About Nepal

Nature At Its Best

Nepal - An Introduction

Nestled in the cradle of the highest mountain on earth, it is not surprising that NEPAL has come to be known as the country where deities mingle with mortals. NEPAL is an explorer‘s paradise. Imagine people born deep in the Himalaya, displaying the wisdom and patience of these mountains in every smile. From tropical jungles and the birthplace of Lord Buddha to the ancient old palaces and the marvelous trekking trails below the world famous Himalayan Mountains: every inch of this country has a miracle to offer and an adventure to propose.

NEPAL is the religious, pilgrimage and the cultural wonderland. Here are Gaur Shankar, home of Shiva and his consort, Parvati; the Gnash Himal, named after the elephant-headed God Ganesh; and Mt. Annapurna, named after the God of food fulfillment. The devotion of ages past remains among NEPAL is today whether Hindu, Buddhist or Animist, the people of NEPAL live close to their gods. NEPAL is a blissful confluence and harmony of both Buddhism and Hinduism combined with a rainbow of ethnic groups and languages.

Truth, no less colorful than fiction, has made NEPAL one of the world’s most incredible countries, a geographical wonder, and an ethnological conundrum. NEPAL is a mosaic of corners, each waiting to give you an unexpected thrill. NEPAL is a handful of secrets, with the palm held open. The wild rivers are waiting to be run, birds and wildlife to be discovered, and mountains to be climbed. There are foods, smells, and sights that are beyond your imagination. Yet, it is a treasure box waiting to be opened by the travelers in leisure.

Nepal Travelers Information

Geographical Information

Area: 147,181 sq. km
Geography: Situated between China in the North and India in the East, West & South
Capital: Kathmandu
Population: 27 million (2011 Census)
Culture: More than 103 ethnic groups and 93 spoken languages
Climate: Sub-tropical in low lands to arctic in higher altitudes
Language: Nepali (Official), English, Newari, Bhojpuri, Maithili and 93 other spoken languages
Currency: Nepalese Rupee (NPR)
Political System: Multiparty democracy

Interesting Facts

Though Nepal occupies only 0.01% of the earth, it is home to:

  • 2% of all the flowering plants in the world
  • 8% of the world's population of birds (more than 848 species)
  • 4% of mammals on earth
  • 11 of the world's 15 families of butterflies (more than 500 species)
  • 600 indigenous plant families
  • 319 species of exotic orchids
Travel Regulations

Travel Documents

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. 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 are 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 currencies: 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.

For Indian National

Indian nationals do not require visa to enter Nepal. As per the Nepalese Immigration, Indian Nationals traveling to Nepal must possess any one of the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Driving License with photo
  • Photo Identity card issued by a Government Agency
  • Ration Card with Photo
  • Election Commission Card with Photo
  • Identity Card issued by Embassy of India in Kathmandu
  • 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.

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.

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

For further information, please contact:
Department of Immigration
Kalikasthan, Kathmandu
Tel: 00977-1- 4429660/4438862/4438868/4433934
E-mail: mail@immi.gov.np
Web site: www.immi.gov.np

Travelling to Nepal

Entering by Air

International Connection
Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flights to/from Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Bangkok, Doha and Hong Kong. Other International airlines operating from and to Kathmandu are Air Arabia (Sharjah), Air Asia (Kuala Lumpur), Air China (Lhasa, Chengdu), Arke Fly (Amsterdam), Bahrain Air (Bahrain), 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), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Indian Airlines (Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi), Indigo Airlines (Delhi), Jet Airways (Delhi, Mumbai), Korean Air (Seoul), Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi, Islamabad), Qatar Airways (Doha), RAK Air (Ras al- Khaimah), Silk Air (Singapore), Spicejet (Delhi) and Thai Airways (Bangkok).

Domestic Connection
Nepal Airlines has an extensive network of air services to major parts of the country. Besides Nepal Airlines, other domestic airlines (there are more than 18 in operation) provide regular and charter services to popular domestic destinations. Many domestic airlines operate early morning, one-hour Mountain flights round the year.

Airport Tax
Airport tax is already included in the international air ticket; therefore, passengers departing for international destinations from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu do not need to pay airport tax at the airport during departure. However, for domestic travel within Nepal one has to pay airport tax at the domestic airport before departure.

Entering by Land

All visitors entering Nepal by land must use these designated entry points and may not enter from any other point:

  • Kakkarvitta
  • Birgunj
  • Belhiya, Bhairahawa
  • Nepalgunj
  • Dhangadi
  • Mahendranagar in the Nepal-India border and
  • Kodari in the Nepal-China border

S.No.

Route

Approx. Distance (border towns to major cities)

Nearest Railways Station in India

1

Siliguri- Kakkarvitta- Kathmandu

620 km

New Jalpaiguri (NJP)

2

Jogbani-Biratnagar-Kathmandu

550 km

Jogbani

3

Raxaul-Birgunj-Kathmandu

280 km

Raxaul (RXL)

4

Sunauli-Bhairahawa-Kathmandu

280 km

Gorakhpur (GKP)

5

Rupaidiya-Jamuna (Nepalgunj)- Kathmandu

520 km

Rupaidiya/Nanpara

6

Gauriphanta-Mohana (Dhangadi)-Kathmandu

630 km

Gauriphanta/Paliya

7

Banbasa-Gaddachauki (Mahendranagar)- Kathmandu

715 km

Banbasa/Tanakpur

8

Sunauli-Bhairahawa-Palpa-Pokhara

185 km

Gorakhpur (GKP)

9

Sunauli-Bhairahawa-Chitwan

145 km

Gorakhpur (GKP)

10

Sunauli-Bhairahawa-Lumbini

26 km

Gorakhpur (GKP)

Note: Overland tourists entering Nepal with their vehicles must possess an international carnet or complete customs formalities.

Traveling within Nepal

Public Transportation

There are many buses, minibuses and microbuses available at Ratnapark (Old Bus Park), which depart to different destinations in the valley.  Three wheelers run by battery are also available for Kathmandu commuters.

Metered Taxi
Consult Kathmandu valley map to find out the direction of your destination. Hail a taxi, which is easily recognized by its taxi sign on top and black license plate. As a rough guide, a taxi will charge Rs. 30 per kilometer. No tip is expected. Private taxis may charge slightly higher.Night taxi service can also be arranged and operated by major hotels. Fare is slightly higher than metered taxi. One can rent a private car through a travel agent or a car rental company.

Hired Mountain Bike/Ordinary Bicycle
Mountain bikes and ordinary bicycles are cheap and the best form of transportation for economy tourists. One can hire them at Thamel, Rani Pokhari and Jhochhen, all in Kathmandu.

Long Distance Bus Service
Long distance day or night bus services are available from Kathmandu to all cities of Nepal. Buses depart to different destinations New Bus Park at Gongabu at Ring Road near Balaju, Kathmandu. Six-seater Sumo Tata van, 12-seater van and air-conditioned mini buses are also available for long distance travel. Special tourist coaches with green license plate are also take you to different destinations and they depart from Kantipath, Kathmandu.

Domestic Air Service
Nepal Airlines has an extensive network of air services to major parts of the country. Besides Nepal Airlines, other domestic airlines (there are more than 18 in operation) provide regular and chartered services to popular domestic destinations.

Practicalities

1. Accommodation

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. Budget tourists and FITs prefer such small hostelries.

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 teahouses 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 us. For more information about accommodation, please log on to http://www.hotelassociationnepal.org/ (official Web site of Hotel Association of Nepal).

2. Custom Formalities

Customs
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry point. Personal effects are permitted free entry. Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you are carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red Channel for detailed customs clearance.

a) 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.

b) 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.

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).

3. Money and Costs

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 leftover 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, and 5. Coins are found in denominations of Rupees 2 and 1. One rupee equals 100 Paisa.

4. Business Hours

Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.

a) Business hours within the Valley
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 5 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.

b) Business hours outside the Valley
Government offices are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from 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.  Banks are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays, banks remain open until 12 p.m. only. Business offices are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Recently many private banks have re-organized to have different branches open at various different times making banking hours longer. If one branch is closed another will be open.

5. Holidays

Nepal observes numerous holidays most of which have cultural or religious significance. Visitors wishing to partake in the holidays or observe local festivals may want check the official calendar provided in Nepal Tourism Board’s website. The longest holiday in Nepal is during the Dashain festival in late September or October. Government offices and banks observe most of the national holidays. Private business offices observe major holidays only.

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