Nepal is a small South-Asian land-locked country located in between two great giants, China and India. With an area of 147, 181 sq. km the country is quite small. However, the immense cultural and natural diversity makes Nepal a different world in itself. Being a landlocked country it doesn’t have any navigable route to the sea. Talking about the basic geography, Nepal is divided into 3 major regions- The Himalayas, Hilly, and Terai. More precisely, the Himalayan region hosts many mountain ranges including 8 of the world highest snowcapped peaks. Mt. Everest (8848m), the highest peak in the world, is also located here. The Terai region is the lowest point of the country and comprises of plain lands whereas, Hilly region is basically the Midlands consisting of hills of the Mahabharata Ranges. Home to 4 castes and 36 ethnic groups, Nepal gives you the most diversified cultures and tradition.
One can obtain On-arrival visas in Nepal at the sole international airport in Nepal at Tribhuvan International Airport and other entry points of the country like Kakarvitta, Birgung, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, and Gaddachauki. Outside the country, it can be issued through Nepal Embassy and diplomatic missions in various countries across the world. To get a Nepali Visa, a valid passport along with a passport sized photo is required. A Nepalese tourist visa can be issued for 15, 30 and 90 days and can be obtained by making payment of 25 USD, 40 USD, and 100 USD respectively.
Another category of Visa is Gratis Visa it’s free and is valid for 30 days. This type of Visa is available for only South Asian citizens, Chinese individuals and children below 10 years of age. Indian Nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal; however, must possess a valid passport and election commission card. For Visa extension purpose, you must contact the Department of Immigration. You can get more information regarding Nepalese visas at the official website of the Department of Immigration at http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa.
How to reach Nepal
Being a land-locked country Nepal is reachable only by air or by land. The country has a single international airport (Tribhuvan International Airport) located in the capital, Kathmandu, and it serves flights to and from destinations like India, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Dubai. Nepal Airlines is a national flag carrier however; other airlines like Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China South-west Airline, Indian airlines, Gulf air, Thai Airline operate from/to Kathmandu. Visitors entering Nepal by Land must use various entry points located at the Nepal-India border at Kakarvitta, Birgung, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, and Gaddachauki and at Kodari at the Nepal-Tibet border. Recently direct buses from Varanasi, Patna, Darjeeling, and Lucknow are also available to numerous destinations of Nepal.
Popular Destinations to Visit
Nepal offers different opportunities for enthusiasts with different hobbies and interests. Whether it is peak climbing, pilgrimage tour, jungle safaris, or a leisure tour with family and friends, Nepal provides you with the best experience. With diversity in culture and natural wonders unaffected by the spread of modernization, the country offers the best escape from your hectic urban lifestyle.
Some of the popular destinations to visit in Nepal are:
- For Pilgrimage Tours: Kathmandu (Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath), Bhaktapur (Changunarayan, Sanga, Pilot Baba), Patan (Krishna Mandir, Godavari temple, Bajrabarahi), Manakamana Temple, Muktinath Temple, Gosainkunda, Janakpur, White Gumba, Namo Buddha, Lumbini (Birthplace of Gautam Buddha), etc.
- For Jungle Safari: Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, Parsa Wildlife Reserve, etc.
- For Trekking: Everest Region, Annapurna Region, Ghorepani Poon Hill, Upper Mustang, Dolpo, Langtang region, Kanchenjunga Circuit, Manaslu circuit, Gokyo Lakes, etc.
- For Leisure Tours: Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bandipur, Dhulikhel, Nagarkot, Lumbini, etc.
- For Expeditions and Peak Climbing: Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Makalu (8463m), Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586m), Mt. Annapurna (8091m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8188m), Mera Peak (6461m), Lobuche Peak (6119m), Island Peak (6189m), Pisang Peak (6091m), Chulu East Peak (6429m), etc.
Things to do in Nepal
There are many activities available for visitors in Nepal. The country is majorly far-farmed for being the best destination for mountaineering and trekking. The country hosts many snowcapped giants and small peaks suitable for both professional as well as novice climbers. With eye-catching scenery and diversified topography and cultures, Nepal is also brimming with many trekking destinations. For those who sense pleasure by challenging themselves and nature, adventure sport is a major possibility in Nepal. With activities like Bungee Jumping, Paragliding, Ultra flights, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Zip-lining, Sky Diving, and Mountain biking the country assures you with the most amazing adrenaline rush. Nepal is a country of different cultures and traditions. It offers many sacred places with religious belief especially for Hindu and Buddhist followers making pilgrimage tour as a great option for the visitors. Except these; Jungle safari and Leisure tour offers you a great escape from hectic urban lifestyle and pollution with your friends and families
People / Food /Culture
With people practicing a wide variety of religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, and Jainism, Nepal is an accumulation of distinct ethos and beliefs. The various ethnic communities have their own culture, languages, and tradition. Talking about languages, the country has around 92 identified living languages. Dashain, Tihar, Lhosar, Buddha Jayanti, Chhath, Udhauli, Ubhauli, Eid, and Christmas are few of the festival celebrated in the country.
Nepalese cuisine is somewhat similar to food found in India. It is basically full of different flavor, spices, and masalas. The food practice is also heavily influenced by Tibetan counterparts, especially in the Himalayan region of Nepal. The taste habits differ amongst different category of people. Authentic Nepali taste is mostly found in traditional Newari and Thakali Dishes. Other famous dishes amongst the locals are Momo, Curried Meat, Buff curry, Dhedo, etc.
Banking, ATM and money in Nepal
The official Nepali currency is called Nepalese Rupee. It is available in form of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 rupee notes. 1 and 2 rupee coins are available across the country.
Various banks and their branches offer money deposit and withdraw services. ATM services are also available in most of the big cities and remote areas though, a certain percent of the service charge is taken when using your credit cards. Credits cards aren’t accepted everywhere in the country; however, some cards like MasterCard, Union Pay, VISA, and American Express can be used in big malls, High-end hotels, and banks.
While exchanging your currency, we advise you to use licensed distributors and centers like banks and counters in the Tribhuvan International Airport. The information regarding exchange rates is available at the official website of Nepal Rastra Bank at https://www.nrb.org.np/fxmexchangerate.php.
Internet and Communication in Nepal
Internet services are widely available in most part of the country. With countless numbers of cafes, restaurants, hotels, and guest houses providing free Wi-Fi, tourists can have easy access to the internet. Even the remote areas offer great access to the internet, given the widespread of internet and Wi-Fi services.
Also, Telephone, cellular services, Television, Radio, and Newspaper are available in the country through which you can communicate with the outside world. NTC and Ncell provide cellular services and Sim cards to access the internet at a reasonable rate. The telephone and cellular network services are of good quality. The country code of Nepal is (+977) and the area code of Kathmandu is 1.
Local newspapers are basically issued in English and Nepali language on a daily or weekly basis. International Newspapers are also available in High-end-hotels; however, it is usually postal edition.
Traveling Alone in Nepal
Traveling alone in Nepal is as similar to traveling in groups with friends and family. Lone travelers are treated in the same way. The open nature of Nepalese societies helps them accept cultures and religions from all around the world. People in Nepal are as humble and polite as one can get; so, they are ready to offer help to you upon request.
Nonetheless, trekking and mountaineering alone pose more danger to travelers. The terrain and weather in Nepal can cause a lot of problems when traveling alone. The best idea is to hire an experienced guide who knows everything about the trails of the trekking region. We also advise you to take minor precautions for traveling alone like taking care of your belongings and informing the nearest authorities about your destination on the travel.
Safety and Security
Without a shred of doubt, Nepal is safe for travel purposes to travelers across the globe. Vandalism and violence in the country are almost non-existent and crimes also occur at minimal rates. These surely help you to have a safer journey wherever you visit Nepal. The tolerance among a plethora of cultures and ethnic groups is similarly exemplary as well. The people here are very kind hearted and welcome visitors from all over the globe with a warm heart.
Most of the tourist areas here are policed and is patrolled daily. Nepal Police have separated a special branch called Tourist police. These Special Forces are majorly dedicated to help and guide tourists and keep them safe from any kind of threats. Find more information regarding tourist police at the official website of Nepal Tourism Board at https://www.welcomenepal.com/plan-your-trip/tourist-police.html.
Nepal is a paradise for trek and climbing enthusiasts, withal the journey is full of unexpected risks and the power of Mother Nature can never be underestimated. So, trekkers, climbers, and visitors of all kinds should compulsorily follow the rules and information given by travel guides. Also, before going on an expedition taking note of the weather forecast is a must. At higher altitude, the weather conditions can be extreme so the visitors are suggested to carry warmer clothes. If you abide by these common hacks of traveling across Nepal, glorious traveling destinations await your arrival.