You have decided to come to one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Nepal is known for its natural beauty and cultural diversity and it is kind of true when you read the Nepal Tourism Board’s logo: Once is not enough! However, if you are new to Nepal, you might find it useful to read this list of logistical advice.
Getting a visa has never been easier! You can get a visa at the Tribhuvan International Airport on arrival. The prices range from $25 to $100, depending on the length of your stay (15, 30, or 90 days). All you need is two passport size photo (if you forget bringing one with you, you can make it at the airport) and a filled out application form. If you want to get outside of the airport faster though, you can always apply for a visa at the Nepali embassy or consulate in your country.
The official currency in Nepal is a Nepalese rupee (NRP). There are hundreds of exchange offices in Kathmandu (there is one at the airport as well) where you can exchange USD or EUR. ATMs are also easily found around Kathmandu and all the major cities.
Vaccinations are not required to enter Nepal. If you choose to be as safe as possible, consult the doctor at your home country about which vaccinations are recommended, otherwise just wash your hands frequently and you should be fine.
The Nepali power voltage is 230V/50Hz (plugs with three round pins). If your power plugs use different voltage, you can buy adapters in the shops in Kathmandu.
The official language in Nepal is Nepali. However, English is widely spoken in all of the tourist areas.
Internet these days is not a problem in Kathmandu, Pokhara and the other major cities. Wifi is available in hotels and restaurants. It can get close to inexistent if you roam in the rural areas though. You can use the data services of the Nepali mobile phone providers if you have to use the internet outside of the cities.
Nepali people are friendly and welcoming, so safety is usually not an issue. One should take some precautions just in case, such as avoiding staying out late at night and avoiding demonstrations. Although pickpocketing is not usual, it is advisable that you keep your money and valuables safe.
8. When to Go
The best time to visit Nepal is from end of September till end of May. In the summer months, the monsoon season begins which can obstruct the mountain views and result in many rainy days on your trek.
9. Food and Water
Nepal’s staple meal is daal bhaat – rice served with lentil soup and vegetables (mostly potatoes, pumpkin, beans, spinach). Momo is another popular meal, very similar to Chinese dumplings, vegetarian or with meat (usually chicken). If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid buying street food and rely on restaurants. Tap water is not safe to drink, so use only bottled water for drinking.
All kinds of accommodation is available in the major cities – from cheap hostels to luxurious hotels.
Even though the road infrastructure is terrible all around the country, Nepalis find ways to travel. The most common mode of transportation is bus. The buses from Kathmandu to the major cities leave from Kathmandu’s main bus stops either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. You can also fly to the other cities in Nepal if you want to spare a couple of hours. Traveling within Kathmandu or Pokhara can be either done by public transportation or taxis. Make sure you always politely haggle with the taxi drivers to make sure you are getting the ride price for the service.
If you have decided to visit Nepal, chances are you are looking forward to seeing the snowy Himalayan peaks. There are all kinds of trekking routes available in both length and difficulty. If you are heading up to higher altitudes beware of the risk of altitude sickness (going slow is rule number one) and make sure you are well equipped for cold weather and wind.