You will find here most of the practical information you need to prepare your trip :
There is just one International Airport at Kathmandu: Tribuvan International Airport. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to get direct flights to Kathmandu; recently RNAC and Aeroflot cancelled flights from Europe and Singapore Airlines will soon drop its flights to Kathmandu. One good piece of news: Malaysian Airlines is likely to start operating a flight to Kathmandu. However, Lauda, Biman, China Southwest, Condor, Druk, Indian Airlines, Necon, Pakistan International, Qatar, Thai and Transavia Airlines fly into Kathmandu. Visas can be obtained on arrival at the airport, see below. Departure tax is R600 to SAARC nations, R1100 for all other international flights and R165 for internal flights. Air services to the interior of Nepal are very popular and it is often necessary to book your ticket well in advance. Foreigners must pay a higher price for all internal flights.
Other than Indian and Nepali citizens, all visitors entering Nepal by land must use the following crossing points:
Indian nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal, but must possess proof of identity. All other nationals require a visa, obtainable in advance from Nepalese Embassies or consulates, or upon arrival at the border or at Tribuvan International Airport. Do not forget that you will also need two passport size photos.
Nepal has two tourist seasons, and both coincide with the best weather and visibility periods. The peak tourist season is from mid-September until the end of November. The weather is cool, the visibility is excellent and most of the important Hindu festivals take place during this time. Thamel and Pokhara hotels and retaurants will be doing brisk business and the trekking routes are all crowded. It is the dry season and you won't have to put up with leeches on the trekking paths. For fantastic mountain views, truly this is the time to visit. The second best period is from February until the end of March. Visibility is not quite as good and February can be a little cold. May through to September are the monsoon months, and the tourist industry takes a break then. However, I have visited the country many times during the monsoon and personally consider the lush greenery of the country as beautiful as the mountains views I cannot see. Hotel prices are negotiable during the monsoon and many bargains can be had.
As long as you can afford because Nepal is truly a favourite destination for back packers. A month should be considered a minimum. With a month an itinerary might be: Kathmandu valley 3 days, Pokhara valley 4 days, Annapurna trekking 10 days, back to Kathmandu valley 2 days, Langtang or similar trekking 6 or 7 days, Chitwan 3 days and then a couple of days preparing for departure. Give yourself two months and you have more time to explore lesser-visited areas. Travel in the far west can be extremely slow but a real adventure. The locals you meet as you are walking the country will often invite you to their villages and play host for a few days. This can make a holiday a lifetime remembrance.
As of November 2002, 1 U.S. Dollar was worth 78 Nepali Rupees. The Nepali Rupee (NC) is pegged at 1.6 to the Indian Rupee (IC). Indian currency is valid in Nepal, but not the IC R500 note.
Nepal is an adventurer's playground and the perfect place to try your hand at paragliding or white water rafting. Or you might want to visit an area way off the beaten track and have to take guides, porters, cooks and cooks assitant's with you. Trekking permits to visit the Mustang area just south of the border with Tibet are currently set at $700 for ten days! (Wow! Needless to say I have not visited this area!). But if you keep to the most popular trekking areas, forget about a hot air balloon trip and go white water rafting for just a couple of days, over 30 days you will probably spend around the following:
See Passplanet's Cost Table for more details.
Until 1951, Nepal was a "forbidden" kingdom for foreigners and only a few outsiders had entered the country. Now Nepal actively promotes tourism although there are still a few impediments to total travel within the Kingdom. Up until a couple of years ago it was necessary to obtain trekking permits to visit all areas ouside the Pokhara and Katmandu valleys. Luckily this is now not the case and only the areas mentioned below require trekking permits to visit.
Royalties must also be paid to climb mountains in Nepal. These range from $1,500 per team for mountains below 6,500 metres to $50,000 per team to scale Everest!
Malaria exists in some areas of the Terai (the low-lying land in the south of the country).
is paradise to vegetarians as most of the restaurants are strictly vegetarian.
Almost always if they will have some kind of meat inside they will say so before, as a big part of the population in
India is vegetarian. The food on the streets is almost always vegetarian and there is a huge
variety of great stuff. A small tip: when the Indians say "Indian vegetarian" they mean also no-eggs diet, so when people ask you if you are
vegetarian or "Indian vegetarian" answer accordingly if you don't want to get a terrible so-called meal in the plane.
Another thing is that many backpackers become vegetarians in India, just because they
don't want to risk their health with the meat there. In Kashmir you have to be a bit more
cautious as vegetarian because they have more meat dishes. In the South of
India, if you do want meat you really have to look for it...
About six years ago a small group of insurgents, calling themselves Maoists, started causing unrest in the west of the country. They have slowly built themelves in terms of numbers and weaponry and have succeeded in extorting huge sums of money from businessmen. This confict has grown and the army is now actively engaged in seeking out and killing the insurgents. So far, since the beginning of the confict, over 7000 deaths have occurred. Recently stories have surfaced of Maoists demanding "transit tax" from trekkers in some areas. There is no report of tourists having any other trouble with Maoists insurgents but visitors are expressing doubts about travelling in certain parts, especially just north of Nepalgunj and, generally, perhaps all areas in Mid Western and Far Western provinces.
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