Top fun things to do with children in Nepal
Things you can do that are not mentioned in the travel guides:
1. Kathmandu Zoo
The Kathmandu zoo isn’t well known as some zoos in other countries, but you will be pleasantly surprised by how the animals appear pretty content and well looked after. If you go there on Saturdays (the weekly day off in Nepal), it can be busy with families with children and an excellent opportunity for your kids to interact with local children. If you go there during the weekdays, you might see some school children on their educational excursion.
Most of the animals at the zoo are native to Nepal. Some include the langur, rhesus monkeys, four varieties of deer, leopards, the Royal Bengal tiger, and numerous birds. You can also hire a paddleboat and go rowing on the lake. You can opt for an elephant ride if you are not planning to visit Chitwan. Elephant rides are usually available after 1 pm as they are taken out in the morning to collect their food. It can be a bumpy but fun ride.
2. Patan Durbar Square
You can take a short taxi to Patan Durbar square if your children are not exhausted after visiting the zoo. You can walk around the World Heritage site; have lunch or high tea there. You can make the stay as short or as long as your kids’ condition allows.
3. Rickshaw Ride in Thamel
You can take a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of old Ason to the Kathmandu Durbar Square from Thamel – the tourist district, and return for lunch, high tea, or dinner. It would be best if you fixed the price for the ride before you embark on it.
4. Buy colourful Tikas in a stand outside Thamel in Kathmandu.
Pokhara and surrounding areas
Pokhara is the adventure capital of Nepal. It is an ideal place to chill out or participate in adventurous activities.
5. Trekking in the Annapurna region.
You can opt for a trek from a single day to a multi-day hiking adventure with your family. It is best to “invest” a bit more in a premium company for safety and the best experience for your family’s trekking holiday. Having a knowledgeable and caring trek leader/guide, porters can add value to your family vacation. The Annapurna region is an excellent choice as you can opt for a mid-altitude trek and not worry about Acute Mountain Sickness for your family. If your kids are too young, you can ask the trekking agency to provide extra porters to carry your kid/s when they get tired or bored. It is a great way to introduce your children to nature and bond as a family unit. Bring some games and playing cards to spend time both as a family and getting closer to your support team. There will be children from the village with whom your kids can become friends.
Your family will cross some suspension bridges, which can be a lot of fun. Your children will probably love watching the numerous domesticated animals when you hike through villages, not forgetting the beautiful views of the Annapurna range on clear days.
Having a first aid kit is suitable for your peace of mind. Simple things like having a hand sanitiser handy and drinking boiled and filtered water at all times can help prevent stomach ailments. In addition, it is advised to bring multi-vitamin snacks for an activity like trekking for your kids.
6. Eat Lemon Meringue at Moondance Restaurant, Pokhara
Visitors to Nepal might have heard of Dal Bhat, the national staple diet which consists of rice, lentil soup with vegetables, and meat curry (mostly chicken and mutton) with spicy sauce. In addition, you will be pleased to find various international cuisine available in popular tourist hubs like Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan.
The Moondance Restaurant in Pokhara is highly recommended. They have a selection of comfort food, gastronomical delights, and board and card games.
Many more good restaurants in Pokhara serve various local and international cuisines.
7. Pony ride around the Lakeside in Pokhara
The ponies might look tired and small compared to the bigger better-groomed horses in the West. It would be helpful if you could bring the ponies some treats like carrots or apples. However, the ponies are gentle, and their drivers are usually friendly. It is best to start from Halan Chowk and head towards the less busy Pame side. It is another suitable way to spend time around Phewa Lake.
8. Paragliding in Pokhara
There are numerous paragliding companies in Pokhara. For the same price, why not fly with the company owned by two Nepalese guys who climbed Mount Everest, paraglide down to the Sun Koshi River, and kayaked to Bengal’s bay in 2011? They won the National Geography Adventurers of the year 2012. Their company is called Fly Himalaya.
9. A yoga course in Pokhara with the kids- warmly recommended.
There are several yoga studios around Lakeside in Pokhara. You can easily walk into several and ask if they have a family program or for the kids.
10. Day hike near Pokhara
If you opt not to go on a multi-day trek, you can go on a short easy hike to the village of Astham. There are several fantastic guesthouses there. If you are not on a tight budget, you can stay at an organic lodge on a Japanese/Nepalese joint venture.
11. Women’s cooperative shop
Tara’s shop is part of an organisation that supports women workers, and you can visit this fair trade shop to help empower them. It is situated in front of the “Be Happy” restaurant.
You can visit Tara’s shop in front of Be Happy restaurant in Lakeside. It’s an organisation that supports working women. See how they spin the strings, dye them, and make them into fabric they use to make all sorts of bags, gloves, stunning hats, etc.
12. Taste organic Honey
Taste organic Honey from wildflowers that grow only at high altitudes or Butternut or Mustard flowers in Lakeside’s organic shop.
13. Movie night with pizzas
Go to watch a movie in the “movie garden” (Pokhara) it’s fantastic. On Saturdays, they show a children’s film, and kids can come for free.
14. Night out in Pokhara
“Silkroad” is an excellent place to spend an evening or two. They have some local and international live bands performing on a low-volume level, perfect for family bonding. They also have delicious momo and a pool table. The grownups can enjoy lovely refreshing cocktails for a reasonable price.
15. Relax by the pool at a nice hotel
The noise, dust, and smells can make Nepal seem strenuous. So it is nice to take a rest day to chill out by a swimming pool. You can go to a hotel with a swimming pool, pay the entrance fee, spend a relaxing day reading, and have a few cocktails. This should get your family for more activities again.
16. Take a family Rafting trip.
You can take a day rafting trip on the Trishuli River or rafting on the gentler Seti River for two days of scenic floating with mild rapids. You will have to camp overnight on a river beach near a village. You can combine the second option and continue to Chitwan National Park.
You can choose to stay in the more popular and busy Sauraha area, where there are accommodations for all budgets available, or opt to go to the newer, less crowded side of Chitwan called Jagatpur; lodging is slightly on the higher end.
17. Take an elephant safari in Chitwan National Park
It can be a pretty “Indiana Jones” experience going through the forest on the back of an elephant looking for tigers, rhinos, sloth bears, and deer.
18. Bath an elephant in Chitwan
You can have this experience at either the hotel or privately owned elephants. You can hop on its back and ride it down to the river where the elephants bathe. The elephants gather water up in its trunk and spray the participants thoroughly. This could be one of the many highlights of your Nepal trip.
The elephants might even look like they’re smiling.
19. Travel on a dugout canoe or walk through Chitwan National Park
Spotted deer, blackbuck, Hog deer, and Sambar deer are the four types of deer. You can also spot marsh mugger crocodiles, great one-horned rhinos, wild boars, and countless bird species when you go on a canoe ride or take a jungle walk.
If you are at Sauraha, you can walk to the Elephant breeding centre. However, if you opt for the quieter area of Jagatpur, you can visit the Gharial (another type of freshwater crocodile) breeding centre.
Bandipur, an old trading post, is lovely for short hikes in the surroundings or to chill out. It is an excellent place to break your journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara or from Pokhara to Chitwan.
The village square is traffic-free, and it turns into a playground of sorts for the local children. If you still have energy, you can visit Nepal’s largest cave, which is longer, walk out of the town, or go to the silkworm factory, which is much closer.