Nepal is a landlocked country located in South Asia, bordered by China in the North and India in the South, East, and West. The country occupies 147,181 sq. km of land, measuring 800 km (East to West) by 150 to 250 km (North to South).
Although significantly smaller than its neighbouring giants, Nepal boasts an extensively diverse topography for its size. Mountains and rugged hills cover almost 75% of Nepal’s land area, and beyond the perpetual snow-capped mountains exists the tropical region of Tarai.
In addition to Tarai, Nepal is home to two more distinct horizontal regions: The Hill Region (central) consists of mountains, hills, flatlands and deep valleys, with elevations ranging from 1,968 to 9,842 ft. (600 to 3,000 m).
There is no seasonal constraint on traveling in and through Nepal. Even in December and January, when winter is at its severest, there are bright sunny days 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.
March – May: Spring
June – August: Monsoon
September – November: Autumn
December – February: Winter
Having ready access to local currency is vital, so here are some things we think you should know:
The currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (Rs). 1 Rs = 100 paisa (p). Away from major centres, changing a Rs 1000 note can be difficult, so it is always a good idea to keep a stash of small denomination notes.
Many ATMs are available in Kathmandu and Pokhara. There are some ATM’s in large trekking towns like Namche Bazaar (Everest Base Camp route) and Jomsom (on the Annapurna circuit trek), but some don’t accept foreign bank cards (despite Visa signs indicating that they do) and they are not reliable.
Frequent power outages can limit the machines’ working hours, so seize the chance to use one when find a reliable and working one. Using an ATM attached to a bank during business hours will minimize hassle in the rare event that the machine eats your card.
Nepal has one international airport, just east of Kathmandu – Tribhuvan International Airport. There are few direct long-distance flights to Nepal – getting here from Europe, the Americas or Australasia will almost always involve a stop in the Middle East or Asia.
Facilities at Tribhuvan are limited – there are foreign-exchange booths before and after immigration, and there is a dusty tourist information counter by the terminal exit. Fill out the forms for your visa on arrival before you go to the immigration counter, as queues can be long here. A small stand provides instant passport photos but bring some from home to be safe.
All foreigners, except India nationals, must have a visa. Nepali embassies and consulates overseas issue visas with no fuss, but most people get one on the spot on arrival in Nepal, either at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport or at road borders at Nepalganj, Birganj/Raxaul Bazaar, Sunauli, Kakarbhitta, Mahendranagar, Dhangadhi and even the Rasuwagadhi checkpoint at the China/Tibetan border.
Visa for Nepal can be obtained upon arrival at the airport. It would also be easier, if guest can fill up the online form, print it out, and bring it along, this way at least the filling up part of the formality is done.
The immigration desk in Nepal has a kiosk to fill up this online form, and take a photo, but you never know what happens in Nepal. Travellers are suggested to bring at least 4 passport size photos, just in case if they will need it at the immigration. For more information on the Nepal Visa Fee, and the online form, refer to the following link: http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa.
On Arrival Visa Fee: 15 Days – USD$30, 30 Days – USD$50, 90 Days – USD$125
All baggage is X-rayed on arrival and departure, with the primary concern of the import and export of drugs, and the illegal export of antiques.
Customs’ main concern is preventing the export of antique works of art, and with good reason: Nepal has been a victim of international art theft over the last 20 years. While it is very unlikely that souvenirs sold to travellers will be antique (despite the claims of the vendors), any doubt can be cleared by obtaining a certificate obtained from the Department of Archaeology in central Kathmandu’s National Archives building. If you visit the department between 10am and 1pm, you should be able to pick up a certificate by 5pm the same day. These controls also apply to the export of precious and semiprecious stones.
Foreign currencies exceeding USD$ 2,000 – must be declared.
There are no compulsory requirements for vaccinations for Nepal for entry/exit purposes for travellers, but some are recommended for the traveller’s personal protection against some of the more common food and water diseases.
The main recommended vaccinations for Nepal are Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Meningitis. Boosters are also recommended for Tetanus, Polio, Mumps, and Measles.
Depending on your travel plans, you may also consider inoculations against Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis B, and Rabies. This is especially important if you have young children, are coming for an extended period, working in health care, or visiting rural areas and the Terai.