A trekker’s paradise, Nepal is a spectacular combination of beautiful mountains, bustling crowds, ancient shrines, age-old festivals and traditions, rich and diverse natural resources, and many more. Blessed with divine natural beauty, the Himalayas and affluent history and cultural assimilation make up for a country where any number of visits can bring forth new adventure. People from all over the world visit this tiny South Asian Himalayan nation to undertake a journey full of adventure and spiritual awakening.
Navigating your way through this adventure packed nation can be a bit tricky. Here’s a mini-guide to ease your journey into the Himalayas:
Acquiring a visa to enter Nepal is a simple procedure. Either you can choose to get a tourist visa from Nepali Diplomatic missions abroad. Or, just get an on-arrival visa as you enter the country. Tribhuvan International airport (TIA) is the only international airport in the country and it facilitates on Arrival visa which is a quick procedure. You can also get on arrival visas on various land borders if you choose to enter from neighboring India. The on-arrival visa fees for Nepal are 30 USD, 50 USD, and 125 USD for 15, 30, and 90 days respectively. You can also learn more about the visa procurement procedures and related information at the official immigration website of Government of Nepal mentioned http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa
There is a wide range of accommodation options available in Nepal. Travelers can find mid-range hotels and motels. Moreover, local and international hotel chains provide luxury options as well. Accommodation is of issue only when traveling to remote Himalayan regions, where camping might be the only option. Else, there are decent lodges, tea houses, and home stays across the country. Nepal is a wonderland for foodies and there is a humongous pool to choose from. The traditional Nepali meal “Daal Bhat” (Rice, lentils with the choice of meat and veggies) is a delicacy all over the country while you can find various local food options depending on the geographic region you are in. Drinking water in major hotels are usually safe but it is recommended to buy portable water purifier to take an extra step to stay safe.
The level of physical fitness required for traveling in Nepal entirely depends upon the activities you choose. For traveling in major cities, you do not need to be in the perfect physical shape. In general attitudes of up to 3500 meters above the sea level should not be a major concern for adults but it is recommended that you consult your doctor if you plan to trek. As you go into the mountains, it is advised to be in good physical shape as the terrains are difficult. You might also need to exercise and take practice sessions 3-4 weeks prior to your visit to Nepal for high altitude ventures.
There are two major trekking seasons in Nepal, autumn and spring. Autumn (mid-September- December) is the best time for trekking as the nights are cold, and the skies are clear revealing spectacular views of the mountains. Spring (March-May) is also a great time to go trekking in Nepal. This is the time when the trails are decorated with rhododendron and other vibrant flowers. This time is best for travelers who want to avoid the brutal cold of the Himalayas and enjoy decent weather on their treks. Trekking during the monsoon (June-September) is relatively difficult in the mountains however there are plenty of regions you can travel during this season as well.Rain shadow areas like Upper Mustang and Dolpa region are accessible even during monsoon whereas tours around major cities are pleasant throughout the year.
There are various options for travelers to book tours in Nepal. As tourism is one of the major sources of income and employment in the country, there are thousands of agencies looking to provide travelers with numerous trips all over the country. Furthermore, options of customizing and tweaking trips according to the client’s preferences are also available. We, Himalayan Treasure Trekking, also entertain such facilities to the clients with a high degree of flexibility. To add to it, it is always recommended to compare prices across agencies and read reviews on websites such as trip advisor. Before you finalize an agency to travel with, it is important that you check the official government portals- Department of Tourism and Nepal Tourism Board- to ensure that the agency you picked is legally registered. You can refer to the following websites of the above-mentioned bodies for further information.
Nepal Tourism Board: https://www.welcomenepal.com/
Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation: http://www.tourism.gov.np/
It is highly advised to get travel insurance before visiting Nepal. The insurance must cover medical expenses and compensate for unforeseen circumstances such as delays in flights, lost baggage, strikes etc. Furthermore, trekking is an activity which has various risks associated with it. As you go high into the Himalayas, there are chances that you might get altitude sickness or may become a victim to other health problems. These places do not have medical services available on immediate need and the only way to reach a hospital quickly is via air rescue. Insurances covering such conditions are beneficial to both the client and travel agency since unnecessary hassle need not be made in cases of undesirable circumstances. Traveling with adequate preparations is sure to offer satisfaction and a small step of covering the insurance for the planned travel goes a long way to have a safe and content experience.
Due to its cultural and geographical diversities, Nepal has lots to offer. The capital Kathmandu, along with its rich history and culture is home to multiple UNESCO World Heritage sights such as the Boudhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu Durbar Square, and many more. Pilgrims from all over the world flock to these spots to revel in the artistry and affluent culture reflected by these sites. Pokhara, also dubbed as Heaven on Earth, is the most famous tourist city in the country. It is the valley of lakes which is known for offering up-close views of the Himalayas. Other major places are the Chitwan National Park and Lumbini- Birth Place of Gautam Buddha to name a few. Besides these places, trekking and trips to the Himalayas are the major tourist activities in Nepal. Annapurna Base Camp, Poonhill, Upper Mustang, and Dolpa region are the major attractions in the western region of the country. Similarly Kanchenjunga Base Camp, Makalu Base Camp, and the home to Mt Everest (8848m)- Everest region are the prominent ones in the eastern front. These are just a few examples and there are still loads of destinations that the travelers can visit.
Nepal has made tremendous progress in internet and communication services over the last couple of decades. All the major cities in the country offer high-quality internet services for travelers to connect with the rest of the world. Various cafes, shops, hotels, and restaurants provide free Wi-Fi service to people. Nepal Telecom, the national telephone carrier also provides free public internet in various tourist hotspots. Recently, communication service providers like NTC and Ncell have expanded their range of service,providing connections even in higher altitudes in the Himalayas. Depending on the plan one chooses international calls are also relatively cheap. One can easily get the sim cards of the communication providers mentioned above at the airport, customer care centers, and related shops in major cities and even in some remote regions of the country.
Major credit cards such as Visa, American Express and Master cards are widely accepted in city areas. Despite their acceptance, cash is highly preferred and is the major mode of transaction in the country. There are various money transfer agencies such as Western Union and other remittance companies providing international money transfer services for a relatively cheap service fee. There are foreign exchange offices at the airport. Furthermore, city centers and tourist hotspots are filled with registered agencies offering exchange services. It is always recommended to check the rates across various exchanges to get the best price. Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) is the official government body for monetary transactions and offers reliable information regarding foreign exchange rates. The link of the bank can be found at https://www.nrb.org.np/fxmexchangerate.php. Travelers should also be wary of unauthorized sellers who try to persuade foreigners to exchange with them.
Nepal is generally considered safe for traveling but still, general precautionary measures should be taken while in the country. It is recommended that travelers get Hepatitis B and Typhoid vaccines as there are chances of these diseases being transmitted through food and water contamination. Also, it is wise to use portable water purifiers instead of consuming the locally available water. High altitude trips have risks of Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) and any individual of any health condition can be a victim of it. Thus, Himalayan Treasure Trekking crafts itineraries with ample time for acclimatization as a precaution to such conditions. You are advised to consult a doctor before visiting Nepal and also inform the agency about any health conditions you might have so that the trekking approach can be tweaked for the great travel experience.