Discover Asia Tours
 
 
Nepal

COUNTRY FACTS
• Full name: Government of Nepal
• Population: 26.3 million (UN, 2005)
• Capital: Kathmandu
• Area: 147,181 sq km (56,827 sq miles)
• Major language: Nepali
• Major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism
• Life expectancy: 61 years (men), 62 years (women) (UN)
• Monetary unit: 1 Nepalese rupee = 100 paisa
• Main exports: Carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
• GNI per capita: US $270 (World Bank, 2006)
• Internet domain: np
• International dialing code: +977
• Time : GMT +5:45

PREPARING TO GO

Visas
To enter Nepal, visas are required by all nationalities except Indian nationals. You can obtain a visa either in advance or on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu or at the India/Nepal border. For this, you will need at least US$30 in cash. This can be paid in any major currency but travelers' cheques are not accepted. You will require two passport photos for a Nepal visa on arrival. Single-entry tourist visas are issued for up to 60 days. However, they can be extended for a maximum of three months if you pay an extra charge. If you want to leave and re-enter Nepal you will need to pay additional charges; US$25 for single re-entry, US$40 for double
reentry and US$60 for multiple re-entry. These rates can change frequently and we recommend that you check out the current prices with the nearest Nepalese Embassy or Consulate.

Trekking permits
For most of the Himalayan regions trekking permits are required. If your tour requires a permit, you can obtain it through our local office and is already included in the cost of your tour. For this, you will perhaps need to give your passport and 2 passport photos to your Tour Leader.

Money

Local Currency
The monetary unit in Nepal is the Nepal Rupee (NPR). Approximate exchange rates are:
1 Pound Sterling = 140 NPR
1 US Dollar = 72 NPR
1 Euro = 96 NPR

You do not have to declare the amount of foreign or local currency you are bringing into the country, nor are you limited to the amount you wish to bring in. India Rupees (INR) are widely accepted in Nepal (with the exception of 500 INR notes) even though in theory it is illegal to export them from India!
The rate is set at 100 INR = 160 NPR.
Changing Money, Credit Cards & ATM's

Changing money is easy in Kathmandu or Pokhara where there are numerous banks, exchange offices and hotels. It is advisable to take either US$ or GB£ currency and travelers cheques. You can also find ATM's in Kathmandu and Pokhara and credit cards are generally accepted in larger shops and expensive hotels and restaurants. You may not find exchange facilities while trekking and in the remote corners of Nepal. You can seek the advice of your tour leader on where to exchange currencies and how to plan your budget during treks. If there are any left over Nepali Rupees at the end of the tour, you can exchange them by producing your original encashment
receipt. It is not possible to change back more than is shown on your encashment receipt.
Working out your Budget You will receive a Pre Departure Booklet, which contains all the information about the things you will need to consider when budgeting for your holiday.

Meals
On most Traveler tours, you can find a meal plan on your brochure and on your itinerary itself. Breakfast is provided everyday on most Traveler tours, and many tours include some dinners. We rarely include lunches only to give you more freedom on the type of food you want to eat. Meals are usually not included on Adventurer tours.
Approximate costs for meals and snacks are:
Simple snack US$1-2
Light meal US$2-5
Fancy restaurant US$7-10
On trekking routes, meals will depend on the trekking route and its popularity. You may also find continental food that may cost as much as US$10.

Drinks
Tea and coffee will be provided with breakfast on Traveler tours. All other drinks like bottled water and soft drinks will be at your own expense. Prices can vary a lot at different places. However, here are some approximate costs:
1l of water US$0.25
30cl bottle of soft drink US$0.25
65cl bottle of beer US$2
We advise you not to drink the local tap water in Nepal. Bottled water, carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices are widely available throughout the country.

Local Transport
The best way to see Nepal's cities and towns is to walk. While you are in Kathmandu, you can walk from Thamel through the old city and Durbar Square down to where the city meets the river in the south. This will only take you about an hour. If the distance is greater, you can always hire a taxi. You can also take a cycle rickshaw if possible.

Clothing
We recommend that you carry clothing for that is supposed to be lightweight and loose fitting. During the summer season wearing cotton clothes is recommended because it is comfortable. Please avoid man made fabrics like nylon. During the winters you must carry warm clothing. However you may face situations where the daytime temperature may get hot and the nights could be cold. In these conditions, we recommend that you keep a thick cloth rather than wearing several thin layers of clothing. Remember that in the rural parts of Nepal people are generally conservative and much more for women. We recommend that you bring clothes that cover your
shoulders and knees and carry some clothes that cover your legs to ankles and your arms past the elbows. When you are visiting certain religious sites, you maybe advised by your tour leader to dress conservatively. This has to be done out of sheer respect for the locals. Please listen to the advice of the tour leader at all times.

Trek Wear
The clothes that you wear and carry while trekking depends on the altitude and the time of the year you are traveling. Let us say if you are going up to the Everest Base Camp in the winter season you must carry some real warm clothes. You will have to carry thermal underwears, gloves, woolen or fleece hat and waterproofs. If the trek is shorter and at lower altitudes and is supposed to take place towards the beginning or end of the winter (Oct/Nov or March/Apr) you will need lightweight trousers, T-shirts and a fleece. You can hire down jackets in Kathmandu at the beginning of the tour. Please note that these jackets may not have been washed. It is only due to the fact that washing makes them less warm. Always remember that no matter where you are trekking your feet have to be comfortable. Your shoes should have an ankle support. For all treks, hiking boots and cotton or woolen socks are indispensable.

Other useful equipment
You can check out our Pre Departure Booklet if you want a complete list of equipments that you require to bring. There are some items on this list which are extremely necessary for the whole trekking period. For example, torch lights, spare batteries, spare boots laces and other stuff like the sun block lotion and the lip balm. The guide will be carrying the first aid kit. You may also bring personal medical supplies which includes rehydration salts and aspirins and plasters. You do not have to bring mosquito nets in any of our tours in Nepal.

Luggage & load limits
In case your tour is a serviced trek, there will be porters to carry your luggage. It is of utmost importance that your luggage must me light weight and must not exceed 10 kilograms. Try to bring a waterproof pack cover or line your pack with a bin bag to protect against water/dust. If there is excess luggage, you can store them in the hotel at Pokhara or Kathmandu. Valuables You need not carry valuable item on treks. A lot of hotel in Kathmandu have safe deposit boxes and lockers where you can store all your valuable items.

Prepare Yourself
Our treks are meant for everyone. It really does not matter whether you have been on a trek before or not. It does not require you to be young and extremely fit physically. However, you should know that even those treks that have been graded "Easy" are filled with steep ascents and descents and you do need to be reasonably fit for that. But if you are more fit physically, you will be able to adapt to hiking in higher altitudes easily. Before you consider trekking in the Himalayas, you have to be sure that you will enjoy a walking holiday. You should also spend some time developing your fitness level or even visit your doctor before making any rash decisions. While trekking in the Himalayas getting started might be a little strenuous. To avoid this you must be doing some regular exercise like aerobics or even jogging or playing tennis might help.

CULTURAL & ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDELINES

The Environment Toilets
Sometimes there are treks where there may not be any provisions for toilets. At Camp Sites, we use toilet tents by digging deep holes for the outlet of these tents. You will be able to use public toilets in larger villages. Always carry toilet paper. In the teahouses, there are clean toilets available. These are all squat toilets and you should note that toilet paper should be disposed of in the dustbins that are provided rather than down the toilet itself.A supply of antiseptic wet wipes and plastic bags can come handy for disposing your toilet paper in if it cannot be burnt.

Litter
When you are trekking or rafting you should remember to take all rubbish and nonbiodegradable items with you when you leave your camps.

Porters
For all serviced treks there will be porters accompanying you. They will carry all equipments, food and your main pack. While you may feel odd seeing someone else carrying your load it is advisable to let them carry your pack. These people are professionals and this has been their way of life for decades. Moreover, if you carry your pack yourself, the trek might get difficult for you. The only thing you can do is to restrain your pack to less than 10 kg. Please refrain them provoking or insulting them.

Religion
Religion is an important part of an average Nepali's life. We expect all travelers to respect that. That is the reason why we encourage travelers to participate in religious festivals and visit temples. However, while visiting religious sites you have to open your shoes out of sheer respect for a respective deity. You might also not be allowed to photograph certain religious sites. Your tour leader might be able to advise you on these issues.

Etiquette & Customs
About etiquette and customs in Nepal, your tour leader might be able to advise you more. There are some good points that you should consider while you are in Nepal. Do not shake with your left hand and since people hardly use cutlery you have to eat with your hands (eat with your right hand). This is so because the left hand is considered unclean. Do not point at people and do not put soles of your feet on anyone; this is considered offensive.

Bargaining
A lot of items that are in sale in Nepal have no fixed price and you can do some bargaining. In order to compensate bargaining the shopkeeper might raise the cost of the product but you can always haggle for a reasonable price.

ARRIVAL :

Arrival Transfers
When you arrive at the airport, look for our representative who will be holding a signboard of Discover Asia Tours. He will be waiting for you in the Arrivals Hall and you will see him after exiting the Immigration and Customs area. You might find taxi drivers who will lure you by telling you that they know the place where you want to go. It is advisable to keeping looking for our representative until you find him. Do not get lured by taxi drivers. Making Your Own Way In the travel vouchers (which you will receive after booking a trip), the meeting point for your tour will be clearly marked. Getting to your meeting point is

ON TOUR

Being Safe
There is no doubt in the fact that Nepal is a very friendly country and is hospitable to any tourist. You can easily get around places. However, if you are not familiar with larger cities like Kathmandu, we recommend that you be cautious at night and more so if you are a female and are alone.

Healthy Trekking
It is advisable to drink lots of water during treks, as this will help you stay healthy. You will also have to use a lot of sunscreen and try to wear a hat even when the sky is overcast, to protect yourself from the sunlight. When it gets cold, you will have to maintain body heat. For this, you must wear head covering stuff and gloves. Personal hygiene is necessary. Always use disinfectant on your hands, especially after going to the toilet and before eating. If you encounter any problems, let your tour leader know about it.

Altitude & Acclimatization
In the Himalayas trekking at higher altitudes that measure up to 4,500m and 5,500m is common. At 3,000m the air becomes much thinner and you might get slower. While it does not bother, much to many people there might be some among you who might get affected due to this. This has nothing to do with you being young or stronger than the others. The only way to avoid being bugged by altitude is to ascend slowly and gradually. However, you should know that altitude sickness could be lethal, so to avoid this just listen to what your trek leader tells you. Remember that he has the experience to deal with such altitude problems.

Timekeeping
Please do not expect everything to run on time during treks.

Tour Leaders & Guides
We have arranged for a perfect trekking team that will help you get the best out of this whole journey. A team is headed by an experience tour leader. He is a connoisseur in the art of trekking and it is his responsibility to run this whole trip smoothly. We will also have a team of porters which is normally headed by a foreman. They will be carrying all the necessary equipments and your bags.

Accommodation
Comfort and cleanliness are the things we look for while choosing our hotels. On Adventurer tours, we will halt at modest hotels or rest houses. Most hotels provide twin share rooms with attached private bathrooms. We may also come across dormitories, which are in a multi share basis with shared bathrooms. On traveler tours, accommodation can be categorized as medium range. This range will be between business class hotels in Kathmandu to modest guest houses. All the hotels in traveler tours have private bathrooms and generally have A/C facilities and in some cases a ceiling fan. All of them have bar facilities. On some trekking routes, we will have to halt overnight in teahouses. These houses provide a whole range of facilities like electricity, hot shower and dormitory style rooms. You tour leader will arrange hotels according to requirements of the whole group. If you are traveling alone you maybe given a room with a member of the same sex, unless you have paid for single supplement. If you are a couple, please remember that you may not always get double beds. Single supplements are for single travelers who want to pay for their own room but this may not be applicable on boats, trains and whilst camping.

Laundry
Laundry services are available in most of the hotels we make available to you.

Food & Drink

Food
Nepali food is simple and in a way similar to Indian cuisine. The staple diet is dal-bhat, a mix of lentil sauce and rice. This is served with a variety of other dishes like pickles, curd and vegetable curries mostly. You may get momos (Tibetan dumplings) which is made of meat or vegetable. You can also eat any kind of food in Nepal (especially in Kathmandu or Pokhara). You do not get beef in Nepal, as Cow is a revered animal. While trekking, you can have a variety of food items like salads, fried chicken, pasta or chocolate cakes.

Drinks
Among all drinks, tea is widely available. However, in major cities in Nepal, you can practically find any type of drinks. You can also find major international soft drinks and there is a huge array of local fresh fruit juice available in the market.

Special Dietary Requirements

Vegetarians
Nepal is a vegetarian's heaven. You can find a huge array of vegetablecuisines in Nepal.

Communications

Email
You can find many internet cafes in cities and towns. Connection is slow at times varies from place to place. The average cost for an hour varies between US$0.3 (Kathmandu) and US$ (elsewhere).

Phone
The telephone lines in Nepal are rather good. If you want to call someone, look for shops/booths that have a yellow "PCO-STD-ISD" sign. This can be found almost everywhere in towns and cities. However, in remote areas you may not be able to find such shops. A 3-minute call (to the UK) will
cost approx. US$10 from a hotel and approx. US$5 from a shop/booth. There is no such thing as international or pre paid phone cards in Nepal.

Post
The postal service is good and stamps are available everywhere. An overseas stamp will cost approx. US$0.25.

Availability of Film
Camera film can be brought in all cities and sizable towns.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Weather
Since the geography of Nepal varies so greatly, so does its climate. While the plains of Nepal experiences a sub tropical climate with hot and humid summers and rather cool winters, the Himalayan foothills experiences cool dry seasons from October to April. While the days are warm, the nights can be very cold. The visibility is normally good and the snow is above 3,000 mt.
The following chart shows average daytime temperatures (in degrees celcius)
Month Temperature in
K C
January 18 24
February 19 26
March 25 33
April 28 35
May 30 35
June 29 35
July 29 33
August 28 33
September 28 32
October 27 31
November 23 29
December 19 24
(K – Kathmandu, C – Chitwan)
Temperatures are subject to change and drop much lower at high altitudes

Holidays
Nepal follows many calendars; 2 solar calendars and 3 lunar ones which makes it difficult to predict many of the religious festival dates. The official calendar is 365 days, but is 57 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar.
Religious Holidays
Dasain (Durga Puja) Sep/ Oct
Holi (Hindu spring festival) Feb/ Mar
Tihar or Diwali (Hindu New Year)
Oct/ Nov

Suggested Reading :

In Depth Guidebooks
• Nepal Handbook (Footprint Guides) Background Reading
• Into Thin Air: a personal account of an Everest disaster by Jon Krakauer
• Annapurna South Face by Chris Bonnington
• Mustang: A Lost Tibetan Kingdom by M Peissel
• Shopping for Buddhas by J Greenwald
These, and many other, books are available cheaply in Nepal.

Useful Phrases in Nepali
Hello - Namaste (Nam-mas-tay)
Goodbye - Namaste
How are you? - Tapaalai kasto chha
I’m fine thanks - Sanchaicha
Please - Dinuhos
Thank you - Dhanyabad
Yes - Cchaa
No - Chhaina
Excuse me - Hajur
How much? - Kati?
Nepali Numbers
1 ek
2 dui
3 teen
4 char
5 panch
6 chha
7 saat
8 aath
9 nau
10 das
11 gara
12 bara
13 tera
20 bis
30 tis
40 chalis
50 pchas
100 sau
1000 hazar