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Nepal

NEPAL TRAVEL GUIDE

Nepal contains 8 of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with Tibet, and Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

 

In Nepal charm hangs in the air. Just like the notes of tinkling bells, just like the fair mist, just like the mumbled chant, quite like the incense smoke. Quirky things happen here like nowhere else! Ask the Nepalese and they’ll tell you a wonderful tale about change, growth, maturity and life. They'll tell you how the travel industry, tour operators and tourists are changing Nepal forever, but no one is complaining! That’s Nepal - dilemma-struck, dogmatic, and delightful.

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NEPAL QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR)
  • Area: 147,181 km²
  • Population: 28,09 million (2018)
  • Language: Nepali (official; spoken by 90% of the population), about a dozen other languages and about 30 major dialects;
  • Religion:Hinduism 81.3%, Buddhism 9%, Islam 4.4%, Kirat 3.1% other 2.2%

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NEPAL PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 30 January, Martyrs’ Day
  • 19 February, National Democracy Day
  • 8 March, International Women’s Day
  • 13/14 April, Nepali New Year/Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s Birthday
  • 24 April, Democracy Day
  • 1 May, May Day
  • 28 May, Republic Day

Also, Vaisakhi (New Year), Ghatasthapana (Dashain), and other Hindu holidays and festivals, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Guru Nanak’s Birthday, Buddha Day (Visakaha Day), and Tibetan New Year.

FESTIVALS IN NEPAL

Nepal

BEST TIME TO VISIT NEPAL

Nepal has four distinct seasons:

  • Spring (March-May): This is the best time for trekking, as the weather is mild and the rhododendrons are in bloom. It is also a good time for rafting and kayaking as the snow melts in the mountains and rivers are high.
  • Summer (June-August): This is the monsoon season, which brings heavy rains and landslides, making it difficult for trekking and outdoor activities. But it is a good time to visit the Terai region of Nepal, which is known for its lush green landscape, and wildlife.
  • Autumn (September-November): This is considered the peak season for trekking and climbing in Nepal, as the weather is clear and dry with spectacular views of the Himalayas.
  • Winter (December-February): This is the coldest season in Nepal, with occasional snowfall in the higher elevations. It's not the best time for trekking and outdoor activities, but it can be good time to visit Kathmandu and the lower regions of Nepal.

The best time to visit Nepal depends on the specific activities you plan to do and the areas you plan to visit. For trekking in the Himalayas, the best time is typically September to November, when the weather is clear and dry. For rafting and kayaking, the best time is typically September to November and March to May. For wildlife viewing, the best time is typically December to February. However, Nepal can be visited all year round, but some months are more pleasant than others.

NEPAL WEATHER SYNOPSIS


Nepal’s climate is as diverse as the country’s topography, which encompasses eight of the ten highest mountains in the world and extends to the rim of the Gangetic plains that have elevations below 300 meters above mean sea level. Rainfall in Nepal is driven by the monsoons, which migrate through the country in the summer months (between June and September) and bring 250-450 mm of rainfall each month to a majority of the country (except for the north-western mountains that receive between 100-150 mm per month). Winters are largely dry in Nepal. Average annual temperature for the whole country is 27°C and average rainfall is 1900 mm annually. However, these statistics vary by region and altitude. The country’s principal climatic regions span a rich topography that range in elevation from 100 to 8848 meters in a north-south trajectory of only 80 km .

Nepal

NEPAL TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

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COLD

MODERATE

DRY

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FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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APRIL

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MAY

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JUNE

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JULY

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AUGUST

HOT

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SEPTEMBER

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OCTOBER

HOT

COLD

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NOVEMBER

HOT

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DECEMBER

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN NEPAL

Nepal is still an up and coming snow skiing destination. You should be able to go skiing in April and October, where October is the more popular season because there is more snow in the ski areas compared to April. These are some of best ski resorts currently in Nepal: Ski Mera Peak, Annapurna and Kuri.

HIKING & CYCLING IN NEPAL

The best time for outdoor activities in Nepal is from September to late November (Autumn) and from February to mid April (Spring) when the weather is dry and temperatures moderate. December and January don't bring much snow, so if you can handle the icy cold temperatures, you could be one of very few up in the mountains. June to August are generally just too wet.

BEACH OPTIONS IN NEPAL

SURFING IN NEPAL

KITESURF IN NEPAL

Kitesurfing spot details and weather

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN NEPAL

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance

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HEALTH RISKS IN NEPAL

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Nepal

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

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NEPAL TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Nepal can vary widely depending on factors such as the time of year, the duration of your stay, and your travel style. Here are some approximate costs to consider:

  • Airfare: Round-trip airfare from the United States to Kathmandu typically ranges from $600 to $1,200, depending on the time of year and the airline.
  • Accommodation: Budget accommodations such as guesthouses and hostels can be found for as little as $5-10 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost around $20-50 per night. Luxury hotels and resorts can cost $100 or more per night.
  • Food: Basic meals such as dal bhat, a traditional Nepali dish, can cost as little as $2-3, while more expensive meals in restaurants can cost $10-15.
  • Transportation: Local buses and taxis are relatively cheap, with fares typically costing a few dollars.
  • Activities: Trekking in the Himalayas is one of the major activities in Nepal, a guided trek can cost around $25-30 per day including accommodation, food and guide, while climbing peaks such as Mount Everest can cost $50,000 to $100,000 or more.

Overall, it is possible to travel to Nepal on a budget of around $20-30 per day, but if you want to do more expensive activities such as trekking and climbing, you should budget accordingly.

NEPAL TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some travel tips for Nepal:

  • Pack for all seasons: Nepal has a diverse climate, so pack clothing for warm and cold weather, and be prepared for rain.
  • Get Vaccinated: It is recommended to get vaccinated for diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis A, and B and also consider a rabies vaccine if you plan on being in close contact with animals.
  • Get Travel Insurance: Make sure you have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, in case of an emergency.
  • Be respectful: Nepal is a conservative country, so dress modestly and be respectful of local customs and traditions.
  • Be prepared for altitude sickness: If you plan to trek or visit high-altitude areas, be prepared for altitude sickness, which can cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
  • Learn some basic Nepali: Knowing a few basic Nepali phrases will make your trip more pleasant, and the locals will appreciate your effort.
  • Take cash: While there are ATMs in Kathmandu and major cities, it's a good idea to carry cash, as not all places accept credit cards, and also the ATMs are not reliable.
  • Be prepared for power cuts: Nepal has frequent power cuts, so bring a torch/flashlight, and a power bank to charge your devices.
  • Be prepared for the road: Nepali roads can be challenging, with winding roads, pot holes, and traffic congestion. So be prepared for a long and bumpy ride.
  • Be open-minded: Nepal is a unique and fascinating country, so be open-minded, and enjoy the experience.

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF NEPAL

Nepal is a small country with diverse geography, culture, and traditions. The main regions of Nepal are:

  • Kathmandu Valley: The Kathmandu Valley is the cultural and political heart of Nepal, and it is where you will find the country's capital city, Kathmandu. Highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), and Boudhanath Stupa. There are also many other temples, palaces, and museums to visit.
  • Annapurna Region: The Annapurna region is popular for trekking, and it is home to some of the world's highest peaks, including Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Highlights include the Annapurna Circuit Trek, which takes you through beautiful mountain landscapes, traditional villages, and diverse cultures.
  • Everest Region: The Everest region is the most famous trekking destination in Nepal, and it's home to the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest. Highlights include the Everest Base Camp Trek, which takes you to the base camp of the world's highest mountain, and the Gokyo Lakes Trek, which takes you to the beautiful Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri viewpoint.
  • Langtang Region: The Langtang region is another popular trekking destination in Nepal, known for its beautiful landscapes and natural beauty. Highlights include the Langtang Valley Trek, which takes you through the beautiful Langtang National Park, and the Tamang Heritage Trek, which takes you through traditional Tamang villages and offers an insight into the culture of the Tamang people.
  • Pokhara: Pokhara is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, and it is the gateway to many trekking destinations in the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri regions. Highlights include the beautiful Phewa Lake, the International Mountain Museum, and the World Peace Pagoda.
  • The Terai: The Terai is the southern part of Nepal, and it's known for its lush green landscape and wildlife. Highlights include Chitwan National Park, which is home to one-horned rhinoceroses and Bengal tigers, Bardia National Park, and Lumbini, which is the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
  • Upper Mustang: Mustang region is located in the north of the Annapurna range and it's an isolated region. With the beautiful landscape, caves, and culture of the Mustang people, it's a highlight for trekkers who seek to explore the remote area.

These are some of the main regions and highlights of Nepal, but there are many other places and activities to explore as well.

Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Nepal:

  • Trekking: Nepal is known for its trekking opportunities, with famous trekking routes like the Annapurna Circuit, the Everest Base Camp Trek, and the Langtang Valley Trek. These treks take you through beautiful mountain landscapes, traditional villages, and diverse cultures.
  • Climbing: Nepal is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri. Mountaineering expeditions to these peaks are organized by experienced operators, and it's a once in a lifetime experience for many.
  • Exploring Kathmandu: The Kathmandu Valley is the cultural and political heart of Nepal, and it is where you will find the country's capital city, Kathmandu. Highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), and Boudhanath Stupa. There are also many other temples, palaces, and museums to visit.
  • Visiting Pokhara: Pokhara is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, and it is the gateway to many trekking destinations in the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri regions. Highlights include the beautiful Phewa Lake, the International Mountain Museum, and the World Peace Pagoda.
  • Wildlife viewing: Nepal is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and there are several national parks and protected areas where you can see animals such as one-horned rhinoceroses, Bengal tigers, and elephants. Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park are the most popular for wildlife viewing.
  • Rafting and kayaking: Nepal is also known for its white-water rafting and kayaking opportunities, with several rivers like Trisuli, Marsyangdi, and Bhote Koshi offering challenging rapids and beautiful scenery.
  • Yoga and meditation: Nepal is also a destination for people who want to experience Yoga and meditation, with many yoga centers and ashrams offering classes and retreats.
  • Lumbini: Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists from around the world. The main attraction is the Ashoka pillar, the ancient Mayadevi Temple, and the sacred pond Puskarni.

These are just a few examples of the many things to see and do in Nepal, and it depends on your interests and the amount of time you have available.

Nepal

WHAT TO EAT IN NEPAL

Nepal has a rich and diverse cuisine that is heavily influenced by Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese culinary traditions. Here are some popular dishes to try when visiting Nepal:

  • Dal Bhat: This is a traditional Nepali dish that consists of lentil soup (dal) and steamed rice (bhat). It's a staple food in Nepal, and it's often served with a variety of curries and vegetables.
  • Momo: Momo is a type of steamed dumpling that is filled with meat or vegetables, and it's a popular street food in Nepal. It is served with a spicy tomato-based sauce.
  • Sel Roti: Sel Roti is a type of deep-fried sweet bread made from rice flour and it's often served during festivals and special occasions.
  • Samosas: Samosas are a type of fried or baked pastry filled with meat or vegetables, it's a popular snack in Nepal and it's often served with a variety of chutneys.
  • Yak meat: Yak meat is a delicacy in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, it's a bit gamey in taste and it's often cooked in curries or stews.
  • Choila: Choila is a type of spicy meat dish, typically made with buffalo or chicken, it's often served with beaten rice (chiura) and is a popular dish in the Newari communities of Nepal.
  • Nepali Tea: Nepali tea, known as 'chia', is a popular drink in Nepal, it's often served sweet with milk and it's a great way to warm up during the colder months.
  • Tongba: Tongba is a popular alcoholic beverage in Nepal, it's made from fermented millet and it's often served warm.

These are just a few examples of the many delicious dishes you can try when visiting Nepal. Remember to be careful when eating street food, and make sure it's cooked well, and avoid eating uncooked fruits and vegetables that may have been washed in tap water.

LGBTQ IN NEPAL

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Nepal are among the most progressive in Asia. Homosexuality was legalised across the country in 2007 together with new laws explicitly including protections on the basis of sexual orientation. Based on a ruling of the Supreme Court of Nepal in late 2007, the government was also looking into legalising same-sex marriage, however, this has to date not yet materialised.

 

Despite these supportive laws and provisions, LGBT people still face societal discrimination in Nepal. Nepal Pride is an annual LGBT event held in Kathmandu.

Nepal

WHERE TO STAY IN NEPAL

When visiting Nepal for the first time, there are several places you may consider staying depending on your interests and the activities you plan to do. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Kathmandu: If you're interested in exploring Nepal's rich cultural heritage, Kathmandu is a great place to stay. The city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), and Boudhanath Stupa. There are also many other temples, palaces, and museums to visit. There are plenty of options for accommodation in Kathmandu, from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels.
  • Pokhara: Pokhara is a popular tourist destination known for its natural beauty, and it is the gateway to many trekking destinations in the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri regions. The city is located on the shores of Phewa Lake and surrounded by the Annapurna mountain range, it's a great place to relax, and it offers a variety of accommodation options.
  • Chitwan: If you're interested in wildlife viewing, Chitwan is a great place to stay. The Chitwan National Park is home to one-horned rhinoceroses and Bengal tigers, and it's also a great place to experience the culture of the Tharu people, the local ethnic group. There are several lodges and resorts in the area that offer accommodation, food and jungle activities.
  • Lumbini: Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists from around the world. There are several monasteries and temples to visit, and it's a peaceful place to stay.
  • Everest Region: If you're interested in trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest, it's a good idea to stay in the Everest Region, there are several small towns and villages in the region like Namche Bazaar, Gorak Shep, and Dingboche that offer basic accommodation and food for trekkers.

These are just a few examples of the many places you can stay in Nepal, and it depends on your interests and the activities you plan to do. Remember to book your accommodation in advance during peak season.

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