Nepal lies between China and India. With the Himalayan Mountains in the higher reaches and the tropical Terai lowlands at the lower elevation, it is by far the richest country in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and latitudinal variation. The country is home to the world’s highest mountains, medieval cities, 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ancient Hindu and Buddhist shrines and lush tropical jungles (home to endangered species like the Royal Bengal tigers and the one-horned rhinoceros).
Kathmandu, the capital city is a wonderful mix of the old and the new. Studded with ancient monuments and modern high rises the capital city is one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is made up of three medieval cities Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu. The palace squares built by the Malla Kings at these three ancient kingdoms are still in existence, and so are scores of ancient temples and Buddhist shrines. Lying in a deep valley surrounded by green hills of Shivapuri, Nagarjuna, Jamacho, Pulchowki, Champa Devi and Chandragiri, the city offers myriad opportunities for outdoor sports and adventures like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, nature tour etc. Pokhara, the ‘City of Lakes’ and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha are other popular destinations frequented by tourists.
For adventure buffs Nepal is adventure haven. The country is home to eight of the world’s fourteen eight thousanders (8000m peaks) and more than a hundred peaks of varying elevations. From difficult 8000 and 7000 metre peaks to easy 6000 to 5000+ plus peaks there is a mountain for all levels of climbers. Moreover the trails skirting these snow-capped giants are some of the best trekking trails in the world. A trek through these high mountain trails offer some of the most amazing views and a unique cultural experience. The Himalayan rivers fed by the mountain glaciers are ideal for white water rafting, kayaking, canyoning etc. One can also indulge in other adventures like bungy jumping, mountain biking, para gliding, mountain flights, wildlife safari etc.
History and Geography
The recorded history of Nepal begins when the Kiratis from the eastern part of the country started to rule the country.
The first known rulers of the Kathmandu valley were Kiratis. Yalambar, was the first of their king, he was also mentioned in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata. During the Kirati period that Buddhism first arrived in the country, Krakuchhanda Buddha, Kanak Muni Buddha and Kashyapa Buddha visited the Kathmandu valley to worship at Swayambhunath. After Kiratis, the Lichhavis as the second ruler of the country began ruling 4th to 7th century. The temple of Changunarayan was built in Licchavi period, which can be seen today.The Malla period was golden period of Kathmandu valley when great numbers of art, statues and temples were built. During the 14th century Malla ruled this valley for a total period of 568 years. At that period this country was divided into small principalities and kingdoms of 24 groups in western and 22 groups in far western Kathmandu valley was divided into three states of Kantipur(Kathmandu), Lalitpur(Patan) & Bhaktapur.
From the tiny Kingdom of Gorkha, halfway between Kathmandu and Pokhara the king of Shah Dynasty gradually strengthened and extended their power. In 1768 king Prithivi Narayan Shah defeated the Malla kings and from then on Nepal was ruled by Shah Kings ever since. The rule of the Shah dynasty lasted till 2008, when a popular people’s revolution ousted the then reigning Shah king, His Majesty Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, the twelfth king of the Shah dynasty and established federal democracy in the country. After centuries of monarchical rule, Nepal became the youngest federal republic in the world.
Nepal is a sovereign mountainous tiny country, located in Southern Asia. It is landlocked country, situated between China to the North and India to the South East and West. The area of Nepal is 1, 47,181 sq. km. In total it covers 0.03 percent land area of planet Earth. It lies between latitude of 26’ 22’ and 30’ 27’ North and the longitude of 80’ 4’ and 88’ 12’ East. The country is small, only about 880 km. long from East to West and breadth varies from 145 to 241 km from north to South. So the average breadth is 193 km, which covers approximately the same land area.
Geographically, Nepal can be divide into three regions:
The Himalayan region covers 15 percent of total land area which lies in the northern side of country lying horizontally at an altitude of 4700m and above. The region is an endless chain of high Himalayan peaks, icy glaciers and mountain lakes. Several national parks and wild life reserves protect the diverse mountain ecology of this region. The people living in this region also have a culture different from that of the Nepalese living in the lowlands.
Hilly (Mountain) Region
The Hilly region covers 68 percent of total land area. It is formed by the Mahabharat range that soars to touch mountain regions at an altitude of 600 m to 4700 m height. In winter, there’s snowfall in high hills. This region is formed by beautiful valleys like Kathmandu and Pokhara which is now famous for its fascinating lakes in Pokhara Fewa, Begnas and Rupa.
Terai (plain) Region
The Terai region covers 17 percent of total land area. This region lies at an altitude of 70m to 600m above sea level. Pilgrimage destinations of Lumbini, Janakpur and Barahashettra lie in this region. Nepal’s four national parks and wild life reserves, including Chitwan National Park, Koshi-Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Bardia National Park, are located in this region.
People and Language
Nepal having a population of more than 28 million with a complex mixture of different ethnic groups each with a distinctive lifestyle and cultural flavor speaking different languages and dialect.
The Sherpas live mainly in the mountain of eastern and central Nepal, in particular in the Solu Khumbu (Everest) region. The Sherpas are probably the best known Nepalese ethnic group originally from Tibet, they settled in the area about 500 years ago. The Sherpas also known as “snow leopard” live in the Himalaya region up to an average altitude of 4570m.
Bahuns and Chhetris are simply the two highest castes, the Bahuns and Chhetirs are spread generally over most parts of the Kingdom. The progeny of Bahun men and hill women were considered Chhetri and a number of high status families from other hill groups have also adopted Chhetri status, so some do have Mongoloid tribal ancestry. All Bahuns and Chhetris are Hindu.
The Newars constitute and important ethnic group in the capital valley Kathmandu. The Newaris of the Kathmandu valley are a good example of the result of this Himalayan melting pot.
The Gurung and Magars live mainly in the west and on the southern slopes of Annapurna, Himalchuli and Ganesh Himal mountains. The Magars and Gurungs also often work as Gurkha soldiers.
The Rais, Limbus, and Sunuwars inhabit the slops and valleys of the eastern mid hills and many have migrated to the eastern Tarai. Larger number of people find employment with Gurkha regiments.
Tamangs are one of the largest Tibet – Burman ethnic group in Nepal. Around half the Himalayan zone of Nepal is inhabited by Tamangs. Many Tamangs have been influenced in their dress by both western and Newari styles. Traditionally, women wear a colorful wraparound skirt, a blouse, jacket and scarf. On important occasion they wear chunky gold or brass ear and nose rings set with semiprecious stones. Men wear loincloths or the traditional Newari pant, short – sleeved jackets and topis. Both men and women wear several miters of cloth wrapped around the waist.
The Thakalis live mainly Kali Gandaki valley in central Nepal; the Thakalis are a Tibeto Burman people who have become the entrepreneurs of Nepal. Originally Buddhist, many pragmatic Thakalis have now adopted Hinduism. The actual number of Thakalis is very small.
Tharus, Yadavs, Satar, Rajvanshis, and Dhimals are spread generally in the Tarai region. Tharus are one of the larges ethic group in Nepal.
There are 70 different languages that are spoken in Nepal. Though different groups and races have their own languages and dialects Nepali is the national language and is written in Devnagari script. The mother language “Nepali” is spoken and understood by the most of Nepalese people but the speaking style might be different in the different part of the country.
Weather and Climate
Nepal’s topographical extremities govern the climate conditions of Nepal. It ranges from tropical to arctic. Low-land Terai region with its maximum altitude at 305m, which lies in the tropical southern part of the country, has a hot and humid climate that can rise above 45 Degree Celsius during the summer. Mid-land regions are pleasant almost all the year round, although winter nights are cool. The northern mountain region, at an altitude above 3,300m has an alpine climate with considerably lower temperatures in winter.
People say migrating birds do not have to leave Nepal. Nepal’s weather is generally predictable and pleasant.
The year is divided into 4 seasons of Nepal
Winter (December – February)
Spring (March – May)
Summer (June – August)
Autumn (September – November)
The best season to visit for plant lovers is during spring when the flowers are in full bloom and mountain slopes covered with colorful flowers. Autumn is the most popular tourist season to visit with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s with clear blue skies and extraordinary mountain views. It tends to get colder during winter but a short trek can be easily accomplished at this time of year. Summer is the Monsoon season of Nepal. There is heavy rainfall in mid summer but this is the best time of the year to watch the cascading water falls in the high mountain regions. Winter and summer are considered the less tourist seasons of Nepal.
Festivals and Holidays
Government office hours are 10 am to 5 pm. On Saturday and Sunday in Kathmandu government offices (including Immigration) and embassies are closed. Banks are mostly open on Sundays and a few are open on Saturday mornings, whilst you can always use the cash machines as they don’t close, although they have habit of running out of money some times. Souvenir shopping and sight seen are possible every day.
Nepal is a land of colorful festivals and these are celebrated with intensity, especially by the less well- off masses. Dates are generally determined by the lunar calendar so it will fall on a different day each year. The following will be of particular interest to visitors.
Dasain (Bijaya Dasami):- This is the biggest and most widely celebrated national Hindu festival in Nepal, usually falling in early October. It begins with Ghatsthapana. Of the two full weeks of celebrations, the 8th, 9th and 10th are the most eventful and auspicious days. The main deity worshipped during Dashain is Goddess Durga. On the 9th day, thousands of devotees visit important Durga temples to worship her. The tenth day is climax day. People visit to seniors for Tika (blessings).
Tihar (Deepavali/Diwali):- This is another Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal and as well as India. This is the festival of lights which falls late October or early November. The celebrations continue for five days. It is an annual festival celebrated in the bright blue days of autumn. The festivals and Holidays begin with the worship of crows, followed by the worshiping of dogs on the 2nd day. On the 3rd day, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. On the 5th day, one’s own soul is worshipped. Sisters also worship their brothers on this day. This is called Bhai Tika, and is a great day and the grand finale to Tihar.
Mani Rimdu:– It is one of the most fascinating High Himalayan Buddhist festivals observed every year, usually in November. Tengboche, the world’s highest monastery located in Solu Khumbu district of Nepal, is the focal point for the celebration of this festival. The main attraction of this festival is the various masked dances of religious significance.
Losar:- It is one of the greatest festivals of significant importance to the Sherpas and people of Tibetan origin. It is celebrated every year around mid February. The focus of this festival centers its celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Many fascinating rituals and celebrations may be observed in Boudha and in Tibetan settlements such as the Tibetan Refugee Camp at Jawlakhel, Patan, Pokhara.
Buddha Jayanti:- Celebrating the birth of Lord Buddha in the first week of May.
Shiva Ratri:- Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva, is observed in March. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes places in the Pashupatinath Temple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India visit the temple.
Other then these main festivals and holidays, Nepal has lot of small festivals such as New Year’s Day, Matatirtha Aaunsi, Rath Yatra, Ghanta Kharna, Guru Poornima, Naga Panchami, Janai Purnia, Gaijatra, Krishna Asthami, Indra Jatra, Constitution Day, Ghode Jatra, Prithivi Jayanti, National Democracy Day etc.
Culture and Customs
Nepal is the meeting place of two different religions – Hinduism and Buddhism, two races, Caucasoid and Mongoloid and two civilization Indic and Sinic. The population has a variety of ethnic groups each with its distinct identity. Polygamy is still practiced in some areas of the Nepal although legislation banned it in the sixties.
When entering rooms in Nepalese homes it is polite to remove your shoes. While some westernized Nepalese might not be dong it, the best thing is to watch what others are doing. Many Hindu temples do not permit westerners to enter but they are quite free to watch from outside. Always walk clockwise around Buddhist stupas, chortens or mani walls. Everybody must remove their shoes and any items made from leather such as belts and bags before entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple.
Public displays of affection are not accepted nor should one swim naked in rivers or lakes. In the northern hill area, polyandry, the custom of a wife having more than one husband, was also practiced till recently. On the other hand, the Gurung group has an institution called Rodihgar intended to bring people together before they contemplate marriage. Widow re-marriage was not socially acceptable in some groups. An ethnic group such as Brahmins was prohibited for drinking alcohol and sometimes follows vegetarian restrains and amongst Brahmin families a man first met his wife on that day he got married. The Sherpa’s have a remarkably free and easy moral code.
Some Cultural Shock
The lifestyle and way of the people in these small villages are authentic displays of traditional culture in Nepal, with very little influence of westernization unlike the cities. Because of this, Volunteers should be aware that they may experience a little culture shock on their arrival.
- Villagers speak louder and more aggressively than volunteers may be used to, although this is simply normal conversation.
- Physical disciplining (such as hitting and using the strap) are common and old practice in Government schools, and although the Government is working on phasing this out, it will take some time.
- Some traditional cultural practices involved animal cruelty. Animals are sacrificed in traditional Hindu festivals and in other cultural activities such as visits to the witch doctor.
- Many people in the village smoke cigarettes.
- Hygiene levels are often much lower in the villages, as local people have a much higher capacity for infection. It is helpful for volunteers to be aware of this when interacting with children and accepting food from villagers, so that they may reduce chances of getting sick.
- Take off your shoes before entering a temple or one’s home.
- Ask for permission before entering a Hindu temple.
- Taking photographs inside the most temples are considered illegal. Ask for permission before taking photographs of objects, and including Nepali people.
- Public displays of affection such as kissing may be considered offensive.
- Roads are narrow and crowded so horns help drivers save lives. They signal pedestrians with each beat of the heart! So be ready to hear horn noise and accept it – don’t get upset about it
- Khana Khanu Bhayo? – Nepalese may ask you in Nepali, Khana Khanu Bhayo (have you eaten) ? Its a form of greeting more than the question. So go ahead say `you ate one (Khaya)’ if you are busy, or they will have you joining their dining table if you say (Chaainaa)!
- It is common to see same sex walking together hand in hand or with arms around each other. It is a common friendship gesture in Nepal. Perception of friendship is realized before such terms like Gay or Lesbian. When someone talks to you and taps you while talking to you consider that the person is trying to get your attention – it’s a Nepali friendship way.
- Pointing your finger at people is considered bad – it means wait and I will have something against you!
- When you are in a Nepali dining table, there is usually the senior member of the family, usually a female, serving to everyone. She will repeatedly offer food. Consider that as a respect, don’t get offended, take a little and say thank you. In Nepali, usually the mother eats last and she makes sure that everyone eats and eats well. That’s why you have the repeated offers!
- Shopping in Nepal start by bargaining. Most products don’t have price tags, so you are expected to haggle with shop owners. Don’t buy anything without bargaining or if you feel that extra dollars of yours would not hurt poor Nepalese go ahead give your best shot! Bargaining is common for buying stuff like vegetables and groceries, riding a cab, buying gift items such as Nepali Kukuri, Carpets, and just about anything really.
- When you touch someone with your feet accidentally, you pay back the respect by tapping the person’s shoulder, and then your forehead.
- Calling people by names like Dad, Mum, Sister, Brother, Uncle is very common. For example, you say `Amaa’ (Mother) or Buba (Dad) to your friend’s parents but never call them by their names.
- Never tell a girl you don’t know that she is beautiful or compliment on her features. Girls consider it impolite and rude – they think you are flirting with them. Most Nepalese girls don’t flirt except for a few bunches living in cities breathing western air!
- Slurping – It is common to slurp tea and other hot drinks in restaurants and homes.
- Superstition is a part of Nepalese life. Never say a young baby healthy and or fat – they don’t like that, they think the baby will get sick afterwards. Never keep your shoes or sandals upside down – it brings bad luck around. Spilling rice on the floor (specially cooked rice) and walking on it is an insult to the Hindu Goddess of Food. For a long journey away from home, you usually depart with a sip of yogurt and/or a red tika (colored mix or powder) on your forehead given by the senior member of your family. Some highly superstitious people will only travel on specific days of the week for leaving home towards a specification directions like north or south. The number 3 is considered unlucky – for example, when three people have to depart from the same location, they leave one after another but not all at same time. It is common to pray before traveling specially on a long journey, so you will see bus drivers with photos of Hindu goddess, incense and bells and doing prayers before beginning the first drive of the day. Its common to see hanging of red dried Chillies in places like homes, restaurants and even in buses – it’s done to protect the place from bad spirits.
- Sharing a meal – You always ask someone around you if that person want’s to share your meal. If you take a snack to work, you always ask your colleague if they would like to have a bit out of it. When a Nepali family prepares a special meal or even a special pickle at home, they will send it out to neighbors before they have it themselves. Sharing a meal makes them feel good about it. This is very common especially in remote villages in the country.
- Nothing in Nepal works on time. Don’t expect punctually. Public buses don’t run on time, road traffics are unpredictable, and I didn’t know about the meeting time – the kind of excuses you will hear from someone who shows up late in Nepal. Expect everything to slow down. Did you know that it takes hours just to pay your Electricity Bills, forget about paying your telephone Bill – it might take a whole day of waiting in a line! So expect delay at all levels from getting a bus, taxi, plane and getting a room in your hotel
- Nepali Topi is the the national cap of Nepal – it’s rather the part of the national dress for men. Many Nepalese were Topi proudly and it makes them feel good. One of the best ways to show that you care about Nepal and Nepalese is to wear this cap. Many visitors take back home a Nepali topi and use it in special occasions such for receiving Nepali friends at airport or during celebrations. Nepali Topi makes a unique and simple method to show your affection for Nepal and Nepalese. If you can, wear a Nepali topi while traveling in Nepal – for a Nepali topi on your head you feel like a Nepali and what better experience can be more than that!
- Use of bad language is not common even among friends. Visitors to Nepal should avoid using bad language, and remember most city people do understand spoken English.
- Licking your fingers is considered a bad manner. In most countries like USA, you lick your fingers if it has touched any edible substances. Doing the same in Nepal in public is considered gross.
- Blowing your nose in front of people is considered rude. If you must blow, do it quietly and/or alone.
- People spit and throw stuff everywhere- there is no law against littering. Don’t complain, just go about your business, and ignore it. The most common spitting is from the chewing of Betel Leaf (Paan) and chewable tobacco (Khaine in Nepali)
- When women have their monthly (Period or menstruation), they sleep and eat alone without touching anyone in the family for three to four days, they are also kept isolated for a week when they give a birth. Such traditions have been modified to fit family’s desire or needs. During untouchable period, women don’t visit temples or perform puja (worshiping and making offerings to God ). Some go as far as not celebrating festivals. For example, a sister who has a period during Tihar festival won’t give or receive tika (a special mark on forehead). Learn about Tihar festival
- Most Nepalese eat their meal by hand specially for the Nepali food Dal Bhat and Tarkari
- Once someone has eaten from a plate, most Nepalese will not eat from it as it is considered impure (Jutho in Nepali). They feel they might get germs from it. But it is found that many Nepalese women eat leftovers from her husband’s plate – for sharing of food is a loving gesture.
- Traditional Nepalese marriage is a deal between the parents. The boy, his mother and his father will come to see the girl and her parents. She will offer them tea. He will get to see her for a while, and the deal is made by the parents. If it’s not good enough, they will go search for another deal.
- People who don’t look like the ordinary Nepalese will get lots of looks and even constant staring. Especially when you are away from the main cities like Kathmandu, you will be noticed constantly by many people including beautiful Nepalese kids whose curious eyes will be all around you. Smile and Enjoy
- Nepalese don’t eat beef, but buffalo meat is eaten by certain group of people.
Shopping and Malls
The more one visits the places in Nepal, the more is explored. Nepal is an amazingly beautiful and diverse wonderland. Moreover, since the past, some places of Nepal have been the most visited ones by the travelers from all around the world. Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. It is the most populated city in Nepal and thus full of hectic lives. One can even recreate with shopping and nightlife in the city. Kathmandu is regarded as the best place to shop according to your necessities from branded to local products. One can find many malls in Kathmandu for shopping according to their needs. Different types of imported and exported clothes, shoes, accessories, home appliances, electronic gadgets and many more can be found in a same place with the convenient price. Kathmandu Mall, City Centre, Civil Mall, Sherpa Mall and United World Trade Centers are the famous malls of Kathmandu city which can give you the best opportunity to shop till the fullest. Apart from this you can also Nepali handmade papers, Thankas-Tibetan Paintings, Pashmina, Khukuri / Knives, jewelries, Nepali national dress, cap, and Nepali Carpets to take back home as gifts specially in the famous markets of Kathmandu like Ason,Thamel,Durbar Marg etc.
Your guide can always assist you and would be the best person to answer you to make and buy the needy things during treks and travels for rural areas. You can shop the desired equipments needed for you day to day life while you are on trek apart from the equipments we provide.
Night life in Nepal especially in the capital city Kathmandu is very entertaining and full of pleasure. Thamel and Durbarmarg is the main area for the night life. Kathmandu houses several clubs, bars and discotheques that come to life at night. The nightclubs, bars, casinos and discos are the ideal places to relax and rejuvenate oneself. Enjoy live entertainment at the local pub and bars. There are several bars and pubs scattered around Thamel in Kathmandu, all close to each other. Each one has its own style so have a look in each one to choose which appeals to you. Whatever type of bar, discotheque or club you are looking for, you will find it in Kathmandu.
Events and Activities
We here have referred events to festivals and holidays. In Nepal, offices, schools, etc. are closed on Saturdays and public holidays including festivals and national days. Government office hours are 10 am to 5 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays in Kathmandu, government offices (including Immigration) and embassies are closed. Souvenir shopping and sightseeing are possible every day. Due to the inhabitation of people belonging to different communities and religious groups, Nepal observes a number of festivals. These events are celebrated in very unique and magnificent manner which can be the best life time achievement to observe. You can also enjoy other extra activities like trekking, hiking, biking, paragliding and many more.
Forex and Banking
Money can be changed at any banks. Banks are open from 10am to 2pm from Sunday to Thursday and until noon on Friday. Traveler’s cheques are widely accepted with a service charge, usually per cheque. Credit cards are generally accepted, with Visa and MasterCard. There is no black market in Nepal. Sometimes changing larger notes in the villages can be a problematic.
There are many ATM machines in Kathmandu and in Pokhara. ATM machines are slowly being introduced to other city like Butwal and Dharhan. In Thamel Street alone, there are three machines, including one in the Kathmandu Guest House. International credit cards (Master Card, Visa Card etc ) are accepted in all leading hotels, shopping centers, bars and restaurants in Nepal. Traveler’s cheques are also accepted here. Most popular cards accepted in Nepal are VISA, MASTERCARD and American Express. Both Debit and Credit Cards are accepted here. American Travelers Cheques are also accepted in most Banks, Hotels, and Travel companies.
Nepal’s currency is Nepali Rupees, which is equal to 100 Paisa. You can find paper notes of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 whereas coins are of Rs. 5, 2, 1 and 50 paisa (also 25, 10, 5 paisa coins are available but rare). NRs. 160 is equivalent to Indian Rs. 100. The convertible values keep changing with other currencies including US Dollars, Pounds, Euro, Aus Dollars, Yen, etc.
Environment and Pollution
Nepal is very beautiful and rich in greenery. The numbers of flora and fauna found here makes the environment clean and green. But as the advancement of technology started taking place the environment has been degrade more in cities area. Pollution is a problem in cities like Kathmandu. Due to pollution, one may face problems like headache, fever, cough, cold, typhoid, etc. Cities are well equipped with hospitals. Besides, mosquitoes are abundant during summer season in hot places of the Terai. As the result, diseases like malaria may occur. All these problems have cure. So, travelers are requested not to worry or panic but precautions are to be taken.
Roads, Water and Electricity
Roads in Nepal are of varieties. Some are good; some may be under construction, some narrow and some zigzag and steep. While traveling on a vehicle or on foot on the roads, precautions are to be taken. Traffic jams on office times are common. If the vehicles are driven carefully, road travel is free of risk. Again, it is highly recommended that you have travel insurance covered. One can even drink water directly from rivers and taps. Water in Nepal are pure and less contaminated even though we recommend you to buy and drink mineral water. 230 V, 50 Hz; European plugs with circular metal pins, India style plugs with two circular metal pins above a large circular grounding pin. You can find any of the transformers, plug adopter and converters to buy in Kathmandu and other major cities easily.
Hotels, from non-star lodges to five star hotels, from guest houses to resorts, all are options for accommodation in Nepal. Expect star hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Meanwhile, guest houses, camps, volunteer house and also local houses are options while you’re on trek.
Transportation in city areas is available and has easy access.Bus,taxi,tempos,vans and rickshaws are available everywhere.
Taxis: Meter Taxis are very common and usually recognized by the black number plate in front and rear. You can get the taxis even at the night time but the fare is bit higher than day time. You can also get a private car through a travel agent or car/rent agents. The hotels or resort can also provide you this service.
Buses: Buses in Nepal are crowded especially during holiday seasons. One can take Micro Bus (Hiace) in the Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur, Patan and also to other remote areas. Other popular scheduled and well maintained buses like Makalu Yatayat, Agni Bus, run to and from Kathmandu to all major cities in Nepal. The main bus terminal is located at Gongabu bus terminal. The new regulations has also introduced the night bus systems in Kathmandu with the various terminal points of its statin “Ratri Sewa”(Night Service).
Motor Bikes: Motor bikes are available for hire in Kathmandu’s Thamel and Lazimpat area. These motorcycles are generally 90-250cc bikes; the most popular motor bike in Nepal is Hero Honda Splendor. The hotels or the travel agents can guide you in detailed ways about the hiring processing on it.
Rickshaw: Rickshaw ride gives you the pleasure of roaming around and its very fun full. It costs cheaper than the taxi facilities. You can get rickshaws even in the rural areas. In Kathmandu Thamel, Basantapur and Durbar Marg
In cities and developed areas communicating facilities would be cheap and available. To make your cell phones run you need to contact your service provider and check if Nepal country is included in their `Global roaming’ package. You can also get the facility of getting a sim card by consulting the travel agents (us).
There is no internet in the village or surrounding towns, and the only wireless method possible (CDMA technology – wireless internet via phone carrier) does not yield a high speed connection. Please inform us if you would like to book a wireless CDMA SIM card and a USB modem in advance.
There is reception however, for local phone carriers. Buying a local SIM card for use in a local handset is another good option for international communication
Custom Department Things
All travelers are permitted to carry 200 cigarettes, 20 cigars, one bottle of spirits and two bottles or 12 cans of beer free of duty. Other exempts from include personal effect such as binoculars, cameras, film stock, record player, tape recorder, transistor, and radio. It is illegal to export antiques; objects like metal statue, sacred images, paintings, and manuscripts.
Note: You can bring your pets with you but you need to remember not all the airlines offer shipment of animals in cabin or as checked baggage.
Nepal has a wide range of climates so carrying both light and warm clothes in casual and comfortable styles is appropriate. In the mountain areas, warm woolen clothing is necessary while at lower altitude cotton clothing is ideal. Bring any stuff so that you can wear it with your comfort. If you missed any of your clothes, don’t worry. Buy Nepalese garments; a snow jacket, a pair of pants, and a t-shirt for under fifty bucks!
Health and Safety Measure
Taking precautions and preventive measures by you is a must. Enter Nepal with one or two vaccine taken for common diseases like malaria. When in Nepal, eat thoroughly cooked food. Avoid salad. Drink only the reputed brand of bottled water. Soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi are fine to drink. Avoid Fast foods. Wear a mask (if possible) when walking in the dusty and polluted streets, especially during the summer season in Nepal it can be touch to walk in the streets. Many private clinics and hospitals are open during the day. Drug stores near the hospital regions are open 24 hours (Bir Hospital, Teaching Hospital, Patan Hospital, etc). Of course the other rules apply; a) quit smoking! b) Drink less. (Beer is cheap in Nepal!)
Passports and Visas
A visa is required to enter to Nepal. Visas are granted at the Nepalese embassies or consulates abroad. You may also be granted an on-arrival tourist visa at Tribhuwan International Airport or at the immigration office of any entry/exit point. Any foreigner who intends to visit Nepal must hold valid passport or any travel document equivalent to the passport issued by your local government for visiting a foreign country prior to application for visa. Indian nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal.
Nationals of these countries must apply for the visa in advance through Nepalese consulates abroad- Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.
An on-arrival tourist visa is a multiple visa and is available for 15 days, 30 days and 90 days. When you apply for the visa, your passport must be valid for at least six months and you need two Passport size photos.
Here are the fees for the tourist visas to Nepal: (Note that- Nationals of SAARC countries, Chinese nationals and children under 10 years need not pay any visa fees)
15 Days- US$ 25
30 Days- US$ 40
90 Days- US$ 100
Tourist Visa Extension
Visas can also be extended following the policies of Nepal Government. Fees for tourist visa extension for 15 days or less is US$ 30. Tourist Visa can be extended for more than 15 days by paying US $ 2 or equivalent Nepalese currency per day. Tourist visas can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a year.
For more information on other kinds of visas and immigration issues, please go through this link of Nepal Government’s Department of Immigration: http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np
Tribhuwan International Airport is the only international airport in Nepal. Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier aircraft of Nepal and other international airlines operate flights to Kathmandu various cities in the world, by many international airlines. (Link)
Kathmandu is connected with India through the fertile plains of the Terai by the most picturesque highways. Visitors are permitted to drive their own cars but their vehicles must possess international carnet. There are regular bus services to Kathmandu from all the border points. Bus services are available easily from India to Nepal. The bus from Lhasa is only available during the less snowing period. The entry point at Nepal – India borders are: Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi and Mahendranagar. The only entry point at Nepal – China border is Kodari from Lhasa.
Entry and Exit Point in Nepal
The following entry and exit points are prescribed for the purpose of the foreigners entering to and departing from the Nepal. Deviation from these points at the time of entry or exit shall be treated as the violation of immigration rules.
- Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu
- Kakarbhitta, Jhapa (Eastern Nepal)
- Birgunj, Parsa (Central Nepal)
- Kodari, Sindhupalchowk (Northern Border)
- Belahia, Bhairahawa, Rupandehi (Western Nepal)
- Jamunaha, Nepalgunj, Banke (Mid Western Nepal)
- Mohana, Dhangadhi, Kailali (Far Western Nepal)
- Gadda Chauki, Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur (Far Western Nepal)
Travel insurance is compulsory for undertaking any tour. It should provide adequate protection for the full duration of the tour to cover personal injury, death, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, helicopter rescue, air ambulance and adequate cover for baggage.
Some Facts about Nepal
- People in Nepal do not greet one another with a handshake, but rather put their palms together and bow their forehead and say Namaste (directly translated as ‘I salute the God in youˇ).
- A popular and cheap ‘fast food’ is the Momo. Delicious dumplings made from flour and water filled with different fillings like chicken, meat or vegetables either fried or steamed and served with a dipping sauce.
- Nepal is home to one of the few places on earth where you can see both the Bengal tiger and the one-horned rhinoceros
- The Annapurna region was voted one of the top 10 best trekking places on earth.
- Everest in the Nepali language is Sagarmatha which means goddess of the sky and it stands at a staggering 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) above sea level.
- The Sherpas are an ethnic group from mostly the eastern mountainous part of Nepal. Many are employed as porters for mountain expeditions as they do not suffer the effect of altitude and due to their genetics and upbringing. Many groups refer to their porters as Sherpas.
- Nepal is the birthplace for the Lord Buddha. Lumbini and a pilgrimage for many devout Buddhists.
- Nepal has the densest concentration of World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu valley alone has 7 World Heritage Cultural sites within a radius of 15 kilometers.
- The Nepali flag is the only nation with non-quadrilateral flag. The two triangles symbolize the Himalaya Mountains and represent the two major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.
- Time Zone is 5 hrs 45 min ahead of GMT
- The Nepali year begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months: Baisakh, Jestha, Asadh, Shrawan, Bhadra, Aswin, Kartik, Marga, Poush, Falgun, Chaitra. Saturday is the official weekly holiday.
Useful Phrases and Expressions
(Tapaiilai) Kasto Cha?
How are you?
(Malai) Thik Cha
I am fine
Khana khannu bhaiyo?
Have you eaten? (used often as informal greeting)
Tapaiiko naam ke ho?
What is your name?
Mero naam Prakash ho
My name is Ann-Marie
Excuse me/ pardon me/ sorry
I don’t understand
I hope we meet again
Addressing People / Things
Formal way to address someone using their name
Aama / Buwa
Mother / Father, but also friendly term men/women roughly in your parents generation
Older / Younger sister, but also friendly term used to refer to other women roughly in your generation
Dhai / Bhai
Older / Younger brother, same as above
Nanu / Babu
Young girl / boy child
Ma / Hami
I / We
Yo / Tyo
This / That
Mahango / Sasto
Expensive / Cheap
Ramro / Naramro
Good / Bad
Sapha / Phohar
Clean / Dirty
Thulo / Sano
Big / Small
Sajilo / Gahro
Easy / Hard
Thada / Najik
Far / Close
Chito / Dhilo
Fast / Slow
Tato / Cheeso
Hot / Cold (for food)
Garmi / Jaado
Hot / Cold (for weather)
Naya / Purano
New / Old
Dhani / Garib
Rich / Poor
Kina / kinabhane
Why / because
How (of quality)
Bato / Road
Pul / Bridge
Des / Country
Bajar / Market
Kotha / Room
Gau / Village
Khola / River
Pasal / Shop
Khanna / Food
Ghar / House
Mithai / Sweets
Koseli / Gift
Topee / Hat
Jhola / Bag, pack
Git / Song
Kitaab / Book
Manche / Person
Mancheharu / People
Chorachori / Children
Bideshi / Foreigner
1 / ek
6 / cha
15 / pandhra
50 / pachaase
2 / dui
7 / saat
20 / beece
60 / sathi
3 / tin
8 / aath
25 / pacheece
70 / sattari
4 / char
9 / nau
30 / teece
80 / assi
5 / panchs
10 / das
40 / chaleece
90 / nabbe
100 / ek saye
200 / dui saye
1000 ek hazar
Expressions of Time
Aaja / Today
Hijo / Yesterday
Bholi / Tomorrow
Ghanta / Hour
Din / Day
Haptaa / Week
Mahina / Month
Barsa / Year
Bihaana / Morning
Diunso / Afternoon
Beluka / Evening
Raatri / Night
What time is it?
One o’ clock
Tapaiko naam k ho?
What is your name?
Mero naam Anne ho.
My name is Anne.
Tapai kaha bata aaunu bhayako ho?
Where are you from?
Ma Australia bata ayeko hu
I am from Australia.
Tapaiko pariwar ma ko ko hunuhuncha?
Who are there in your family?
Mero pariwar ma aama/buwa ani tin jan dai harru hunuhuncha.
I have my parents, and three older brothers.
Tapai Nepal ma pahile choti aaunu bhayako ho?
Is it your first time in Nepal?
Tapai kati barsha ko hunubhayo?
How old are you?
Ma pacchis barsha ko bhayen.
I am twenty-five years old.
Khana khanu bho ta?
Have you eaten?
Yes, I have. / No, I haven’t.
Esko kati parcha?
How much does this cost?
Dherai mahango bhaiyo
It’s very (too) expensive
Ma ali-ali Nepali bolchu
I only speak a little Nepali
Please speak slowly
Tapaiiko bihe bhayo?
Are you married?
Mero bihe bhaiyo / bhayeko chaina?
I am married / not married.
Yo / tyo ke ho?
What is this / that?
Tapailai bhetda khushi lagyo.
Nice to meet you.