Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. It is located at an altitude of 1300m from the sea level and is in fact the valley surrounded by the beautiful rolling green hills and the shimmering snow peaks to the north of it. On a clear day, you can see the crystal clear snow peaks of the Himalayan mountains. You cannot miss the main cities of Kathmandu & Patan once the petty kingdoms in the history, now merging into a common urban sprawl. A little further to the east is the valley's third major city, Bhaktapur.
The political, commercial and cultural hub of Nepal is the first stop for the majority of visitors to the country. Once a separate kingdom in itself, it contains three fabled cities - Kathmandu , Patan and Bhaktapur . Out of ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seven cultural heritage sites are in Kathmandu Valley.
The history of the Valley begins with the Buddhist saint Manjushree who slashed a passage through the surrounding hills to drain out the primordial waters and make it inhabitable. Over the centuries, a refined urban civilization emerged, built on a unique synthesis of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Dynasties came and went. Trade and the arts flourished. Its deeply religious Newar inhabitants built fabulous cities and artistic temples that attracted devout pilgrims as well as rampaging invaders. In the late 18th century, following the founding of modern Nepal within more or less the present boundaries, Kathmandu was made the capital. Kathmandu, the largest city in Nepal is situated at an altitude of 1,350m.
Durbar Square. This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples like Hanumandhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, used to be the seat of the ancient Malla Kings of Kathmandu. An intriguing piece here is the 17h -century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. The Durbar Square, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. Even to date, all the major state and social ceremonies, including the solemnization of coronations are performed in one of the courtyards in this complex. There are also museums inside the palace building. There is an entrance fee of Rs. 250 for foreign visitors. Your ticket to the Square entitles you to visit all the museums.
epal -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 .
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.
Nepal has a typical monsoonal two - season a year. There is a dry season from October to May and there is the wet season, the monsoon, from June to September. September - November, the start of the dry season, is in many ways the best time of the year in Nepal . When monsoon just ends, the countryside is green and lush. Nepal is at its most beautiful and during this season there are plenty of colorful festivals to enjoy. Click here for Temperature Chart
clothing depends on place and time, however, it is recommended to have both light and warm clothing. Medium-weight and easy-to-wash cottons are a good choice year-round in the Kathmandu Valley . From October to February, woolen sweaters, jackets or similar other outfits are essential. Short or long sleeved shirts are comfortable for March to May. From June to September, light and loose garments are advisable. In the mountain areas warm clothes are generally a must be need. Down quilt jacket and under trousers are recommended for high altitude trekking.
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.
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.
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.
Time and Business Hours
Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.
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. Festival in Nepal
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.
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.
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
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.