Complete Nepal Travel Guide
Nepal, A little Himalayan country is recognized for its amazing mountain, snowy peaks, and some of the greatest hiking paths in the Himalayas. It is home to the world's highest peak, Mt. Everest. Nepal is one of the world's best and most intriguing tourist destinations, including mountains, rainforests, small mountain villages, old towns, and a rich and interesting culture. Nepal only opened its borders to foreigners in the late 1950s. Of its magical charm and various scenery, Nepal has fascinated visitors.
Nepal Travel Guides and Information
|Where Is Nepal?
|Why Should You Visit Nepal?
|How To Get Visa Nepal?
|How To Reach Nepal ?
|Getting Around Nepal
|Best Time To Visit Nepal
|Best Places to Visit
|Adventure In Nepal
|Trekking In Nepal
Where is Nepal located?
Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia that shares borders with China in the north and India in the east, west, and south. It is home to the world's largest mountain range, the Himalayas. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is located in the north, while tropical plains may be found in the south. Since Nepal shares borders with India in the east, west, and south, Nepal has similarities to Indian culture and traditions.
Why should you visit Nepal?
Nepal is the land of snow mountains, extremely religious peoples with diverse cultures and traditions, historic and most religious places, beautifully carved temples, monuments, old Durbar, and sherpas.
Nepal is home to eight of the world's highest peaks, so there is no absence of hiking opportunities. There are treks for both beginners and expert trekkers. For beginner trekkers, there are 1-day treks and for experienced trekkers, around 2 months long and difficult treks, Mount Everest is located in Nepal.
Adventure in Nepal:
Aside from trekking, Paragliding, white water rafting, and bungee jumping are some of the adventure activities that you can do in Nepal.
Nepal has rich wildlife:
Visit the Chitwan National Park having rich wildlife.
Nepal is culturally diverse and exciting:
From Hinduism and Buddhism, Nepali culture has integrated all in itself very well.
Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha:
Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha and is one of the must-visit places in Nepal. This fact also makes Nepal culturally unique yet diverse.
Combination of Buddhism and Hinduism:
While exploring religious places, it is common to see Buddhist and Hindu devotees together. In some places, it is hard to distinguish which temple is Hindu and which one is a Buddhist temple.
Nepali national language of Nepal. Hindi is also spoken widely, and so is English. Since Nepal receives a lot of foreign tourists, most of the trek operators and sherpas understand and speak English.
How to communicate with the locals?
In Kathmandu, most young people speak average English but outside of Kathmandu not that much.
80% of Nepalese belong to Hinduism. This is the reason that every yard of the road is filled with small temples and the Most visited places in Nepal are Temples. From Pashupati Temple, Changunarayan temple, Krishna Temple in Patan Durbar Square, and Taleju Temple in Kathmandu Durbar Square, we can get ideas on how Hinduism is evolved in Nepal.
How to get a Visa for Nepal?
Tourist Visa for Nepal can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan Airport at Kathmandu as well as all land border crossings. A few countries are not given visas on arrival. You are advised to check the list before visiting.
You can also apply for an online visa up to 15 days before your arrival and travel within 6 months of the visa being approved.
The visa fees are as follows:
- 15 Days (multiple entries): USD 30
- 30 Days (multiple entries): USD 50
- 90 Days (multiple entries): USD 125
Tourist visa extension is done for a minimum of 15 days with USD 45 and USD 3 per day for additional days. The visa can be extended a maximum of up to 150 days in a calendar year, but you will have to visit the immigration office before the expiry of your current visa.
For obtaining a visa on arrival, you will need a passport-size photo and 6 months of validity on your passport.
If you are crossing the land border, only cash payment is accepted.
Nepal Tourist Visa for Indians
Indians do not need a visa to enter Nepal. Adhaar Card is enough to get entrance into Nepal. If you are crossing the land border, all you need to do is display your Adhaar card to obtain access to Nepal.
How to Reach Nepal?
Nepal has only one international airport in Kathmandu. So if you are flying in, you will arrive at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport. The flight fares depend on the season. Expect high costs, especially during the Christmas time and autumn, which is the peak season in Nepal. Also, the rate of flight costs depends on where you are coming from.
Do expect long queues at the immigration lines if you are getting Visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
Prepaid taxis are available at the airport terminal to take you to your hotel. Sometimes, a few hotels also provide free pick-up and drop from the airport.
#Gautam Buddha International Airport is the second international airport in Nepal but currently not in full operations.
Getting into Nepal from India Border
There are several border crossings between India and Nepal and an overland route can be easily planned. The most common border crossing between India and Nepal includes the following:
- Raxaul (India side) – Birgunj (Nepal side): The nearest main town is Patna (6 hours). From Birgunj, buses and Tata SUMO are available to Kathmandu.
- Panitanki (India side) – Kakarbhitta (Nepal side): The nearest main town is Siliguri. Those who are coming from Darjeeling can take this border crossing route. From Kakarbhitta, you will get buses to Kathmandu (458 km) and Pokhara (600 km)
- Sunauli (India side)- Belahiya (Nepal side): The nearest main town is Varanasi. Belahiya is nearest to Lumbini (30 km). So if you are entering by this route, consider stopping at Lumbini first and then carry on your journey to Nepal. Like all the other border towns, buses to Kathmandu and Pokhara are available here.
- Jogbani (India side) – Biratnagar (Nepal side): The nearest main town is Katihar (3 hours). From Biratnagar, you will get a bus to Kathmandu. The distance is 240 km. Biratnagar also has an airport and you will get flights to Kathmandu and Pokhara from Biratnagar airport.
Nepal Travel Guide
Getting around in Nepal - Nepal Travel Guide
Getting about in Nepal is a bit difficult. The distances between cities are not vast, but the roads are bad, travel is sluggish, and the buses are in terrible shape. Some of the roads are rather good, while others do not deserve to be called roads. Getting around in major cities is easy as there are uber like service providers Pathao, Tootle, etc. There are tourist buses, local buses, minibusses, and jeeps for rural areas for getting from one town to another. There are flights between Kathmandu, Pokhara, Jomson, and Lukla.
Tourist buses in Nepal -Nepal Travel Guide
Tourist buses are the most prevalent mode of transportation in Nepal. There are both AC buses with reclining seats and non-AC buses. These buses link border towns such as Kakkarbhitta, Sunauli, Birgunj, and Biratnagar to Kathmandu and Pokhara. They also connect all of the major cities, including Kathmandu, Pokhara, Sauraha (Chitwan National Park), Lumbini, Jomson, and others. These buses are often in better condition than local buses. In peak season, it is best to purchase tickets for these buses a day in advance, since they tend to fill up quickly. Tickets can be purchased at bus stations or bus parks.
Tip: Have a look at the bus before booking your tickets.
Express Bus/ Deluxe Bus - Nepal Travel Guide
Few faster and more luxurious buses travel between Nepal's major cities. These luxurious buses contain air conditioning and reclining seats with cushions, making them quite comfortable. These buses often go between Kathmandu and Pokhara, as well as between Kathmandu and Chitwan National Park or Lumbini. These buses normally travel twice a day, during the day and at night. Day buses often depart in the morning and arrive in the afternoon, whilst night buses depart in the evening and arrive the following morning.
It is always better to choose Deluxe Bus for a comfortable journey.
Minibusses and Local buses
Minibusses go on all tourist routes as well as other routes. Expect an unhygienic(in terms of their behavior) bus conductor and less comfortable travel. Whereas local buses are much cheaper but very uncomfortable.
Jeep or 4WD
You might not need to ride a jeep or 4WD unless you are off to remote places. Jeeps are the only mode of transport in remote places where the roads are mere mud tracks.
Just like any other place, you will get taxis to take you from one city to another. Do bargain with the driver before deciding on the price. If you feel uncomfortable with a bargain, use the Pathao app and book from there.
Air travel is essential if you avoid the road. But the air safety record is worse than the road safety record. A trip over the Himalayas may be a beautiful delight and exciting, but it can also be rather frightening. You may need to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla (for the Everest Base Camp hike) or Pokhara to Jomson (For Annapurna Circuit Trek).
Be prepared for bad weather and delays when you are flying in Nepal. Cancellations are also quite common. Also, book your tickets well in advance during the peak trekking seasons.
Driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Tourists from the West might face a problem with traffic, and road conditions while driving.
What is the best time to visit Nepal? Nepal Travel Guide
The best time to visit Nepal depends on where you wish to go and what you wish to do. Nepal has a temperate climate with four main seasons summer and monsoon. Before your Nepal trip plan, decide when you want to visit the country.
Autumn (late September to late November)
Autumn is the best time to visit Nepal since the weather is clean and dry allowing you to see the high peaks.
Winter (December and January)
Only If you can stand the cold, this is the best time to visit the mountains. This is an excellent time to visit Nepal's cities.
Read More On the Best Time to Visit Nepal
Best Places to visit in Nepal
The Kathmandu Valley is Nepal's cultural and political capital and comprises three districts: Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur. Kathmandu is a truly inspiring mix of medieval alleys, Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas, and vibrant city life located in central Nepal. Kathmandu Valley is also called the city of the Temples. Kathmandu Valley includes hundreds of temples, and monuments, including major Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Kathmandu Valley. They are all worth visiting and spending time exploring. You should try to see as many of them as you can throughout your visit.
The other places of attraction in Kathmandu Valley are Pashupatinath Temple, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changu Narayan Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, and Swayambhunath Stupa.
If you do not at all prefer the chaos of Kathmandu, you can visit the rural landscape of Kathmandu valley. A visit to Nagarkot, Champadevi, and Dalchoki, will take you close to the mountains and give you a sense of serenity.
Patan Durbar Square is a must-visit historical place in Kathmandu Valley. Patan Durbar Square features the palace and numerous temples including Krishna temple, Bhimsen Temple, Vishwanath Temple, and Hari Shankar temple. Patan Durbar Square is located in the southern part of the Kathmandu valley and was previously the royal palace of the Patan kings.
Swayambhunath or Swayambhu is also called the "monkey temple". On the west side of Kathmandu, Swayambhunath is the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site among Buddhists.
Pashupatinath Temple is an extensive Hindu temple complex with cremation ghats.
Boudhanath Stupa is the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal with many monasteries in the area.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the Kathmandu valley's most visited sites and is located in Bhaktapur District.
Changu Narayan Temple in the small village of Changunarayan has a traditional Newari settlement and a Hindu temple with inscriptions from the 5th century.
Thamel is a main tourism business area in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital. Thamel has been the heart of the Kathmandu Valley's tourism economy since the hippy era. It is regarded as a tourism hub inside the Kathmandu valley.
Pokhara is perhaps the next most visited place in Nepal. Located around the Fewa Lake with the Macchapucchre Peak (Fishtail Peak) at the backdrop, Pokhara is a paradise for laidback travelers, backpackers, trekkers, and adventure enthusiasts. Pokhara is well recognized as the starting point for the Annapurna Circuit, a famous Himalayan trek, Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, and Mustang valley. You can also indulge in various adventure activities like paragliding, Boating.
The ancient Newari village of Bandipur is often overlooked by tourists due to its slightly offbeat route, but the place is worth visiting. Bandipur is the living open-air museum of the ancient Newari culture of Nepal. The village has beautifully preserved traditional Newari houses having intricate woodwork.
Lumbini is the place where Gautam Buddha was born. A UNESCO World Heritage Site of immense global significance, Lumbini is visited by thousands of Buddhists every year. The Maya Devi Temple is the most significant place in Lumbini. The place also has several monasteries, stupas, and temples constructed by the Buddhist community.
- Chitwan National Park
Located in the lowlands of Nepal bordering India, Chitwan National Park is one of Nepal's most beautiful national parks. You can see the one-horned rhino, sloth bear, crocodile, gharial, and monkeys.
Adventure in Nepal
Nepal is heaven for adventure enthusiasts. Being home to the world’s highest mountain peaks, trekking is no doubt one of the main reasons that people visit Nepal. Apart from trekking, Nepal also offers numerous activities for adventure junkies. Nepal is undoubtedly a Disneyland for adventure enthusiasts. Here is a list of the best adventure in Nepal:
- Bungee Jumping and canyon Swing
- White water Rafting
- Mountain flight over Everest
- Jungle safari
Trekking in Nepal
Trekking in Nepal is perhaps the greatest thing to do. We believe that all mountaineers and trekking enthusiasts visit Nepal at least once in their lifetime. There is something about trekking in Nepal that gives you a sense of accomplishment. It might be the majestic Himalayas that makes trekking so memorable and enriching experience.
The best thing about trekking in Nepal is that it has trails for everyone. Of course, Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the ultimate experiences, but in Nepal, there are smaller trails like Poon Hill Trek for all those who do not have much time.
The Annapurna Circuit Trek takes about 16 days and goes through the picturesque Nepali mountain hamlets and gives you a glimpse of the local life in Nepal. However, we feel that Mustang Valley bordering Tibet is one of the ultimate experiences in trekking. The Upper Mustang valley is not frequented by many trekkers because of the high permit fees (USD 500 for 10 days) but it is worth all of it.
Some Quick Information
The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). You can convert all the major currencies at Kathmandu and Pokhara. You will find many currency exchange shops there.
- ATMs in Nepal
Debit and credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants. ATMs are widely available in all the major cities of Nepal. Most ATMs have a maximum withdrawal limit of NPR 10,000.
Occasional power cuts are normal in Nepal. While most of the bigger hotels will have generator facilities for power backup, it is always better to keep your mobiles and cameras charged. Do keep a power bank with you.
- Electricity Socket:
The power outlets are compatible with European plugs . Do carry a universal travel adapter with you so that you can use your electronic gadgets.
What to eat in Nepal?
Nepalese cuisine is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine. Indian visitors will most likely feel at ease in Nepal. Nepalese cuisine is excellent, with Indian and Tibetan influences. Some must-try meals in Nepal include:
- Dal Bhat
Dah Bhat is the national dish of Nepal. Dal Bhat is a complete meal that includes rice, curry, vegetables, and dal. You can also bring some non-veg products if you desire. Dal Bhat is tummy full, and one dish is enough to get you through the day.
Steamed or fried, momos are the best snacks that you can get in Nepal.
Where to stay in Nepal?
Tourism has been on the rise in Nepal, so there are several hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and homestays in Nepal. There are tree houses in the trekking areas for accommodation.
You will find stays catering to almost all kinds of budgets in all of Nepal's major cities and towns. During the peak season, you can pre-book your accommodation. But in cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, you will probably get a place to stay all the time.
Major Festivals in Nepal
Hindus are known for their many festivals. Nepal, being a Hindu nation has several festivals celebrated all around the year. Also, Buddhist festivals are celebrated with lots of vigor and enthusiasm. Nepal is a place where the Hindu and Buddhist cultures have been inexorably mixed. Both communities have borrowed practices, and traditions from each other and coexist seamlessly.
How much does it cost to travel to Nepal?
Nepal can be as cheap and expensive as you want it to be. But yes, Nepal is an extremely affordable country to visit. Nepal caters to all types of tourists – from budget to luxury.
Being a tourist in Nepal can be cheap, but the cost of trekking and mountaineering in Nepal can be quite high depending on the type of trek you choose and what comfort level you want. Trekking permits come at a high cost in Nepal.
The typical cost of traveling in Nepal is given:
Accommodation Cost ideas
Hostel with shared bathroom: NPR 500-800
Budget hotels & homestays: NPR 1200–2000
Mid-range hotels: NPR 2000–4000
Luxury hotels: NPR 5000 onwards (available only in main cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara)
Tea houses/ trekking lodges: NPR 500 – 2500
Cost of food
A local meal in guesthouses and small eateries: NPR 150 – 250
Snacks: NPR 50 – 200
Three-course meal in fancy restaurants: NPR 600+
Water bottle (1 liter): NPR 20-25
Remember, the cost of food and things will increase as you reach the altitude. Be prepared to pay almost 10 times the price at higher altitudes than you would pay at Kathmandu or Pokhara.
Cost of transport in Nepal
Local buses within the city: NPR 25-50
Taxi: NPR 150 onwards depending on the distance
Tourist buses: NPR 800 – 2200
Everest Experience Flight cost: USD 180-195
Cost of Hiking in Nepal:
Porter /guide: NPR 800 – 1500 per day
Organized Trek: NPR 4000 – 6000 per day
TIMS Card: NPR 1000 for Group trekker and NPR 2000 for free individual trekker per trekking route per person per entry.
For SAARC countries TIMS Card fees are as follows – Group trekker: NPR 300; FITs: NPR 600, per trekking route per person per entry.
Internet and Mobile DATA
Upon arrival, you can easily get a Nepal Telecom prepaid sim card at Tribhuvan International Airport. The Simcard signal may be bad in remote areas but the good news is you can connect to 4G data even on Mount Everest. You can also get an NCELL Sim card since NCELL provides more options for buying internet DATA packages.
Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi is great throughout the city areas like Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Faqs About Nepal
Is Nepal safe for travel?
Nepal is quite safe to travel to. Following a period of political upheaval and Maoist insurgency, Nepal is presently relatively stable and moving toward peace. Demonstrations and strikes can occur at any time and in any place. However, tourism is typically unaffected. The people are also quite kind and will assist you. There are no concerns concerning personal safety.
Problems might occur during trekking in the Himalayas, but that is also related to unforeseen natural disasters. So while trekking, be in groups, adhere to all the safety precautions, and listen to whatever your guide instructs. They know the place well and will give you better advice.
Is Nepal Safe For Muslims?
For Muslims from around the world, Nepal is one of the safest countries to visit. It is also regarded as one of the safest countries to visit, even if you are a solo or female traveler.
Conclusion: Nepal is quite safe for all travelers regardless of religion and gender.
What is the best time to go to Nepal?
The best time to visit Nepal is between October and December when the skies are clear blue and the views spectacular. The weather remains dry until about April, with temperatures varying between regions. January and February can be very cold, especially at night.
How many days in Nepal is enough?
With more specific experiences and activities, it can be extended to 12 or 14 days according to your need. If you want to trek in the Nepalese Himalayas, you need to take at least 10 days. The popular Annapurna base camp trek and some Everest base camp treks in Nepal can even take 16 to 19 days.
Is Nepal worth visiting?
If you're interested in adventure tourism, unique cuisine, and love exploring rich cultures, Nepal is worth visiting time and again.