Nepal is a mecca for adventure tourism. Whether you’re looking to conquer your fears or just want to feel the rush of adrenaline that you get before doing something crazy, Nepal pretty much has it all. I was lucky enough to spend two months exploring and trying my hand at anything that sounded scary enough to make my heart skip a beat. Nepal is the perfect playground for adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers. There’s no shortage of things to try. My trip was packed full of dizzying heights and heart pounding speed. So what kind of adrenaline-inducing adventures should you try?
Cross a suspension bridge
For those who are as afraid of heights as I am, crossing a suspension bridge in Nepal is sure to get your blood pumping and your heart racing. The longest suspension bridge can be found in Kusma, a small town a couple of hours outside of Pokhara. The bridge is 344 meters long and 135 meters high. Although that bridge is the most visually dramatic, I’d consider the suspension bridges in the Himalaya to be even scarier.
On my Everest Base Camp Trek, we crossed the Edmund Hillary suspension bridge, which is 160 meters high. Although it isn’t nearly as long as the bridge in Kusma, it bounced up and down as porters carrying large hauls walked alongside us. Add mules and yaks to the equation, and you’re sure to feel the blood coursing through your veins as the bridge sways under your feet.
Go bungee jumping
I chose to go bungee jumping on my second day in Nepal so that I couldn’t talk myself out of it. At 160 meters high, The Last Resort has the 9th highest bungee jump in the world. When I arrived, I felt like I’d throw up. My heart was pounding out of my chest. My mind reeled, and my fingers were clenched so tightly to the railing that my knuckles turned white. I said some inappropriate words under my breath as I looked over the edge and waited for the bungee master to count down.
The amazing thing is that standing there waiting was the scariest part. Once I jumped, the adrenaline and the thrill of falling through the air made me feel free. My screams of terror turned to pure laughter. When they pulled me back up, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It was insane, but it felt amazing.
Scale waterfalls while canyoning
I’d actually never heard of canyoning until I went to Nepal. Abseiling a waterfall with a harness on may be the most fun I’ve ever had. The larger waterfalls measure around 145 meters high. The first time you lean over the edge, you feel like you’re going to fall, but once you’re over, you feel like Spiderman scaling a wall.
Canyoning is perfect for someone who wants to get outside of their comfort zone without plummeting headfirst toward the ground. The thrill of bouncing off the wall with water pounding down on your face is incredible. Not to mention, it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
Learn to fly while ziplining
While you can zipline in many places around the world, Nepal is famous for having the steepest, longest, and fastest zipline in the world. Talk about covering all of your bases! High Ground Adventures offers a zipline that measures 1,800 meters long, has a 2,000 foot vertical drop, and goes up to 120 kilometers per hour.
The best part of the zip-flyer is the take off. You straddle a door while seated in your harness, and someone counts down from five. As the door swings open, you go flying down a hill so steep that you can’t even see the ground you’re headed towards. On a clear day, the views of Annapurna are almost as breathtaking as the wind hitting you in the face.
Paragliding was a last-minute decision for me. After meeting a paragliding pilot in a local bar, I knew I had to do it. There’s something absolutely crazy about running off a mountain with only a piece of fabric and strings attached to you. And yet, running off the mountain was the best part for me.
When it was my turn to go, I momentarily freaked out over how loose the harness was. There was no way it would hold me in. Then, we stood there for what felt like an eternity, waiting for the wind to pick up. My nerves were starting to get the better of me. Finally, a gust of wind came, and I didn’t have time to think. We ran into the sky and began to soar.
Fly into Lukla Airport
Nothing says adventure like a trip to “the most dangerous airport in the world.” It’s easy to see why this airport is notorious. You fly straight into the mountain when landing here and fly off a cliff during takeoff. The runway is a mere 527 meters long compared to a normal 1,829 meter runway. Due to the short length, the runway is on a steep gradient to ensure that planes slow down in time when landing and gain enough speed for takeoff.
The entire process of flying into Lukla is enough to cause heart palpitations. The weather has to be clear and no flights are guaranteed. The planes only seat 12 to 16 passengers and you can actually reach into the cockpit to shake the pilots hand. The propellers are so close to the window that you feel as though it is going to hit you in the face. But, the best part of all is landing.
Through the front window of the plane you can see a small gray patch of cement that looks no bigger than a stick of bubble gum. Before you know it, you’ve hit the pavement hard and are flying straight towards a retaining wall. The plane is moving so fast that everyone holds on waiting for the breaks to kick in, and in the last seconds right before impact, the plane miraculously slows to a stop.
Trek in the Himalaya
While most trekking isn’t adrenaline inducing, it does have its moments. For starters, there are points when the trail is extremely narrow, with a wall on one side and a cliff on the other. Plus, you’re bound to run into yaks at some point. There’s nothing like seeing ten yaks stampede toward you on the side of a cliff.
Add in all the other factors that go along with high-altitude trekking and you’re bound to have an exciting trip. Avalanches, earthquakes, and landslides are common in Nepal, and hearing the rumble of snow in the distance will make your heart race. Altitude can also create vivid dreams while sleeping, and the lack of oxygen can feel suffocating at times. At the end of the day, trekking has a lot of action packed moments between all of the walking.
Article by Michelle Della Giovanna.