Travel Information Nepal
Visas and Permits
All foreigners (except Indian nationals) require visas, which can be obtained in advance from Royal Nepalese Embassies & Royal Nepalese Consulates abroad or upon arrival in any ports. Single-entry tourist visa costs US$30 valid for 60 days. A multiple entry visa costs USD 80. Visa fee has been waived for the people who will spend 3 nights or less in a visit and also to those repeaters who have previously stayed 15 nights or more within the same visa year. Visa fee to Chinese and the citizens of SAARC member countries also have been waived. Besides, you will have to obtain permits to trek in the certain areas of Nepal. The most popular trekking routes like Annapurna, Langtang and Everest do no require trekking permits but National Park Entry Permits are still applicable.Upper Mustang, Manaslu and Dolpo fall in the “restricted area” category and attract expensive permit plus series of paper works.
Travelers should bring prescribed medicine. Common medicine for stomach problems, headache, and malaria is available in Kathmandu but may still bring them. Medicine is usually not available in remote areas. So necessary medicine is advisable to carry with you. Before going to Nepal, it is advised to get injection against typhoid, meningitis and hepatitis. Malaria is not a problem in the higher area of Nepal, but can be found at the lower. Please consult your doctor for more information.
Altitude problem: Often known as acute mountain sickness, is particularly a matter of important medical consideration while trekking the Himalayas. Altitude sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3000 meters. Symptoms like headache, nausea, shortness of breath; fatigue etc can be encountered as initials of the sickness. The major information source on prevention and treatment of the sickness can be obtained from following links or consult your doctor.
Visit this site for helpful Medical advice in visiting Nepal http://www.ciwec-clinic.com/
When to Go
It is difficult to generalize the climate and best time to visit Nepal due to altitude variation. In the main October-November is the start of the dry season and is in many ways the best time of year: the weather is balmy, the air is clean, visibility is perfect and the country is lush following the monsoon. February-April, the tail end of the dry season, is the second-best period: visibility is not so good because of dust, but the weather is warm and many of Nepal’s wonderful wild flowers are in bloom. In December and January the climate and visibility are good but it can be chilly and discouraged from trekking. The rest of the year is fairly unpleasant for traveling: May and early June are generally too hot and dusty for comfort, and the monsoon from mid-June to September obscures the mountains in cloud and turns trails and roads to mud.
Getting there, Around & Away
Flights: There are few direct flights to Nepal, which means most travelers from Europe, North America and Australia have to change aircraft and/or airline en route. Nepal’s only international airport is Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport. If you want to see the mountains as you fly into Kathmandu, make sure you sit on the right-hand side of the plane. The departure tax plus tourism service fee for international flights is US$25, or US$20 to destinations on the Indian subcontinent.
Overland: The classic overland routes between Nepal and India are still popular. There are three main crossing points: Sunauli-Bhairawa, Birganj-Raxaul Bazaar and Kakarbhitta-Siliguri. The Sunauli border crossing is the best one from Varanasi, the Birganj crossing is the easiest from Kolkata, and Kakarbhitta is the obvious choice from Darjeeling. A trickle of travelers enter Nepal at the Mahendrenagar-Banbassa border crossing in the extreme west of Nepal, which is handy for travelers coming overland from Delhi who do not want to visit Varanasi. The crossing between Nepal and Tibet via Kodari is open to organized groups but not to individual travellers heading north. Be prepared with alternative plans if you’re thinking about using this route, because landslides regularly make it impassable during the monsoon.
Royal Nepal Airlines and several private companies offer domestic air services, but flights are relatively expensive. Public buses ply almost every paved road and some unpaved ones too but they are incredibly uncomfortable, tediously slow and sometimes among others chicken and goats may be your co-passenger. There are however, few services between Kathmandu and Pokhara aimed specifically at tourists, which has acceptable comfort & timely. There are no trains and no drive-yourself rental cars in Nepal. Cars with drivers can be hired.
Local transport in the Kathmandu Valley and around Pokhara includes metered and un metered taxis, buses, tempos (three-wheeled buses), auto-rickshaws, bicycle rickshaws and bicycles.
Money Currency & Exchange
The Currency is called Nepalese Rupee made up of 100 Paisa. Nepal’s foreign currency exchange rate is very much influenced by the fluctuation of that of Indian Rupees as these two countries maintain a fixed rate for years. There are effectively three exchange rates in Nepal: the rate set by the government’s Nepal Rastra Bank, the slightly more generous (but still legal) rate set by the private banks, and the even more generous used to be the black-market rate set by carpet shops and travel agents but currently, there is an insignificant difference only.The daily Rising Nepal newspaper lists the Nepal Rastra Bank’s rate, which is a useful reference point. Exchange rates and commissions no longer vary much, so it is always better to change at legally authorized centers and obtain receipts for it. If you leave Nepal via Kathmandu airport and haven’t spent all your rupees, you can exchange up to 15% of the amount shown on these unused receipts back into hard currency.
Major International currencies such as the US dollar and pounds sterling are readily accepted, and the Indian rupee is also considered a ‘hard’ currency. If you’re trekking, take enough small-denomination cash with you to last the whole trek.
Exchange Rate by Yahoo: http://finance.yahoo.com/m5?a=1&s=USD&t=NPR&c=0
Book & Readings:
There are plenty of books to read for Nepal..for the recommended list click here.
Tipping is becoming fairly common in upmarket restaurants in Kathmandu, so leave around 10% of the bill if service was good. There’s no need to tip in cheaper establishments or to tip taxi drivers. Porters on treks, however, should be tipped around Rs 100 per day. Bargaining is commonplace in markets and tourist shops, but treat it as a form of polite social discourse rather than a matter of life and death.
Visiting a Temple
Always walk clockwise around Buddhist stupas, chortens or mani walls. Always remove your shoes before entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple or sanctuary. You may also have to remove any items made from leather, such as belts and bags. Many Hindu temples do not permit westerners to enter.
It’s the custom to give a white scarf or Khata to a Buddhist abbot when you are introduced. The honorific title Rimpoche is usually bestowed on abbots. The scarves can easily be found at Tibetan shops.
Visiting a Nepali Home
In a Nepali home the kitchen is off limits to guests. Avoid polluting food by inadvertently touching it or bringing it into contact with a used plate or utensil. Using you own fork or spoon to serve out more food will do this. Putting your used plate on a buffet table risks making the food still on the table jutho or polluted. Notice how Nepalese drink from cup or water vessel without letting it touch their lips.
Do not intrude with a camera, unless it is clearly OK with the people you are photographing. Ask before a temple compound whether it is permissible to enter and take photographs.
It’s quite easy to get by with English in Nepal; with those you have to deal with in Katmandu & Pokhara valley Along the main trekking trails, particularly the Annapurna Circuit, English is widely understood. However, Nepali on the other hand is fairly easy language and useful to come in contact with the local. Nepali is closely related to Hindi and, like Hindi, is a member of the Indo-European group of languages.
Although Nepali is the national language of Nepal and is the linking language between all the country’s ethnic groups there are many other languages spoken. The Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, for example, speak Newari and there are other languages spoken by the Tamangs, Sherpas, Rais, Limbus, Magars, Gurungs and other groups. In the Terai, bordering India, Hindi and Maithali, another Indian language of their region, are often spoken. The magic word Namaste -translated it means I salute the god in you, but it is used as an everyday greeting encompassing everything from Hello to How are you? and even ‘see you again soon’. Properly used it should be accompanied with the hands held in a prayer like position, the Nepali gesture which is the equivalent of westerners shaking hands.