Nepal Visitor Guide
(from the Sanskrit meaning ‘I bow to you’)
Bhutan & Beyond is delighted to officially partner with Intertours Nepal.
Despite their close proximity Nepal is vastly different from Bhutan and the two make a great mix. Ideally go to Nepal first, it’s a little more confronting, and visit Bhutan last for a more balanced and rewarding experience.
We have aligned our Nepal operations with Intertours Nepal. We can personally attest to their professionalism and dedication in what can be a challenging environment.
Our range of private Nepal tour products that have been tailor-made by Bhutan & Beyond and Intertours especially for the Australian traveller.
Our Range of Tours & Packages include.
- A great mix of cutural sights, day hikes, treks and very special resorts.
- Private tour options for individuals and small groups.
- Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park.
- Elephant Jungle Safaris & Bird Watching.
- Jeep Safaris, Canoeing & Nature Walks.
- A chance to spot Bengal Tiger, One horned Rhino & more.
- Spa & Massage Treatment Packages.
- Intensive Ayurveda Therapy
- Yoga, Meditation & Healing Programs.
- Rafting, Kayaking, Canyoning
- Paragliding & Micro-lighting
- Mountain Biking & Motorcycling
- Hiking & Trekking.
Conferences and incentives.
- Special Interest Programs i.e Buddhism, Flora etc.
- Small to medium conferencing and conventions.
- Incentive travel rewards.
Nepal: From Mountains to Jungles:
A very brief overview!
Nepal….Land of the world’s tallest mountains and the deepest jungles, sits on the shoulder of India’s north-eastern borders. To the East and North of Nepal are its Himalayan sisters, Bhutan and Tibet. Nepal is home to timeless religions, cultures, and traditions, colourful festivals, ancient temples and monasteries, and always…friendly, smiling people who truly follow the age old saying “Athiti Devo Bhava”….Guests Are Our Gods.
Nepal was partially closed to foreigners until the 1960’s when it gradually opened for tourism. In the year 1990 Nepal was declared a multi-party democracy, previously being ruled by a succession of kings and Prime Ministers from the Shah and Rana Dynasties, and in 2008 the monarchy was officially abolished. Currently there is a confusing political system that, whilst not functioning cohesively, is not adversely affecting tourism.
General Information For Visitors To Nepal.
Nepali is the official language of Nepal with almost 60% of the population speaking it. The language which is believed to be the closest derivation from Sanskrit, was originally called Khas Bhasha, but became known as Nepali during the 20th century.
In the capital Kathmandu, Nepal Bhasa (the Newar language) and Nepali are the most widely used languages. English is spoken well at hotels and by your tour guides and drivers.
Nepal is a year round destination, with different offerings during different seasons. For culture, heritage & sightseeing most of the year is rewarding although mid-June-end of August are very wet in parts.
There are 2 main trekking / tourism seasons in Nepal: Spring (February – May) and Autumn (September – November).
Spring Season (February – May): This season is ideal for touring and trekking throughout all regions of Nepal. In particular trekking during the months of March and April in the Everest, Annapurna, Langtang and other regions sees the Rhododendrons (Nepal’s national flower, there are over 16 varieties)in bloom at this time. The weather is fresh and crisp with low humidity; the sun is not too hot and night-time temperatures are very comfortable even when camping. Also ideal for visiting Chitwan National Park for jungle safaris.
Monsoon Season (June-August): During the late June to end of August monsoon the light has an amazing clarity and the land grows green and lush with astonishing quickness. This time of the year is still good for cultural exploration tours, particularly in the areas of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Pokhara, when ripe paddy fields glisten in the sun and there is a different kind of magic created by the monsoon. This season is not considered ideal to go to Chitwan due to high rains and temperatures. Trekking to ‘rain shadow areas such as Jomsom and Mustang in the Annapurna region is ideal.
Autumn Season (September-November): September, October and November are pleasant months and there are some important and colourful festivals to enjoy both in the valleys and in the mountains. This season is ideal for tours, treks and Jungle Safaris to Chitwan. October is the busiest trekking month so to avoid the crowds consider delaying your tour/trek to late November, December, and even far as January.
Winter Season: (December-January): There is no snow in the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys so December and January are perfect months to visit. There are fewer tourists and, contrary to what most guide books say, climate conditions can be favourable for viewing Himalayan vistas in December and January. Although treks to the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp should be avoided at this time, medium and easy grade lower altitude cultural treks to all regions can be made.
Latitude: 28º00´ North of the Equator
Longitude: 84º00´ East of Greenwich
Except in formal gatherings, informal clothes are acceptable everywhere. Warm garments are required October – March. An umbrella or a raincoat is a must for the rainy season i.e. July – September.
- The unit of the Nepalese Currency is Rupee. One Nepali Rupee is made up of 100 paisa. 1 US$ = 87 Nepali Rupee (08 July 2013).
- Foreign currency & traveller cheques can easily be exchanged at banks or authorized agents. Please do NOT bring in Indian Rupee notes of 500 or 1000 as they will not be accepted and may be confiscated!.
- MasterCard, Visa & American Express are accepted at all major hotels, restaurants and shops. ATM’s are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other major cities.
Banks are open between 10:00 A.M. to 2:30 p.m, Sunday to Thursdays and between 10:00 A.M. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays. Closed on Saturdays and national holidays. Some Banks in Thamel, Kathmandu are open till later.
Tips and Service Charges:
- Tipping is generally expected in up-market restaurants in Kathmandu only, so leave around 10% of the bill if service was good
- City Tour Guides should be tipped around US$4-5 per person per day for groups of 1-4 travellers (a little less for larger groups).
- Drivers US$2-3 per person per day for groups of 1-4 travellers. (a little less for larger groups).
- Trek Guides: US$8-10 per day for guides.
- Hotel Porters US$2.50 per bag per porter.
How To Enter Nepal:
- By Air: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
- By Land: Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, Belhiya (Bhairahawa), Nepalgunj, Dhangadi, Jogbani (Biratnagar), Mahendra Nagar in Nepal-India border and Kodari in Nepal-China (Tibet) border.
Visitors are allowed to bring in the consumable articles such as at 01 April 09: (subject to change at any time)
Liquor one bottle up 1.15 litres
200 sticks of cigarettes.
Export of Antiques:
- The export of antiques requires special certificate from the Department of Archaeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu.
- Gold, Silver, precious stones, wild animals and their skins, horns, etc, all drugs whether processed or in their natural state, are prohibited to export
- Carrying narcotics, arms & ammunitions are strictly prohibited.
Electricity in Nepal is 220V/50Khz. Either a two round plug or a three triangular shaped round plug adaptor is required in Nepal.
Entry Procedures: All visitors except Indian Nationals must hold a passport (valid for 6 months longer than your stay in Nepal) & valid visa. The visas can be obtained on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu where you will need to complete the visa application form and hand over two passport sized photos and your visa fee.
Short Stay Visa: US $25 (up to 15 nights)
Long Stay Visa up to US$100
Please ensure: you carry additional passport sized photo’s with you when travelling in Nepal as if you decide to trek to gain some permits additional passport sized photos maybe requested.
Your nearest Travel Doctor in Australia can be contacted by telephoning 1300 421 142
Ideally you should seek advice at least 8 weeks prior to your departure. We encourage all travellers to ensure their hepatitis and tetanus vaccinations are kept up to date at all times. Please note there is a rabies risk in Nepal.
For high altitude journeys please consider taking a small supply of either Diamox (doctor’s prescription) or Viagra for emergency use.
Nepal is a landlocked country, bounded on the north by the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China; on the east by Sikkim and West Bengal of the Indian Union on the south by Indian States of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and on the west by Uttar Pradesh of Indian Union. Its total area is 147,181 sq km. The length of the country is 885 kilometers east-west and its breath varies from 145 to 241 kilometers north-south. Climatically, it lies in the temperate zone with the added advantage of altitude.
Nowhere in the world is there such a vast and unique diversity of landscapes, terrain, and cultures in so concentrated an area as in Nepal. As its northern borders are capped by the mighty Himalayas, Nepal is endowed with 8 of the world’s 14 eight thousand meter peaks. Nepal naturally evolved into a mountaineers’ playground after the summit of Mt. Everest (8848m) in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. But Nepal is more than just mountains. As its southern border is shared with sub-tropical India, the lower ‘Terai’ jungle region is host to national parks with a rich ecosystem and diversity in wildlife. The middle hills region where the major cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara are located offer treks at comfortable altitudes through scenic country sides overlooking an abundance of rivers, valleys and forest. The altitude at Pokhara starts at approx 820 metres and in the capital Kathmandu 1336 metres.
There are three main geographic/altitude regions:
Himalayan Region: The altitude of this region ranges between 4877 meters and 8848 meters with the snow line running around 48848 meters. It includes 8 of the existing 14 summits in the world which exceed an altitude of 8000 meters. They are (1) Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) 8848 m, (2) Kangchenjunga – 8586 m, (3) Lhotse – 8516m, Makalu – 8463m, (5) ChoOyo- 8201 m, (6) Dhaulagiri – 8167m, (7) Manaslu – 8163m, and Annapurna- 8091 m.
Middle Hill Region: This region accounts for about 64 percent of total land area. It is formed by the Mahabharat range that soars up to 4877 meters. To its south lies the lower Churia range whose altitude varies from 610 meters to 1524 meters. The Middle Hill Region contains some of the most varied landscape in Asia, from Alpine Forests to Temperate Jungle.
Terai Region: The low-land Terai region which has a width of about 26 to 32 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 305 meters, which occupies about 17% of total land area of the country. The Terai Region accounts for some of the greatest diversity in wildlife in Asia; Bears, Tiger, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant, Sloth, Deer, Antelope, Gangatic Dolphin, more than 830 species of bird life.
Average Temperatures in Nepal (in celsius).