NEPAL : A BASIC TRAVEL INFO Print

 

Area                                                 56,827 sq miles                                                          

Comparing to the size of U.S.              About the same size as Iowa

Borders with                                       India and China

Population                                        28 million

Time Zone                                        GMT + 5:45

Religions                                           Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam

Government Type                               Constitutional Federal Republic

Capital                                              Kathmandu

Language                                         Nepali and other regional languages

Passport & Visa Formalities

Foreign tourists entering Nepal must have a valid passport. You can obtain the visa upon arrival in Kathmandu airport (2 passport size photos and visa fee required to obtain the visa on arrival) or get the visa from the following diplomatic mission in U.S.A.  Current visa fee is US$ 25 for 15 days and US$ 40 for 30 days. The visa fee is subject to change.

Embassy of Nepal                                                                                                                                 2131 Loroy Place, NW                                                                                                                   Washington, D.C. 20008                                                                                                                 Telephone: 202-667-4550

If you need a help in applying for the visa, Click Visa Agent.

Weather & Clothing

Nepal has four seasons.

Spring (March-May) has warm day time temperatures and cool mornings and evenings though nights can be chilly. Rain showers and thunder storms are common in lower reaches.

Summer (May-August) is hot in the early months till about the middle of June when the monsoon sets in. Once the rains start the temperature is cool.

Autumn (September – November) is cool and the skies are clear.

Winter (December-February) is cold with snow in the mountains but, clear skies and sunny days.

Clothing depends on the season and the places to be visited. During the summer light clothes are recommended for Kathmandu and the Terai region During the Spring and Autumn, the days are comfortable in Kathmandu, though the evenings are cooler.If you are planning a visit to the mountains, warm clothing is a must.

May and the first half of June, just before the Monsoon, are the hottest time of the year. During the monsoons it rains a lot, but it is a considerate rain; falling mostly at nights.

Winter in Kathmandu brings cold mornings and evenings and pleasant daytime temperatures with brilliant sunshine most days after the morning fog has lifted. It never snows in Kathmandu or once in blue moon, though there is frost on cold nights in January and February.

In the mountains the nights are cold, but the bright sun makes for pleasant daytime temperatures.

February is cold, warming up to the trekking season of March and April; Trekking tapers off in the heat of May except on the more remote and higher trails. There are Monsoon trekking destinations of choice like Mustang, Dolpo and Nar & Phu  as they are behind the Himalaya and in the rain shadow. People who would like to trek in less crowded areas, should contemplate a trek during this time.

Health & Immunization

Most public health services have up to date health recommendations for travel in Nepal. One must also consult one’s personal physician in this regard.

Malaria prevention tablets are recommended if a visit to the Terai or a jungle camp is planned. Malaria prevention is not necessary for trekking or visits to Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Meningitis vaccine is recommended for all trekkers and visitors to remote areas.

Gamma Globulin is recommended for trekkers as a protection against hepatitis.

Water Borne Diseases: You are advised not to drink tap water and unwashed vegetables and fruit. Untreated water, uncooked vegetables and fruits can cause hepatitis and gastrointestinal diseases. Most hotels and restaurants serve boiled and filtered or even treated water, but it is always safer to stick to bottled mineral water. You must carry your own water bottle and iodine tablets if you are traveling to remote areas. On Third Eye Travel’s trekking, all drinking water is boiled so that it can be safely consumed.

The Centers for Disease Control provides an International Traveler’s Hotline offering recorded messages or faxes on current health risks. Call 877 394 8747 or visit cdc.gov/Nepal  for suggested immunizations and food/ water precautions For other health-related inquiries, call 404 639 3534 (8 a.m. 4:30 pm EST).

Customs & Declarations

All baggage is subject to inspection upon arrival. Even though there is a “Green Channel” at the airport in Kathmandu, the custom officers may ask you to pass through an x-ray machine.

Personal effects are permitted free entry; boats and bicycles. The duty free allowance includes:200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 1 bottle of liquor (1150 ml/115 cl ). Excessive amounts of film, video equipment, 16 mm movie equipment, equipment and food for mountaineering expeditions and arms and ammunitions are subject to entry restrictions.

The use or trafficking of any and all drugs- narcotic and psychotropic substances-carries heavy penalties and long jail terms under Nepalese laws.

Export of antiquities is prohibited. Items that resemble antiques require a special permit issued by the Department of Archaeology. These permits can usually be supplied by the shop where you bought the goods. The export of gold, silver, precious stones, wild animals and their skin and horns are also subject to restrictions.

Money, Credit Cards & ATM

Payment for all goods and services in Nepal should  be made in the Nepalese currency (NER). The exceptions to this are hotel rooms, air tickets and travel agency and tour operators’ services which must be paid in convertible foreign currencies.

You can exchagne US$ in banks, hotels, and official money exchange counters. Ask the receipt when you exchange the  money.

There is no restriction on the import of either cash or travelers checks, though import of foreign currencies upward of USD 2500 or equivalent must be declared and the amount taken out should not exceed the amount declared upon arrival.

The credit cards are accepted in most of the hotels, restaurants and big stores. 

ATM machines are available in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Culture & Etiquette

Nepalese are traditionally warm and friendly people who treat foreigners with a mixture of curiosity and respect. Before photographing religious festivals, cremation grounds, women, the inside of temples, etc., it is best to ask permission.

Most Nepalese, at least, speak some English, so one should have no problem getting advise; smiles and gestures work very well when language is a barrier. “Nemaste” (Hello, how are you?) is a good way to start, and Dhanyabad” (thank you) can be quite helpful in bridging most communication gaps.

It is advisable to double check when asking information or directions. Since Nepalese hate to say “No”, they will give you their version of the answer. Their intentions may not be to mislead you, it is only to make you happy that you received an answer. If you are not certain about cultures and manners, just feel free to ask your guide.

Miscellaneous

Upon arrival at the airport or border in Nepal

When you arrive in Nepal, someone from our local office will meet you at the airport who will be displaying your name.   In case,  because of earlier or delayed flight, if you do not  see anybody to pick you up, then give a call to the local tour operator listed on the “Local Operator’s Contact Detail” which is in the information package you have received from us before you left U.S.

If you are arriving overland from Tibet, you will have to cross the border between China and Nepal. First, you have to go through the Chinese Immigration and cross the Friendship Bridge to get to Nepal side.  It may be a bit confusing because of the congested place. The guide from Nepal cannot come to other side of the bridge. So, there will be some local sub-contractor from Nepal side who will help you in carrying your baggage to Nepal side. However, you do not have pay them. Be patience, do not change money or anything here. You will have plenty of time to do this in Bhaktapur or Kathmandu.

Telephone, Email & Wifi

There are good facilities of telecommunication in the cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. There are plenty of cyber cafes in Kathmandu and Pokhara from where you can make a very cheap call to U.S.A. Internet in the public places are cheap and easy, however, the internet speed may be slow. Wifi is available in most of the hotels these days in Nepal except in lodges in mountains.

Shopping

When you purchase any handicrafts in Nepal, you must keep receipts until you leave Nepal. The airport customs in Kathmandu, will ask for the receipts of the purchased stuff, and they may confiscate the stuff you are not able to produce the receipt.

If you are thinking of purchasing any products, which you cannot carry with you, then think twice before you purchase it. The salesman or guide may tell you that they would pay the shipping charges to your address. However, besides the shipping charge, you must understand that there are other charges involved at your end, which they may not be aware of, such as destination charges, custom clearance fees, warehouse fees and other fees. By the time, the product reaches your home; the chance is high that you will also receive a bill for all the other charges, which might be higher than the cost of product itself. So, unless you are very sure about these charges, shipping anything home is not suggested. 

Electricity Electricity is 220V/50 cycles.

A voltage stabilizer is recommended if the use of high end electronic gadgetry is contemplated. Power outages are frequent, even in Kathmandu. Most hotels, however, have their own power generators as do most restaurants.

Tipping

Though Tipping is optional in Nepal, the city guide, drivers, trekking guide, cook and porters expect the tips. The service charge is already included in the bills of hotels and restaurants, no need to tip at the hotels and restaurants unless someone gives you a very special service. 

Below is a general idea about the tipping to the guides and Sherpa crew. This is to be divided by the number of people in the group. In the group of 5 or more people, a couple of dollars more per person would be nice.

City guide:                 US$ 10 per day                                                                                             Tour Car/Bus Driver US$ 8  per day                                                                                                   Trekking Sirdar:       US$ 10 per day                                                                                                 Trekking Cook         US$ 8 per day                                                                                                     Trekking Porter        US$ 6 per day