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Nepal Travel Information

Find below the information on the following topics.

Nepal  Visa regulations

Nepal VisaA valid passport is required for all tourists except Indian nationals to travel to Nepal. Your passport is supposed to be valid for at least six more months to get a visa. Indians need to carry either a passport or  the election card.

Visa fees:
You will get your Nepal visa at Kathmandu airport  or any other surface entry points upon arrival and the fees are as follows.

  • Multiple entry 15 days visa fee  - US$ 25 (valid for 15 days)
  • For more then 15 days visa - US$ 40
  • Fee exempt for kids below 10 years

Please bring visa fee in USD cash ( exact change ) , they will not accept other currencies and not accept credit cards etc for visa payment. You also require a photograph , better bring one.

The tourist visa can also be obtained from Nepalese Embassies or Consulates abroad. The process is the same for the ‘gratis’ visas. The Kathmandu airport is rather slow . In order to shorten your time in the airport (immigration and custom) fill up all the available forms in the airplane itself. The visa application forms are available in the passport control lounge. They are also distributed in the aircrafts before landing.

Indian nationals do not require visa to enter Nepal.

Getting to Nepal- air and surface entry routes

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is linked by air with Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Banglore, Mumbai, Dhaka, Paro, Karachi, Frankfurt, Paris, Munich, London, Vienna, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Doha, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Osaka, Shanghai & Lhasa. Entry points for those entering the country by surface are Bhairahawa (Sunauli), Birgunj (Raxaul) & Kararbhitta (Siliguri) from India and Kodari (Zhangmu) if you are entering from  Tibet.  

Airport Tax

There is no departure tax on both international and domestic flights in Nepal.

Custom and duty

Those  arriving at Kathmandu  airport without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If the passengers are carrying dutiable articles they must pass through the Red channelfor  Customs clearance.  Besides their  personal belongings, passengers are allowed to bring into Nepal  for free - 1 pair of Binoculars, one still camera (with 15 rolls of film), one movie or video camera, a laptop computer, a portable music system, 200 cigarettes or 20 cigars, 1 bottle of liquor and a reasonable amount of perfume.

It is illegal in Nepal  to export objects over 100 years old (sacred images, paintings, manuscripts) that are valued for their religious and cultural  significance. Tourists are advised not to purchase any item of antique value as they are Nepal’s cultural heritage.  If you are going to buy such  articles you are supposed to certify from  The Department of Archaeology at Ramshahpath, Kathmandu for all metal statues, sacred paintings & similar objects before carrying  out of the country.

Time

Nepal is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time.

Banks/ Money / ATM

Nepalese CurrencyNormally banks are open between 09:00 A.M. to 3:00 p.m, Sunday  to Friday. On Saturdays and other public holidays, they  are open for shorter hours and for cash withdrawals and deposits only (not other services).  Some banks operate evening counters( till 6 or 7 Pm) in Kathmandu and Pokhara . So , in general you can assume that banks are open 365 days , in  Kathmandu and pokhara ( but not in other cities or small towns).

You are supposed to pay in local currency, called Rupees,  in the local market for any shopping and payments. However you must pay in foreign currency for air tickets and for visa  charges. Airport departure taxes can be paid in Nepali Rupees.

You can exchange your foreign currency at hotels , at banks or your travel agent can do this for you. Foreign currencies like US Dollar, Euro , Japanese Yen, and  British Pound are  accepted in hotel , travel agencies, restaurants and other establishments easily. However ,  other currencies are accepted only at banks and we recommend you not to carry these currencies to avoid inconvenience.

Visa and Master cards are widely accepted in the cities , mostly Kathmandu and Pokhara. Bigger hotels and restaurants accept them but  smaller hotels and restaurants will not accept them .

There are ATM machines at several places in Kathmandu, Pokhara and some other cities including some  at Kathmandu airport. The credit card service charge is normally 3.5% in Nepal.  You can also get Nepali Rupees against travelers cheques at banks.

If you are heading for a trek  to the mountains, make sure you have enough Nepali cash for your personal expenses. Some lodges in the mountains may accept US dollars but the exchange rate offered is very  low.

If you are traveling via India , you can use your remaining  Indian rupees in Neapl . However Indian Rupees of  500 denominations are illegal to carry in Nepal and the authorities may confiscate it at the airport.

Foods and restaurants

Food RestaurantTravelers often say that Kathmandu and Pokhara  have  best choice of restaurants in whole of south  Asia. You can find  restaurants serving Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Continental, French, Mexican, Italian, Korean, Thai etc foods. There are restaurants serving typical Nepali dishes in Kathmandu and Pokhara.  A typical Nepali meal includes some rice, mixed seasonal vegetable curry, chicken or mutton curry, bean soups, papad, pickels and traditional deserts.  Nepal has many ethnic groups, they not only have different culture and dresses but also have different  foods of their own . 

 Liquors of most international brands are available  in Nepal. There are a great of number fo bars to enjoy a drink.  The traditional Nepali whisky is made of rice, simillar to Japanese Sake.  A warm millet beer (home made ) is also very popular, especially in winter . Nepal produces very fine quality tea too.

Official Weekly Holiday

Saturday is the official weekly holiday in Nepal, not sunday. Most of the shops remain open from Sunday through to Friday, while museums throughout Kathmandu valley  remain closed on tuesday and other government holidays.

Elecrticity

All cities and towns in Nepal have electricity and rural electrification in selected areas are currently underway. Some villages on the popular trekking trails of Annapurna, Everest and Langtang have electricity . You can charge your camera batteries at some of these places. Voltage available is 240-220 volts AC & 50 cycles throughout the country. Load shedding is frequently experienced in Nepal but mostly during dry months only. In Nepal we use  round pins instead of flat pins to insert in the plugs.

Festivals

Nepal FestivalWe often joke in Nepal that  we have more festivals than days in a year.

Dasain, celebrated nationwide in October, is the most important of all Nepalese celebrations. Running a close second is Tihar (November), Other festivals celebrated nationally include the water-tinged Holi (March) and Chaitra Daisan (April), Hindu festivals number the Haribodhini Ekadashi (November) and Maha Shivaratri (March), both celebrated in Pashupatinath, the Gai Jatra (August) in Kathmandu and the Krishna Jayanti (August/September) in Patan. Buddhist celebrations are just as thick on the ground, and include Mani Rimdu (November) in Solu Khumbu, Buddha Jayanti (May) in Kathmandu, and Losar (Tibetan New Year) (February) in Swayambhunath, Jawlakhel and highland communities.

Shopping a souvenir

Shopping a souvenirThere are a great number of souvenirs to choose in Nepal. Most of them are handicrafts usually not found in other parts of the world. Most popular items include the traditional Thangka paintings (Buddhist paintings), Buddhist prayer wheels, Buddhist singing bowls  and traditional silver jewelleries of the mountains people.  A great varities of silver jewelleries and semiprecious stones are available in Kathmandu on good prices. Cashmere / Pashmina shawls ( high quality handmade shawls made of the  Himalayan goats' wool )  and the  famous Khukuri knives of the Gurkha soldiers are other popular souvenirs. You can buy great collection of Rudrakshya Malas and Shaligrams in Kathmandu.

Hand made, traditional  rice paper items are other choice. Kathmandu is a great place to buy both Tibetan and Kashmiri ( persian type ) carpets.  For tea lovers we produce a great varities of  Himalayan teas  to enjoy back in home.

Spices( for cooking) and Nepalese and Tibetan incense could be other souvenirs you may love to buy.  Is your suitcase full now ?

Most of the airlines allow only 20 kg weight limit and 7 kg as a hand bag.  Some airlines , specially those flying from north America allow more weight. There are a number of courier and cargo companies in  Kathmandu which  can deliver the goods to your destination for a reasonable cost. We can assist  our clients  with this.

Weather and temperature

Nepal has four seasons, spring, monsoon, autumn, and winter.  Spring is warm to hot depending on the places you visit ( see the temperature chart below). There are occassional rains but generally  the weather is fine in spring. Moonsoon brings heavy rains . Autuman has very pleasant weather with clear blue  sky and clear mountains . Winter gets chilly and needs really warm clothes if you are going to the  mountains. Kathmandu has an elevation of 1350m ( 4500 ft approx) and Pokhara 850 m( approx), for temperature in Kathmandu and Pokhara in different months , refer the table below.

Nepal can be visited throughout the year for sightseeing tours .For trekking tours the best time is from  last week of september to first week of June. However shorter treks like Ghorepani poon hill trek  or Jomsom trek can be done even in summer. Summer is an ideal season for trans himalayan treks like Upper mustang, Dolpo , Nar Phu valley or  for alpine flower treks  as these places lie in rain shadow zone of the Himalayas.These areas experience only minimum of rain even  in summer, it is warmer  and vegetations grow and alpine valley  floors  bloom with flowers.

Temperature in Kathmandu , Pokhara and Chitwan

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Kathmandu  Max  ºC   19 20 25 30 32   31 30 29 27 24 20 20
 Min ºC   1 4 8 11 16 20 21 20 19 15 8 1
 Pokhara  Max  ºC 20 21 27 31 32 31 30 30 29 27 23 21
 Min ºC 8 8 11 16 19 20 21 21 20 18 11 7
 Chitwan  Max  ºC   24 26 33 35 35 36 33 33 32 31 28 24
 Min ºC   7 8   12 18 20 23 24 24 22 18 12 7
Nepal Travel Information - Source: Ministery of Science

Your Health in Nepal

We recommend you to immunize  against certain illness that are not prevalent in your home country such as Cholera, Typhoid, Malaria, Meningitis, Hepatitis etc. Your physician would be best able to advise them on the availability and administration of these inoculations.  
Please ensure that all water is boiled & filtered before consumption. Normally all hotels and reputed restaurants in Kathmandu serve safe water but while eating in an ordinary establishments do not eat green salads and when you need to drink  stick to soft drinks or bottled mineral water.Iodine tablets are easily available for treating water while in the trek.

A travel insurance policy that covers theft, loss & medical treatment is recommended.You  should make sure that your insurance policies also cover soft adventure activities during your stay in Nepal /Tibet such as rafting, trekking etc; For high altitude trekkers and climbers, policies should also cover helicopter evacuation expenses in case of serious illness or accident or if clients are stranded in remote areas due to the  unexpected.

It is always wise to bring a simple medical kit of your own( though we provide a medical kit ourselves too). The followings are recommended:  

  1. Aspirin for pain or fever
  2. Antihistamine - useful as a decongestant for colds, allergies, to ease the itch from insect bites
  3.  Antibiotic - useful if the clients are traveling well off the beaten track
  4. Kaolin preparation (Pepto-Bismol), Imodium or Lomita, for treatment of severe diarrhea.
  5. Antiseptic, Mercurochrome & antibiotic powder or similar “dry spray” - for cuts & stings
  6. Bandages & band-aids – for minor injuries.
  7. Scissors & a thermometer.
  8. Insect repellent sun block, sustain lotion, water purification tablets.
  9. Paracetamol
  10. Antacid tablets  
  11. Diamox for altitude sickness if you are going for high altitude trekking.
  12. Your regular medicine, vitamins if your are taking any.

In case of illness there are a number of hospitals with good facilities for treatment in major cities with English speaking medical staffs.


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