Visiting the Swayambhunath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal

Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) in Kathmandu, Nepal

The Swayambhunath stupa in Kathmandu looks exactly like a pilgrimage destination in Asia should. There is a giant white dome, and below it, the eyes of the Buddha watch over the Kathmandu Valley. Hundreds of small candles are placed around rows and … [Read more...]

Taking a Jungle Walk at Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal

Savannas across the Rapiti River

My heart raced. Scarcely a hundred feet ahead of me, the purple-tinged fronds of elephant grass parted in the savanna and I could see a glimpse of gray, hear a snort. Rhino. I eyed the closest tree. Could I climb it if I had to? At once both … [Read more...]

Learning High-Altitude Skills on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit

Nepal Annapurna Trek near Manang

I am sitting among a group of trekkers talking about oxygen. We sound like misers: Do we have enough, is there ever too much, how can we get more? We've gathered at the modest headquarters of the Himalayan Rescue Association in the town of Manang, … [Read more...]

Elephant Safari in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal

On elephant-back safari in Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal

It is hard to hold on in a howdah. Elephants don't walk with the grace of a quarter horse, so the enormous saddle the five of us shared behind the mahout dipped precariously towards the jungle floor with the pitch and roll of each step. A confirmed … [Read more...]

What to Buy in Nepal: Souvenir Shopping in Kathmandu

Detail from Nepal Mask

I am not sure whether there is anywhere in the world where you can see more color per square foot than in Kathmandu. Walking through Thamel, one of the city's main tourist districts, I see shops that virtually explode with multi-hued fabrics, … [Read more...]

Trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

A precarious bridge over a glacier-fed river

My stomach has turned itself inside out. "No one is immune here," the doctor at the clinic back in Kathmandu had said. Having just come off a several-months-long hike in the Rocky Mountains during which I'd drunk water that had dead animals in it, … [Read more...]