Travel Resources

Nepal: GeneralTravel Information
Visas and Permits All foreigners, except Indian nationals, require visas, which can be obtained in advance from Nepalese Embassies and Nepalese Consulates abroad or upon arrival in any ports. A Single-entry tourist visa costs US$30 and is valid for 60 days. A multiple entry visa costs USD$ 80. Visa fees are waived for people who will spend 3 nights or less in a visit and also to those returning visitors, who have previously stayed 15 nights or more within the same visa year. Visa fees for Chinese and citizens of SAARC member countries are also waived. Permits need to be obtained to trek in the certain areas of Nepal. The most popular trekking routes like Annapurna, Langtang and Everest do not require trekking permits, but National Park Entry Permits are still applicable. Upper Mustang, Manaslu and Dolpo fall in the "restricted area" category and require expensive permits, including a mound of paper work.

Getting there:
Flights - There are few direct flights to Nepal which means most travelers from Europe, North America and Australia have to change aircraft and/or airline en route. Nepal's only international airport is Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. For a view of the mountains upon arrival into Kathmandu, make sure to sit on the right-hand side of the plane. The departure tax plus tourism service fee for international flights are US$25, or US$20 to destinations on the Indian subcontinent. Overland - The classic overland routes between Nepal and India are still popular. There are three main crossing points: Sunauli-Bhairawa, Birganj-Raxaul Bazaar and Kakarbhitta-Siliguri. The Sunauli border crossing is the best one from Varanasi, the Birganj crossing is the easiest from Kolkata, and Kakarbhitta is the obvious choice from Darjeeling.

Getting Around: Nepal Airlines and several private companies offer domestic air service, but flights are relatively expensive. Public buses ply almost every paved road and some unpaved ones also but are incredibly uncomfortable, tediously slow and sometimes may include chickens and goats as co-passengers. There are, however, few services between Kathmandu and Pokhara. Buses to Chitwan, aimed specifically at tourists, has timely service and acceptable comfort. There are no trains or drive-yourself rental cars in Nepal. Cars with drivers can be hired. Local transport in the Kathmandu Valley and around Pokhara includes metered and unmetered taxis, buses, auto-rickshaws, bicycle rickshaws and bicycles.

When to Go: It is difficult to generalize the climate and best time to visit Nepal, due to altitude variation. October-November is the start of the dry season and in many ways the best time of year to travel. The weather is balmy, air is clean, visibility is perfect, and the country is lush following the monsoon season. February-April, the tail end of the dry season, is the second-best period. Visibility is not very good because of the dust, but the weather is warm and many of Nepal's wonderful wild flowers are in bloom. In December and January, the climate and visibility are good, but the chilly weather can discourage trekking. The rest of the year is fairly unpleasant for traveling. May and early June are generally too hot and dusty for comfort, and the monsoons from mid-June to September obscure the mountains in clouds and turns trails and roads to mud.

Currency and foreign exchange
: Nepalese Rupees are found in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins come in 5p, 10p, 25p, 50p, Rs.1, Rs.2 and Rs. 5 denominations.

Payments in hotels, travel agencies and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit Cards like American Express, Master and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, shops and restaurants. Remember to keep your Foreign Exchange Encashment Receipt while making foreign exchange payments or transferring foreign currency into Nepalese rupees. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepalese Rupees into hard currency before leaving the country. However, only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted by the banks. Major banks, hotels and the exchange counters at Tribhuvan Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency. Exchange rates are published in the English dailies such as The Rising Nepal and The Kathmandu Post.

Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT to set it apart from India. When it is noon in Kathmandu, it is 1:15 am in New York City.

: Nepal has every type of accommodation facility that a tourist might ask for which ranges from the international standard star hotels to budget hotels and lodges. Similarly, one can also have a choice of sightseeing options from a range of different tour packages. In order to have an assured quality service, it is advisable to use the facilities and services of government registered hotels, lodges, travel agencies and licensed tour guides. To be safe, only engage an authorized guide or porter through a registered travel/trekking agency.

Business Hours:
Government offices are open from 9 am to 5 pm from Sunday through Thursday and only until 3 pm on Fridays. Banks are open from Sunday through Thursdays from 10 am to 3 pm and only until 12 pm on Fridays. Business offices are open from 10 am to 5 pm Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 am and close at about 8 pm and are usually closed on Saturdays.

Visiting Temples /Monasteries
: Always walk clockwise around Buddhist stupas, chortens or mani walls. Remember to always remove your shoes, especially leather ones, before entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple or sanctuary. You may also have to remove any items made from leather, such as belts and bags. Many Hindu temples do not permit westerners to enter. The custom is to give a white scarf or Khata to a Buddhist abbot when you are introduced. The honorific title Rimpoche is usually bestowed on abbots. The scarves can easily be found at Tibetan shops.

Do not intrude with a camera, unless it is clearly OK with the people you are photographing. Ask first. Prior to entering a temple compound, ask whether it is permissible to take photographs.

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