|Nepal -a country of amazing extremes is the home of the world's highest mountains, historic cities and the forested plains where the lordly tigers and the great one-horned rhinoceros trundle at ease. In fact enchantment is everywhere-for anyone in search of Shangri-La.
Traveling by road : All visitors entering Nepal by land must use no other entry points other than (1) Kakarbhitta (2) Birgunj (3) Belhiya, Bhairahawa (4) Nepalgunj (5) Dhangadi (6) Mahendra Nagar in the Nepal - India border and (7) Kodari in the Nepal - China border. The overland tourists entering the Kingdom with their vehicles must possess an international carnet.
Traveling by air: You can fly directly to Kathmandu from London , Paris , Frankfurt , Vienna , Amsterdam , Moscow , Osaka , Shanghai , Bangkok , Hongkong, Sharjah, Dubai , Dhaka , Karachi , Abu Dhabi , Bahrain , Doha , Paro, Lhasa , Singapore , Delhi , Mumbai, Patna , Calcutta , and Varanasi . Charter flights can also be arranged for large movements. All flights feature business class and amenities of international standards. Many a time, the Capital offers a guided sightseeing of the Himalaya for no extra charge .
Nepal Airlines, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways, Indian Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Biman Bangladesh , Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Air Sahara , Jet Airways, Austrian Air, Martinair, Air China , Druk Air fly to Nepal regularly.
Airfares fluctuate with the changes in exchange rates and are to be paid in foreign currency by foreign nationals. Only Nepalese and Indian nationals are permitted to pay in Rupees for air passage between Nepal and India . Departure flight tickets should be reconfirmed three days in advance to avoid inconveniences by possible flight cancellation or changes in the flight schedule. Overweight luggage charges are levied in foreign exchange.
Customs / airport
Custom: All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the port of entry. Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport , Kathmandu (TIA) without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red channel for detailed customs clearance.
Import: Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty cigarette (200) or cigars (50), distilled liquor) one 1.15 liter bottle), and film (15 rolls). You can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out with you when you leave: binoculars, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.
Export: It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old (sacred images, paintings, manuscripts) that are valued for culture and religious reasons. Visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal 's cultural heritage and belong here. The Department of Archaeology has to certify all metal statues, sacred paintings and similar objects before they are allowed to be sent or carried out of the country. We'll assist you in this process.
Airport tax: Passengers departing from the Tribhuvan International Airport Kathmandu (TIA) are required to pay an airport tax of NRs. 791.00 if going to SAARC countries ( Bangladesh , Bhutan . India , Maldives , Pakistan and Sri Lanka ) and Rs.1130.00 to all other international destinations. Domestic airport tax is Rs. 170.00 for all nationals including Nepalese.
Tourism Service Tax: All Travellers other than Nepalese are required to pay NRS. 565.00 at the airport at the time of departure.
- Indian Nationals do not require visa. However, effective from October 1,2000 , Indians traveling to Nepal by air have to show upon arrival at entry point either a passport, Voter's identity card with photograph issued by the central or state government of India . Temporary identity card with photograph issued by Nepal-based Indian diplomatic missions for identification of Indian nationals will also be considered in case of exceptions. Children under 10 years need not show any identification.
- Free Visa for Tourist from SAARC Country as well as China . Likewise the Government has also waived visa fees for any tourist entering for a period of three days. Free visa for any national for re-entry who have stayed at least for 15 days and more in the country.
- Visa Fee:
Single entry - US$ 30 days for 60 days
Multiple entry - US$ 50 + US$30
Visa will be extended subsequently for 30 days each upon payment of US$ 30 for a maximum period of 150 days in a visa year (Jan-Dec). Visa can be obtained either on arrival in Nepal or from Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or other Mission offices abroad. Two passport size photographs required. Indians do not require visa to visit Nepal . However, they require to be in possession of any one of the following documents while travelling between the two countries.
- Valid national passport
- Photo identity card issued by the government of India/any State Government or Union Territory/Administration in India/Identity Cards issued by the Election Commission of India. (Except Tatkal Identity Cards issued by the Ministry of Railways).
- Children between 10-18 years age group are allowed to travel by air on the strength of a passport or photo identity card issued by the Principal of their school or college.
- Emergency Certificate issued by Embassy of India , Kathmandu to Indian nationals in case of emergent conditions.
- Children up to the age of 10 years will not require the above-mentioned documents for travelling between India and Nepal , by air.
Currency & Credit Cards
Payment in hotels, travel agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants. Remember to keep your Foreign Exchange Encashment Receipt while making Foreign exchange payments or transferring foreign currency into Nepalese Rupees. The Receipts may be needed to change leftover Nepalese Rupees into hard currency before leaving the country, however, the bank may convert only 10 percent of the total amount.
Major Banks, hotels, and the exchange counters at Tribhuvan airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency. US dollar or travelers' checks can be purchased from American Express at Durbar Marg and other Major Banks in Kathmandu . Banks in Kathmandu are open 10 AM to 3 PM Sunday through Friday except public holidays.
Exchange rates are published in English dailies such as The Rising Nepal and The Kathmandu post. Nepalese Rupees are found in denominations of RS 1000, 500, 100, 50, 25, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are found in denominations of 10, 25 and 50 Paisa. One rupee equals 100 Paisa. Approximate exchange rate as is US$ 1 = Rs. 73.00
Insurance: Travel insurance policies that cover theft, loss and medical treatment are recommended. Make sure the insurance also cover the activities that you will be undertaking during your stay in Nepal such as trekking, river rafting, wildlife safaris, climbing and such other activities.
Immunization: Nepal dose not require any particular Immunization for your visit. Vaccinations for Cholera, Meningitis, Tetanus & Diphtheria, Typhoid and Gamma Globulin should be considered for your Trip. Please consult your physician and get a complete check - up before your departure.
Medical Kit: A simple but adequate Medical Kit can be most useful without taking much space in your baggage. The following is recommended as tried and true list of items.
- Aspirin of Panadol - for pain or fever.
- Antihistamine - useful as a decongestant for colds, allergies, to ease the itch from insect bites and stings or to help prevent motion sickness.
- Antibiotics - useful if you are traveling well of the beaten track but they must be prescribed.
- Kaolin preparation (Pepto-Bismol), Imodium or Lomotil - for stomach upsets.
- Rehydration mixture - for treatment of severe diarrhoea.
- Antiseptic, Mercurochrome and antibiotic powder or similar 'dry ' spray - for cuts and grazes.
- Calamine lotion - to ease irritation from bites or stings.
- Bandages and Band-Aids - for minor injuries.
- Scissors, tweezers and thermometers.
- Insect repellent, sun block, suntan lotion, chopsticks and water - purification tables.
- Throat lozenges (Strepsils).
- Eye, nose and ear drops.
- Acetaminophen (Paracetamol).
- Antacid tablets.
Prevention, the best medicine:
Care in what you eat and drink is the most important health rule. The number one rule is don't consume the water including ice. Reputable brands of bottled Water or soft drinks are generally fine. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if water may have been added.
Milk should be treated with care, as it is often un-pasteurized. Boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt (Milk curd) is usually good. Tea or coffee should also be Ok since the water would have been boiled. Salads and fruit should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Ice cream is usually OK if it is a reputable brand name. But beware of ice cream that has melted and been refrozen. Thoroughly cooked food is the safest but not if it has been left to cool. Stomach upsets are the most likely travel health problem but the majority of these upsets will be relatively minor. Wash your hands frequently, as it's quite easy to contaminate your own food. You should clean your teeth with purified water rather than straight from the tap. Avoid climatic extremes: keep out of the sun when it is hot, dress warmly when it is cold. Avoid potential diseases by dressing sensibly. You can get worm infections through bare feet. Try to avoid insect bites by covering bare skin when insects are around, by screening windows or by using, insect repellents.
Cultural shocks and a few tips (Some Do and don't)
with its diverse ethnic groups and traditional beliefs, Nepal has numerous cultural practices that may appear unusual to a person on his/her first visit to the country. However, to enjoy your stay in this remarkable country of white Himalayas and sparkling rivers it is important to take into consideration the different cultural aspects of the country. Here is a list of things, which may be helpful to you.
- The form of the greeting in Nepal is " Namaste " and is performed by joining the palms together.
- Before entering a Nepalese home, Temple , and Stupa remember to remove your shoes.
- Be careful not to use your spoon, fork or a hand being used for your eating to touch other's food, plate, cooking utensil or the serving disk. Do not eat from other people's plate and do not drink from other people's bottle or glass. It is considered impure by the Nepalese.
- Never touch anything with your feet. This is considered an offence among Nepalese.
- While traveling dress appropriately. Women should especially avoid dressing in skimpy, outfits.
- Seek permission first before entering a Hindu temple many Hindu Temple do not allow westerners or non -Hindus to enter.
- Leather articles are prohibited to be taken inside the temple precinct.
- Walking around temples or Stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
- Take photographs only after receiving permission for the object or person being photographed.
- Public display of affection between man and woman are frowned upon. Do not do something that is totally alien to our environment.
- Remember, many times, when a person shakes his head from left to right, he may mean, " yes".
- Develop a genuine to meet and talk to Nepalese people and respect their local customs.
- Please do not touch offerings or persons when they are on the way to shrines or are in the process of worshipping. Keep a respectful distance.
- Please do not accept as gifts or buy objects of art, manuscripts, images etc. Which have antique value. These need to stay here not only for ourselves but for future visitors like yourself who would like to share the experience. Whether something is antique or not can be established by the Department of Archaeology.
- Please be informed that Nepalese men often walk around hand in hand, but this does not have the same implication as it does in Europe , America or other developed country.
- Please do not inquire about a person's caste.
Time and Business Hours
Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.
Business hours within the Valley:
Government offices are open from 9 am to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday in the Kathmandu Valley . Outside the Kathmandu Valley it opens on Sunday also. Banks are open from Sunday through Friday from 10 am to 3.30 pm. open until 12 pm only on Friday. Most Business offices are open from 10 am to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 am and close at about 8 pm and are usually closed on Saturdays.
Business hours outside the Valley:
Government offices outside Kathmandu valley open from 10 am to 5 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays they remain open until 3 pm. Banks are open from Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm . On Fridays, banks remain open until 12 pm only. Business offices are open from 10 am to 5 pm Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 am and close at about 8 pm and are usually closed on Saturdays.
Nepal observes numerous holidays, at the least a couple in a month. So please check the holiday calendar. Government offices observe all the national holidays and banks observe most of them. Businesses observe major holidays only
Festivals and calendar
Nepal has more festivals than the number of days in a year. A festival is always a meaningful and memorable event in the life of Nepalese people. Every festival has some purpose to serve. From bringing in the rain to honoring the dead or averting calamities, every festival has something spiritual about it. Festival is a way of life in Nepal . With the number of festivals that Nepal has, it is one of the best ways to understand and appreciate the Nepalese ways of life. The date of Nepali festivals are according to the lunar calendar. Hence the date of festivals varies from year to year. The list of festivals is as follows:
April - May
Nepali New Year
Bisket: Festival of the God Bhairab in Bhaktapur. Four days of colorful parades and processions
Rato Machhendranath: The festival of Lokeswar, one of the patron Gods of Kathmandu. A 40-foot tall chariot with the God's image installed is pushed and pulled through the streets by hundreds of worshippers.
Buddha Jyanti: Celebrating the birth of Lord Buddha
May - June
Kumar Sasthi: A celebration of the birth of the Hindu warrior God Kumar marks the beginning of the rice planting season. It's also celebrated by groups of boys who indulge in stone throwing fights.
June - July
No major festivals in the worst of the monsoon season.
July - August
Ghanta Kharna: A festival commemorating an ancient victory over a particularly malevolent devil, Gathemuga. Mock funerals are held and figures burned in effigy.
Gunla: A Buddhist Lent or Ramadan-like holy month of penance and pilgrimage, climaxing in a rollicking celebration.
Naga Panchami: A festival devoted to the snake gods, who most Nepalese believe ruled the Valley before the coming of people.
Janai Purnia: Tthe festival of changing of the sacred thread which every Brahmin caste Hindu male wears around his torso.
August - September
Gaijatra: A festival to the sacred cow. Among other symbolisms of the cow, cows are believed to lead the souls of the dead to the underworld; and on Gaijatra Newar households process around an ancient path believed to mark the city walls of times past, in honor of recently deceased members of their families. It's also a carnival celebration with practical jokes - something like Mardi Gras combined with April Fool's day.
Krishna Asthami : Celebrating the birth of the Hindu God Krishna.
Tij Brata - A woman's' festival . Worshippers undergo fasting and penance and seek good fortune and long life, and a ritual purification of self. The three (or four) day celebration ends with a great feast.
September - October
Indrajatra - This festival officially begins with the raising of a 50-feet tall ceremonial pole at Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square in Kathmandu . A weeklong traditional display of old images of Akash Bhairavs is one of the highlights of this festival. The ceremonial pulling of the rath (chariot) of the Kumari, the chariots of Ganesh and Bhairav accompany the Virgin or Living Goddess.
Dasain: The biggest and most widely celebrated national festival in Nepal , usually falls in early October. It begins with Ghatsthapana. Of the two full weeks of celebrations, the 8th, 9th and 10th are the most eventful and auspicious days. The main deity worshipped during Dashain is Goddess Durga. On the 9th day, thousands of devotees visit important Durga temples to worship her. The tenth day is climax day. People visits to seniors for Tika (blessings). The ministers, high ranking officials, general public queue to get Tika from their Majesty in Royal Palace .
October - November
Tihar: It is also known as Diwali or Deepavali, is the festival of lights in Nepal . The celebrations continue for five days. It is an annual festival celebrated in the bright blue days of autumn. The festival begins with the worship of crows, followed by the worship of dogs on the 2nd day. On the 3rd day, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. On the 5th day, one's own soul is worshipped. Sisters also worship their brothers on this day. This is called Bhai Tika, and is a great day and the grand finale to Tihar.
November - December
Indriani Puja - Festival of the Goddess Indriana and of the carious mother goddesses which protect each village in Nepal .
Sita Bibaha Panchami: Celebrating the wedding of the Goddess Sita and the God Ram with mock wedding processions
Dhanya Purnima: A full moon festival celebrating the end of the rice harvest.
Mani Rimdu: It is one of the most fascinating High Himalayan Buddhist festivals observed every year, usually
in November. Tengboche, the world's highest monastery located in Solu Khumbu district of Nepal, is the focal point for the celebration of this festival. The main attraction of this festival is the various masked dances of religious significance.
December - January
Seto Machhendranath - A cleansing ritual for the White (seto) Machhendranath, a counterpart god to the Red (rato) Machhendranath who's chariot procession is in April-May.
January - February
Losar: It is one of the greatest festivals of significant importance to the Sherpas and peoples of Tibetan origin. It is celebrated every year in February. The focus of this festival centers around the celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Many fascinating rituals and celebrations may be observed in Boudha and in Tibetan settlements such as the Tibetan Refugee Camp at Jawlakhel, Patan.
February - March
Shiva Ratri - The all day and all night festival of the great God Shiva.
Holi - a rowdy festival of "colors", in which participants douse themselves (and sometimes unwary onlookers) with colored powder and liquid, and generally have a great time.
March - April
Ram Nawami is a big day for the Nepalese Hindu. It is celebrated in the honor of the great Hindu King Ram, and takes place around March. The main deity to be worshipped on this occasion is Goddess Durga . The holy Hindu scriptures say that Ram was able to kill his archenemy, Ravana, the dreaded demon, by the blessings of Goddess Durga. This day symbolizes the victory of virtue over vice, or of good over evil.
Ghodejatra: A horse festival, celebrated with coach processions, horse racing, and military displays on the main parade ground in Kathmandu
Postal Services : The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower , is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The counters are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service ( EMS ) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone Services : Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
Internet Services : Several Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country in the past few years. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Media : Nepali media has sped light years ahead in just a few years time and what used to be a controlled and tight knit community, is so no more. The government audio and television news networks are Radio Nepal and Nepal Television respectively. However, numerous FM radio stations and upcoming regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan. A number of other newspapers and magazines are also available.
Electricity : Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced. However, most major hotels have installed their own generators.
THINGS TO DO
Trekking and mountain climbing are still the most popular sport among visitors. Rafting on white water mountain streams across the typical cross section of Nepal 's geography is equally popular. Jungle safari in the Terai is preferred by visitors interested to see Nepal 's rare varieties of animals and birds. Nepal also offers bungy jumping above the wild waters of River Bhote Koshi. Canyoning to explore the rugged and out-of -reach landscapes is another option at the site.
Aerial activities include taking off in micro-light aircrafts or hot-air balloons for a good view of the mountains. Mountain flights offer the closest possible spectacle of Mt. Everest and other peaks. The close encounter with the tallest mountains of the earth often draws awe-stricken silence from onlookers .
Mountaineering: With eight of the highest peaks in the world, Nepal has been the focus of some of the most outstanding achievements in the world of mountaineering. For many decades the dauntless icy peaks have posed as challenge to those who dare. There are some 326 peaks in Nepal open for mountaineering today. Government of Nepal opened around 175 peaks in the last two years to mark the Mount Everest Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
Climbing permit to scale the Nepal Himalayas is issued in all seasons by the Mountaineering Section of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Certain official documents are required to seek permission for climbing peaks. Around 121 peaks do not require liaison officer for expedition.
Trekking: Nepal offers excellent trekking options to visitors from the easy walking excursions to the strenuous climb of the snowy peaks. The most rewarding way to experience Nepal 's natural embellishment and cultural assortment is to walk through the length, breadth and the altitudes of the country. Trekking in Nepal is a big part of the ultimate Himalayan adventure and a majority of tourists have trekking as a part of their itinerary.
One can also trek on ponies in some remote places, which is equally enthralling for visitors. Pony treks follow nearly the same routes and are offered mostly in western region of Pokhara, Dolpo and Lo Manthang (Mustang).
Jungle Safari: Royal chitwan and bardiya national parks and royal suklaphanta wildlife reserve offer exciting safari holidays. Jungle activities here include venturing into deep jungle on elephant back or four wheel drive to view wild animals in their natural habitat, canoe rides on the Jungle Rivers , nature walks, bird watching and village tour excursions.
Rafting: Nepal has earned the reputation of one of the best destinations for white water rafting. Cruising down rushing rivers of crashing waves and swirling rapids can make up excitement of a lifetime. Rafting trips for some is the highlight of their stay in Nepal . The waters in Nepal offer something for everybody: Grade 5-5+ rivers with raging white water rapids for the adventurous, to Grade 2-3 rivers with a few rapids for novices. Rafters also have a choice ranging from two to three-week trips to trips of two or three days.
Village Tours : Village tours allow visitors to experience a stay in a typical Nepali village. This gives visitors an opportunity to observe the rich Nepalese cultural tradition from the closest quarter and intermingle with the locals. Besides, any expenses made at that level directly contribute to the welfare of the local community, hence giving the visitor a sense of satisfaction. Village tours are conducted in Sirubari, Gorkha and other places.
Sight-seeing: For those who can not withstand the rigorousness of mountain climbing there are mountain flights which fly around Mt. Everest and other summits providing a close-up view of the top of the world? On a clear day, the hill resorts of Nagarkot (32 km East of Kathmandu), Dhulikhel (32km) and Daman (80 km southwest of Kathmandu) afford magnificent views of Mt. Everest and the entire Himalayan range. For the less adventurous, Pokhara, the lake city of Nepal provides ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, canoeing and boating along with majestic panoramic views in its background.
Shopping : Shopping in Nepal is easy. With a little money and some time one can obtain the best buys this little kingdom has to offer. It will be helpful to have a Nepali for company if a huge shopping project is at hand. Common tourist shopping items include souvenirs and trinkets like gems and jewelry. However, one should be careful while buying jewelry as assessing their quality is difficult. Hand-weaved cotton fabric is a popular buy among visitors. Some buy pashmina that this Himalayan region is famous for and some also buy fresh tea and spices.
Entertainment : Visitors have a choice from a potpourri of amusements. They can: partake in cultural shows that include theater and local art; wine and dine at premier hotels that provide excellent service; enjoy music and dance at newly-opened discotheques; try a luck at rummy or blackjack at one of our casinos; enjoy a game of golf in our Himalyan serenity; or just watch a movie as cozy twosome in one of our movie theaters
World Heritage sites (Culture)
- Swayambhu Nath,
- Bouddha Nath
- Pashupati Nath
- Bhaktapur Durbar square
- Kathmandu Durbar square
- Patan Durbar square
World Heritage sites (Nature)
- Everest National Park
- Chitwan National Park
Popular Tourist Destination (By road/Air)
Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Gorkha, Pokhara, Baglung, Tansen, Lumbini, Janakpur, Bardia, Chitwan, Dhankuta, Dharan, Ilam, Dolakha, Kosit Tappu etc.
Popular Tourist Destination (By Trek)
Annapurna, Jomsom, Manang, Mustang, Dolpo, Rara, Jumla, Lukla, Syangboche, Larke, Rolwaling, Khaptad, Manaslu, Makalu - Barun, Gosainkunda, Langtang, Helambhu, Namchebazar, Muktinath, Kanchanjunga
Metered taxis are easily recognizable by the taxi sign and black number plates and can be hailed off the street. Metered tempos (three wheeler scooters cheaper than taxis are also available. Battery run EV tempos are also available. No tip is expected. There are regular bus services within the three cities of the Kathmandu valley. The bus terminal is located at Gongabu (new bus terminal) and Bagbazar (old bus terminal). Similarly, scheduled bus services for outside the valley operate from the Gongabu Bus terminal. In addition, one can also hire mountain or motor bikes at nominal rates.
Nepal has every category of accommodation facilities that range from the international standard star hotels to budget hotels and lodges. In order to have an assured quality service, it is advisable to use the facilities and services of government registered hotels, lodges, travel agencies, licensed tour guides only and engage an authorized trekking guide or porter only through a registered travel and trekking agency ...... For more information of Hotel Booking