Nepal has 8 of the world’s 10 highest mountains (K2 and Nanga Parbat being outside Nepal). Owing to the semi-tropical latitude and rainfall, the mountains are covered in vegetation up to around 3,500-4,000m (the tree line generally goes up to about 3,900m). Beyond the first ridge of the Himalaya is a high altitude or ‘cold’ desert. This includes Upper Mustang, Manang and Dolpo. This trans-Himalaya region is in a rain shadow, as the monsoon clouds drop rain on the south side of the mountains, leaving these areas dry during the summer.
1) Mount Everest/Sagarmatha/Chomolungma 8,848m/29,029ft (first ascent: 1953)
2) K2 8,611m/28,251ft (1954)
3) Kangchenjunga 8,586m/28,169ft (1955)
4) Lhotse 8,516m/27,940ft (1956)
5) Makalu 8,485m/27,838ft (1955)
6) Cho Oyu 8,188m/26,864ft (1954)
7) Dhaulagiri I 8,167m/26,795ft (1960)
8) Manaslu 8,163m 26,781ft (1956)
9) Nanga Parbat 8,126m 26,660ft (1953)
10) Annapurna I 8,091m 26,545ft (1950)
As well as mountains, Nepal is home to a range of exceptional biodiversity. For sightings of wildlife and birds, the best places to go are in the national parks and wildlife reserves or in the mountains well away from human habitation.