Nepal Visitor Guide
Namaste! (from the Sanskrit meaning ‘I bow to you’)
Nepal, much like India, marches to the beat of its own drum. At times a little chaotic it is full of colour & tradition, generally welcoming people with a diverse cultural mix, fabulous mountain vistas, a wide array of wildlife and plenty of natural beauty. It also offers great food and is very well priced for tourist visitors be they trekkers, nature enthusiasts or cultural explorers.
Nepal has only been opened to the West since 1951 and despite the veneer of westernization in certain areas, it remains a very traditional and religious society. As guests you must respect this and respond sensitively. Whilst the Nepalese will never rebuke you for unknowingly offending them it is always desirable to respect as many of their customs and beliefs as you can.
Kathmandu, and to a lesser extent Pokhara, are busy, crazy, dirty & amazing all at the same time. The traffic is nightmarish at times and the monsoon from late June to September can make travelling a challenge. TIP! If you visited Kathmandu in the 70’s on the ‘hippy trail’ don’t expect to rediscover it again. Kathmandu has changed enormously since that time. As an antidote to Kathmandu’s sprawl and smog consider the mountain delights of Dhulikhel just 45 mins to the east ….and for the Pokhara region we wholeheartedly recommend staying at the enchanting Begnas Lake approx 18 kms to the east.
Our partners in Nepal are the wonderful and so efficient team at Intertours Nepal and we are extremely grateful to be associated with such a professional company that provides our clients with expert guides, quality vehicles and unsurpassed local knowledge ….. all delivered in a relaxed & very friendly manner.
Currently there is little effective Government in Nepal and sadly this has negatively impacted on the infra-structure over the last decade plus been a source of constant frustration to the local population. So please do proceed with an open-mind on your Nepal adventure and, whilst DFAT will wisely urge you to take extra care with regards to personal safety, we can thoroughly recommend Nepal as a rewarding destination and an especially excellent mix when combined with Bhutan or India.
Nepali is the official language almost 60 percent of the population speaking it. In the capital Kathmandu, Nepal Bhasa (the Newar language) & Nepali are the most widely used languages. English is understood in major city areas & tourist hotels.
Nepal is, in theory, a year-round destination with different offerings during different seasons. For culture, heritage & sightseeing, any time of year can be rewarding. Having said that there will be the obvious road travel challenges during the monsoon (JUN-SEP) and also, there is very limited mountain viewing during this rainy season when most of the rain falls later in the day and at night. There are 2 main trekking seasons in Nepal; spring (late FEB-MAY) and autumn (late SEP-NOV). Click here for further details on climate & rainfall in Nepal.
Except in formal gatherings the dress code is informal. Warm garments are required October – March. An umbrella or a raincoat is a must for the rainy season i.e. Mid-June-mid September.
- The Nepalese Currency is the rupee. 1 US$ = 131 Nepali Rupee (APR 2023)
- Foreign currency and travellers cheques can easily be exchanged at banks or authorized agents.
- MasterCard, Visa and American Express are accepted at all major hotels, restaurants and shops.
- ATM’s are available in Kathmandu and other major cities such as Pokhara.
Banks are open between 10:00 A.M. to 2:30 pm Sunday to Thursdays and between 10:00 am to 12:30 pm on Fridays. Closed on Saturdays and national holidays. Some Banks in Thamel, Kathmandu are open till later.
Tips and Service Charges:
Tipping is not mandatory and is at your discretion. Below is a suggested tipping regime.
- Tipping is expected in up-market restaurants in Kathmandu only however all restaurants already charge 10% service charge in their bill so only pay extra if warranted.
- City Tour Guides should be tipped US$10-15 per person per day for groups of 1-4 travellers (less for larger groups).
- Tip drivers US$8-10 per person per day for groups of 1-4 travellers (a little less for larger groups).
- Trek Guides: US$10-12 per day for guides.
- Trek Porters: US$6-8 per day.
- Hotel Porters US$1.00 per bag per porter.
- Kathmandu Durbar Square: US$10 pp (pp= per person)
- Kathmandu Durbar Square Museum/Courtyard: US$3 pp
- Pashupatinath: US$10 pp
- Bodhnath: US$4 pp
- Bhaktapur: US$15 pp
- Patan: US$11 pp
- Changu Narayan: US$4 pp
- Swoyambhunath: US$2 pp
- Everest National Park: US$35 pp
Electricity in Nepal is 220V/50Khz. Either a two round plug or a three triangular shaped round plug adaptor is required in Nepal.
Here are the latest visa fees and websites for information and visa processing. It is possible to obtain your visa in Australia. However most visitors to Nepal obtain their visa at Kathmandu airport on arrival. Please note all travellers must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status (including any booster vaccinations) before they will be granted a visa to enter Nepal.
Nepal Visa On Arrival:
To pre-arrange your visa on arrival at Kathmandu (Tribhuvan) International Airport please follow the link above to the NepaliPort Department of Immigration on arrival visa application. This form can be completed no earlier than 15 days prior to arrival in Kathmandu. When you arrive at immigration in Kathmandu airport you simply hand over your passport & visa fee and your passport will be endorsed with your Nepal visa.
Official Nepal Tourism Board website.
Current visa fees are as follows:
US$30.00 – 15 day Visa
US$50.00 – 30 day Visa
US$125 – 90 day Visa
You can obtain more visa application details on these web pages.
Your nearest Travel Doctor in Australia can be contacted by telephoning 1300 421 142 …. or please see your GP for health care guidance. Ideally you should seek health advice at least 8 weeks prior to your departure.
We encourage all travellers to ensure their hepatitis and tetanus vaccinations are always kept up to date. Please note there is a rabies risk in Nepal and there may be a malaria risk in some parts at certain times of year.
Nepal is a landlocked country, bounded on the north by Tibet (People’s Republic of China); on the east by the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal; on the south by Indian States of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and also on the west by Uttar Pradesh. Its total area is 147,181 sq km. The length of the country is 885 kilometers east-west and its breadth varies from 145 to 241 kilometers north-south. Climatically, it lies in the temperate zone with the added advantage of altitude.
Bhutan & Beyond offers a range of 4 star & 5-star hotels and luxury resorts in Nepal (sorry we do not generally offer 2 to 3-star properties in an effort to keep a consistency of standard with our Bhutan hotels). Two exceptions are the delightful Summerhill House in Kathmandu (which is a guest house owned by our Nepali partners and well run in an excellent location close to the Patan area) and the Dhulikhel Mountain Resort which is a 3-star room, with 4-star food and a 5-star view.
Mostly you can access 4-star standard throughout the western part of Nepal and a few 5-star (and above) properties in Kathmandu, and more recently in Dhulikhel, where the celebrated Dwarika’s group has constructed a delightful spa/yoga/meditation resort to the very highest of standards. Hotels become heavily booked during the late SEP-end NOV period.
Our Favourite Hotels:
Based on our personal experience do consider these properties:
Kathmandu: Dwarika’s (5+ star); Hotels Shambala or Himalaya (4 star).
Dhulikhel: Dwarika’s Dhulikhel Resort (5+ star); Dhulikhel Mountain Resort (3-4 star).
Pokhara Region: Begnas Lake Resort (4 star – a true gem).
Chitwan National Park area: Taj Safari Lodge (5+ star); Tigerland Safari Resort (4 star) & Barahi Jungle Lodge (5 star).