Nepal Travel Info
The former Kingdom of Nepal has undergone some changes but at heart it remains a land of mountains, monasteries and mystery. Ever since it first opened its borders in the 1950s, Nepal has lured adventurers to try their hand in the Himalaya, be it climbing, trekking or white-water rafting. With the end of the Maoist rebellion, the country is once again issuing a calling cry and thrill-seekers are flooding back to Shangri-La armed with a Nepal travel guide.
Eat momos , delicate steamed dumplings dipped in a mouth-watering spicy tomato relish or dal bhat , the lentil, vegetable and rice dish that is the trekking staple. Wash it down with salted butter tea, chang beer made from rice or barley, or hot tongba , millet beer.
What to see
A captivating capital and genuinely vibrant city that operates in a chaotic muddle of bikes, cows, cars, beggars, pilgrims and hawkers. Highlights include the Bagmati ghats, a hub of riverside temples and statues amongst the ghats that stretch beside the Bagmati River.
Trek the Great Himalaya Trail
Winding beneath the world’s highest peaks and visiting some of the most remote communities on earth, The Great Himalaya Trail passes through lush green valleys, arid high plateaus and incredible landscapes Find out more here >
Attractive lakeside town where snow-capped peaks are reflected in the still waters and people try paragliding over the surrounding valleys.
Admire glorious views as you stroll to temples, viewpoints and hidden caverns in this living museum of Newari architecture.
Chitwan National Park
A forest reserve and Nepal’s best-known national park, where elephant treks and safaris are the best way to explore the long grasses and dense vegetation in order to spot rhinos and tigers.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
Come face to face with the giants of the Himalaya on the thrilling, difficult, breathtaking trek that climbs to the base camp below the highest mountain in the world.
Circuit 300km of breathtaking track that climbs to 5300m and edges the Tibetan Plateau as it follows ancient trade routes between Tibet and Nepal.
Langtang National Park
Trek the trails near Kathmandu in surprising tranquillity.
Raft or kayak the white waters of this wild river or alternatively tackle those of Sun Kosi.
A stunning hilltop temple complex full of Tibetan exiles and Buddhist pilgrims spinning the thousands of prayer wheels. Home to countless monkeys, the name translates loosely as the
From the top you get panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley.
When to go
Weather & Seasons: The best times to visit are during spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) in order to avoid summer rains and winter snows. There are monsoon rains from June to September. Festivals and ceremonies are held throughout the year and often mark the seasons or moments in the agricultural cycle.
Important Dates and Festivals: The festivals of Dasain and Tihaar take place in the Kathmandu Valley in late September to November. Kathmandu celebrates Indra Jaatra in August or September, an eight-day orgy of dancing, processions and festivities to honour the god Indra.
Getting there / around
Flights: There is an international airport at Kathmandu(KTM).Internal flights are limited given the national airline has almost no planes.
Road: Getting around is potentially difficult given the unpredictable nature of the roads .Local buses are slow and frequently unsafe but tourist coaches run between Kathmandu and the major centres of interest.Alternatively hire a car and driver for the journey.
Rail: There is a limited rail network with trains running north to the border with India.
Auto-rickshaws and three-wheel tempo buses are available in some areas to get around town.
Short Trips: Spend a week exploring the Kathmandu Valley, taking in the cultural highlights including the stunning temples and palaces of Durbar Square, Swayambhunath and the stupa at Bodhnath before you visit the medieval village of Bhaktapur and search out the stunning views at Nagarkot or Dhulikhel.
Longer Trips: Take your time to explore the Himalaya as well and work in a trek or two, allowing around three-four weeks to explore both areas.
2 Weeks: If you’ve only got two weeks, then head west to Pokhara from Kathmandu before detouring south to Chitwan National Park and then exploring Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha.
Overall Country Guides: There are excellent Nepal guidebooks available from Lonely Planet and Rough Guides and a more heavily illustrated guide to Nepal from Insight .
Shangri-La Bradt also publish a guidebook for Shangri La .
Trekking: Lonely Planet also produces a guide to Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya . Cicerone walking guides include Langtang with Gosainkund , Manaslu , Everest - A Trekkers Guide .
Country Maps: Country maps of Nepal are available from Reise Know-How ,and Mairdumont .
Sectional Maps: Sectional maps are produced by Himalayan Map House and include Chitwan National Park .
Street Maps: They also produce street plans for Kathmandu and Pokhara .
Trekking Maps: Trekking scale maps for the Himalaya are available from Himalaya Map House and National Geographic .
The Snow Leopard is Peter Matthiessen’s classic account of travelling through western Nepal in search of the eponymous big cat on what became a spiritual journey of self-discovery as well.
Annapurna by Maurice Herzog is a mountaineering classic from the 1950s.
Sight & Sound
Music: Listen out for the haunting Nepali folk music of Sur Sudha.
Film: For a sense of the place watch Eric Valli’s classic Himalaya, which tells the story of a group of yak herders and where all the characters are played by Dolpo villagers.
NepaliLanguage Books:Pick up Lonely Planet’s Nepali Phrasebookto help get by.
Nepalese rupee (NRs) made up of 100 paisa.
Visas are required for all visitors but can be obtained upon entry.
Cholera, diptheria, hep A, hep b, polio, rabies, typhoid and yellow fever inoculations are all recommended. There is also malaria present in the country.
Safety, FO travel advice
A traditionally safe destination that endured the occasional outbreak of conflict between the government and Maoist rebels, who are in fact now the elected government. There have been instances of kidnappings and hold-ups on remote trekking routes where trekkers were stung for ‘taxes’ by Maoist cadres but this is now a thing of the past and you are more likely to be affected by one of the general strikes in Kathmandu.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Nepalese country representatives can be found
in the UK at12a Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4QU. Tel:- 020 7229 1594
and in the US at820 Second Avenue, Suite 17B, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10017. Tel:- 212 370 3988
There are no tourist boards in either country.
For more information visit www.nepembassy.org.uk , www.catmando.com/tn or www.welcomenepal.com .