Capital: Kathmandu
Area: 140,800 sq kms
Population: 27 million
Religions: 86% Hindu, 8% Buddhist, 4% Muslim, 2% Others
Languages: Nepali, English
Time: GMT + 5.75 hours
Visa Formalities: A visa is required
Currency: Rupaiayan or Nepalese rupee
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz cycle

Climate

The climate of Nepal varies from warm summers with mild wintersin the low-lying southern region, to alpine conditions with verysevere winters in the mountains. Between December and Februarytemperatures drop well below freezing in the mountains. The besttime to travel to Nepal for trekking is in early spring or lateautumn, when the weather is dry and temperatures mild. The monsoonseason on the coast occurs between June and September.

Visa

EMBASSY OF NEPAL

12A Kensington Place Gardens,
LONDON – W8 4QU
Tel : 020 7229 1594 , 020 7229 6231.
Fax : 020 7792 9861
Website : http://www.nepembassy.org.uk/

Visa Requirements

Valid Passport. With a validity of a minimum period of six months.
One application form.
Ona passport-size Photograph.
Visa Fee : £ 20.00 GBP Cash ( 15 days )
Visas are processed in 48 hours.
Visas are also obtained at the port of arrivals.

Note: The above is only for information purpose. Visa requirement might be changed by the concerned embassy, hence kindly visit the embassy website or speak to the concerned authority before applying for the visa.

Local laws and customs

Drugs are a growing problem in Nepal and the authorities are determined to tackle and control the problem. Penalties for drugs related offences are severe. Possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a prison sentence in excess of 5 years, usually after a lengthy and expensive legal process. The availability of Class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin are on the rise and an increasing number of people are being caught smuggling drugs in to and out of the country. Never become involved with illegal drugs of any kind in Nepal.

You should respect local customs. Women should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops in public places where this might be seen as inappropriate.

When to visit

If you are wanting to go trekking in Nepal, the best time to do so is in Autumn (early October to early December) and in Spring (early March to end of April). Weather in autumn is mostly mild and clear with chilly nights. Spring has clear mornings, typically building up to rain in the afternoons. Winter (December through end of February) has chilly daytime temperatures and is very cold at night. Whilst the weather is mostly clear at this time of year, winter snow storms can affect hiking. Summer (June to September) is Nepal’s monsoon season and conditions can be somewhat uncomfortable.

Transportation

Buses are the most common form of transportation within Nepal. Bus routes cover the main cities extensively, whilst others will take you from town to town. Alternatively you can make use of local taxis.

Security/Safety

Sadly, the battle between the government and Maoist rebels has impacted on tourism in Nepal. This however does not mean that you should avoid visiting the country altogether. It just requires some caution on your part. Be sure to keep an eye on the media and local sources of information as regards demonstrations and public gatherings and then make a point of avoiding such localities. Many countries recommend that you register that you are exiting your home country and provide details of where you are going. However, there is no need to be paranoid about visiting this exquisite country. Keep an eye on your valuables as petty theft can occur on buses and in hotel rooms. Unfortunately, pick-pocketing is quite frequent in Kathmandu’s main tourist areas.

Drugs and Alcohol

Whilst Marijuana and hashish are commonly grown in the Himalayas and are inexpensive, they are illegal and are socially offensive. Harsh penalties are imposed upon those in possession of such substances. Should the police arrest you for carrying illegal substances they will contact the diplomatic mission of your country who will be able to provide you with a lawyer. You will however not be exempt from jail time. So, it is in your best interests to avoid drugs altogether. Alcohol can be bought in the tourist areas of Nepal. Avoid home-brewed drinks as these can be very dangerous, even deadly.

Ethics and Etiquette

Nepalese people adhere strongly to social standards of behavior and dress. It is advisable to dress modestly when traveling around Nepal so as not to offend the local residents. Greet people in Nepal with ‘namaste’, that is by placing your palms against the other person’s palms. It is sign of respect to remove your shoes when entering a house or temple. Nepalis consider it offensive if something is given or taken with the left hand or touched with the feet. Certain Hindu temples may prohibit westerners from entering. Leather is not allowed inside the temple precinct. Always ask permission before taking photographs. Try to avoid public displays of affection.

Nepalese people tend to be friendly, so if you need assistance you will often find someone to give you a hand. It is advisable to keep the number of your accommodation with you should you get lost.

By following the simple tips outlined in this essential travelers guide to Nepal, you are certain to have an enjoyable holiday and an amazing experience.

Money

Except in Solu Khumbu and on the Annapurna treks, changing foreign money is likely to be very difficult if not impossible. Bring enough money for the whole trek and don’t count on being able to change Rs 1000 notes except in Namche Bazaar and Jomsom.

Health

There is a risk of malaria between June and September in the low-lying areas including Chitwan National Park, but not in the common trekking areas. Outbreaks of Japanese encephalitis occur annually, particularly between July and December; vaccination is advised. Cholera outbreaks occur and food and water precautions should be followed. Untreated water should be avoided; visitors can buy bottled water or purify their own. When trekking it is preferable to treat river water rather than leaving a trail of plastic bottles behind. Purifying water with iodine is the cheapest and easiest way to treat water. Altitude sickness is a real risk for trekkers. Many trekkers may suffer from altitude sickness above 8,202ft (2,500m); if symptoms persist it is wise to descend as quickly as possible. Standard of care in hospitals varies, but there are traveller’s clinics in Kathmandu and numerous pharmacies in the major towns. Medical insurance is essential, which should include air evacuation. Travelers arriving from infected areas require a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Food

The most prevalent Nepali dish is ‘Daal, Bhaat and Tarkaari’ (lentils, rice, vegetable curry respectively). This is the main course served in the most Nepalese houses irrespective of the economic conditions, that too in both lunch as well as dinner. Nepali food is much less spicy than Indian food, and many dishes are Tibetan in origin. It seems that Indian influence is only confined to Southwestern part of Nepal. The rest of Nepal has more of Tibetan and Chinese influence in their cuisines.

Two of the most exclusive and authentic Nepalese delicacies include ‘Momos’, a meat or vegetable filled dumpling that is similar to Chinese pot-stickers and Tibetan Bread and Honey; a puffy fried bread with heavy raw honey. Both of these items are good for a light breakfast but are insufficient for a full meal. One delicacy that you do not want to miss while in Nepal is the Dried meat. It makes a deadly combo with beer or any other alcoholic beverages. Newars, an ethnic group, are considered connoisseur of great foods. Watch out for Newari Restaurants. Surely it will be a great way to enjoy good food. In the Everest region try the local Sherpa dish of potato pancakes that are called Rikikul. They are delicious eaten straight off the griddle and covered with yak butter or cheese.

Voltage

Like most other countries in the South-Asian regions, Nepal too has a 230-volt, 50-hertz cycle power supply. The home power supply is 230 volt across Nepal. All the local electrical equipments are meant to run on 230 volt, 50 hertz supply.

There are two basic problems that are faced by visitors from countries that have 110-volt power supply. The first is the adaptability of the equipment and the second is socket structure. In the normal course, the 110-volt appliances wont run on the 230-volt power supply in Nepal.