Always ask permission first. In general, it is allowed outside temples and at festivals, but not at religious ceremonies or inside temples; however, there is no hard and fast rule and the only way to be sure of not giving offence is to ask first and accept the answer.
Getting Around Towns and Cities
There are bus services in the populous areas around Kathmandu, which include the neighboring cities of Patan and Bhaktapur. A trolleybus route provides frequent journeys over the 11km (7-mile) Kathmandu- Bhaktapur road. Private minibuses feed the trolleybus route from nearby villages. On buses and trolleybuses belonging to the Transport Corporation of Nepal (tel: (2) 12972), a four-stage fare system applies, with color-coded tickets issued by conductors. ‘Microbuses’ also operate.
Nepalese Rupee (NPR; symbol Rs) = 100 paisa. Notes are in denominations of Rs1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25 and 10 paisa.
Accepted at banks and major hotels. If trekking, it is important to bear in mind that cash is necessary. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
American Express is widely accepted, with MasterCard and Visa in tourist shops, hotels, restaurants and agencies. ATMs are widely available in Nepal.
Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is sporadic and variable.
There are Internet cafes in Kathmandu, Patan and Pokhara - many with high-speed broadband links. Internet services are also provided by hotels.
English-language newspapers available in Nepal are The Himalayan Times, The Kathmandu Post, Rising Nepal and The Nepali Times.
Other dailies include Kantipur and Annapurna Post.
The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Time can all be found in Kathmandu.
State-owned Gorkhapatra is Nepal’s oldest newspaper.
Lightweight and tropical clothes with umbrella are advised for June to August. Between October and March, lightweight clothes are worn in Kathmandu, with a coat for evenings and warm clothing for the mountains.
The most convenient hospital for visitor care is Patan Hospital in Lagankhel. Other hospitals include the Western Regional Hospital and the Manipal Hospital in Pokhara and the Mission Hospital in Tansen. Pharmacies in Kathmandu offer a wide range of Western drugs at low prices. In Kathmandu, you can get certain vaccinations free at the Infectious Diseases Clinic. Full medical insurance is essential.
Valid passport for a minimum of six months required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.
Required by all nationals referred to in the chart above except transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft on the same day provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.
1. All nationals referred to in the chart above may obtain tourist visas on arrival at the airport.
2. Business can be conducted on a Tourist visa for up to 30 days.
3. Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements
Visas are valid for up to six months from date of issue. Visas are valid for 60 days on first visit to Nepal in a visa year (1 January - 31 December), but only valid for 30 days when national is visiting Nepal for the second or more time in a visa year. Visas may be extended in Nepal at the Department of Immigration, Kathmandu (tel: 494 273 or 337), or the Immigration Office, Pokhara. Maximum stay in Nepal is 150 days in any calendar year. For full conditions on visa extension (including charges and conditions), contact the consulate (or consular section at embassy)
Consulate (or consular section at embassy). Visas can also be obtained on arrival from the Immigration authorities at all entry points (with fees payable in US Dollars) provided travelers are in possession of valid travel documents, two passport photos and the relevant fee. Applications for business visas must be made to the Department of Immigration
Working Days Required
Minimum 24 hours if applying in person; two weeks if applying by post.
Festivals Of Nepal
It is said about Nepal that every other structure is a holy shrine and every other day a festival. Well, if the number of annual festivals, both religious and national, is any indication, the saying couldn't be more true. Festivals are an essential part of Nepalese life that garner tremendous local participation. Festivals also offer visitors a valuable opportunity not only for having fun but gaining insight into various aspects of Nepalese culture.
The religious festivals follow the lunar calendar, while national festivals have fixed dates. Wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal, you can be pretty sure of being at the right time for one or more special events.
Losar : The Sherpas most impressively observe this festival in the month of January - February. They organize folk songs and dances on this occasion. These dances can be seen in Kathmandu, Helambu and other northern regions of Nepal and also at Bouddhanath in Kathmandu.
Maha Shivaratri : Shivratri or the Night of Lord Shiva is observed in February-March. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes place in the Pashupatinath Temple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India flock the temple to worship Lord Shiva.
MARCH - APRIL
Ghodejatra : Known as the festival of horses, it is one of the most exciting festivals of Kathmandu. Horse race and other sports take place at Tundikhel on this day. In other parts of the city, various deities are carried shoulder-high on palanquin (khat) to the accompaniment of traditional music.
Baisakh Poornima : As Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the Light of Asia, the triple anniversary of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death is observed with many colorful ceremonies on this day. People celebrate the occasion with great veneration paying homage to Buddha at place like swayambhunath, Bouddhanath and Lumbini.
MAY - JUNE
Red Machchhenhranath Rath Jatra : This festival is the biggest socio-cultural event of Patan. The wheeled chariot of a deity know as Bungdyo or Red Machchhendranath is made at Pulchowk and dragged through the city of Patan in several stages till it reaches the appointed destination (lagankhel). The grand finale of the festival is called the 'Bhoto Dekhaune' or the "showing of a vest".
JULY - AUGUST
Gaijatra (Cow festival) : It is a carnival that lasts eight days. Dancing, singing comedy and anything that causes mirth and laugher are its highlights. This festival is the biggest socio-cultural event of Patan. The wheeled chariot of a deity know as Bungdyo or Red Machchhendranath is made at Pulchowk and dragged through the city of Patan in several stages till it reaches the appointed destination (lagankhel). The grand finale of the festival is called the 'Bhoto Dekhaune' or the "showing of a vest". A similar kind of chariot festival to Machchhendranath (white) is also held in Kathmandu city in the month of March-April. Birthday of His Majesty the King: The auspicious birthday of His majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev falls on July 7 (Asad 23) . This occasion is celebrate with great enthusiasm all over the kingdom.
AUGUST - SEPTEMBER
Teej : Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated by women. Dancing, folk song and the red colour of women's wedding saris dominate the days of Teej. Women observe a fast and flock to Shiva temples where married ones prays for a happy conjugal life and unmarried ones for a good husband.
SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER
Dashain or Durga Puja : The Dashain festival is the most important festival of the Nepalese. The entire country is in enthusiastic holiday mood at the time of the festival.
Tihar : Known as the festival of Lights, Tihar is celebrated for five days. Houses are illuminated at night and special sweets of different varieties are prepared.
NOVEMBER - DECEMBER
Vibhaha Panchami : This is a famous festival of Janakpur in the eastern Terai. The occasion commemorates the marriage of Sita to Ram, one of the most venerated Hindu divinities. It attracts thousands of piligrims from India to Janaki Temple in Jajakpur.
The food of Nepal is as diverse as the country itself. The Nepalese recipes are quick to cook and good to eat. Nepalese food is famous for its nutrition level and tempting taste. Whilst Nepalese cuisine is somewhat basic, it certainly does not lack in flavor, making extensive use of spices and flavorings such as ginger, garlic, coriander, pepper, cumin, chilies, cilantro, mustard oil, ghee and occasionally yak butter. Come let us savour some of the famous dishes of Nepal.
Equally popular among Nepali people and foreign tourists, Gundrook-Dheedo is a sugar-free dish made of wheat, maize and dried green vegetable. The food is high on nutrition level and satisfies the taste buds as well.
Dal-bhat-tarkari is eaten throughout the country. Dal is a spicy/non-spicy soup made of lentils. It is served over boiled grain, bhat -- usually rice but sometimes another grain -- with vegetable curry, tarkari.
Aloo Tama (Alu Tama) simply means 'Potato Bamboo Shoots'. It is a unique and classic Nepali curry flavor dish. It is unique in the sense that it is unlike any other Indian or South Asian curry since they rarely use bamboo shoots. Similarly, unlike other East Asian cuisine such as Chinese that uses Bamboo shoots but do not use curry spices.
Vegetable Pulao (Fried Nepali Rice)
Vegetable Pulao is one of the popular ways rice is served during the parties and events in the Nepalese household. It has flavor of turmeric and cumin to it. The rice is particularly famous among tourists who prefer eating it with curd and Manchurian.
Masu is spiced or curried meat (usually chicken, mutton, buffalo or pork) with gravy. Served with rice, it is a main course dish, very popular in Nepal.
Vegetable Thukpa (Egg Noodles)
This is a seasonal dish. Tibetan Vegetable Thukpa is one of the main food. During Tibetan new year celebration 'Losar'the dish is a part of celebration and tradition for the Nepalese.
Regarded as Newari pizza, Chatamari is a flat bread made from rice flour with or without toppings (meat, vegetables, eggs, sugar). It is highly savoured by the tourists who consider it as a good and healthy substitute to pizza.
Tourist Info - Nepal
Location : South Asia.
Area : 147,181 sq km (56,827 sq miles).
Capital : Kathmandu.
Government : Democratic Republic.
The official language is Nepali (spoken by 49%). There are many other languages, including Maithili and Bhojpuri. English is spoken in business circles and by people involved in the travel trade.
Religion : Mainly Hindu (85%) and Buddhist (8%), with a small Muslim minority (4%).
Time : GMT + 5.45
Electricity : 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plug used are of the round two and three pins type.
Telephone : Country code: 977
Mobile Telephone : Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is sporadic and variable.
Internet : There are Internet cafes in Kathmandu, Patan and Pokhara - many with high-speed broadband links. Internet services are also provided by hotels.
Post : Postal services are available in most centers. Make sure letters are hand-cancelled at the post office (post boxes should not be used for important communications).
Post office hours : The general post office in Kathmandu (near the Dharahara Tower) is open Mon-Fri 0900-1700. Main hotels will also handle post.
Contact Information Nepal Tourism Board Bhrikuti Mandap, PO Box 11018, Kathmandu, Nepal Tel: (1) 425 6909 or 6229. Website: www.welcomenepal.com