Nepal

Location

Nepal is a land-locked country bordering with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China in the north and surrounded by India in the east, south and west.

Language

Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people understand and speak English as well. There are hundreds of local dialects spoken by people from various ethnic groups.

Climate

Nepal has four major seasons, namely,
(1) Winter: December-February
(2) Spring: March-May
(3) Summer: June-August and
(4) Autumn: September-November. Nepal can be visited all the year round.

People and Religion

Nepalese people are mainly divided into two distinct groups, the Indo-Aryans and the Mangoloids (the Kirats). Before 2007 AD, Nepal was regarded as the only Hindu Kingdom in the world. But after that the Government of Nepal has already announced the country to be secular country. The Hindu Temples and Buddhist Shrines are scattered all over the Kingdom. Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, Herald of Peace, and the Light of Asia. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians live together in harmony. And other nature worshippers, too, exist here.

Currency & Foreign exchange

Nepali Rupee notes come in Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000 denominations. Coins come in Rs. 1, 2, 5 and 10 denominations. Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through banks or authorized money exchangers. The receipts of such transaction are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange foreign currency at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival. Visitors other than the Indian nationals have to make the payment in foreign currency (non-Indian currency) in hotel, trekking agencies or travel agencies and for air tickets

Weather & Climate

The seasons in Nepal are pretty much the same as in Europe. In January it’s cold, while in July you could make do with shorts and t-shirt. But Nepal remains a country of extremes, and, if you’re planning to head into the mountains, you definitely need to be aware of the Nepal trekking season. Although trekking and tour in Nepal can be organized throughout the year, October through May is considered to be the best months for trekking. Summer months of the year which coincides with monsoon begins in mid-June and drains in mid-September making travel wet and warm. The mountain views may not be at their best as rain clouds and haze over hang the mountains occasionally obscuring the enchanting views. These times are blessed for the keen botanist as the higher valleys and meadows blossom with flowers and lush vegetation. During monsoon it does not mean that it will rain every day. Besides, some of the most frequented trails will not be crowded and some people like it that way.

It can actually be enjoyed in the upper part of the Annapurna circuit around Marfa, Jomsom and Muktinath as the monsoon does not get in this trans- Himalayan area.

Note: – It is recommended to carry insect repellent when trekking during summer months.

Autumn being the best season for trekking, affronts excellent weather and tantalizing mountain views January and February are noted for cold weather with occasional snowfall at higher elevations. Again, excellent views are common. These months are popular and ideal for trekking for those who are well equipped or who remain at lower elevations below 3,000 meters.

Late February brings spring in Nepal and offers exhilarating trekking for those who are interested in flowers, birds and natural grandeur. Different varieties of wild flowers, specially the rhododendrons make the hill side above 8,000 ft haunting paradise during this season.

April and May are the expedition season and the best time for climbing the high peaks. It is mildly warm at lower elevations but occasional haze mars beautiful view of mountains. At higher elevations over 4,000 meters the mountain views are excellent and the temperature is quite moderate even at night. The Nepal climate is moderate, which means the winters are dry and the summers are hot. But because of the huge range in altitude and landscape, Nepal climate differs considerably throughout the country.

Climate of the lower plains:
The Nepal climate in the lower plains is (sub) tropical. Summers are hot and humid and temperatures can soar to 40°C. It’s the same heat that covers Northern India at this time of year and the months before the monsoon hits can be particularly hot and sticky (May and early June). Winters in the lower plains are mild and dry with temperatures averaging between 10°C – 17°C.

Climate of Himalayan foothills:

The mountains and valleys in the Himalayan foothills have a moderate climate with warm summers and cool winters. As it lies at relatively southern latitude, the Nepal climate is even pleasant at altitude, and the tree line is quite high. Average temperatures vary from 10°C in January to 24°C in July. In winter, the Nepal climate is (as you might imagine), pretty chilly. Temperatures drop and nights can be very cold, although they rarely sink to below freezing. In Kathmandu, from April – September, temperatures can climb to 28°C with nights averaging around 20°C.

Climate of Monsoon Season:

The South-West monsoon lasts from June to September, and this is definitely not the best Nepal trekking season. During this time, the monsoon rains gradually advance east to west (whereas the most western part and the north of Nepal remain dry). The densely populated lowlands receive a lot of rain (up to 2000mm-3000mm), and over the rainy season, many roads are blocked by landslides and trails become slippery tracks. Leeches can be an irritation at Chitwan in the wet season and if trekking from Pokhara.

Climate of Himalayan Mountain Range:

The high mountains of the Himalayas which run along the northern border, above 4000m, have an alpine Nepal climate. Temperatures remain below 0°C and the landscape is covered with snow and ice.

Geography

The Nepal geography and history is diverse and is closely related to its two giant neighbors Republic of India and People’s Republic of China. The landlocked Himalayan country has witnessed many political upheavals in its long existence.

The Nepal geography and history exhibits the colorful character of the small Himalayan country. The landscape of Nepal is diverse. The geography of Nepal could be demarcated into three regions. The three regions are the Terai, Hill and Mountain geographical areas. The country occupies an area of 56,827 square miles. Nepal is 800 kilometers long and 200 kilometers in breadth. The Terai regions are the plain regions of the country. The Indo-Gangetic plain constitutes the Terai region. The Hill region is adjacent to the Mountain region. The altitude of this region varies from 1,000 to 4,000 meters above sea level. The Nepal capital city of Kathmandu is located in the Hill region of the country. The Mountain region of Nepal is one of the highest places in the world. Mount Everest at 8,850 meters is the world’s highest mountain.

Transport

Nepal can be entered by air and road. Air transport in Nepal is easier and more comfortable than road journey since Nepal is a mountainous country. Most tourists in Nepal enter through the Tribhuvan International Airport which is 5 miles or 8 kilometers from the heart of Kathmandu.

Transport in Nepal
By Air

The national flag carrier is the Royal Nepal Airlines. Capital Kathmandu is linked by air services to cities such as New Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Hong Kong, Karachi, Dubai, Bangkok, Lhasa, Paro, Yangon, Dhaka, Colombo and Singapore. Major international airlines that operate scheduled air services to Nepal are mentioned below:

Royal Nepal Airlines (National Flag Carrier) New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Banglore, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Osaka via shanghai
Necon Air Patna, Calcutta
Aeroflot Russian Airlines Moscow
Austrian Airlines> Vienna
Biman Bangladesh airlines Dhaka
China southwest Airlines Paro, New Delhi
Gulf-Air Abu Dhabi, London
Indian Airlines Calcutta, New Delhi, Baranasi
Pakistan Int’l Airlines Karachi
Qatar Airlines Doha, London
Singapore Airlines Singapore
Thai Airways Bangkok
Transavia Airlines Amsterdam

Departure and Airport Tax

Passengers departing from the Tribhuvan International Airport are required to pay an airport tax if going to SAARC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). Tax is bit higher for other international destinations. Domestic air port tax is much less.

By Road

There are several entry points by road route. Among road transportation entry points, Birganj, Belahia and Kakarvita are entry points at Indo-Nepal border, while Kodari entry point is at Tibet (China)-Nepal border. Birganj is the most common place for entry of tourists travelling overland.

Entry Point Location
Kakarvita, Jhapa Eastern Nepal
Birganj, Parsa Central Nepal
Kodari Central Nepal at Northern Border with Autonomous Region of Tibet, China
Belahia, Bhairahwa Rupandehi, Western Nepal
Jamunaha, Nepalganj Banke, Mid-western Nepal
Mohana, Dhangadhi Kailali, Far Western Nepal
Gadda Chauki, Mahendranagar Kanchanpur, Far Western Nepal
Purang, Muchu Simikot, Far-Western Nepal at the Tibet, China-Nepal Border

Railways

Nepal has railway connections with its neighbouring country, India. Two short stretches of railway are Raxaul (India) to Amlekhganj (Nepal) as well as Raxaul (India) to Janakpur (Nepal). Capital Kathmandu has no railway connectivity. However, buses are available for Kathmandu from Janakpur and Amlekhganj.

Domestic Transport in Nepal
Planes

Planes are the best way to reach remote parts of the mountainous country. Royal Nepal Airlines operates air services in the interior parts of the country. Besides it airlines like Nepal Airways, Everest Air, Necon Air and Asian Helicopters also provide air services, both regular and charter, to various destinations in Nepal. Most widely known tourist flight is Everest Experience which takes one above the marvelous snow capped mountains. One can even have a look on Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, from the sky. Everest Experience is definitely an experience one never forgets.

Helicopters

Helicopter charters are becoming increasingly popular in Nepal, especially in tourism sector for sightseeing. Helicopter journey is very useful for tourists who desire to drink the tourism cup in Nepal but don’t have much time to spare. The helicopter journey is very thrilling and rewarding. Experience of looking at snow-capped peaks from sky is unforgettable. Lots of domestic airlines provide helicopter services.

Land Transport in Nepal
Buses

Buses are the cheapest means of transport in Nepal. They ply for both long and short journeys. While bus journeys one gets chance to freely interact with the locals and taste indigenous dishes on the way. Tourists who have sufficient time must definitely try local buses. Tourist buses are also run by private bus companies and travel agencies.

Cars & Motorbikes

Cars and motorbikes can be rented in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other prominent towns. For driving a bike, you are required to have a driving license and passport from your home country. Riding a bike in old parts of Kathmandu is a relish able driving experience. Cars and vans usually come with drivers, but you can drive them yourself also. Car hire can make your tour very comfortable and faster.

Rickshaws

Rickshaws (two-seater tricycles) are very useful for short trips. They can ply easily even in narrow lanes and crowded markets. One is advised to negotiate the fares beforehand. Many tourists find rickshaw trips very enjoyable.

Three-wheeler Auto rickshaws

Auto rickshaws are used to travel to various corners of the towns, although finding them after sunset is a bit difficult. Numerous taxi companies operate in Nepal. All these auto rickshaws, cabs and tempos carry black plates with white numbers, for it has been mandatory by the authorities.

Food in Nepal

The food of Nepal is as diverse as the country itself. The Nepalese recipes are quick to cook and good to eat. Nepalese food is famous for its nutrition level and tempting taste. Whilst Nepalese cuisine is somewhat basic, it certainly does not lack in flavor, making extensive use of spices and flavorings such as ginger, garlic, coriander, pepper, cumin, chilies, cilantro, mustard oil, ghee and occasionally yak butter. Come let us savor some of the famous dishes of Nepal.