- 8167, Manaslu Gandaki- 8163, Annapurna I Gandaki -8091 (CBS-2014 Pocket Book)
The major religion in Nepal is Hinduism, and the Pashupatinath Temple, the world’s largest temple of Shiva which is located in Kathmandu, attracts many pilgrims and tourists. Other Hindu pilgrimage site include the temple complex in Swargadwari located in the Pyuthan district, lake Gosainkunda near Dhunche, the temples at Devghat, Manakamana temple in the Gorkha District, and Pathibhara near Phungling, Mahamrityunjaya Shivasan Nepal in Palpa District where biggest metallic idol of Lord Shiva is Located. Halesi Mahadev Temple located in Khotang district is another prominent place to visit where many Hindu and Budhist pilgrimage goes.
Buddhism is the largest minority religion. The World Heritage site Lumbini, which is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, is an important pilgrimage site. Another prominent Buddhist site is Swayambhunath, the Monkey Temple, located in Kathmandu.
Throughout the country, there are several sacred place for Hindus as well as other religions. Kalika and Malika Devi in Chhillikot hill, Ambekeshawori temple, Krishna temple, Dharapani temple in Dang valley, Ram-Janaki Temple in Janakpurdham, Palanchok, Kalinchok bhagawati in nearby Kathmandu etc. are the good places for sightseeing.
Muktinath is a sacred place for Hindus as well as Buddhists. The site is located in Muktinath Valley, Mustang district.