Foreign visitors to Nepal are generally required to obtain a visa before entering the country. As of May 2023, visitors from most countries can obtain a visa on arrival at the airport or at land border crossings, or apply for an e-visa prior to their arrival.
Tourists can obtain a 15, 30, or 90-day visa on arrival, depending on the length of their stay. The visa fee ranges from $30 to $125 USD, depending on the length of stay and the type of visa. Visitors should have a valid passport with at least six months validity remaining and two passport-sized photos.
Visitors from India do not need a visa to enter Nepal, while visitors from some countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Somalia, and Zimbabwe may need to obtain a visa in advance.
It’s always a good idea to check the latest visa requirements and regulations before traveling to Nepal, as they can change without notice.
Best time to visit Nepal
The best time to visit Nepal is from September to November, during the autumn season, and from March to May, during the spring season. During these months, the weather is generally mild and dry, with clear skies and stunning mountain views. This makes it an ideal time for trekking, sightseeing, and other outdoor activities. In the autumn season, visitors can also witness major festivals like Dashain and Tihar, which are celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the country. However, it’s worth noting that the peak tourist season in Nepal can also mean higher prices and larger crowds, so visitors should plan accordingly.
Accommodation options in Nepal
Nepal offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference, from basic guesthouses to luxury hotels and resorts. Here are some of the most common types of accommodation available in Nepal:
Guesthouses and lodges: These are the most popular accommodation options for budget travelers and trekkers. Guesthouses and lodges offer basic facilities such as a bed, shared bathroom, and sometimes a communal dining area. They are often located in scenic and remote areas, making them a great option for those looking to connect with nature and explore the countryside.
Hotels: Nepal has a range of hotels catering to all types of travelers, from budget-friendly options to high-end luxury hotels. Many hotels are located in popular tourist destinations such as Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan National Park.
Resorts: For those looking for a more luxurious stay, Nepal has several resorts offering world-class amenities such as swimming pools, spas, and fine dining restaurants. Many resorts are located in scenic areas, offering breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys.
Homestays: Homestays are becoming an increasingly popular option for travelers who want to experience local culture and hospitality. Homestays allow visitors to stay with local families and experience the local way of life, often including home-cooked meals and cultural activities.
Eco-lodges: For those who want to experience nature while minimizing their impact on the environment, eco-lodges are a great option. These lodges are designed to be environmentally friendly and often feature sustainable practices such as solar power, organic gardens, and natural building materials.
Trekking and hiking in Nepal
Nepal is a paradise for trekkers and hikers, offering a range of trails that cater to all skill levels and interests. Here are some of the most popular trekking and hiking destinations in Nepal:
Everest Base Camp Trek: This is one of the most popular and challenging treks in Nepal, taking trekkers through breathtaking mountain scenery and Sherpa villages to the base of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.
Annapurna Circuit Trek: This classic trek takes hikers through diverse landscapes, including lush valleys, high mountain passes, and traditional villages. The trek offers stunning views of the Annapurna mountain range and other peaks.
Langtang Trek: This trek takes hikers through the stunning Langtang Valley, home to the Langtang National Park and several peaks over 7,000 meters high.
Poon Hill Trek: This is a relatively easy trek that takes hikers through beautiful rhododendron forests and traditional villages, culminating in the stunning sunrise view from Poon Hill.
Upper Mustang Trek: This trek takes hikers through the remote and arid landscape of the Mustang region, offering a unique glimpse into the traditional Tibetan culture and way of life.
Apart from these popular treks, there are several other trails and routes that offer stunning views and unique cultural experiences. Trekking and hiking in Nepal usually require a permit and a guide, and it’s important to plan and prepare accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Cultural sites in Nepal to visit
Nepal is a country rich in cultural heritage, with numerous sites of historical and religious significance. Here are some of the top cultural sites in Nepal that are worth visiting:
Kathmandu Durbar Square: This ancient square in the heart of Kathmandu is home to several palaces, temples, and shrines that showcase traditional Nepali architecture and art.
Pashupatinath Temple: Located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, this Hindu temple is one of the most sacred sites in Nepal and attracts pilgrims from all over the world.
Swayambhunath Stupa: Also known as the Monkey Temple, this iconic stupa sits atop a hill in Kathmandu and offers stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square: This well-preserved medieval city is home to numerous temples, shrines, and traditional Newari architecture.
Lumbini: This is the birthplace of Lord Buddha and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists around the world.
Patan Durbar Square: Located in the city of Lalitpur, this square is home to several ancient palaces, temples, and courtyards that showcase traditional Newari art and architecture.
Visiting these cultural sites in Nepal offers a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of the country, and is a must-do for anyone interested in experiencing the culture and heritage of Nepal.
Food and drink in Nepal while travelling
Food and drink are an important aspect of travel in Nepal, as the country has a rich culinary tradition that reflects its diverse ethnic and cultural heritage. Some of the must-try dishes include momos (steamed or fried dumplings), dal bhat (lentil soup with rice and vegetables), and chow mein (stir-fried noodles). Other popular dishes include thukpa (noodle soup), samosas, and sel roti (a sweet, deep-fried bread). In addition to traditional Nepali cuisine, visitors can also enjoy a range of international foods, including Indian, Chinese, and Western-style dishes. As for drinks, chai (tea) is a staple and is typically served with milk and sugar. For those looking for something stronger, there are also local beers and spirits available, including the popular raksi (a type of rice wine).
Major Festivals in Nepal
Nepal is a country of diverse ethnic and cultural groups, and as such, there are numerous festivals celebrated throughout the year. Some of the major festivals in Nepal are:
Dashain: This is the most significant festival in Nepal and is celebrated in September or October. It is a 15-day-long festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil.
Tihar: Also known as the festival of lights, Tihar is celebrated in October or November and is a five-day-long festival. It is a time to celebrate the bond between humans and animals.
Holi: Celebrated in March, Holi is a festival of colors and marks the arrival of spring.
Buddha Jayanti: This festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha and is celebrated in May.
Teej: This is a festival for women, celebrated in August or September. It is a time for women to fast, dress up, and celebrate their bond with their husbands.
Shivaratri: This is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva and is celebrated in February or March.
These are just a few examples of the many festivals celebrated in Nepal, and each festival has its own unique traditions and customs.
Wildlife and Nature in Nepal
Nepal is known for its incredible natural beauty and diverse wildlife. The country is home to a range of ecosystems, from the Himalayan mountains to the subtropical jungles of the Terai region. Some of the most iconic wildlife species found in Nepal include the Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, and Asiatic elephant. Other wildlife found in Nepal includes snow leopards, red pandas, and various species of deer and antelope. Visitors can also enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including trekking, wildlife safaris, and bird watching. Nepal’s stunning natural landscapes and rich biodiversity make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Transportation in Nepal
Transportation in Nepal includes a variety of options to choose from, depending on the location, budget, and preferences of the traveler.
Flights: Nepal has domestic airports in major cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bharatpur, with several airlines offering domestic flights to different parts of Nepal.
Buses: Buses are the most common mode of transportation in Nepal, with both public and private bus services available. Local buses are often crowded and uncomfortable, while tourist buses offer more comfort and safety.
Taxis: Taxis are available in major cities, and they are generally affordable. Taxis in Nepal do not have meters, so it’s essential to agree on a price before the ride.
Motorbikes and scooters: Rental motorbikes and scooters are available in tourist destinations in Nepal. However, it’s essential to have a valid license and take proper safety precautions while riding.
Jeep or Land Cruiser: In some parts of Nepal, such as remote areas and mountain regions, jeep or Land Cruiser is the only mode of transportation available.
In addition to these options, there are also bicycle rentals, motorcycle taxis, and rickshaws available in certain areas. While transportation in Nepal may not always be the most comfortable or convenient, it offers a unique and adventurous way to experience the country’s natural beauty and cultural richness.
Safety and security in Nepal
Nepal is generally a safe country for travelers. However, like any other place, certain safety precautions should be taken to ensure a hassle-free trip. It is advisable to keep valuables such as passports, money, and electronics in a secure place. It is also recommended to avoid traveling alone at night in less populated areas and to be aware of your surroundings.
In terms of natural disasters, Nepal is prone to earthquakes, landslides, and floods, particularly during the monsoon season from June to August. Travelers should be aware of weather conditions and follow local authorities’ instructions in case of any natural disasters.
Moreover, it is always a good idea to stay up-to-date with the latest travel advisories and government warnings before planning a trip to Nepal. By following basic safety guidelines and being prepared for emergencies, travelers can enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Nepal.
Health and vaccinations
Before traveling to Nepal, it is important to consult with a doctor or a travel health specialist to receive up-to-date information about necessary vaccinations and other health precautions.
Common vaccinations recommended for travelers to Nepal include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and tetanus. Depending on the duration and location of your trip, additional vaccinations such as rabies and Japanese encephalitis may be necessary.
It is also important to take necessary precautions to prevent illnesses such as traveler’s diarrhea by drinking only bottled or filtered water, avoiding raw or undercooked foods, and practicing good hygiene habits such as hand washing.
Altitude sickness can be a concern for trekkers and hikers, especially when traveling to high altitude areas such as the Himalayas. It is recommended to take time to acclimate to the altitude, stay well hydrated, and consider medications such as acetazolamide as a preventive measure.
Etiquette and customs
Nepal has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s essential to respect local customs and etiquette while traveling there.
Dressing conservatively is recommended, especially when visiting temples and religious sites. It is considered disrespectful to wear revealing clothing in these areas.
When greeting locals, it is polite to use the traditional Nepali greeting “Namaste” with your palms together in a prayer-like gesture.
Bargaining is a common practice in markets and shops, but it is important to do so respectfully and with a friendly attitude.
In terms of dining etiquette, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a home or restaurant, and it is considered impolite to waste food.
Is Nepal safety
Nepal is a beautiful country to visit, but like any other destination, travelers should exercise caution to ensure their safety. The good news is that Nepal has been relatively peaceful and safe since the Maoist rebels joined the Nepalese government. However, it is still essential to check the latest situation before your arrival and be aware of the current security status. Avoid public demonstrations, which can sometimes turn ugly. Frequent strikes, although an inconvenience, should not pose any significant risk to tourists since transportation stops and shops and restaurants close.
Blackouts are part of daily life throughout the dry season, so you should be careful of opportunistic crime in the dark and watch out for potholes. It is crucial to keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas. You can keep your valuables on you in a money belt, or store them in a hotel safety deposit box.
Hotels and Hostels:
Nepal has a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences, from luxurious international hotels to affordable hostels and lodges.
Kathmandu, the capital city, has an expanding selection of international hotels catering to all tastes and budgets. During peak trekking season, which is typically in the spring and autumn, these hotels can get quite busy, so it is advisable to book in advance to ensure availability.
In addition to the hotels, there are also numerous lodges and hostels in Kathmandu, particularly in the old part of town, the streets around Durbar Square, and the Thamel district. These lodges and hostels offer a more affordable alternative to the traditional hotels and are popular with backpackers and budget travelers.
Outside the main towns, there are lodges and guest houses that provide suitable accommodation for mountaineers and trekkers. In particular, the Royal Chitwan National Park in the Terai and the city of Pokhara are popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, and there are many affordable accommodation options in these areas.
It is worth noting that a government tax is added to bills in Nepal, which varies according to the standard of the hotel.
To get a Nepali visa, you can follow the steps below:
Determine the type of visa you need: The type of visa you need will depend on your purpose of visit to Nepal, such as tourism, business, study, or work.
Visit the website of the Nepali embassy or consulate in your country: You can find the website of the Nepali embassy or consulate in your country online. The website will have information on visa requirements, application forms, fees, and processing time.
Fill out the visa application form: You can download the visa application form from the embassy or consulate’s website or obtain a copy from the embassy or consulate. Fill out the form accurately and completely.
Gather the required documents: The required documents for a Nepali visa may vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. Typically, you will need your passport, passport-size photographs, and proof of travel arrangements.
Submit your application and pay the visa fee: Once you have completed the visa application form and gathered the required documents, submit your application to the Nepali embassy or consulate in your country. You will also need to pay the visa fee at this time.
Wait for processing: The processing time for a Nepali visa may vary depending on the embassy or consulate. Typically, it takes 3-5 business days to process a Nepali visa.
Receive your visa: If your visa application is approved, you will receive your Nepali visa in your passport. Be sure to check the visa details for accuracy before you travel.
It’s important to note that visa requirements and procedures can change, so be sure to check the website of the Nepali embassy or consulate in your country for the most up-to-date information.
Nepal has a rich cultural heritage and a diverse mix of customs and traditions. Here are some common Nepali customs you may encounter:
These are just a few of the many customs and traditions you may encounter in Nepal. It’s always a good idea to be respectful and open to learning about the culture of the country you are visiting.
Budget and payment system
Nepal is generally an affordable destination for travelers, and there are many options available to suit different budgets. Here is some information about the budget and payment system in Nepal:
It’s always a good idea to have some cash in Nepalese rupees when traveling in Nepal, especially in rural areas. Make sure to keep your money safe and secure, and use reputable money exchange services to avoid scams.