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 eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the world’s highest mountain Mt. Everest. Majority of population practice Hinduism. Buddhism is linked historically with Nepal. Many Nepali do not distinguish between 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 


Useful Links
To provide you with the as much as information as possible, along with the current news updates, you can go through the following links:


•    Visa   Online Nepal Tourists Visa application      
•    Lonely Planet Guide For travel information
•    Medical Informations A site provides complete altitude(AMS) information, causes and treatments      
•    KEEP A non profit organization work for sustainable Tourism
•    Recomended Travel Library An informative collection of trekking tales from Nepal      
•    Kantipur Online Nepal Online News  
•    Nepal News Nepal Online News      
•    Nepal Tourism Board A board promote Nepal Tourism World Wide and deliver Nepal information      
•    Nepal Immigration For Tourists visa as well as other visa information      
•    TAAN A association of Trekking Agencies of Nepal     
•    Nepal Mountaineering Association A association of Nepal Mountaineers      
•    UK foreign affairrs a must see site for travel advisory      
•    USA foreign affairs a must see site for travel advisory      
•    Australia foreign affairs a must see site for travel advisory      
•    New Zealand foreign affairs a must see site for travel advisory      
•    Currency Converter Check for current rates of different currencies      
•    Time & Dates Check the Global Time & Dates


Climate
The climate of Nepal can be broadly divided into two seasons: The dry season runs from October to May and the wet (monsoon) season runs from June to September. Because of the varied topography, the weather in Nepal can vary from one region to another. As a general rule, temperatures fall and rainfall decreases the higher up we go. The most popular season to visit Nepal is the dry season i.e. October to May, with October and November recognized as having the best weather for trekking; the landscape is green and lush from the recent monsoon rains, the air is crisp and clean and the views of the Himalaya are crystal clear. During this season the nights are cold in the mountains, but the bright sun makes for pleasant daytime temperatures. At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 20 degree Centigrade down to -0 degree Centigrade at night. By early December winter is starting to creep in and the cold can be bitter and dangerous at high altitudes and the trails are often blocked by snow.
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 September the monsoon rains lash Nepal turning the foothill trails into the mud river, rafting rivers become more furious and roads are often blocked by floods and landslides.


Culture

Nepal's location between India and Tibet, the diversity of its 60 or more 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.  


Visa Procedures

All foreigners, except Indians, must have a visa. However, effective from October 2000, Indians traveling to Nepal by air have to show upon arrival at entry point a valid photo identity like a passport, voter's identity or an identification card issued by the Indian government. A Nepal visa is valid for entry for three to six months from the date of issue. Children under10 require a visa but are not charged a visa fee. Citizen of South Asian countries and China need visas but these are free. Your passport must have at least six months validity. Nepali Embassies and Consulates overseas issue visas with no fuss. You can also get one on the spot when you arrive in Nepal, either at Kathmandu's International Airport or at road borders.Visa is not required to transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft on the same day provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.
It's a good idea to keep a number of passport photos with your passport so they are immediately handy for trekking permits, visa applications and other official documents.


a)    Tourist Visa & Fees:
The Immigration Officer of the entry point or the Nepalese mission abroad issue tourist visa for 15, 30 and 90 days entry.
a.    US$ 25/15 days
b.    US $ 40/30 days
c.    US $ 100/90 days

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.

b)    Fees to be levied for renewal or regularization of tourist visa:
a.    Nepalese currency equivalent to 2 US dollars per day to renew the validity of tourist visa.
b.    In case where request has also been made for the facility of multiple entry, just valid for the renewal period an additional amount in Nepalese currency equivalent to U. S. Dollars 20 to the fee.
c.    In regularizing visa of any foreigner stayed without renewal of validity of the tourist visa, Nepalese currency equivalent 3 US dollars per day shall be levied in addition to the normal amount to be paid for renewal of the validity of visa.

 

c)    Multiple Entry Visa:At Nepali embassies abroad it's possible to get a multiple-entry visa (US$80 or equivalent), which gives you multiple trips into Nepal for a year, with each stay valid for 60 days, up to a total of 150 days in any calendar year. Multiple-entry visas are useful if you are planning a side trip to Tibet, Bhutan or India. You can change your single-entry visa to a multiple-entry visa at Kathmandu's Central Immigration Office for US$50.
 

d)    Transit Visa: If you are just planning a lightning visit to Kathmandu it's possible to get a free non-extendable three-day transit visa at Kathmandu airport, as long as you have an air ticket out of the country within three days. Transit visas are non-extendable.


Validity of Visa

Visas are valid for 60 days on first visit to Nepal in a visa year (1 January - 31 December), but only valid for 30 days when national is visiting Nepal for the second or more time in a visa year. If you stayed longer than 15 days in Nepal, your second 30-day visa in the same visa year is free.In one calender year, you can stay in Nepal for just 150days.


Airport Tax

Passengers leaving the Country from Tribhuvan International Airport are required to pay an airport tax of Rs 770 if going to SAARC countries (India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Afganistan). For all the other international departure, the airport tax is Rs 1130 and for domestic it is Rs 175.


Countries Restricted for Visa upon Arrival
Nationals of following countries need to get visa for Nepal before they travel to Nepal. Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan.
You can get up-to-date visa information at the website of the Department of Immigration (www.immi.gov.np).


Customs Formalities
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival. A tourist may bring in dutiable goods, such as tobacco and liquors, within the prescribed quantity free of duty. Carrying narcotics, arms and ammunition are strictly prohibited. The export of antiques as souvenirs requires special certificate from the Department of Archaeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu (Tel: 4250686).


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.
Land
By land there are six main entry points into Nepal: five from India and one from Tibet (China). Five entry points through India being Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, Bhairawa, Nepalgunj, and Mahendra Nagar and the Kodari Pass in Nepal-China border is the entry point to Nepal from China. There are no international bus or train services; buses need to be changed at the borders.
Air
Kathmanduis the site of Nepal's only international airport, Tribhuvan Airport.The cheapest flight from Europe or US east coast can be taking a flight to Delhi and a short connecting flight to Kathmandu.
From Kathmandu,
Nepal Airlines connects to: Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore in India; Bangkok in Thailand; Osaka in Japan; Hong Kong, Shanghai in China; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Dubai in United Arab Emirates and Singapore.
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.
Flying from the UK:
Most economical options are either flying through Abu Dhabi (Etihad Airlines) or through Delhi (Jet Airways and Air India). Other options include flying through Bahrain on Gulf Air and through Doha on Qatar Airlines.
Flying from the USA:From the west coast of North America or from Australasia, flying through Bangkok( Thai Airways and NAC ) can be the best option.
Flying from Australia:
Your best options are either flying through Bangkok (Thai Airways and NAC), through Singapore (Singapore Airlines), or through Delhi (Jet Airways).



Vaccination
Nepal does not officially require any immunization for entry into the country. The only vaccine required by international regulations is yellow fever, in case you have visited a country in the yellow fever zone within six days prior to entering Nepal.

 



Medical checklist
Following is a list of items you should consider including in your medical kit:
•    aspirin or paracetamol (acetaminophen in the USA) for pain or fever
•    antihistamine for allergies, eg hay fever; to ease the itch from insect bites or stings; and to prevent motion sickness
•    cold and flu tablets, throat lozenges and nasal decongestant
•    antibiotics, particularly if you're travelling well off the beaten track; see your doctor, as antibiotics must be prescribed, and carry the prescription with you
•    anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen) for muscle and joint overuse and pain; also for headache and fever
•    loperamide or diphenoxylate 'blockers' for diarrhoea
•    prochlorperazine or metoclopramide for nausea and vomiting
•    insect repellent, sunscreen, lip balm and eye drops
•    calamine lotion, sting-relief spray or aloe vera to ease irritation from sunburn and insect bites or stings
•    antifungal cream or powder for fungal skin infections and thrush
•    antiseptic (such as povidone-iodine) for cuts and grazes
•    bandages, crepe wraps, Band-Aids (plasters) and other wound dressings
•    water purification tablets or iodine
•    scissors, tweezers and a thermometer


Altitude Sickness
Altitude Sickness either in the form of HAPE or HACE or sometime both can arise if we don’t give enough time to our body to adjust to higher altitudes with low oxygen concentration. Our bodies have the ability to adjust to higher altitudes if given enough time and this process is called acclimatization. If you are planning for trek at altitudes above 3000m, you should get information on preventing, recognizing and treating Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
Types & Symptoms: In altitude sickness, fluid begins to leak from blood vessels, most often in the brain or in the lungs.



HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema) - If fluid collects in the lungs, you become breathless more easily while walking, and eventually more breathless at rest. Severe symptoms include breathlessness, dry, irritative cough which may progress to the production of pink, frothy sputum.
HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Oedema) - If fluid collects in the brain, you initially develop a headache, loss of appetite, nausea and sometimes vomiting.
HAPE or HACE can occur singly or in combination. If any one of these symptoms occurs, you become increasingly tired, develop a problem with your balance and coordination (ataxia). Eventually you lie down and slip into coma.
Prevention:The biggest risk factor for developing altitude sickness is going too high too quickly.  Therefore, ascend slowly and have frequent rest days, spending two to three nights at each rise of 1000m. Also, once above 3000m, care should be taken not to increase the sleeping altitude by more than 300m per day. Drink extra fluids, eat light, high-carbohydrate meals and avoid alcohol and sedatives.
Rule 1: Learn the early symptoms of altitude sickness and be willing to recognize when you have them.
Rule 2: Never ascend to sleep at a new altitude with any symptoms of AMS.
Rule 3: Descend immediately if the symptoms are getting worse while resting at the same altitude
.
Treatment:Treat mild symptoms by resting at the same altitude until recovery, which usually takes a day or two. Paracetamol or aspirin can be taken for headaches. If symptoms persist or become worse, however, immediate descent is necessary; even 500m can help. Drug treatments should never be used to avoid descent or to enable further ascent.
The drugs acetazolamide and dexamethasone are recommended by some doctors for the prevention of AMS; however, their use is controversial. They can reduce the symptoms, but they may also mask warning signs; severe and fatal AMS has occurred in people taking these drugs.



Insurance
A travel insurance policy that covers medical expenses, evacuation, theft and loss is recommended. Make sure the insurance also covers all the adventure activities during your stay in Nepal.



Money
Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from such transaction are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange money at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival also. Indian currency Rs 500/- and Rs 1,000/- notes are not accepted for transaction of any kind. Major international currencies, including the US dollar, euro and pounds sterling, are readily accepted. Banks in Katmandu are open 10 am to 3:30 pm Sunday through Friday.


Credit Cards: Major credit cards are widely accepted at midrange and better hotels, restaurants and fancy shops in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokharaonly. 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.



ATMs:The major banks have ATMs in Kathmandu and Pokharawhere you can get cash advances on both Visa and MasterCard 24 hours a day. But it is suggested to use 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.