Entry Procedure and Visa Rules
Tourists who visit Nepal must hold valid passport and visa.
Tourist entry visa can be obtained for the following duration from Nepal Embassy/ Consulate or Mission offices abroad, or at the following immigration offices in Nepal:
TOURIST VISA EXTENSION
GRATIS (FREE) VISA
Visitors can go to different parts of Nepal either by road or by air. Among domestic airlines of Nepal the Royal Nepal Airlines (RA) provides extensive network. Other domestic airlines more than 18 in operation provide regular and charter services to popular domestic destinations. Excepting weather conditions Nepal's domestic air service is known to be punctual and reliable.
Buses are available to different parts of the capital and the kingdom from the new bus park in Gongabu and the old bus park in Sundhara. Regular bus services operate within the three cities in Kathmandu Valley. Scheduled bus services for outside the Valley operate from the Gongabu Bus Terminal. There are tourist bus services to selected places offered by a few travel agencies. In addition, one can also hire private vehicles at nominal rates.
Airport bus carries passengers from the airport into the city. Getting around Kathmandu Valley is made easier by metered taxis that can be hailed off the streets and are easily recognizable by the taxi sign and their black number plates. No tip is expected. Night taxis are available for higher prices. Three wheeler scooters that are cheaper than taxis are also available. For cheaper rides buses and teeny vans called micro buses are available to different parts of the Valley. Battery run scooters also serve the same purpose.
Airport tax is applicable to Nepali and non-Nepali citizens who use airport facilities. The airport tax specified for different flights from Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) and other domestic airports are as follows:
1. International Sector TIA Other Airports
a) SAARC Regions Rs. 750/- b) Other Countries Rs. 1695/-
2. Domestic Sector
a) Rs 150/- at TIA, Pokhara, Bhadrapur, Biratnagar, Simara, Bhairawa, Lukla, Neplagunj, Jomsom and Meghauli Airports.
b) Rs 125/- at Rajbiraj, Janakpur, Bharatpur, Tikapur, Dang, Surkeht, Dhangadi and Mahendranagar.
c) Other airports which does not fall under the category of (a) and (b) will be charged Rs.50/-
Note: In addition, VAT (value added tax) will be imposed on the above mentioned rates.
Trekking Permit: While permission is not required to trek to most areas, trekking permit is required for restricted areas. To get a group trekking permit an application form should be submitted through any registered trekking agency of Nepal. Some restricted areas are open only for group trekkers and trekking permit to these areas will not be issued to individual trekkers. For detail information please email us.
a. Travel document is issued for US $ 20 in case of loss, damage, theft, expiry of the passport.
b. Issuance of entry visa from the Department of Immigration 25 percent additional fee along with regular entry visa fee.
c. Certification of arrival or departure stamps or replacement of trekking permit US $ 1.
Medical Services: Medical facilities in Kathmandu Valley are sound. All kinds of medicines, including those imported from overseas are available in Kathmandu. Kathmandu Valley also offers the services of major general hospitals and private clinics. Health posts have been set up by the government in different parts of rural Nepal. However, facilities are not on par with those found in Kathmandu Valley.
Insurance: A travel insurance policy that covers theft, loss and medical treatment is recommended. Make sure the insurance also covers the activities that you will be undertaking during your stay in Nepal such as trekking, rafting.
Immunization: Visitors do not need any particular immunization for visit. Vaccinations for cholera, meningitis, tetanus and diphtheria, typhoid and gamma globulin should, however, be considered. It may be a good idea to get a complete check-up before departure.
Medical Kit: A simple but adequate medical kit can be very useful while traveling. The following items are recommended: Aspirin or Panadol - for pain or fever; Antihistamine - as a decongestant for colds, allergies and to help prevent motion sickness; Antibiotics - useful if traveling off beaten track but they must be prescribed; Kaolin preparation (Pepto-Bismol), Imodium or Lomotil - for stomach upsets; Rehydration mixture - for treatment of severe diarrhoea; Antiseptic, mercurochrome and antibiotic powder or similar 'dry' spray - for cuts and grazes.
Other things to be include are: Calamine lotion to ease irritation from bites or stings, bandages and aand aids for minor injuries, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, insect repellent, sun block lotion, chopsticks, water-purification tablets, throat lozenges (Strepsils), moleskin, Sulamyd 10% eye drops, Acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Antacid tablets).
General Knowledge: It would be hard to know all aspects of Nepal's health problems. However, it would be useful to gather information on altitude sickness (AMS), diarrhoea, giardia, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis rabies, typhoid, tetanus, meningitis diphtheria, malaria and HIV/AIDS Common sense can often save lives.
Prevention, the Best Medicine: Stomach upsets are the most likely travel health problem but the majority of these cases are minor problems. Thoroughly cooked food is the safest but not if it has been left to cool. One should be careful about what one eats and drinks. The number one rule is not to drink tap water or other water from open sources. Reputable brands of bottled water or soft drinks are available. While drinking and eating it is important to make sure that water which may be unsafe has not been added.
Do not drink unpasteurized milk. Boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt is usually good. Tea or coffee should also be all right since the water would have been boiled. Salads and fruit should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Food, drink and snack from reputable sources are usually safe. However beware of food that has been kept out in the open for long.
Wash your hands frequently, as it is quite easy to contaminate your own food. You should clean your teeth with purified water rather than straight from the tap. Avoid climatic extremes: keep out of the sun when it is hot, dress warmly when it is cold. Avoid potential diseases by dressing sensibly. Do not walk bare feet as it is easy to get worm infections through bare feet. Try to avoid insect bites by covering bare skin when insects are around, by screening windows or by using, insect repellents.
Ethics and Etiquette
Nepalese practice cultural etiquettes that may sometimes appear unusual to visitors. However, a handful of tips could acquaint visitors with these otherwise strange practices.
The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The counters are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
Several Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country in the past few years. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Nepali media has sped light years ahead in just a few years time and what used to be a controlled and tight knit community, is so no more. The government audio and television news networks are Radio Nepal and Nepal Television respectively. However, numerous FM radio stations and upcoming regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan. A number of other newspapers and magazines are also available.
Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced. However, most major hotels have installed their own generators.
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry. 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 cigarette (200) or cigars (50), 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: binocular, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.
The export of antiques require special certification from the Department of Archeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu. It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old like sacred images, paintings, manuscripts that are valued for culture and religious reasons. Visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal's cultural heritage and belong here.
Foreign Currency Exchange
Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from such transaction are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange money at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival also. Indian currency of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 bills are not allowed to be brought into Nepal. They will not be exchanged and will not be accepted for transaction of any kind.
Credit cards like the American Express, Visa and Master Card are accepted. Convertible currencies are as follows: Dollar (U.S., Australian, Hong Kong, Canadian, Singapore); Euro (Swiss, French, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy); Pound (U.K.); Yen (Japan). Expect the extra charge (usually 3.5%) you may be asked making the payment via Credit Cards, as many of the banks charge their merchants this amount as commission.
Banks in Kathmandu Valley are open between 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday. They are closed on Saturdays, Sunday and other public holidays. In other places banks are open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Mondays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Fridays and are closed on Saturdays and government holidays. ATM machines are located in some banks in the capital. Money can be transferred from other parts of the world from the numerous transfer agencies in the capital.
Access to Nepal
The Royal Nepal Airlines (RA) is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flight connections to: Delhi, Mumbai in India; Bangkok in Thailand; Osaka in Japan; Hong Kong, Shanghai in China; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Dubai in United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Other international airlines connecting Kathmandu to other parts of the world are Biman Bangladesh to Dacca in Bangladesh; China Airlines to Lhasa in Tibetan Autonomous Region of China; Druk Air to Paro in Bhutan and New Delhi in India; Gulf Air to Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates; Indian Airlines to Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi in India; Qatar Airways to Doha in Qatar; Thai International to Bangkok in Thailand.
Since Nepal has India in three sides and China in the north, coming to Nepal by land requires one to pass through India or China. The entry points to Nepal from India are Kakkarbhitta, Birgunj, Belhiya, Bhairawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi and Mahendra Nagar. The Kodari Pass in Nepal-China border is the entry point to Nepal from China. Tourists entering the kingdom by land must possess an international carnet.
Where to Go ?
There are many places to visit in Nepal. It starts with Kathmandu Valley which is the gateway to the Himalayan Kingdom. The highlight of a visit to Nepal is the experience of the mighty mountains. Visitors can choose from the different regions of Nepal where they can see tall peaks or go mountaineering.
North Nepal is guarded by mountains while one needs to go toward the south to see the jungles of Terai. Famous tourist places in Central Nepal including Kathmandu Valley are Pokhara, Gorkha, Janakpur, Tansen, Lumbini, Chitwan, Langtang, Manaslu and Mustang.
In East Nepal the most attractive for tourists is the Sagarmatha region considering this is where they get to see Mt. Everest. Taplejung, Illam, Koshi Tappu, Dhankuta/Hile are other tourist destinations in the east. In West Nepal Dolpo, Rukum, Banke, Bardiya, Khaptad, Kanchanpur offer tourists ample opportunity to experience the taste of Nepal. For more information please read from the sections of Trekking, Tours, Adventures, and Expeditions on our web site.
What to Do?
There is much to do in Nepal. Visitors start with Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Valley offers ample historical sites to pacify the curiosity of historians and archeologists. The city itself is like a big open museum ever ready to unfold its age-old sagas to the interested. The juxtaposition of modernity among the ancient make it a little city of bemusement. There are several avenues for sport, adventure and entertainment in Kathmandu.
Outside Kathmandu too there are numerous things to do for visitors. Pokhara, is another popular tourist city from where most trekking heads in the region can be reached. Visitors are fascinated by the enchanting Pokhara Valley glistening with numerous lakes and crowned by the famous Himalayan peaks in the north. Many visitors come to Nepal specifically with the purposes of mountaineering and trekking. Nepal also offers popular sport activities like bungy jumping, paragliding, hot-air ballooning and mountain flying.
From the wild to the more sophisticated, Golf games are also played in Nepal. Courses in the country's capital and a few other cities provide good golfing facilities. For entertainment there are discotheques, bars and pubs in the country's main cities. For those who want to take back home a bagful of souvenirs and rare Nepali goodies along with memories, a guide to good shopping is required. For more information please email us.
Nepal has every category of accommodation facilities that range from the international standard star hotels to budget hotels and lodges. In order to have an assured quality service, it is advisable to use the facilities and services of government registered hotels, lodges, travel agencies, licensed tour guides only and engage an authorized trekking guide or porter only through a registered travel and trekking agency.
In the last few decades Kathmandu and Pokhara with the rest of Nepal has seen mushrooming of world class hotels. During spring and fall, the better hotels work at near full capacity and are booked well in advance. There are, however, plenty of less glamorous but decent hotels to suit everyone's fancies and finances.
Most hotels offer choice of: bed and breakfast; bed, breakfast and one other meal; or room and full board. Rates listed however, are for room only, unless otherwise indicated. Besides officially recognized hotels, there are a number of small lodge accommodation available between US $10 and $20 a night depending on facilities; toilets and showers are generally communal and heating is extra. These small hostelries are located in the old parts of Kathmandu and in the Thamel district.
Even in remote parts of Nepal, the coming of tourists over the years has led to the local population paying attention to tourist facilities, hence making accommodation and meals for tourists more easily available than before.
See the Hotels in Nepal, we use
Climate, Clothings, and Holidays
Nepal has a typical monsoonal two-season year. There's the dry season from October to May while wet season of the monsoons last from June to September. The start of dry season September and November is the best time of the year in Nepal. With the end of monsoons and onset of fall the countryside is green and lush. Nepalese celebrate their two popular festivals, Dashain and Tihar during this time. Summer months in Nepal are from April to September while winter months are from November to March. In the north summers are mild and winters harsh while in south summers are extreme and winters mild.
Lightweight cotton clothing is recommended from May through October. Warm clothes are needed for winter. An umbrella or a raincoat is a necessary for the monsoons. For those planning to take trips around the nation, appropriate clothing is required depending on location and weather conditions of the area at the time.
Time and business hours: Nepal is Five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT. Government offices within Kathmandu Valley open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer and from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. in the winter. Outside the Valley, government offices open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer and from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. in winter.
Except public holidays, Saturdays and Sunday are the weekend holidays in the Kathmandu Valley when most government offices are closed. In other places, government offices are closed only on Saturdays. Most businesses are closed only on Saturdays.
Tourist Police was established in 1979 under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. The special unit has been designated the task of providing security to visitors. The team of Tourist Police consists of officers who can speak and understand English and Hindi. They register complaints, investigate matters, provide protection and safety to tourists. They also try to ensure hassle-free trip for visitors and assist tourists when necessary. There are three units of Tourist Police forces in Kathmandu. While the main office is at the Tourist Service Center in Bhrikuti Mandap (Phone: 4247041, 4247037), the other two are in tourist areas Thamel (Phone: 4429750) and Basantapur (Phone: 4268969).
Here are some tips on how visitors can remain safe: