One amongst the two largest eastern towns in Nepal, Dharan is a sprawling city at an altitude of 350 meters above sea level, and has a warm climate. It has a population consisting predominantly of ethnic groups of eastern Nepal including Rais, Limbus and Magar’s . Dharan once hosted the British Gorkha recruitment camp for Nepal, and was the centre of all recruitment activity for the British Gurkhas. The camp they operated has now been taken over by a medical college, one of the largest in Nepal.
The town itself is spread out over the foothills of the middle Himalayas and has a quiet and laid back feel. It is the starting point, or at least the last major town, for treks and expeditions heading up into the Kanchenjunga area, the Makalu region and the Arun valley. A number of rafting expeditions also originate from this area and as such, Dharan though not known as a tourist destination, it is somewhat of a hub for tourist activities in the eastern region.