8 best holiday destinations–besides Everest and Ilam–in Province 1, Nepal’s easternmost region

Photo: Pixabay

Province 1 that covers most of eastern Nepal is quite underrated when it comes to tourism. Like the far-western part of the country, the east is disregarded as a tourism destination.

Although the Everest region does see a lot of tourists, the rest of Province 1 does not. Ilam does get its fair share of domestic tourists thanks to the tea garden, but tourism entrepreneurs in Province 1 feel the number should be a lot higher as there are a lot of places in the province worth visiting.

Here is a list of places that you should consider if you are planning a trip to Province 1 of Nepal.

1. Kanchenjunga Base Camp

A tourist at Kanchenjunga Base Camp, Province 1, Nepal.
A tourist at Kanchenjunga Base Camp, Province 1, Nepal.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp is a trip that will take you into the wilderness of the eastern province of Nepal. Even though it is long, as it takes 21 days to complete it, the trip will take you on a journey. You will walk by lush tropical jungles full of rhododendrons to the base of the third highest mountain in the world. As this trail is hardly walked on by tourists, it is recommended you take a local person with you because you have to pitch up tents in most parts of the trek.

Despite that, it is sure that the mountain life, Sherpa lifestyle, yak settlements, essential herbs, and the region’s natural beauty give you a pleasant experience. This place is ideal for wandering around nature for a few days while taking a break away from the rush of urban life. This region is also home to the elusive snow leopards.

2. Makalu Barun National Park

Chaure village near Makalu Barun National Park, Province 1, Nepal. Photo courtesy: Gagan Raj Neupane
Chaure village near Makalu Barun National Park, Province 1, Nepal. Photo courtesy: Gagan Raj Neupane

Makalu Barun is a hidden gem. Isolated and remote, this place takes you to the base of Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world and the Barun valley, which is one of the prettiest places in the country where you find some of the rarest species in the world.

The trek is full of diverse landscapes. Most of the trail is unpopulated and you a need tent. The trails are not marked very well, but it is pretty straightforward. But, that said, if you do not want to pitch a tent, you will have to walk for around eight hours a day. The best seasons for the Makalu Barun trek in Province 1 are spring and autumn. The spring brings colour to the trek with rhododendron forests. Likewise, the sky is clear during the autumn season.

3. Pathibhara

A mountain range seen from Pathibhara, Taplejung, Province 1, Nepal
A mountain range seen from Pathibhara, Taplejung

This holy shrine in Province 1 of the country sees a lot of visitors. While its cultural and religious significance is high, the place itself is nestled on a nice hill that offers some splendid views. Apart from the temple, the area also has monasteries situated in Olangchung Gola and Lungchung. The waterfall at Sawa and the pond of Timbung, during the autumn and spring, are worth visiting every year. The forest ecosystem along the trail offers a diversity of wildlife, birds, flowers and butterflies. The whole of the Kanchanjunga range can be seen in this trek.

4. Bhedetar

Foggy Bhedetar

Bhedetar in Province 1 is famous for its unpredictable weather. Most of the time, the place is shrouded in fog which makes this hill station mystical. If you like waterfalls, this is also the gateway to Namaste Jharana which is one of the most famous waterfalls in Nepal. Apart from that, there are other activities that one can indulge themselves in like zipline and paragliding. If these activities do not interest you, you can still get there and enjoy the magnificent view of the mountain and valley below the mountains.

5. Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale (TMJ)

Rhododendron flowers in the TMJ area, Province 1
Rhododendron flowers in the TMJ area, Province 1

Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale is the confluence of three districts of eastern Nepal – Sankhuwasabha, Taplejung and Terhathum. The place is known for its rhododendrons as you can find over 30 species of flower in the area. Sunrise and sunset from the area are also underrated as it is the place that does not get the visitors it deserves. You also get views of Makalu and Everest along with other mountains from the area. You also have the option to go to the highest waterfall in Nepal, the Hyatung Jharana. The best time to get to this place is during the spring because the place blossoms with flowers.

6. Barju Taal

Barju Taal. Photo: Barju Rural Municipality
Barju Taal. Photo: Barju Rural Municipality

It is a known fact that there are not many things to do around Biratnagar. But if you are there, you have to go to Barju Taal in Barju rural municipality of Sunsari district in Province 1. Peaceful, this is a great place to go wind down in the evening. The place is also home to a lot of migratory birds. As it is close to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, you get to see other flora and fauna too.

7. Halesi Mahadev

File: The Halesi Mahadev temple in Khotang, a major Hindu pilgrimage site in Nepal
File: The Halesi Mahadev temple in Khotang, a major Hindu pilgrimage site in Nepal

Halesi Mahadev is one of the most important Shiva shrines in the country. Hindus, Buddhists and the Kirats go regularly to this pilgrimage site. The temple is located in a cave that dates back to the 12th century. While the Hindus believe it to be a Shiva shrine, Buddhist believe that it is associated with the legend of Padmasambhava and a place where Vajrayana Buddhism was practised. The Kirats have their own history of the cave that lies between the Sunkoshi and Dudhkoshi rivers.

8. Pattale

Everest as seen from Pattale

Bordering Okhaldhunga and Solukhumbu districts, Pattale is another underrated gem in Province 1. The place is located at an altitude of 2,800m, from where you can get a glimpse of Everest. During the spring, the area is painted in a red hue thanks to the rhododendrons. During the winter, the place gets good snowfall too and can be a destination that you can go to enjoy the snow. Getting to the place is quite easy too. The roads are decent enough and if you live in Kathmandu, a bus goes to Pattale every day from Koteshwar. It takes around 10 hours to get there.

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