Nepal is rich in culture, beautiful aesthetics, and wonderful people, it has become a popular tourist destination since it was first thoroughly explored in the 1950’s. As such, if you’re an aspiring tourist, trekker, or just a sucker for random knowledge, there is a vast amount of information required to effectively navigate Nepal’s terrain, understand its people, and appreciate its culture. I’ve laid out eight books for you to consider should you be interested in, or already planning on, exploring the vast countryside of Nepal. Enjoy, readers.
Nepal - Lonely Planet
Unsurprisngly, Lonely Planet – the backpacker's dream guide – tops the list of the best travel guides for Nepal. As an established travel and adventure organization, Lonely Planet provides its reader with an amalgam of resources to effectively navigate the rich and rugged terrain of Nepal. It provides maps on both the micro and macro scale, a slew of varying, honest budgets to cater to the type of travel you wish to partake in, and gives the reader extensive coverage of areas not limited to Everest and its surrounding regions. A proven heavyweight of its category, this guide is not to be overlooked when considering your next adventure in Nepal. If you’re looking for a trekking specific guide, Lonely Planet: Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya provides trekking-centric insights ( including gear, boots and other equipment related information) to its reader.
Nepal - Culture Smart - The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
Although not entirely a guide to navigate the geographic aspects of Nepal, a quick skimming of the culture and mindsets laid out in Nepal – Culture Smart! will keep you in good company and those around you in good spirits. Traveling is a wonderful privilege, it’s essential to remember that you’re traveling in a land that is not your own. Cultural practices and manners will go a long way in a foreign country, especially if you are planning on hiring a sherpa guide . Therefore this book makes the list of important reads for those traveling to Nepal. Don’t read this book if you’re looking for fun things to do, places to eat, things to see, etc.
A History of Nepal by John Whelpton
Although not an actual travel guide, per se, understanding a country’s culture and history is equally as important as understanding its landscape. A History of Nepal provides this insight with rich clarity, while also rendering a moving, historical account of the country’s origins with regard to its geopolitical standing over the past several decades. If you wish to grapple with the terrain and people of Nepal, we would also recommend you familiarize yourself with its past, so to maximize your experience in a wonderful country filled with a magnificent people.
I’ve searched everywhere to find the full name of the author of this extensive, massive rendering of Nepal, however I can only ever find his first name, assuming that’s even his real name. Dave has been traveling for over 12 years at this point, and has spent the majority of his time traveling in Nepal. Throughout his adventures, he’s written a guide book for nearly every province in Nepal (the provinces you can actually travel to, that is…), and has compiled them all into to one, incredibly comprehensive Guide Book. Support his life-long pursuit to understand and see the world here . You won’t be disappointed.
Edit: I recently got in touch with Dave, and he very kindly filled in some gaps in my information. For those who were wondering, Dave's full name is David Ways and he's a genuinely nice person to talk to.
Particularly for the layman trekker, The Nepali Flat is a hilarious account of your average Joe weathering the difficult “Three Passes” trek without extensive trekking experience. If you’re considering making the plunge to Everest base camp, irrespective of the routes you take, classic or any of the alternates , to get there, this is a must-read to calm your nerves. Although physically trying, Everest basecamp is an achievable feat for those with decent physical fitness , and apparently a sense of humor.
It’s difficult, nigh impossible, to write a piece concerning books to read when you’re traveling to Nepal without discussing Into Thin Air. An Everest-centric personal account of one of the deadliest climbing seasons on Everest, Jon Krakauer gives us an intimate account of his summit of Everest via the South Col, and his near death experience doing so. Everest, despite being a dangerous mountain to summit , has drawn people from all over the world to disregard their earthly responsibilities since Norgay and Hillary first summited in 1953, and for what? Into Thin Air challenges the reader, and implores the climbers, to discern the intangible gravitation to Everest.
Closely intertwined with the history and first summit of Everest, the Annapurna region holds challenges and mountains similar in difficulty to Everest, heralded as some of the most difficult trekking in the world. Maurice Herzog was part of the first team to summit Annapurna, and this story is a tormenting account of his triumph and the tortuous consequences that ensued – a necessary part of a reader’s collection, should they be interested in trekking the Annapurna region.
This suggestion isn’t really a book, but a pure topographical map of Nepal – essential for any trekker looking to navigate the volatile terrain of Nepal. Divided into two parts, east and west side, respectively, this map has detailed trekking information, trail maps, altitudes, the particular ranges and national parks, as well as locations for various goods and services on the inset.