Nepal Travel Guide

Nepal is a small, landlocked country, 800km long and 200km wide making a total land area of 147,181 sq. km. The mountainous north of Nepal has 8 of the world's 10 tallest mountains, including the world’s highest mountain Mt. Everest. Majority of population practice Hinduism and then Buddhism. Most of Nepalese people do not distinguish Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. Nepal was a kingdom throughout most of its history, but after the end of decade long civil war by Maoists and after wards several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties and the people, last monarch of Nepal, King Gyanendra Shah was abdicated, establishing Nepal as a federal democratic country in 2008. Read Nepal information in Chinese 


Best Time to Travel

Spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September, October, November) are the most pleasant seasons and best time for travel.


Nepal Tourist Visa & Visa Fee

You can obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at International Airport in Kathmandu. Please bring 2 copies of passport size photos with accurate USD for visa fee.

15 days - US $ 30.00 for 15 days single/multiple entry.
30 days - US $ 50.00 for 30 days single/multiple entry.
90 days - US $ 125.00 for 90 days single/multiple entry.

For more information please visit Department of Immigration of Nepal


Getting into Nepal

Nepal is a traveller-friendly country and arrival is straightforward. All entry points to Nepal offer visas on arrival and money exchange. Since Nepal is a landlocked country and has India in its three sides and Tibet (China) in the north, entry to Nepal can be either by land or air.

Air
Kathmandu has the Nepal's only international airport, Tribhuvan Airport. There are twelve major international airlines linking to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The Royal Nepal Airlines (RA) is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flight connections to: Delhi, Mumbai in India; Bangkok in Thailand; Osaka in Japan; Hong Kong, Shanghai in China; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Dubai in United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Other international airlines connecting Kathmandu to other parts of the world are Biman Bangladesh to Dhaka in Bangladesh; China Airlines to Lhasa in Tibetan Autonomous Region of China; Druk Air to Paro in Bhutan and New Delhi in India; Gulf Air to Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates; Indian Airlines to Delhi, Kolkata, and Varanasi in India; Qatar Airways to Doha in Qatar; Thai International to Bangkok in Thailand.

Land
If you want to enter Nepal by road you will have to come through either India or Tibet (China). By land there are eight main entry points into Nepal: seven from India and one from Tibet (China). Seven entry points through India being Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, Belhiya, Dhangadhi, Bhairawa, Nepalgunj, and Mahendra Nagar and the Kyrong Border is the entry point to Nepal from China. Tourists entering Nepal by land must also carry their passports. There are no international bus or train services; buses need to be changed at the borders.


Currency

The Nepalese Rupee is the currency of Nepal. The currency code for Nepalese Rupees is NPR.


Money

Payment in hotels, travel agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Foreign currencies can be exchanged through banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. Visitors can also exchange money at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival. Indian currency is not often accepted and the denominations of Rs 500/- and Rs 1,000/- are banned. Major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro and pounds sterling, are readily accepted. Banks in Kathmandu are open 10 am to 3:30 pm Sunday through Friday except on Government Holidays.

 

Credit Cards: Major credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants, airlines and fancy shops in Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara only. 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 left-over Nepalese Rupees into foreign currency before leaving the country. Again there is always a transaction fee for processing the cards (this charge is enforced by the banks and not the merchants so please don't ask for a discount to remove this) and this is usually around 4% (although American Express Fees are considerably higher at around 7%)

 

ATMs:  There are plenty of cash machines or ATMs in cities and most will accept cards issued by any of the major international banking networks. The majority of ATM's currently have a maximum withdrawal amount of 10,000Rs (although you can make repeated withdrawals). The major banks have ATMs in Kathmandu and Pokhara where you can get cash advances on both Visa and MasterCard 24 hours a day. But use of an ATM attached to a bank during business hours will minimise the hassle in the rare event that the machine eats your card.
Official exchange rates are set by the government's Nepal Rastra Bank and listed in the daily newspapers. Rates at the private banks vary, but are generally not far from the official rate.


Climate

The climate of Nepal can be broadly divided into two seasons: The dry season runs from September to May and the wet (monsoon) season runs from June to August. Because of the varied topography, the weather in Nepal varies significantly from one region to another.  As a general rule, temperatures fall and rainfall decreases the higher up you go. Spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September, October, November) are the most pleasant seasons and best time for travel. In winter (December, January, February) temperature drops down with a high level of snowfall in the high mountain areas and the trails are often blocked by snow. Nights are very cold, but the bright sun makes for pleasant daytime temperatures. In general, higher altitude temperatures range from about 20 degree Centigrade down to -0 degree Centigrade at night. The pre monsoon period from May to early June is very hot and humid with temperatures soaring above 30 degree Centigrade. From mid June to August the monsoon rains lash Nepal turning the rafting rivers become furious and roads are often blocked by floods and landslides.
Kathmandu Valley has a mild climate most of the year. Summer temperatures range from 67-81°F (19-27°C), and in winter temperatures are between 36 and 68°F (2-20°C). During the monsoon season in August, the average rainfall is between 7.8-14.7 inches (200-375mm) in Kathmandu. May and June can be very hot and humid until the monsoon rains. In spring (March to April) and autumn (October to November) the temperatures are pleasant with occasional short bursts of rain, while November to February are dry, but can be very cold, especially at night.


Electricity
In Nepal 220-240 volts/50 HZ power is used. Sockets usually take plugs with three round pins. The plugs can be both small and large in size. Some sockets take plugs with two round pins as well.

It is important that you have both a voltage converter and a plug adapter in order to use your electrical appliances in Nepal. You may even need many different plug adapters if you are planning to travel to more than one country. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit if you are planning to bring many different electrical items. All laptops and some electric razors take universal voltages. Check your equipment to be sure. If the only electric device that you are bringing with you is an electric shaver, you may consider buying a model that is not too heavy. Alternately, you can purchase them in Kathmandu and other cities but not in remote locations.


Travel Insurance

A travel-insurance policy that covers theft, loss and medical problems is best for travelling in Nepal. Make sure you ae covered for accidents, injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation (including helicopter rescue and air ambulance where applicable) and personal liability. It is also recommended that it covers trip cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Also understand that most medical treatment and facilities/hospitals must be paid for at the point of delivery of the patient. So it’s wise to choose a policy that pays doctors or hospitals directly rather than you having to pay on the spot and claim later. You must carry proof of insurance with you.


Culture

Nepal's location between India and Tibet, the diversity of its ethnic groups, its isolating geography and myriad languages have resulted in a complex pattern of customs and beliefs. Nepal sweeps you along crooked, ancient streets flanked by dazzling, multi-roofed pagodas, gold-topped stupas and arcane stone sculptures, and into low-ceilinged rooms cluttered with horror-eyed masks, spinning prayer wheels, Buddhist thangka scrolls and Tibetan carpets. Either it is muttered chants of Buddhists monks in monastery or an early morning worship of Kathmandu's housewife in a local temples, it is believed that the divine is everywhere. In Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism is mingled wonderfully into a complex, syncretic blend like nowhere else.