We welcome you to the country of Mount Everest, the roof of the world. Nepal is the legendary mountain kingdom of the Himalayas wedged between two Asian giants: India and China. Nepal is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, the light of Asia. This small Himalayan nation is bestowed by nature with an incredible diversity in topography resulting in a wide range of flora and fauna. Relatively small but beautiful country Nepal will make you feel like thrilling with its rich natural gifts. The elevation of the country ranges from 65 meters above the sea level to the highest point of the earth Mount Everest (8848m).
Well, Nepal is occupying only 0.1% of the earth and has massive Himalayan region in the north to the sweltering subtropical jungles of the Terai region in the south. Nepal is the home to:
- 2% of all the flowering plants in the world
- 4% of mammals on earth
- 8% of the world’s population of birds (which includes more than 848 species)
- 11 of the world’s 15 families of butterflies (which includes more than 500 species)
- 8 of the 14 highest mountains of the world above 8000m
- 600 indigenous plant families
- 319 species of orchids
- 167 species of mammals
Nepal at a Glance
Political System: Democratic Republic of Nepal
Geographical Location: It borders with the Tibet Autonomous State of China in the North and India in the East, South and West respectively.
Motto: It's (जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी) which means, "Mother and Motherland are Greater than Heaven"
Area: 147,181 sq. kilometers.
Language: Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people can understand and speak English as well.
Religion: Secular State. There is a harmonious blending of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christian and Islam.
Altitude: Varies from 65 meters to 8848 meters.
Population: 25 million (approx.)
Time: 5hrs and 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian Standard time.
Currency: Nepalese Rupee
Calling Code: +977
Weekend: Saturday is considered to be the official holiday in Nepal.
Nepal has four major seasons:
2) Spring: March-May
4) Autumn: September-November
Best time to visit Nepal
Autumn (September, October, and November)
Spring (March, April, and May) which are the best months for high altitudes and climbing activities
Winter (December, January and February) are good months for low altitude treks and tours
Monsoon (June, July and August) are also okay to visit Nepal
2. GETTING INTO NEPAL
There are 12 major international airlines linking to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flight connections to: Delhi and Mumbai in India; Bangkok in Thailand; Osaka in Japan; Hong Kong and Shanghai in China; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Dubai in UAE; and Singapore. Well, the other international airlines connecting Kathmandu to other parts of the world are Biman Bangladesh to Dacca in Bangladesh; China Airlines to Lhasa in Tibet; Druk Air to Paro in Bhutan and New Delhi in India; Gulf Air to Abu Dhabi in UAE; Indian Airlines to Delhi, Kolkata and Vanarasi in India; Qatar Airways to Doha in Qatar; Thai International to Bangkok in Thailand.
Since Nepal has India in three sides and China in the north, coming to Nepal by land requires one to pass through India or China. The entry points to Nepal from India are:
And the Kodari Pass in Nepal-China border is the only entry point to Nepal from China. Tourists entering Nepal by land must hold an international passport. And for getting around the country, there is an excellent domestic air network and helicopter charter services as well as deluxe tourist coaches. Coldfeet Adventure Nepal will help you with all domestic air ticketing and tourist couch booking for you.
3. CUSTOM FORMALITIES
All your baggage must be affirmed and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry. Personal effects are permitted free entry. Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you are carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red Channel for detailed customs clearance.
Apart from used personal belongings, all the 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). Well, you can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out without you when you leave: binocular, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.
The export of antiques requires special certification from the Department of Archeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu. It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old like sacred images, paintings, manuscripts that are valued for culture and religious regions. And visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal’s cultural heritage and belong here.
For more information on customs matters, contact the Chief Customs Administrator, TIA Customs Office (Phone: 977-1-4470110, 977-1-4472266).
4. FOREX AND BANKING
Foreign currencies must be exchanges 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.
NOTE FOR TRAVELERS FROM INDIA/VIA INDIA
Indian currency of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 bills are not allowed to be brought into Nepal. They will not be exchanged and will not be accepted for transaction of any kind.
Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa Card are accepted. Convertible currencies are as follows: Dollar (US, Australian, Hong Kong, Canadian, and Singapore); Euro (Swiss, French, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy); Pound (UK); Yen (Japan).
The mainstream banks in Kathmandu and Pokhara all have a cash machine where you fill your wallet 24 hours a day using normal bankcard or Master Card/Visa Electron. Banks have cash machines, though we would recommend only using these machines during bank opening tours so as not to run the risk of your card if the system crashes.
Well, the banks in Kathmandu Valley are open between 9:30 am to 2:30 pm from Sunday to Friday. They are closed on Saturdays and other public holidays. In other places, banks are open from 10 am to 2:30 from Sunday to Friday and are closed on Saturdays and government holidays. ATM machines are located in many banks in the capital. Money can be transferred from other parts of the world from the numerous transfer agencies in the capital.
5. VISA INFORMATION
It is just easy to attain your Nepalese Visa on arrival in entry place. So, make the process easier by downloading & completing the application form, having the correct USD cash and two passport photographs. You will need additional two PP-sized photographs for trekking permits and TIMS card.
Click here to Download Nepalese Visa Application Form. Nationals of SAARC countries and China do not need visa when visiting Nepal. As per this rule, Indian nationals do not require visa. However, effective from October 2000, Indians traveling to Nepal by air have to show upon arrival at entry point a valid photo entity like a passport, voter’s identity or an identity card issued by the Indian Government. Temporary identity Card with photographs issued by Nepal-based Indian diplomatic missions is considered in case of exception. Children under 10 years need not show any identification.
Other non-Nepali visitors do not need visa to be in Nepal for three days. Visa must be obtained for staying over the initial period of three days. Free visa is to be given to tourists for re-entry to Nepal provided they stay at least 15 days in the country in that visa year.
Tourist entry visa can be obtained for the following duration from Nepal Embassy/ Consulate or Mission offices abroad, or at the following Immigration offices in Nepal:
Multiple Entry 15 days US$ 25 or equivalent Nepali Currency
Multiple Entry 30 days US$ 40 or equivalent Nepali Currency
Multiple Entry 90 days US$ 100 or equivalent Nepali Currency
c) Tourist Visa Extension
Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US$ 30 or equivalent Nepali currency and visa extension for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January-December)
d) Gratis (Free) Visa
Gratis visa for 30 days available for tourists for SAARC countries.
Indian nationals do not require visa to enter into Nepal
e) Transit Visa
Transit Visa for one day can be obtained from Nepal’s immigration offices at the entry points upon the production of departure flight ticket via Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal by paying US$ 5 or equivalent Nepali currency.
(For further information, please, contact Department of Immigration, Maitighar, Impact Building, Kathmandu, and website: www.immi.gov.np )
6. ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES
Nepal today has altogether more than 300 big and small hotels which are registered with the Department of Tourism, ranging from 5 star deluxe categories to the small one star and tourist standard hotels. A general outline of facilities available in five, four and three star hotels is given below:
Five Star Hotels:
A five star hotel has all its rooms air-conditioned, well-furnished and with attached bath. More than two restaurants and bars serving a variety of cuisine and drinks, swimming pool, tennis court, beauty parlor, sauna, health club. Banquet and conference facilities and a variety of other modern luxurious facilities are also available.
Four Star Hotels:
The four star hotels in Kathmandu constitute of air-conditioned, well-furnished room with attached bath, more than one restaurant, garden, banquet and conference facilities – though in a slightly smaller scale.
Three Star Hotels:
The three star hotels have air-conditioned rooms with attached bath and standard furnishings. A minimum of one restaurant and bar are available with standard luxury.
7. COMMUNICATION FACILITIES
Central Post Office located near Sundhara or Bhimsen Tower is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday through Friday. The counters are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
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.
There are several internet cafes and communication centers in the Kathmandu Valley and around the country. Tourists only need to find a place they are most comfortable with to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Nepali media has developed rapidly within just a few years of time. Besides the government medias, Radio Nepal and Nepal Television, there are numerous FM and television networks, numerous FM radio stations and upcoming regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, Nagarik, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post, Republica, The Himalaya Times, etc.
8. HEALTH GUIDE
Owing to a sudden change in climate, altitude and other factors, it is obvious that there could arise some alterations in your health. It would be hard to know all aspects of Nepal's health problems. However, it would be useful to gather information on altitude sickness (AMS), diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis rabies, typhoid, tetanus, meningitis diphtheria, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Common sense can often save lives.
You will be eating and drinking in various outlets. Diarrhea is a common illness that a tourist would be facing. So, it is recommended to drink purified water and eat in clean outlets. Drinking and eating precautions will surely help to take care of many health problems that could arise during the trip. Staying hydrated during the travel, trekking, tours is highly recommended too if any problem should arise during the trip. Being on good health before leaving for a trip would help you to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
We always recommend undergoing a thorough check up before commencing travel to Asian countries so that if you are considering demanding tour such as trekking or mountaineering you do not have doubt about your health or fitness.
There is no need to present inoculation/immunization certificates to enter Nepal for any legal purpose. However, vaccination for diseases such as Malaria (widely found in lowerlands of Nepal – Terai), Small Pox, Typhoid, Tetanus, Meningitis, Hepatitis and Polio are recommended before you commence your travel to Nepal to be on the safe side. We advise you to consult your doctor before beginning your travel and also to carry necessary health certificates (immunization certificates), should they be required in any case.
The following is a ROUGH GUIDE for immunization. (We must stress that this is only a basic guide to the most commonly required vaccinations to travel to central Aisa.
i. Polio (normally you will just need a booster.)
v. Typhoid. A full course requires 2 injections separated by an interval of 4-6 weeks.
vi. Hepatitis A and B.
vii. Anti-malarial prophylaxis: Please refer to your doctor for the most up to date information about anti-malarial medication for the areas that you will be visiting.
viii. Rabies pre-exposure vaccination. Please refer to your doctor for advice on whether you need rabies pre-exposure vaccination. In the unlikely case of your being bitten, this vaccination does not eliminate the need for urgent evacuation to a suitable medical facility for additional treatment. However, it does simplify that additional treatment and also prolongs the period that you can safely delay before receiving post-exposure treatment.
Given enough notice, your doctor will be able to administer all the above vaccinations.
Medical facilities in Kathmandu Valley are sound. All kinds of medicines, including those imported from overseas are available in Kathmandu. Kathmandu Valley also offers the services of major general hospitals and private clinics. Health posts have been set up by the government in different parts of rural Nepal. However, facilities are not on equivalence with those found in Kathmandu Valley.
A travel insurance policy that covers theft, loss and medical treatment is recommended. Make sure the insurance also covers the activities that you will be undertaking during your stay in Nepal such as trekking, rafting and all adventures activities.
A simple but adequate medical kit can be very useful while traveling. The following items are recommended:
Aspirin or Panadol - for pain or fever
Antihistamine - as a decongestant for colds, allergies and to help prevent motion sickness;
Antibiotics - useful if traveling off beaten track but they must be prescribed
Kaolin preparation (Pepto-Bismol), Imodium or Lomotil - for stomach upsets
Rehydration mixture - for treatment of severe diarrhea
Antiseptic, mercurochrome and antibiotic powder or similar 'dry' spray - for cuts and grazes.
Bandages and band aids for minor injuries
Scissors and/or tweezers
Sun block lotion
Throat lozenges (Strepsils)
Sulamyd 10% eye drops
Acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Antacid tablets)
Prevention, the Best Medicine:
Always drink reputable brands of bottled water or boiled one. Stomach upsets are the most likely health problem although majority of these cases are minor problems. Avoid running tap water for drinking purpose.
In unavailability of bottled water, drink boiled water for drinking. This is well known to kill all harmful bacteria and is the method by which Himalayan Glacier seeks to provide to trekkers using the facilities of the guest and teahouses.
Alternatively, using an Iodine solution - either tablets or drops. This is known to kill most water borne bacteria (not 100%) and has been used widely by most trekkers effectively in this region. Iodine is particularly handy when not near or in a lodge and additional water is required to be purified.
Always make sure the food you eat is thoroughly cooked.
Do not drink unpasteurized milk. Boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt is usually good.
Tea or coffee should also be all right since the water would have been boiled. Salads and fruit should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Food, drink and snack from reputable sources are usually safe. However beware of food that has been kept out in the open for long.
Wash your hands frequently, as it is quite easy to contaminate your own food.
Clean your teeth with purified water rather than direct tap water.
Avoid climatic extremes: keep out of the sun when it is hot, dress warmly when it is cold. Avoid potential diseases by dressing sensibly.
Do not walk bare feet as it is easy to 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.
9. NEPAL CLIMATE
The seasons in Nepal are pretty much the same as in Europe, opposite of the Australian seasons. In January it's cold, while in July you could make do with shorts and t-shirt. The climate of Nepal is moderate which means the winters are dry and the summers are hot. But because of the huge range in altitude and landscape, climate of Nepal differs significantly throughout the country.
Monsoon is approximately from the end of June to end of August. About 80 per cent of the rain falls during that period throughout the country but the remainder of the year is dry. Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the most pleasant seasons. Winter (December, January, and February) temperatures drop to freezing with a high level of snowfall in the high mountains.
Summer, monsoon and late spring temperatures range from 28ºC (83ºF) in the hill regions to more than 40ºC (104ºF) in the Terai (southern plains). In winter, average maximum and minimum temperatures in the Terai range from a brisk 7ºC (45ºF) to a mild 23ºC (74ºF). The central valley experience a minimum temperature but not often falling below freezing point and a chilly 12ºC (54ºF) maximum.
The Kathmandu Valley has a mild climate most of the year, situated at an altitude of 4,297ft (1,310m). 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 rainy monsoon season between June and August, there is an average rainfall of between 7.8-14.7 inches (200-375mm) in Kathmandu. May and June can be very hot and humid until the monsoon rains bring relief. 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.
Best time to visit Nepal
Most recommended seasons for trekking are autumn (Sept, Oct, Nov) and spring (March, April, May). In these seasons you will be rewarded by good weather, sunny and warm with clear sky and outstanding views. During monsoon (June, July, Aug) although there will be no problem for trekking, the issue could be of less visibility and rain. But, for a keen botanist, monsoon is blessing as the higher valleys, mountains and meadows blossom with flowers and abundant vegetation. You can trek in winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) also, only the issue is cold weather with snow-fall at higher elevations.
The trekking routes are crowded during spring and autumn but during monsoon and winter the routes are not packed and you could enjoy rather best of nature.
However, because of effects of global warming the climate is changing world wide and there could always be possibility of exception in these weather patterns. In best seasons also there could be hoax of bad weather and sometimes even in adverse months; weather tends to be excellent for trekkers.
Tips are quite common in service industry and it’s the extra expenses on your part. Though tips are not compulsory, the service provides expect it from their clients. Usually tips are given to those people who are directly involved in your service like Guide, Assistant Guides, Porters, Hotel staffs, Drivers.
The amount of tips may differ from nature of services. Usually the guests give tips at least 10-15% of their overall travel package.
Review Coldfeet Adventure - Kathmandu Valley Private Day Tour