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7
Nepal

Race to the Top

It seems everyone wants to claim the crown of world's highest mountain. While Mt. Everest is widely recognized as the winner of the title, this is actually only true when the measurement is taken from sea level. The highest mountain as measured from the Earth's core is Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador, while the highest mountain measured from the ocean's bottom is Mt. Kea in Hawaii [source: CIA World Factbook].

While at first glance this landlocked country between China and India may seem out of place on a list of places with perfect climates, its altitude variation creates such a range of weather conditions that at least one of them is sure to satisfy. To find one that suits you, all you have to do is start at sea level and work your way up. Considering that Nepal is home to eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, though, that may take you a while [source: CIA World Factbook].

If you're like most of the country's residents, you'll settle in the central hilly region of the Kathmandu Valley or in the southern plain where summers are warm and winters mild. For cool summers and severe winters, you'll head north to the Himalaya Range and Mt. Everest, which, at 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) high, is the world's highest [source: CIA World Factbook].

A large part of Nepal is hit by monsoons during the summer season, but if you're averse to rain, all you have to do is position yourself on the northern side of the mountains. When the bulk of the country experiences torrential downpours, the region of Mustang in the north stays high and dry.

Next, we head to a country that at times seems to have more animals than it does people.

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