Nepal

POPULATION

The population of Nepal was recorded to be about 26.62 million according to a recent survey done by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal.  The population comprises of about a 101 ethnic groups speaking over 92 languages.

LOCAL TIME

Nepal is in south Asia between India and China.it is 5.45 hours ahead of GMT. They do not have daylight saving.

LANGUAGE

Nepali is the official language of the state, spoken and understood by majority of the population. Multiple ethnic groups have their own mother tongues. English is spoken by many in Government and business offices. It is the mode of education in most private schools of Kathmandu and some other cities.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Tourist Visas can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, at border entry points in Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki on Nepal-India border and Kodari on Nepal-China border. Visa can also be obtained at the nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission.

A valid passport and one passport -size photo with a light background is required. Immigration Department has not specified the size of the passport-size photo.

Visa can be obtained only through payment of cash in the following currency: Euro, Swiss Franc, Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Singapore Dollar and Japanese Yen. Credit card, Indian currency and Nepali currency are not accepted as payment of visa fee.

Tourist Visa

Visa Facility Duration Fee 
Multiple Entry  15 Days  US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency 
Multiple Entry  30 Days US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency 
Multiple Entry  90 Days  US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency 

Gratis (Free) Visa

    • For first visit in one visa year (January to December) , gratis visa for 30 days is available only for nationals of South   Asian countries like Bangladesh,Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However, visa can be extended from the Immigration Department on payment of visa fee as specified above.
    • Indian nationals do not require visa to enter into Nepal.

Other Information

Nationals from Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, Somalia, Liberia,Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan will need to obtain visa from Nepal. Embassies or Diplomatic Missions in their respective countries, as they do not get visa on arrival at the immigration entry points of Nepal.

CURRENCY

Payment in hotels, travel agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa are 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 Nepali rupees. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepali currency into hard currency before leaving the country. However, only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted by the bank. ATM is widely in use in Kathmandu.

Major bank and exchange counters are available at Tribhuvan International Airport,providing services for exchanging foreign currency. Exchange rates are published inEnglish dailies such as The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The HimalayanTimes. Nepali currency notes are found in denominations of Rupees 1000, 500, 100,50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are found in denominations of Rupees 5, 2 and 1. One rupee equals 100 paisa.

For example, 1.00 USD=100.000 NPR.

ELECTRICAL CURRENT

Voltage: 230 V; Plugs C & D. You will need a voltage converter, and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

WEATHER

Climatic conditions of Nepal vary from one place to another in accordance with the geographical features. In the north summers are cool and winters severe, while in south summers are tropical and winters are mild. Nepal has namely five major seasons: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. An average temperature drop of 6°C occurs for every 1,000 m gain in altitude.

In the Terai, summer temperatures exceed 37° C and higher in some areas, winter temperatures range from 7°C to 23°C in the Terai. In mountainous regions, hills and valleys, summers are temperate while winter temperatures can plummet under subzero. The valley of Kathmandu has a pleasant climate with average summer and winter temperatures of 19°C – 35°C and 2°C – 12°C respectively.

The Himalayas act as a barrier to the cold winds blowing from Central Asia in winter, and forms the northern boundary of the monsoon wind patterns. Eighty percent of the precipitation is received during the monsoon (June-September).Winter rains are more pronounced in the western hills. The average annual rainfall is 1,600 mm, but it varies by eco-climatic zones, such as 3,345 mm in Pokhara and below 300 mm in Mustang. An interesting fact is that there is no seasonal constraint on traveling in and through Nepal. Even in December and January, when winter is at its severest, there are compensating bright sun and brilliant views.

As with most of the trekking areas in Nepal, the best time to visit are during spring and autumn. Spring is the time for rhododendrons while the clearest skies are found after the monsoon in October and November. However, Nepal can be visited the whole year round.

Food, Water and Alcohol

Nepal does not have a distinct cooking style. However, food habits differ depending on the region. Nepali food has been influenced by Indian and Tibetan styles of cooking. Authentic Nepali taste is found in Newari and Thakai cuisines. Most Nepalis do not use cutlery but eat with their right hand.The regular Nepali meal is dal (lentil soup), bhat (boiled rice) and tarkari (curried vegetables), often accompanied byachar (pickle). Curried meat is very popular, but is saved for special occasions, as it is relatively more expensive. Momos (steamed or fried dumplings) deserve a mention as one of the most popular snack among Nepalis. Rotis (flat bread) and dhedo (boiled flour) also make meals in some homes.

Alcohol is mostly imported and widely available at hotel bars and restaurants. Health care services 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. For major health crisis or emergency, one may have to be evacuated to Kathmandu.

Useful Tips:

A travel insurance policy that covers medical treatment is recommended for all tourists. Similarly, we recommend you to make sure that the insurance covers activities such as trekking, rafting etc. that you will be undertaking during your stay in Nepal

Getting special vaccinations are not necessary when visiting Nepal. We still recommend that you consult with your physician regarding special immunizing against any tropical disease. It may be a good idea to get a complete check up before departure.

We recommend that you undertake training programs to be physically fit if you planto go high-altitude trekking or mountaineering when you’re visiting Nepal. Please make sure that food is thoroughly cooked and served hot when eating out.Please make sure that salads and fruits are washed with purified water or peeled when eating out. Beware of food that has been kept out in the open for long. Always make sure that your water is clean by opting for boiled and then cooled water, treated water or sealed water from reputed brand. Always carry a bottle of water when trekking or venturing off away from the city/ town.

Do not walk bare feet on damp mud and grass in unknown areas. Please do not swim in lakes and water bodies, especially where depth and vegetation are not known.

Always carry and use mosquito repellant when in Terai region or during summers. Please have a handy medical first aid kit ready for any situation.

Medical Kit:

A simple but adequate medical kit can be very useful while traveling. The following items are recommended: Aspirin of 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 upset stomach; Rehydration mixture – for treatment of severe diarrhea; Antiseptic, mercurochrome and antibiotic powder or similar dry spray- for cuts and grazes.

Other things to be included are: Calamine lotion to ease irritation from bites or stings; bandages and band aids for minor injuries; scissors, tweezers, thermometer,insect repellent, sun block lotions, chopsticks, water purification tablets, throat lozenges, moleskin, Sulamyd 10 percent eye drops, paracetamol and antacid tablets.

Values & Traditions

The diversity in Nepal in terms of ethnicity again makes room for various sets of customs. Most of these customs go back to the Hindu, Buddhist or other religious traditions. Among them, the rules of marriage are particularly interesting.Traditional marriages call for deals arranged by parents after the boy or girl come of age.

Nepalis do not eat beef. There are several reasons for this, one being that the Hindus worship cow. Cow is also the national animal of Nepal. Another interesting concept among Nepalis is division of pure and impure. “Jutho” referring to food or material touched by another’s mouth directly or indirectly, is considered impure by Nepalis.Nepalis consider cow dung to be pure for cleansing purposes. During menstruation women are considered impure and hence, are kept in seclusion until their fourth day purification bath. Nepal is a patriarchal society. Men usually go out to work while women are homemakers. However, in cities, roles can differ. Most Nepalis abide by the caste system in living habits and marriage. Rural Nepal is mostly agrarian, while some aspects of urban life carry glitz and glamour of the ultra-modern world.

Cultural Considerations

Customs and traditions differ from one part of Nepal to another. A conglomeration lies in capital city Kathmandu where cultures are blending to form a national identity. Kathmandu Valley has served as the country’s cultural metropolis since the unification of Nepal in the 18th Century. A prominent factor in a Nepali’s everyday life is religion. Adding color to the lives of Nepalis are festivals the year round which they celebrate with much pomp and joy. Food plays an important role in the celebration of these festivals.

Some tips on the common etiquette practiced by Nepali people should be useful to visitors:

  • The form of greeting in Nepal is “Namaste” performing by joining both palms together. It literally means “the divine in me salutes the divine in you”.
  • As a mark of respect Nepalis usually take their shoes off before entering someone’s house or place of worship.
  • Food or material that has been touched by another person’s mouth is considered impure or “jutho” and, therefore, is not accepted unless among close friends or family.
  • Touching something with feet or using the left hand to give or take may not be considered auspicious.
  • Women wearing skimpy outfits are frowned upon especially in the rural parts of the country.
  • As a part of the tradition some Hindu temples do not allow non Hindus to enter.
  • Leather articles are prohibited inside some temple areas.
  • Walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
  • To avoid conflict photography is carried out after receiving permission from the object or person.
  • Public displays of affection are considered scandalous.
  • Nodding of head means “Yes” while shaking of head means “No”. A slight dangling of head from left to right means “OK”.

Religion

Nepal was declared a secular country by the Parliament on May 18, 2006. Religions practiced in Nepal are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism,Bon, ancestor worship and animism. The majority of Nepalis are either Hindus orBuddhism. The two have co-existed in harmony through centuries.Buddha is widely worshipped by both Buddhists and Hindus of Nepal.Hindu Nepalis worship the ancient Vedic gods. Bramha the Creator, Vishnu thePreserver and Shiva the Destroyer, are worshipped as the Supreme Hindu Trinity.People pray to the Shiva Linga or the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva in most Shivatemples. Shakti, the dynamic element in the female counterpart of Shiva, is highly revered and feared. Mahadevi, Mahakali, Bhagabati, Ishwari are some of the names given. Kumari, the Virgin Goddess, also represents Shakti.

Information Courtesy of Nepal Tourism Board.

Learn more: http://welcomenepal.com

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