Nepal Travel Tips

If you are planning a visit to Nepal then these are the following things to be considered before you visit the place:

Entry Requirements

Visa 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 in your country. Visa can also be obtained (renewal purposes) at Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu. 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 fee can be paid any currencies except Indian and Nepalese Rupees. However, US dollar is highly recommended. 

a. Tourist Visa

Visa Facility    Duration    Fee
Multiple entry    15 days    US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry    30 days    US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry    90 days    US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency

b. For Indian National

Indian nationals do not require visa to enter Nepal. As per the Nepalese Immigration, Indian Nationals Traveling to Nepal must possess Passport or Driving License with photo, Photo Identity card issued by a Government Agency of India, Ration Card with Photo, Election Commission Card with Photo, Identity Card issued by Embassy of India in Kathmandu or Identity Card with Photo issued by Sub- Divisional Magistrate or any other officials above his rank.

Also, please check with your nearest travel agents for documents required by the Indian Immigration for Indians traveling to Nepal. For further information please visit: www.immi.gov.np

c. 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.

d. Visa Extension

Tourists can stay for a maximum of 150 days in a visa year (Jan 1 to Dec 31).

Air connections to Nepal

International Connection

Nepal is a country which has been linked to many  countries of the to and from  this Himalayan Nation . Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flights to/ from Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Bangkok, Doha and Hong Kong and few Indian cities . Other International airlines operating from and to Kathmandu are Air Arabia (Sharjah), Air Asia (Kuala Lumpur), Air China (Lhasa, Chengdu), Biman Bangladesh (Dhaka), China Eastern Airlines (Kunming), China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou), Dragon Air (Hong Kong), Druk Air (Delhi, Paro), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), Flydubai (Dubai), Indian Airlines (Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi), Indigo Airlines (Delhi), Jet Airways (Delhi, Mumbai), Jet Lite (Delhi), Korean Air (Seoul), Air Asia X (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysian Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), Qatar Airways (Doha), Silk Air (Singapore), Spicejet (Delhi), Thai Airways (Bangkok) and United Airways (Dhaka)

Traveling by Road

All visitors entering Nepal by land must have a passport with a valid visa and can only use these designated entry points i.e. Nepal-India or Nepal-China border and may not enter from any other point:

1. Kakkarvitta

2. Birgunj

3. Belhiya, Bhairahawa

4. Nepalgunj

5. Dhangadi 

6. Mahendranagar in the Nepal-India border 

7. Kodari in the Nepal-China border.

Please note that overland tourists entering Nepal with their vehicles must possess an international carnet or complete customs formalities.

Driving into Nepal

Overland tourists entering Nepal with their vehicles must possess an international carnet. For more information on customs matters, Please Click on http://www.customs.gov.np (official Web site of the Department of Customs) or Please Contact the Chief Customs Administrator, TIA Customs Office at 4470110, 4472266.)

Foreign currency encashment and credit cards

Foreign currency and travelers' cheque notes can be easily converted into Nepalese currency with any branch of a bank authorized to deal in foreign exchange or licensed money changers. The rates for purchase and sale of Euro, Pound-Sterling and US Dollar currency notes are quoted by authorized dealers/money-changers within the floor and ceiling rates worked out daily in accordance with guidelines prescribed by Nepal Rastra Bank (Central Bank of Nepal). For other currencies, banks quote rates based on market conditions. Currencies like Euro, Pound-Sterling, US Dollar, German Mark, Swiss Francs, French Francs and Japanese Yen are widely accepted.

Payment 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 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 banks, hotels and exchange counters at Tribhuvan International Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency.Exchange rates are published in English dailies such as The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan Times. 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.

Business Hours

Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.Government offices are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday in summer and from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. in winter. On Fridays Government offices open from10 a.m. to 3p.m. Most business offices including travel, trekking and tour agencies are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 a.m. and close at about 8 p.m. and are usually closed on Saturdays and on public holidays as designated by the Government of Nepal. The public holidays are based on international calendars and also based on lunar calendar.   

Communication

Telephone Services

Landline and mobile phone services are available throughout Nepal. Network covers Kathmandu, major cities and towns and most of Nepal, except some rural Himalayan places. Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwor, Kathmandu, is the national service provider. There are also private service providers like Ncell. Hotels and private communication centers also provide long distance telephone and fax facilities. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1. 

To call Nepal from other countries

00 + country code (977) + city code + telephone number

Internet Services

Internet is easily accessible in Nepal. There are countless Internet cafes and communication centers at major cities. Wi-fi services are also provided at various hotels and restaurants. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. Internet services are also offered by hotels.

Postal Services

The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. The counters are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available from Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.

Electricity

Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding or power cut is scheduled during the dry season and eases off once it begins to rain. However, most major hotels have uninterrupted power supply through their own generators. Besides generators, people also use solar powered inverters for the lighting purpose. 

Health Guide

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

1. A travel insurance policy that covers medical treatment is recommended for all tourists.

2. 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

3. Getting special vaccinations are not necessary when visiting Nepal.

4. We still recommend that you consult with your physician regarding special immunizing against any tropical disease.

5. It may be a good idea to get a complete check up before departure.

6. We recommend that you undertake training programs to be physically fit if you plan to go high-altitude trekking or mountaineering when you’re visiting Nepal.

7. Please read up on altitude sickness (AMS), diarrhea, Giardia, Dysentry, Cholera, Hepatitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Meningitis, Diptheria, Malaria and HIV/ AIDS. Information and little precautions can often save lives.

8. Please make sure that food is thoroughly cooked and served hot when eating out.

9. Please make sure that salads and fruits are washed with purified water or peeled when eating out.

10. Beware of food that has been kept out in the open for long.

11. Always make sure that your water is clean by opting for boiled and then cooled water, treated water or sealed water from reputed brand.

12. Always carry a bottle of water when trekking or venturing off away from the city/ town.

13. Do not walk bare feet on damp mud and grass in unknown areas.

14. Please do not swim in lakes and water bodies, especially where depth and vegetation are not known.

15. Always carry and use mosquito repellant when in Terai region or during summers.

16. 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.

Exchange Rates and Banking Hours

The rates for purchase and sale of Euro, Pound-Sterling and US Dollar currency notes and foreign currency travelers’ cheque, where applicable, are quoted by authorized dealers/money-changers within the floor and ceiling rates worked out daily in accordance with guidelines prescribed by Nepal Rastra Bank (Formal National Bank of Nepal). For other currencies, banks quote rates based on market conditions. Currencies like Euro, Pound-Sterling, US Dollar, German Mark, Swiss Francs, French Francs and Japanese Yen are widely accepted. Large number of commercial banks are also available for the money exchange purpose. And if the banks are closed then you can also find local money-changer shops all over the tourist major destinations. ATM facilties can also be found in the major cities widely.  

Purchase of Goods

Shops/emporia selling goods or providing services to foreign tourists are permitted to accept payment in foreign exchange in the following manner:

1. Against internationally recognized Credit Cards.

2.By bank drafts drawn in approved foreign currencies on banks in Nepal;

3. By travelers cheque in foreign currency

Foreign tourists are permitted by Nepalese Customs to take with them goods purchased in Nepal (except banned items) without any value limit, provided the goods are purchased out of funds brought from abroad. Some shops and emporia also undertake to send the goods abroad as unaccompanied baggage at the request of the tourists.

Restaurants and Food around Nepal

Nepal – and specifically Kathmandu  a range of dishes can be found. A vast range of flavours can be found just in daal bhaat, the national dish of rice, lentils, lightly curried vegetables and pickles; though it can also, sometimes, be disappointingly bland. In the Kathmandu Valley, the indigenous Newars have their own unique cuisine of spicy meat and vegetable dishes, while a vast range of Indian curries, breads, snacks and sweets comes into play in the Terai; in the highmountains, the traditional diet consists of noodle soups, potatoes and toasted flour. “Chow-chow” packet noodles, cooked up as a spicy soup snack, are ubiquitous. Vegetarians will feel at home in Nepal, since meat is considered a luxury. Tourist menus invariably include veggie items.

Local Nepali diners (bhojanalayas or, confusingly enough, “hotels”) are traditionally humble affairs, offering a limited choice of dishes or just daal bhaat. Menus don’t exist, but the food will normally be on display or cooking in full view, so all you have to do is point. On the highways they’re bustlingly public and spill outdoors in an effort to win business.

Teahouses (chiyapasal) really only sell tea and basic snacks, while the simple taverns (bhatti) of the Kathmandu Valley and the western hills put the emphasis on alcoholic drinks and meaty snacks, but may serve Nepali meals too. Trailside, both chiyapasal and bhatti are typically modest operations run out of family kitchens. Sweet shops (mithaipasal or misthan bhandar) are intended to fill the gap between the traditional mid-morning and early evening meals; besides sweets and tea, they also do South Indian and Nepali savoury snacks. Street vendors sell fruit, nuts, roasted corn, and various fried specialities. As often as not, food will come to you when you’re travelling – at every bus stop, vendors will clamber aboard or hawk their wares through the window.

Momo, arguably the most famous and popular of Tibetan dishes, are available throughout upland Nepal. Similar to dim sum, the half-moon-shapes are filled with meat, vegetables and ginger, steamed, and served with hot tomato salsa and a bowl of broth. Fried momo are called kothe. Shyaphagle, made from the same ingredients, are Tibetan-style pasties. Tibetan cuisine is also full of hearty soups called thukpaor thenthuk, consisting of noodles, meat and vegetables in broth. For a group feast, try the huge gyakok (chicken, pork, prawns, fish, tofu, eggs and vegetables), which gets its name from the brass container it’s served in. In trekking lodges you’ll encounter pitta-like Tibetan or “Gurung” bread.

The average peasant seldom eats any of the above. Potatoes are common in the high country, and Sherpa potatoes – usually eaten boiled in their skins with a dab of salt and chilli paste – are justly famous for their nutty sweetness. Tsampa (toasted barley flour) is another staple, and often, especially for trekkers, mixed with milk or tea to make a porridge paste.

Road Food

Common food on the road includes pakora (vegetables dipped in chickpea-flour batter, deep fried), and bean curry served with puris or roti. Another possibility is dahi chiura, a mixture of yoghurt and beaten rice. If you’re in a hurry, you can grab a handful of samosas (curried vegetables in fried pastry triangles), baara (fried lentil patties), or other titbits on a leaf plate. In the hill towns and around Kathmandu, huge aluminium steamers placed by the restaurant door advertise momo. If nothing else, there will always be packet noodles (“chow-chow”).

Source: (Nepal Tourism Board)


Nepal has every category of accommodation facilities that range from international standard star hotels to budget hotels and lodges. To ensure quality service, it is advisable to use the facilities and services of Government registered hotels, lodges and homestays. Most hotels offer a choice: bed and breakfast; bed, breakfast and one other meal; or room and full board. During spring and fall, hotels work at near full capacity and are booked well in advance. Therefore, it would be a good idea to check well in advance and book hotels as per need if traveling to Nepal in the peak season.

Moderate accommodation facilities are also available in some parts of Kathmandu like Thamel. In such cases, room rates may not include toilets and showers, unless otherwise indicated. Toilets and showers in such cases are generally communal and heating may require additional charges. Such small hostelries are preferred by budget tourists and FITs.

Accommodation facilities are available in the mountain tourist areas. While trekking to some areas tenting may be the only alternative if resident villages are scanty and long way off trekking routes. However, most trekking routes have lodges or tea houses to accommodate tourists. Still to be on the safer side, we recommend that tourists look up on such information before embarking on their journey. For accommodation in rural areas, please contact the local homestay authorities.

Customs

All baggage must be identified and have to pass through customs inspection at the port of entry. Personal effects are allowed in duty free. Goods that are free of duty include: cigarettes (200 sticks) or cigars (50 sticks), distilled liquor (one 1.15 liter bottle), and film (15 rolls). You can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out with you when you leave: binoculars, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.
 
Foreign tourists are permitted by Nepalese Customs to take with them goods purchased in Nepal (except banned items) without any value limit, provided the goods are purchased out of funds brought from abroad. Some shops and emporia also undertake to send the goods abroad as unaccompanied baggage at the request of the tourists.

Import

Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty: cigarettes (200 sticks) or cigars (50 sticks), distilled liquor (one 1.15 liter bottle), and film (15 rolls). You can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out with you when you leave: binoculars, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.

Export

The export of antiques requires special certification from the Department of Archeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu. It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old, such as sacred images, paintings, manuscripts that are valued for culture and religious reasons. Visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal’s cultural heritage and belong here.

Heritage Sites/ Museums / Zoo

Entrance fees must be paid before touring heritage sites around Kathmandu Valley like Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bauddhanath, Swayambhunath and Changu Narayan Temple.Entrance fees must be paid before touring Lumbini Gardens, the sanctuary of the Mayadevi Temple, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, in Lumbini, Rupandehi.Entrance fees must be paid before touring the Central Zoo in Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, and museums in Kathmandu Valley. Entrance fees must also be paid before touring local museums in different parts of Nepal.

Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS)

Trekkers must acquire Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) Card before the onset of their trek. TIMS Card has been mandatory to control illegal trekking operations and ensure the safety and security of the trekkers in the general trekking areas. TIMS Card helps to store the database of trekkers recording their would-be whereabouts for safety of tourists. Fees, passport copy, and passport size photograph are required to obtain TIMS Card from Tourist Service Center, Bhrikutimandap, and Trekking Agencies’ Association Nepal (TAAN) Office in Maligaon and Government registered trekking companies in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Each visitor who goes trekking through a trekking company must pay US $ 10 and each free individual trekker (FIT) must pay US $ 20 per trekking route per person per entry in equivalent Nepali Rupees only. Part of the collection will go into maintaining the trekkers’ database and in the rescue of trekkers in need of emergency services.

Trekking Permit

Special trekking permit must be acquired from the Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu, for trekking to areas that fall under the Restricted Zone.

Mountaineering

Mountaineering royalties must be paid at the Tourism Industry Division, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu or at the Nepal Mountaineering Association at Naxal, Kathmandu, before starting on a mountaineering expedition.

National Parks/ Wildlife Reserves/ Conservations

Entry fees must be paid to enter the 20 Protected Areas in Nepal that have been divided into National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, Conservation Areas and Hunting Reserve. One must also obtain hunting license to hunt in the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve. Please note that Dhorpatan is the only protected area where hunting is licensed.

Some tips on the common etiquettes 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 a “No”. A slight dangling of head from left to right means “OK”.

Please be a responsible tourist. Like someone said, we request you to, “Leave only footprints, and take only photographs.”

  • Use designated routes, campsites and resting places to reduce trampling and other negative environmental impacts.
  • Respect local culture and traditions, use homestays, locally owned hotels/ lodges or campsites as much as possible to support the local livelihood.
  • Avoid/ minimize using firewood. Use common space for heating. Opt for alternatives to minimize deforestation.
  • Maintain cleanliness and hygiene. Use the litter box locally available. Carry back your own garbage while traveling through ecologically sensitive areas.
  • Encourage to place mobile toilets at a considerable distance from sources of water, river banks and springs while camping along the river sides.
  • Use the services of local guides and porters as much as possible to explore more about local environment and culture.
  • Money spent here will contribute directly to the local livelihood, women’s empowerment and environmental conservation.
  • Before you begin your journey we request you to abide by the above guidelines in order to safeguard the nature and culture of the area and be a responsible tourist.