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Going to Nepal? 15 things to know before your trip

December 21, 2023

Going to Nepal? 15 things to know before your trip

Visa Requirements

To visit Nepal, travelers generally need a visa. Here’s a brief overview of the visa requirements:

Tourist Visa:

Tourist visas are available upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and at various land entry points.

The visa can also be obtained from Nepalese embassies and consulates abroad before arriving.
Tourist visas are usually issued for 15, 30, or 90 days, and extensions can be obtained in Nepal if needed.

Documents Required:

A valid passport with at least six months’ validity from the date of entry.
Completed visa application form (available at entry points or online).
Passport-sized photos.

Visa Fees:

Fees vary based on the duration of stay. Payment is accepted in various currencies, and credit cards are also usually accepted.

To visit Nepal, travelers generally need a visa. Here’s a brief overview of the visa requirements:

Documents Required:

A valid passport with at least six months’ validity from the date of entry.
Completed visa application form (available at entry points or online).
Passport-sized photos.

Visa Fees:

Fees vary based on the duration of stay. Payment is accepted in various currencies, and credit cards are also usually accepted.

⇒ 15 Days:

USD 30 or equivalent convertible foreign currency

⇒ 30 Days:

USD 50 or equivalent convertible foreign currency

⇒ 90 Days:

Extension of Visa:

Tourists can extend their visa within Nepal by visiting the Immigration Department in Kathmandu or other immigration offices.

Online Application (Optional):

Travelers can also apply for a tourist visa online before arrival, making the process quicker and more convenient. Click this link for online Visa

Visa for Indian Nationals:

Indian nationals do not need a visa to enter Nepal. A valid photo ID, such as a passport or election commission card, is sufficient.

It’s essential to check for any updates or changes to the visa requirements before planning your trip, as regulations may evolve. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, contacting the nearest Nepalese embassy or checking the official website of the Department of Immigration, Nepal is recommended.

Weather and Best Time to Visit

Upper Mustang Trek

Nepal experiences diverse climatic conditions, making the choice of the best time to visit dependent on the traveler’s preferences and planned activities. The country primarily has four distinct seasons: spring, summer (monsoon), autumn, and winter. Spring, from March to May, is renowned for its mild temperatures, blooming rhododendrons, and clear skies, making it an ideal time for trekking and mountaineering. The months of autumn, from September to November, offer another favorable weather window, characterized by stable weather conditions, clear visibility, and pleasant temperatures, making it the peak trekking season.

Conversely, the monsoon season, spanning from June to August, brings heavy rainfall and increased humidity, making trekking and outdoor activities challenging. However, this season rejuvenates the lush landscapes, offering a unique perspective for nature enthusiasts. Winter, from December to February, is marked by colder temperatures, especially at higher altitudes, but it presents a quieter and serene atmosphere, with the possibility of clear skies and stunning mountain views. Travelers should carefully consider their preferences and the activities they plan to engage in when deciding on the best time to visit Nepal.

Health Precautions and Vaccinations

Before traveling to Nepal, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and well-being by taking the necessary precautions and vaccinations. Ensure that routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and influenza, are up-to-date.

Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended due to the risk of these viruses, which can be contracted through contaminated food, water, or bodily fluids. Additionally, considering the prevalence of typhoid in Nepal, getting vaccinated against typhoid is advisable, especially if you plan to indulge in local cuisine.

In some regions and during specific times, there may be a risk of Japanese encephalitis, a mosquito-borne virus. Consult a healthcare professional to assess the need for vaccination based on your travel itinerary and the prevalent conditions.

Rabies is present in Nepal, and vaccination may be recommended, particularly if you anticipate exposure to animals. Meningitis vaccination may also be advised, depending on the time of year and your specific travel plans.

If you plan to trek in the Himalayas, including popular destinations like Everest Base Camp, Annapurna circuit trek, ABC trek, 3 passes trek, be aware of altitude sickness. Acclimatization is crucial, and you may want to discuss medications like acetazolamide with a healthcare professional.

To prevent waterborne diseases, it’s important to avoid tap water and consume only bottled or treated water. Exercise caution with raw or undercooked food, and practice good hand hygiene to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

While the risk of malaria is generally low in the Kathmandu Valley and major trekking areas, it may be present in certain regions. Consult a healthcare professional to determine if antimalarial medication is necessary for your specific travel plans.

Consider obtaining comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses and emergency evacuation, especially if you plan to engage in adventure activities or trekking. This added layer of protection can provide peace of mind during your travels.

Remember that health recommendations may change, so it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider or travel medicine specialist to discuss your specific needs and stay informed about any updates or changes in health guidelines from reliable sources.

Currency Exchange

Nepali Currency

Currency exchange in Nepal can be a straightforward process if you keep a few tips in mind. Here are some tips to help you when exchanging currency in Nepal:

Use Authorized Dealers:
Stick to authorized currency exchange dealers or banks. This ensures that you receive a fair exchange rate and reduces the risk of counterfeit currency.

Check Exchange Rates:
Before exchanging money, check the current exchange rates. Rates can vary between different providers, so it’s essential to know the market rate to ensure you get a fair deal.

Avoid Airport Kiosks:
Currency exchange services at airports tend to offer less favorable rates compared to those in the city. If possible, exchange a small amount at the airport for immediate expenses and then exchange the rest in the city.

Exchange Larger Amounts:
Some places may offer better rates for larger amounts. Consider exchanging a significant portion of your currency at once to take advantage of better rates.

Be Mindful of Fees:
Pay attention to any fees associated with currency exchange. Some places may charge a flat fee or a percentage of the amount you are exchanging. Compare these fees across different providers.

Use Local Currency:
While some places in tourist areas may accept major foreign currencies, it’s generally better to use the local currency (Nepalese Rupee) to avoid unfavorable exchange rates.

Using ATMs can be a convenient way to get local currency. Check with your bank beforehand to understand any international withdrawal fees. ATMs are widely available in urban areas.

Keep Small Denominations:
It’s advisable to keep small denominations of local currency for smaller purchases and tips, especially in rural areas where change might be limited.

In some cases, especially when dealing with private money changers, bargaining might be acceptable. However, this is less common in official banks.

Be Cautious with Street Money Changers:
While there may be legitimate street money changers, it’s generally safer to use authorized dealers or banks to avoid the risk of scams or receiving counterfeit currency.

Understand Local Customs:
Be aware of local customs and regulations regarding currency exchange. In some cases, you may need to provide identification, and there may be restrictions on the amount you can exchange.

Plan Ahead:
It’s a good idea to plan your currency exchange in advance to avoid last-minute hassles. This is particularly important if you’re traveling to remote areas where currency exchange facilities may be limited.

Remember that the currency exchange process may vary, and it’s always a good idea to check for the latest information before your trip. Additionally, consider consulting with locals or fellow travelers for the most up-to-date advice on currency exchange in Nepal.

Transportation Options


Take on at Lukla airport

Nepal, a landlocked country in South Asia, offers various transportation options for both domestic and international travel. Here are some of the common transportation options in Nepal:

Domestic Flights:

Airports: Nepal has numerous domestic airports, with Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu being the primary international gateway.

Airlines: Several domestic airlines operate flights to various destinations within Nepal. Popular domestic airlines include Nepal Airlines, Yeti Airlines, Buddha Air, and Simrik Airlines.

Road Transport:

Buses: Buses are a common mode of transportation for both short and long distances. There are various types of buses available, ranging from local buses to deluxe tourist buses.

Microbuses and Vans: Smaller vehicles like microbuses and vans operate on shorter routes and may offer a more comfortable option for certain journeys.
Taxis: Taxis are available in urban areas and can be hired for short distances within cities.

Private Vehicles:

Renting a private vehicle, such as a car or a motorcycle, is an option for those who prefer more flexibility in their travel. However, road conditions can vary, and driving in Nepal may be challenging for newcomers.

Motorcycles and Scooters:

Renting motorcycles or scooters is a popular choice, especially for travelers exploring the scenic routes and remote areas. Make sure you have the necessary permits and are familiar with local traffic regulations.


Cycling is gaining popularity among adventure enthusiasts, and some areas in Nepal offer excellent cycling routes. Mountain biking is particularly popular in the hilly and mountainous regions.

Trekking and Hiking:

In many remote areas where roads are not accessible, trekking and hiking become the primary means of transportation. These journeys often involve walking along well-established trekking trails.

Cable Cars and Gondolas:

In mountainous regions, especially around popular trekking areas, cable cars and gondolas provide transportation services. For example, the Manakamana Cable Car and the Chandragiri Cable Car offer convenient access to specific destinations.

River Transport:

In certain regions, rivers are used for transportation. This can include traditional wooden boats, rafts, or more modern options for navigating waterways.

It’s important to note that transportation infrastructure and options may vary in different parts of the country, and conditions can be influenced by factors such as weather and road maintenance. Always check for the latest information and be prepared for the specific challenges of the region you plan to visit.

Packing Essentials

Trekking gears for EBC trek

When packing for a trip to Nepal, it’s important to consider the diverse geography, climate, and cultural aspects of the country. Here’s a list of essential items to pack for your journey:

1. Clothing:

  • Lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing for warmer regions.
  • Layered clothing for varying temperatures in different regions.
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket.
  • Warm layers for higher altitudes.
  • Comfortable walking/hiking shoes.
  • Sandals or comfortable shoes for leisure.

2. Travel Documents:

  • Passport with visa (if required).
  • Flight tickets.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Emergency contact information.

3. Health and Hygiene:

  • Personal medication and prescriptions.
  • First aid kit.
  • High-altitude sickness medication if trekking in the Himalayas.
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses.

4. Backpack and Luggage:

  • Durable backpack for day trips.
  • Suitable luggage with locks for your main belongings.

5. Electrical Accessories:

  • Power adapter and voltage converter.
  • Portable charger for electronics.
  • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards.

6. Money and Finances:

  • Nepalese currency (NPR) and some US dollars.
  • Credit/Visa Card/debit cards.
  • Money belt for added security.

7. Miscellaneous:

  • Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries.
  • Water bottle and water purification tablets.
  • Snacks for energy on the go.
  • Travel guidebook and maps.
  • Quick-dry towel.

8. Cultural Considerations:

  • Modest clothing, especially if visiting religious sites.
  • Learn a few basic phrases in Nepali.
  • Respectful travel behavior and awareness of local customs.

9. Communication:

Mobile phone with local SIM card or an international plan.
Communication apps for staying in touch with family and friends.

10. Trekking Gear (if applicable):

  • Trekking poles.
  • Sleeping bag suitable for the expected temperatures.
  • Trekking shoes and gaiters.
  • Duffel bag for porters to carry your gear on treks.

Cultural Etiquette

Muktinath Temple

In Nepal, cultural etiquette is deeply rooted in respect and tradition. Greetings typically involve placing one’s palms together in a prayer-like gesture, known as “Namaste,” accompanied by a slight bow. Shoes are removed before entering homes and religious sites as a sign of reverence. Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon. When visiting someone’s home, it is customary to bring a small gift or treat.

Additionally, elders are accorded great respect, and it is customary to address them with appropriate titles. Understanding and observing these customs fosters positive interactions and reflects the rich cultural tapestry of Nepal.

Altitude Acclimatization

Annapurna circuit trek- Acclimatization day

Acclimatization plays a crucial role in ensuring a safe and enjoyable trekking experience in the high-altitude regions of Nepal. While cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara rest at lower elevations, acclimatization becomes essential when venturing into challenging terrains such as Annapurna Base Camp, Everest Base Camp, Manaslu Circuit Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, Chola Pass Trek, and the Everest Three Passes Trek. These destinations often exceed altitudes that can lead to altitude sickness if not approached cautiously.

Acclimatization involves gradually ascending to higher altitudes, allowing the body to adapt to decreased oxygen levels. This process minimizes the risk of altitude-related illnesses, ensuring trekkers can fully appreciate the breathtaking landscapes without compromising their health.

For those embarking on these high-altitude treks, acclimatization days are strategically built into the itineraries. These breaks provide trekkers with the opportunity to explore scenic surroundings while allowing their bodies to adjust to the thinning air. It’s a prudent measure that promotes well-being in the challenging mountain environment, emphasizing the importance of a gradual ascent to mitigate altitude-related risks. Ultimately, acclimatization becomes a crucial aspect of the trekking experience in Nepal’s elevated regions, ensuring both safety and the ability to relish the awe-inspiring beauty of the Himalayas.

Trekking Permits

ghorepani trek

ACAP Pemit

Securing trekking permits in Nepal is a straightforward process that can be accomplished through either a trekking agency or independently by visiting designated tourism offices. For independent trekkers, a visit to the Tourism Office in Kathmandu, located at Bhrikuti Mandap, or the Rastra Bank Chowk office in Pokhara is essential. At these offices, individuals are required to fill out the necessary forms and provide passport-sized photographs.

The permit application typically involves providing details about the trekking route, duration, and personal information. Once the forms are completed and submitted along with the required photographs, a modest fee is paid for the permit. The fees vary based on the specific trekking region. The obtained permit serves as official authorization to trek in the designated areas and contributes to the conservation and maintenance of the trekking trails.

While some trekkers opt to engage trekking agencies for the convenience of permit acquisition, the process for obtaining permits independently ensures a direct connection with local tourism offices and an opportunity to familiarize oneself with the administrative aspects of trekking in Nepal. Overall, this straightforward procedure underscores the country’s commitment to responsible tourism and the preservation of its pristine trekking destinations.

Water Safety

Water filter

Ensuring water safety is paramount when traveling in Nepal, particularly in mountainous regions where natural springs often provide a readily available water source. Trekkers are advised to use water purification tablets to treat water from these springs, ensuring that it is safe for consumption. Additionally, purchasing mineral water, filtered water, or boiled water is a common practice in trekking areas to avoid waterborne illnesses.

In urban areas such as cities and towns, mineral water is widely available and easily accessible at a relatively low cost, usually around 20 cents. This provides a convenient and safe alternative for travelers. Despite this, caution should be exercised regarding tap or bathroom water, as it is generally not considered safe for drinking due to potential contamination. Opting for bottled or treated water is the recommended practice to maintain good health and prevent waterborne diseases while exploring the diverse landscapes of Nepal.

Communication and Internet

Nepal, with its diverse geographical landscape, has made significant strides in the realm of communication and internet services. This article aims to provide a professional and comprehensive overview of the current state of communication infrastructure in Nepal, highlighting key aspects such as internet accessibility, mobile network coverage, and popular local SIM cards.

Internet Accessibility:

In recent years, Nepal has witnessed a commendable expansion of internet accessibility, particularly in remote trekking regions such as Everest, Manaslu, Langtang, and Annapurna. Travelers can easily access the internet, albeit at a cost, making it a vital tool for communication and information exchange. The presence of paid internet services in these areas reflects the commitment to providing connectivity even in challenging terrains.

Urban Connectivity:

Urban areas in Nepal boast widespread access to free Wi-Fi, creating a digitally connected environment. From bustling cities to quaint towns, the availability of free Wi-Fi has become a hallmark of urban infrastructure, facilitating seamless connectivity for residents and visitors alike.

Mobile Network Coverage:

While mobile network coverage is generally reliable, challenges persist in the upper reaches of mountainous terrain. The absence of phone signals in some remote areas is a common occurrence, underscoring the geographical hurdles faced by telecommunication providers. Nonetheless, the majority of regions, even in the mountainous areas, enjoy stable mobile network coverage, with Ncell and Namaste emerging as the most popular local SIM cards.

Must-Visit Places

Trekking to Everest base camp 12 days

Everest Base camp in 2023 November

Certainly! Nepal is a diverse and beautiful country with a rich tapestry of landscapes, cultures, and experiences. Here’s a brief description of some of the must-visit places and activities you mentioned:

Everest Base Camp Trek:

This iconic trek takes you to the base camp of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. Along the way, you’ll experience breathtaking landscapes, visit Sherpa villages, and witness stunning views of the Himalayas.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek:

Offering a different perspective of the Annapurna range, this trek leads you to the base camp of Annapurna, the tenth highest mountain in the world. The trail passes through rhododendron forests, terraced fields, and traditional villages.

Mardi Himal Trek:

Trek to Mardi in December

Mardi himal trek during in Winter Season

A relatively less crowded trek, Mardi Himal offers stunning views of the Annapurna and Machapuchare peaks. The trail takes you through dense forests, alpine meadows, and high-altitude landscapes.

Annapurna Circuit Trek:

Known for its diverse scenery, the Annapurna Circuit takes you around the Annapurna Massif. You’ll encounter lush subtropical valleys, arid deserts, and high mountain passes.
Manaslu Circuit Trek:

This trek circles the Manaslu Massif, providing a unique cultural experience as you traverse remote villages and witness the diverse ethnicities of the region.

Langtang Trek:

Known for its accessibility from Kathmandu, the Langtang Valley offers beautiful landscapes and the opportunity to explore the unique Tamang culture.

Pokhara City:

A picturesque city situated by Phewa Lake, Pokhara is known for its stunning mountain views, tranquil lakes, and adventure activities like paragliding and boating.
Dhampus Hiking:

A short hike from Pokhara, Dhampus offers panoramic views of the Annapurna and Machapuchare ranges. It’s a great option for a day trip.

Sarangkot Hike:

Sarangkot is famous for its sunrise and sunset views over the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. The hike offers a fantastic vantage point.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Basantapur Durbar Square:

Bhaktapur Durbar Square Day Tour

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

These historic squares in Kathmandu Valley are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, showcasing exquisite architecture, ancient temples, and vibrant local culture.

Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath):

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stupa offers panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley and is home to playful monkeys.

Chitwan Jungle Safari:

Chitwan National Park provides the opportunity to experience wildlife, including rhinoceros, tigers, elephants, and a variety of bird species, through jungle safaris.

Pashupatinath Hindu Temple:

One of the holiest Hindu temples in Nepal, Pashupatinath is located in Kathmandu and is known for its sacred shrines and rituals.

These destinations and activities offer a glimpse into the diverse and enchanting facets of Nepal, from its majestic mountains to its vibrant cultural heritage.

Travel Advisories

Nepal, a captivating destination with its diverse landscapes and rich culture, beckons travelers. To ensure a safe and enriching journey, it’s crucial to stay abreast of travel advisories. Stay informed about potential challenges arising from weather, political dynamics, and health considerations. Regularly check updates from reputable sources, including government travel websites and local news outlets. Mind the unique challenges of high-altitude regions and prioritize acclimatization. Respect local customs and adhere to safety guidelines. Prioritize vaccinations and consult health professionals for personalized advice. Register with your embassy for emergencies and keep local emergency contacts handy. With these precautions, travelers can fully immerse themselves in the beauty and culture of Nepal, forging unforgettable memories in this Himalayan haven.

Safety Concerns

Nepal is generally a safe destination for travelers, but some safety concerns should be considered. Trekking in remote areas may involve challenging terrain and limited medical facilities, so adequate preparation is essential. Altitude sickness is a risk in high-altitude regions, necessitating acclimatization. Weather conditions can be unpredictable, affecting transportation and trekking routes. It’s advisable to stay updated on local news and weather reports. Additionally, exercise caution in crowded areas to prevent petty theft. Overall, with proper planning, awareness of local conditions, and adherence to safety guidelines, travelers can enjoy the unique and breathtaking experiences that Nepal has to offer.

Tipping System

In Nepal, tipping practices are prevalent, particularly in the service industry. In restaurants, while service charges may be included, leaving an additional tip of 5-10% is customary. When engaging in activities like trekking, tipping guides and porters is expected, with a typical range of 10-15% of the total trek cost. These individuals play a crucial role in ensuring a safe and enjoyable trekking experience. Additionally, tipping drivers is common to acknowledge their services. It’s important to be aware of local customs and inquire about service charges before deciding on the tip amount, as practices may vary across regions and establishments.

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