Nepal Travel Guide

Getting to Nepal

By Air

Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flights to/from Delhi, Dubai, Doha, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur. Other international airlines operating from/ to Kathmandu are Air Asia (Kuala Lumpur), Air Arabia (Sharjah), Air China (Lhasa), Biman Bangladesh, (Dhaka), Buddha Air (Paro), China Air (Lhasa), China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou), China Eastern (Kummin), Dragon Air (Hong Kong), Druk Air, Delhi, Paro), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), Fly Dubai (Dubai), Indian Airlines (Delhi,Kolkata, Varanasi), Jet Airways (Delhi, Mumbai), Malaysian Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), Malindo Air (Kuala Lumpur), Spice Jet (Delhi), Turkish Airlines (Turkey), Korean Air (Seoul), Oman Air (Muscat), Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi), Qatar Airways (Doha), Silk Air (Singapore), Thai Airways (Bangkok) and United Airways (Dhaka).

 By Land

 All visitors coming to Nepal by land must enter only through one of these entry points (1) Kakarbhitta (2) Birgunj (3) Belhiya, Bhairahawa (4) Nepalgunj (5) Dhangadi and (6) Mahendranagar in the Nepal-India border and (7) Kodari in the Nepal-China border. The overland tourists entering the country with their vehicles must possess an international carnet or complete customs formalities.

Passport/ Visa for Nepal

A valid passport is required by all except nationals of India. Indian nationals must produce proof of identity and arrive from India. (Acceptable proofs include Voter’s Identity Card issued by the Election Commission of India or Photo Identity Card issued by the state or central government of India or Temporary Photo ID issued by the Indian Diplomatic Mission in Nepal.)

Entry Procedures & Visa Rules

Visas can be obtained on arrival from the immigration authorities at all Nepal entry points (with fees payable in US Dollars) provided travelers are in possession of valid travel documents, two passport photos, and the relevant fee

  • Tourist Visa Visa Facility Duration Fee Multiple entries 15 days US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency Multiple entries 30 days US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency Multiple entries 90 days US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
  • Gratis (Free) Visa Gratis visa for 30 days is available only for nationals of SAARC countries. However, for extension of visa for SAARC nationals, the rule is the same as that of other nationals.
  • Indian nationals do not require the visa to enter into Nepal.

Visa Application Requirements  (a) One completed application form. (b) Valid passport. (c) One passport-size photo. (d) Fee (in USD cash). (e) For business visas, a letter from the company explaining the purpose of the visit, accompanying application made directly to the Department of Immigration in Nepal (as above). (f) A stamped addressed envelope if applying by post

For Visa Extension

A tourist visa can be extended from the Department of Immigration and Pokhara Immigration Office for a total of 120 days. An additional 30 days visa may be granted on reasonable grounds from the department. Over the course of a visa year, a tourist cannot stay in Nepal more than a cumulative 150 days.

Custom Formalities

All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry point. Personal effects are permitted free entry. Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you are carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red Channel for detailed customs clearance.

Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty: cigarettes (200 sticks) or cigars (50 sticks), distilled liquor ( One 1.15 liter bottle), and film ( 15 rolls). You can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out with you when you leave: binoculars, movie or video, camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system

Best Season/ Weather

Nepal has four climatic seasons.

Spring (between March and May): The temperature is mildly warm in low lands while moderate in higher altitudes with plenty of opportunities to have a tryst with the mountain views. It is also the time for flowers to blossom and the national flower of Nepal – rhododendron sweeps the ascending altitudes with its magnanimous color and beauty. It is the best time to visit and trek; spring brings warm weather.

Summer (between June and August): This is also the monsoon season in Nepal. The weather is hot and wet at times. It rains almost every day with occasional thunderstorms in the evening. The rain spreads the pleasantness around with lush green vegetation.

Autumn (between September and November): This is the best tourist season in Nepal with the summer gone by and the winter to set in. The weather is highly pleasant so are the mountain views. Thousands of people hit the trails in the Everest and Annapurna regions. This is also the season of festivities as Nepal celebrates the biggest Hindu festivals Dashain followed by Tihar.

Winter (between December and  February): The weather is cool and the sky is clear with occasional snowfalls at higher elevations. This season is good for trekking in lower elevations. The morning and night are cold and the days are warm when sunny.

Accommodations in Nepal

In Nepal, there is a wide range of accommodation available ranging from five-star hotels to guesthouse. There are various star hotels, heritage hotels, resorts and guesthouses in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, and Lumbini, they all offer bed and breakfast; bed only, breakfast and one other meal; or room and full board with quality service at reasonable rates. In spring and autumn seasons, hotels work at near full capacity and need to book well in advance if traveling to Nepal in the peak season.

Teahouse accommodation with meals is available in the mountainous regions during trekking. While trekking to some remote areas tents may be the only alternative and Camping trek requires a guide, porters, cook along with all necessary camping gear. However, most normal trekking routes have lodges or tea houses to accommodate tourists.

 

Food and Drink in Nepal

The staple meal of Nepal is Daal Bhaat Tarkari – literally lentil soup, rice, and curried vegetables. The larger well-touristic cities of Nepal especially inKathmandu and Pokhara where restaurants offer a wide range, of cuisines from Tibet, China, India, Japan, Thailand, Mexico, Italy,  US, France, and the Middle East. Travelers can take advantage of these offerings. Most of the hotels provide meals varying from simple daal bhaat to international cuisine. Cafes and street stalls provide a cheap omelet breakfast, or lunch of momos, or simply a cup of tea.

Nepali beer called Chayang is pretty good. Tuborg (Danish), Carlsberg (Danish) and San Miguel (Spanish) are brewed under license in Nepal; local brands include Sherpa, Gorkha, Everest, and Kathmandu Beer. Nepal Distilleries produces a variety of bottled spirits such as rum, whiskey, brandy, and gin. The Khukri Rum goes down well with mixers. Also available is Abominable Snowman gin, a British-Nepal collaboration, and 8848 (the height of Mt Everest in meters) vodka.

 Popular Places to Visit in Nepal

 Pashupatinath Temple

It is a famous and sacred Hindu temple complex that is located on the banks of the Bagmati River, approximately 5 kilometers north-east of Kathmandu. The temple serves as the seat of Nepal’s national deity, Lord Pashupatinath. This temple complex was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ list in 1979. This “extensive Hindu temple precinct” is a “sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images, and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river” and is included as one of the seven monument groups in UNESCO’s designation of Kathmandu Valley as a cultural heritage site. One of the major Festivals of the temple is Maha Shivaratri. On this day over 1 million devotees visit here.

Boudhanath Stupa

Located about 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The Buddhist stupa of Boudha Stupa dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest unique structure’s stupas in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 gompas (Tibetan convent) around Boudha. As of 1979, Boudha Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhu, it is one of the most popular tourist hubs in Kathmandu

Swayambhunath ( Monkey Temple)

It is an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. For the Buddhist Newars, in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudha.

Swyambhunath stupa is enriched in a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum, and library are more recent additions. The stupa has Buddha’s eyes and eyebrows painted on. Between them, the number one (in Devanagari script) is painted in the fashion of a nose. There are also shops, restaurants, and hostels. The site has two access points: a long staircase leading directly to the main platform of the temple, which is from the top of the hill to the east; and a car road around the hill from the south leading to the south-west entrance.