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Nepal Tourism Year 2011
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Trekking in Nepal

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Nepal Information

Country fact

Area: 147,181 sq. km
Geography: Situated between China in the north and India in the South
Location: Latitude: 2612' to 3027' North Longitude: 804' to 8812' East
Capital: Kathmandu (2.2 million) approx
Language: Nepali (English widely spoken)
Population: 28 million (approx)
People: More than 103 ethnic groups and 93 spoken languages Government: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Time: GMT + 5 hours 45 minute
Climate: Sub-tropical in low lands to arctic in higher altitudes

Country Info:

Nepal, also named as Shangrili-La on Earth is a wonderland in the Himalaya. It is roof of the world, living cultural Museum, birth place of the Lord Buddha (light of Asia) and is the country of living Goddess. Nepal offers an astonishing diversity of natural and cultural opportunities found nowhere else on the earth. It is also known as a melting pot of Hinduism & Buddhism offering non-stop festivals throughout the year. No other place in the world can be compare to Nepal for its natural and cultural harmony. We have hundreds of example both Hindu and Buddhist worshipping each others Temple and Stupas standing side by side.

 

Country Information

Nepal is a land locked country lies east to the west between china and India on the lap of Great Himalaya. It is home to eight out of ten world’s highest mountains including Mt. Everest. Most of the country is covered by High Mountain and green hills. Hilly region is still out of the reach of road access. The only means of travel these areas are only possible on foot and all basic goods have to be carried by men and animals. Although many tourist areas are sufficiently developed and basic facilities are available.

Most of the people live in the remote mountain village and settlements and survive by growing their own food and livelihood in the thousands of hill terraces and slope landscape. People are very friendly to each other and do their works together in a cooperative manner. Whether it is a regular land cultivation works or an individual ceremony they join together and extend the hands for support. It makes their domestic job easier, and rotates to every one.

The splendor and glory of this soil can be seen in the architectural expression in the ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan or Bhaktapur.

Nepal is well known as a mystical land of unparalleled multiplicity with an altitude of 70m above the sea level in the south and 8848m height of Mt. Everest in the north. The vast diversity in the altitude has reflected to our unique culture and tradition. All ethnic groups have their own colorful culture, language and dialect but most of them can communicate in Nepali. Nepal is famous for magnificence of nature by the soaring peaks of the Himalayas, green valleys, terraced farmlands, hilly foot trails and the lush forested plains full of rare wild lives including the great Royal Bengal tiger, one horn rhinoceros, crocodile and hundreds of spices of birds. The religious harmony is next unique feature of Nepal. The affluent architecture of Nepal reflects the artistic creativity and the religious tradition of people. Crystal clear lakes, turbulent rivers with deep gorge and hot springs can be well believe as the major astonishing point of Nepal and plants like orchids and laden rhododendrons is as charming as you can imagine.

Nepal has captivated the imagination of mountaineers, explorers and all the manner of foreign visitors since it opened its door in the 1950s. Hugh number of tourist visit Nepal to scale an unconquered peak, others to undertake scientific research in the high mountains, some come to complete an energetic trek or high-adrenaline rafting trip, others to enjoy the peace and cultural richness of Nepal’s lower slopes and valleys. Nepal is known as trekking paradise. One trek is never enough and many visitors find themselves planning to come again soon. Many visitors come to Nepal expecting to find these things but also discover how friendly, charming and welcoming the Nepalese are. We enjoy meeting people from around the world, and we are proud to share the beauty and culture of our wonderful country with you. Visitors to Nepal often return time and again, drawn by the stunning scenery, the warm and smiling people, the outdoor adventure and the special atmosphere that pervade the clear mountain and more.

Access to Nepal

Major way to entering Nepal is by air. There are number of Airlines operating direct flight to Kathmandu from different cities. Nepal airlines (RA) is the national carrier of Nepal, which operates regular flight to some of major cities in Asia. It has direct connection to: Delhi, Bangkok, Osaka, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Singapore. Other international airlines connecting to Kathmandu are Biman Bangladesh from Dhaka; Air China from Lhasa Tibet; Druk Air from Paro Bhutan and New Delhi; Gulf Air from Bahrain; Qatar Airways from Doha; Air Arabia from Abu Dhabi UAE; Indian Airlines from Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi India; Jet Airways from Delhi, Air Sahara from Delhi, Thai Airways from Bangkok, Korean Air from Seoul; China Southern from Guangzhou China, GMG Airlines from Dhaka and PIA from Karachi Pakistan. Other international Airlines such as Silk air of Hong Kong, Ethihad air of UAE are planning to fly from Hong Kong and Dubai respectively by October 2007.

Since Nepal has India in three sides and China in the north, coming to Nepal by overland requires passing through India or China. The entry points to Nepal from India are Kakkarbhitta, Birgunj, Belhiya, Bhairawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi and Mahendra Nagar. Kodari is the only entry point to Nepal from Chinese side by land. There is no sea port access to Nepal due to its land locked topography.

Accommodation

Nepal has all categories of accommodation facilities that range from the international standard deluxe hotels to budget hotels and lodges. In order to have an assured quality service, it is advisable to use the facilities and services of government registered Hotels, Lodges, Travel agencies, licensed Tour guides only and engage an authorized trekking guide or porter only through a registered Travel and Trekking agency.

In the last few decades Kathmandu and Pokhara along with rest of country has seen number of quality hotels. During spring and fall season, most of the hotels run nearly full capacity and are booked well in advance. There are, however, plenty of standard hotels available to suit everyone's fancy and finances.

Even in remote parts of country and all major trekking trails, basic lodging and fooding facility is available. Which makes journey is more easy and enjoyable than before.

Airport Tax

Airport tax is applicable to all passengers who use airport as departure point in Nepal. The airport tax specified for different destination from Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) and domestic airports are as follows:

1. International Sector TIA and Other Airports

a) SAARC Regions Rs. 1356/person-
b) Other Countries Rs. 1695/person

2. Domestic Sector

a) Rs 170/person for all Nationality.

Foreign Currency Exchange

Nepal Rastra Bank have listed the following currency for official transaction for the purpose of buying and selling: US Dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan* . However the Nepal Rastra Bank has listed another five currencies for the purpose of buying only: Swedish Kroner, Danish Kroner, Hong Kong Dollar, Saudi Arab Riyal and Qatari Riyal.

Please note* that Chinese Yuan can be transacted only with Chinese tourists and Nepali exporters and importers. Indian currency is accepted in Nepal except the 500 and 1000 denomination notes. It is illegal and punishable offence to carry these notes within Nepal.

Credit Card like American Express, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in tourist areas like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and some other cities.

Other Information

Climate: The seasons in Nepal can be categorized into two, Dry and wet with monsoon. There is dry season from October to May while wet season of the monsoons last from June to September. The coming up of dry season - from September till November - is the autumn and is the best time of the year in Nepal. With the end of monsoon and the advent of autumn, different kinds of celebrations will be held. The countryside is green and lush during this period. Nepal celebrates their two most popular festivals, Dashain and Tihar during this time. Summer months in Nepal are from April to September while winter months are from November to March

Clothing: Lightweight cotton clothing is recommended from May through October. Warm clothes are needed for winter. An umbrella or a raincoat is a necessary for the monsoons. For those planning to take trips around the nation, appropriate clothing is required depending on location and weather conditions of the area at the time.

Time and business hours: Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT. Government offices open Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer and from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. in the winter. And Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. all season.

Holidays: Except public holidays, Saturdays are the weekend holidays in Nepal when most government offices are closed. Most of the business houses are closed only on Saturdays.

Communication Facilities

Postal Services: The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. The counters are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerogram. Post Restante is available Sunday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.

Telephone Services: Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.

Internet Services: Several Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country in the past few years. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with their friends and family. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.

Electricity: Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced. However, most major hotels have installed their own generators.

Art

Nepali art has been deeply influenced by religion since very early days. Early art of Nepal can be seen as stone sculpture and temple architecture. Other art include Newari Paubha and Tibetan Thanka paintings, wood and metal crafts, ceramics and clay pots, textiles, paper, Tibetan carpet, music and literature. Contemporary Nepali art represents two distinct segments, traditional idealistic paintings and the contemporary western style works. The contemporary painting is specially noted for either nature based compositions or compositions based on Tantric elements or social themes. Nepali painters have also earned international reputation for abstract works based on these themes.

Kathmandu Valley houses a number of museums and art galleries displaying art work of the past and present. Some are: The National Museum at Chhauni, Museums at Kathmandu Durbar Square, Museum of Natural History at Swayambhu, National Library at Puchowk, Kaiser Library at Thamel, National Birendra Art Gallery at Naxal, Asa Archives at Tangal, National Art Gallery at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, National Woodworking Museum at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Bronze and Brass Museum at Bhaktapur, Nepal National Ehnographic Museum at Bhrikuti Mandap. Museums outside the Kathmandu Valley are such: Dhakuta Museum, Hattisar Museum in Bhimphedi, Mustang Eco Museum in Jomsom, Tharu Cultural Museum in Thakurdwara and International Mountain Museum in Pokhara.

Trade

Commerce has been a major occupation in Nepal since early times. Being situated at the crossroads of the ancient trans-Himalayan trade route, trading is second nature to the Nepali people. Foreign trade is characterized mainly by import of manufactured products and export of agricultural raw materials. Nepal imports manufactured goods and petroleum products worth about US$ 1 billion annually. The value of exports is about US$ 315 million. Carpets are Nepal's largest export, earning the country over US$ 135 million per year. Garment exports account for more than US$ 74 million and handicraft goods bring in about US$ 1 million. Other important exports are pulses, hides and skins, jute and medicinal herbs.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is still at the developmental stage and it represents less than 10 percent of the GDP. Major industries are carpets, garments, textiles, leather products, paper and cement. Other products made in Nepal are steel utensils, cigarettes, beverages and sugar. There are many modern large-scale factories but the majority is cottage or small scale operations. Most of Nepal's industries are based in the Kathmandu Valley and a string of small towns in the southern Terai plains.

Agriculture

Eight out of 10 Nepalese are engaged in farming and it accounts for more than 40 percent of the GDP. Rolling fields and neat terraces can be seen all over the Terai flatlands and the hills of Nepal. Even in the highly urbanized Kathmandu Valley, large tracts of land outside the city areas are devoted to farming. Rice is the staple diet in Nepal and around three million tons are produced annually. Other major crops are maize, wheat, millet and barley. Besides food grains, cash crops like sugarcane, oil seeds, tobacco, jute and tea are also cultivated in large quantities.

Economy

Nepal is a developing country with an agricultural based economy. In recent years, the country's efforts to expand into manufacturing industries and other technological sectors have achieved much progress. Farming is the main economic activity followed by manufacturing, trade, and tourism. The chief sources of foreign currency earnings are merchandise export, services, tourism and remittances.

Customs Formalities

Customs: All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry. 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. Import: Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty cigarette (200) or cigars (50), 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: binocular, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.

Export: The exports of antiques require special certification from the Department of Archeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu. It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old like 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, contact the Chief Customs Administrator, TIA Customs Office.

Ethics and Etiquette

Nepalese are practice cultural etiquettes that may sometimes appear unusual to visitors. However, a handful of tips could acquaint visitors with these otherwise strange practices.

  • The form of greeting in Nepal is 'namaste' performed by joining palms together.
  • As a mark of respect Nepalis usually take off their shoes before entering someone's home, temple or stupa.
  • Food or material that contains another's saliva is considered 'jutho' or impure
  • Touching something with feet or using left hand to give or take is considered offense among Nepalis.
  • Women wearing skimpy outfits are frowned upon especially in the rural parts of the country.
  • As a part of the tradition some Hindu temples do not allow westerners to enter.
  • Leather articles are prohibited inside temple precinct.
  • Walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
  • To avoid conflict photography is carried out after receiving permission from the object or person.
  • Public displays of affection between man and woman are scandalous.
  • Nodding head and a slight dangling of head from left to right means 'Yes' while shaking head means a 'No.
Getting Around

Visitors can go to different parts of Nepal either by road or by air. Among domestic airlines of Nepal the Royal Nepal Airlines provides extensive network. Other domestic airlines more than 18 in operation provide regular and charter services to popular domestic destinations. Excepting weather conditions Nepal's domestic air service is known to be punctual and reliable.

Regular Bus services are available to different parts of the country from capital at new bus park in Gongabu and old bus park at Ratnapark. There are regular tourist bus services to selected cities like Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini is also available from Kathmandu. In addition, one can also hire private vehicles at nominal rates.

Getting around Kathmandu Valley is made easier by metered taxis that can be hailed off the streets and are easily recognizable by the taxi sign and their black number plates. No tip is expected. Night taxis are available for higher prices. For cheaper rides buses and teeny vans called micro buses are available to different parts of the Valley. Battery run scooters also serve the same purpose.

Health & Insurance

Health Guide
Medical Services: Medical facilities in Kathmandu Valley are sound. All kinds of medicines, including those imported from overseas are available in Kathmandu. Kathmandu Valley also offers the services of major general hospitals and private clinics. Health posts have been set up by the government in different parts of rural Nepal. However, facilities are not on par with those found in Kathmandu Valley.

Insurance
A travel insurance policy that covers theft, loss and medical treatment is recommended. Make sure the insurance also covers the activities that you will be undertaking during your stay in Nepal such as trekking, rafting or other adventure activities.

Immunization
Visitors do not need any particular immunization for visit. Vaccinations for cholera, meningitis, tetanus and diphtheria, typhoid and gamma globulin should, however, are considered. It may be a good idea to get a complete check-up before departure.

General Knowledge
It would be hard to know all aspects of Nepal's health problems. However, it would be useful to gather information on altitude sickness (AMS), diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, rabies, typhoid, tetanus, meningitis diphtheria, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Common sense can often save lives.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

Stomach upsets are the most likely travel health problem but the majority of these cases are minor problems. Thoroughly cooked food is the safest but not if it has been left to cool. One should be careful about what one eats and drinks. The number one rule is not to drink tap water or other water from open sources. Reputable brands of bottled water or soft drinks are available. While drinking and eating it is important to make sure that water which may be unsafe has not been added.

Do not drink unpasteurized milk. Boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt is usually good. Tea or coffee should also be all right since the water would have been boiled. Salads and fruit should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Food, drink and snack from reputable sources are usually safe. However beware of food that has been kept out in the open for long.

Wash your hands frequently, as it is quite easy to contaminate your own food. You should clean your teeth with purified water rather than straight from the tap. Avoid climatic extremes: keep out of the sun when it is hot, dress warmly when it is cold. Avoid potential diseases by dressing sensibly. Do not walk bare feet as it is easy to get worm infections through bare feet. Try to avoid insect bites by covering bare skin when insects are around, by screening windows or by using, insect repellents.

Security for Visitors

Tourist Police unit was established in 1979 under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. The special unit has been designated the task of providing security to visitors. The team of Tourist Police consists of officers who can speak and understand English and Hindi. They register complaints, investigate matters and provide protection and safety to tourists. They also try to ensure hassle-free trip for visitors and assist tourists when necessary. There are three units of Tourist Police forces in Kathmandu. The main office is at the Tourist Service Center in Bhrikuti Mandap. However it is the visitor’s responsibility to keep vigilance for their safety around the clock.

Some tips for personal safety-

  • Inform your whereabouts immediately upon arrival to the local police or concerned embassy or consulate.
  • Use the services of government registered travel and trekking agencies only.
  • Stay only at government registered hotels, resorts, guest houses and lodges.
  • Use only those porters who are authorized by your travel agency or hotel.
  • Exchange foreign currency only at authorized exchange counter and Banks.
  • Carry certified copies of documents and leave the originals and other valuables in the safe deposit box of your hotel.
  • Never leave these items unattended in your room.Do not carry large sums of cash.
  • Carry travelers' cheques and limited amount of cash while on tour.
  • Never leave your luggage and other valuables unattended at any time, any place.
  • Take strong precaution before accepting the offer by unknown person.
  • Don’t stay outside alone till late night.
  • In case of theft or loss contact the nearest police station immediately.
 
 
 
 
 
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Nepal Festivals

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Is Nepal Safe to Travel

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