Nepal is a bucket list vacation destination for many, with mountains, ancient sites, architecture, tradition, culture, lush forests, and wildlife. Though a small nation in South Asia, there are many activities to do in Nepal and the same amount of reasons to fall in love with it.
It offers the perfect natural scenery of three different regions in its tiny geographical frame. Enjoy the majestic snowclad mountains in the north, feel relaxed in the hilly villages surrounded by the unique culture, and go for wildlife viewing opportunities in the plains of Terai.
Additionally, if you are searching for thrilling chapters in life, Nepal provides you with this experience. Likewise, you will feel a spiritual connection with the locals as soon as you land on Nepali soil.
Everywhere you go, and at any time, you will hear friendly greetings from the locals saying, “Namaste.” Coming to Nepal is an intangible feeling but of course, what can be much better than experiencing it all yourself?
The Ultimate Nepal Travel Guide: What To Know Before Visiting?
So, are you ready to experience Nepal on your own? We are here to help you go through some practical must-know stuff and tips before you visit us.
Here, we have gathered all the information on visas, safety, activities to do, when to visit, accommodation, and so on while adding a few sprinkles of Nepal’s diverse culture and tradition.
All About Nepal
A little background on this nation, Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia, lying between the two giant nations, India and China. Among the world’s top ten highest mountains, it is home to the top eight peaks, not to mention; it is also the only nation with a non-rectangular flag.
Moving on, if you search for Nepal, you will see about 123 known languages in this country. However, the mother tongue or the most common language is Nepali, and you can expect most people to speak English in urban areas.
If you wish to speak a few native languages, below are some phrases that might help.
- Namaste: Warm greetings
- Dhanyabaad: Thank You
- Mitho chha: Delicious
- Kati paisa: How much money?
Religion And Culture
In Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism are the major religions the locals follow, and you can see it connected with everyday life. Both religions coexist peacefully, and you will find numerous temples and stupas along your journey.
Furthermore, Nepal also has indigenous people living together with diverse cultures. Hence, there are multiple festivals and ceremonies you can come around, such as Dashain, Jatras, Tihar, Lhosar, and so on.
Below are some tips if you enter any holy sites in Nepal.
- If you are visiting a stupa, you will see multiple prayer wheels. Always spin them in a clockwise direction and whether you are in a temple or any site, constantly roam in a clockwise direction as well.
- Join your palm of hands together for a prayer.
- Keep PDA to a minimum and avoid public kissing or any sign of affection.
Tourist Visa Information Needed In Nepal
You can gain your Nepal tourist visa upon arrival here at the Tribhuvan International Airport or apply for it online up to fifteen days before arrival. If you used it for online access, you must travel within six months.
As you arrive here, you will be required to pay for a Visa on Arrival (VoA), and it gives you three options; 15 days for U.S. 30, 30 days for U.S. 50, and 90 days for U.S. 125. To pay for your VoA, follow the steps you will need to follow.
- Fill in the Nepal immigration ‘Arrival Card’ or online ‘Tourist Visa’ form.
- Upon arrival, make payment at the kiosk near the windows of the immigration area. (Remember to get your receipt!)
- Pass through the immigration officer with passport control, showing your passport and visa receipt.
Currency In Nepal
Finally, you are here in Nepal! Now, how about the currency? The official currency of Nepal is the Nepalese rupee. As of the moment, 1 USD equals to NRs 132.
Moving on, you can find foreign currency exchange in several places here. Similarly, there are multiple ATMs in the city areas and tourist hotspots; however, it will be difficult to find any of those in the rural areas.
Therefore, walking with cash is better if you travel from significant city areas. Apart from ATMs, you will also find the wide use of credit cards in tourist hotels, restaurants, cafes, and so on. However, yes, both services, ATMs and credit cards, do have their fees.
Now, if you are up for shopping or looking for souvenirs, you can indulge yourself in bartering. Indeed, it is acceptable here; however, you must be respectful.
Accommodation During Your Trip
According to your style and budget, Nepal provides you with the accommodation of your choice. For most tourists, Thamel is the particular destination for their stay.
If you look into hotel rooms, you can have three options; budget hotel for USD 15 per night, mid-range rooms for $50 – USD 80 per night, and luxury rooms for $150 – USD 250 per night.
Here, you can also opt to stay in a hostel where a bed in the dorm will cost you USD 5 per night, and a single room will cost you USD 10 per night. Furthermore, you can also choose Airbnb options if you are staying in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
If you want a more personal experience, you can also choose homestay. It will allow you to stay with a local family and cost you around $15 – $ 40 per night per guest. Lastly, there is a teahouse option. It is often used during trekking and costs $1 – USD 5 per person per night.
Transportation Facility In Nepal
Most of the roads in Nepal are pretty rough, especially in remote areas, while in the major cities, you will have traffic problems. Indeed, most of the time, your traveling will be filled with bumpy rides.
So, how to get from one place to another? Well, there are multiple mediums for you to travel, such as local buses, taxis (cab), airlines, and applications. Using applications like Pathao and In drive is the best option if you travel a short distance within Kathmandu valley.
Likewise you can also use cabs; however, they are expensive, and it is better to negotiate the price before you ride. Another option is the local or tourist buses, which are often a good choice when traveling out of the valley. Indeed, there are some domestic airlines for travel as well.
Food And Water In Nepal
The central cuisine of Nepal is Dal, Bhaat, and Tarkari (Pulses, Rice, and Curry), and you will see it available in most hotels. It is the primary meal of every Nepalese, and they eat it at least once a day.
While in Nepal, there are multiple local cuisines to try, and on every corner of the road, you will see numerous cafes and restaurants. If traveling to the South Asian side for the first time, you should be cautious about what you eat and where you eat.
With food comes water, and you must realize that Nepal does not have the best form of drinking water. That means you can only drink straight from the water tap in a remote village free of pollution.
This tap water is fine for showers, brushing, or washing but not for drinking. Hence, you will need filtered water, or you can buy bottled water in any local stores here.
Now, as you are here, below are some of the must-try local cuisines and drinks.
- Dhido and Gundruk
- Selroti and Achaar
- Gorkhali lamb and beer
- Thakali Khana Set and rice wine
- Newari Khaja set and Juju Dhau
Internet And Local SIM Cards
You can find wifi and internet in most restaurants, hotels, and homes in Nepal. However, it is not fast, and you need help finding it in rural areas.
While in Nepal, it is best to buy a local sim card for communication and calls on the cell. There are quite a few cell providers, but Ncell and Namaste Telecom (NTC) are the major ones.
You can quickly get sim cards if you walk to the booth, but you will require a copy of your passport and a pp sized picture as you fill out the form. In the city areas, the sim cards are always in range; however, if you travel to remote locations, expect the signal to go in and out of range at times.
Travel Destinations In Nepal: Where To Travel And What To Do?
Nepal is an affordable country and provides an array of destinations to embark on your journey. Packed with adventure and natural beauty, below are some of the top places to visit while in Nepal.
The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu itself, has loads to offer, from nightlife to adventure and religious journeys. There are multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites inside the valley.
Below are some of the activities to do while in Kathmandu.
- Pastoral visits to Boudhanath, Swayambunath, and Pashupatinath.
- Explore the ancient cities of Patan and Bhaktapur.
- Stroll across Thamel and enjoy its nightlife.
- Hike across the trail of Shivapuri National Park.
- Enjoy the sunrise and sunset views from Nagarkot.
The city of lakes, Pokhara, is a tourist hub in Nepal and offers the immense beauty of the Himalayas. Not to mention, it is also the pivot point for most adventure activities and trekking trails.
Below are some of the activities to do while in Pokhara.
- Boat in the Phewa Lake.
- Go paragliding with the views of the Himalayas.
- Hike to the World Peace Pagoda.
- Visit Sarangkot for sunrise and sunset views.
- Embark on your trek to Annapurna Base Camp.
Lying in the Terai Region of Nepal, enjoy the wildlife scenery of the Chitwan National Park.
Below are some of the activities to do while in Chitwan.
- Go on a jungle safari in a jeep or ride an elephant.
- Bath with the elephants.
- Visit the Sauraha Elephant Breeding Centre.
Some Other Destinations And Activities In Nepal
- Trek to Everest Base Camp.
- Visit the birthplace of Lord Budhha, Lumbini.
- Take a helicopter ride to Everest.
- Visit the tea garden in Ilam.
- Embark on lesser crowded trekking trails such as Langtang Valley Trek, Mohare Danda Trek, Dolpo region, and Upper and Lower Mustang regions.
- Go for whitewater rafting.
Trekking Tips And Necessities
If you are looking forward to trek in Nepal, you must understand the weather well. If possible, always aim for Autumn or spring, as it has the most comfortable temperatures and the clearest skies.
If you trek during winter, you will need tons of warm clothes, and the temperature is freezing. Likewise, the monsoon season is difficult due to everyday rain and leeches in most areas.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Nepal?
Nepal has four distinct seasons; Spring, Monsoon, Autumn, and Winter. Spring is between March and May, and traveling in this period will showcase a full bloom of Rhododendrons and clear blue skies.
Monsoon falls between June and August. It is a pretty hectic period as it rains daily, and the roads get slippery, not to mention the number of sponges you will find on your trek.
Likewise, Autumn starts between September and November. It provides consistent and comfortable temperatures and some of the clearest skies.
Lastly, the Winter is between December and February. You should expect bone-chilling cold with loads of snow at high elevations.
Safety In Nepal
Do not worry; Nepal is one of the safest and friendliest countries. However, it does not mean you do not sign up for travel insurance. Always sign travel insurance before you embark on your journey, and make sure that your insurance covers you even at a high altitude.
Some of the safety tips while traveling are as below.
- Stay away from trek alone; at least have one partner and a guide.
- Take photocopies of your passport, tickets, visa, and trekking permits.
- Be aware of your belongings at all times.
- Always stay hydrated on your trek.
- Carry a small first aid kit with essential medications.
- Be wary of altitude sickness.
As fellow people living together on a planet, always travel responsibly and look for ways to reduce your carbon footprints. Below are some points to consider while traveling.
- Do not litter! As you travel, always dispose of your items in their respective area and try not to litter the trails.
- Do not carve trees or stones for the sake of fun.
- Always stick to the path unless otherwise told.
- Before taking any photographs, always seek permission first.
- Respect the local culture and tradition.
- Do not belittle your porters or guide. Do tip them after their service.
- Refrain from haggling on prices, especially for accommodation.
- Dress and act modestly.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best time to travel to Nepal is from October to December when the weather and the landscapes are breathtaking. Temperatures vary throughout locations, and the weather is dry until around April.
Nepal is regarded as the premier outdoor sports destination with a wide variety of activities available, including rock climbing, canyoning, ziplining, and other outdoor sports. Skydiving from Mount Everest and landing in the highest part of the world may be the most difficult sport.