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Time: GMT+5¾
Dialing code: 00 977
Area: 1,40,800 sq km
Elevation: Lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70m, Highest point: Mt. Everest 8,848m
Population: Approx: 3,00,00,000.
Capital: Kathmandu
Government: Democratic Republic of Nepal
Language: Nepali (90%) and other regional dialects, English is also used in government and business areas

Nestled amongst soaring, snow-capped mountains, the beautiful Himalayan kingdom of Nepal has long been a magnet to travellers from around the world.

Blessed with some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. The irresistible attraction of the Himalayan Mountains - sheltering peaks such as Everest, Annapurna and Lhotse, and raging rapid-filled rivers - has made Nepal a Mecca for adventure activities like rafting, trekking and mountain biking.

Add to this a rich cultural heritage, which can still be seen today in the shape of magnificent royal palaces, colourful Hindu temples, and ancient Buddhist monasteries, and you have a country that constantly heads the list of most popular tourist destinations.

The first firm historical records about Nepal began around the 7th to 8th century BC when the Kiratis, a mongoloid people, migrated westwards from China into the Kathmandu Valley. Yalambar was the first of a line of 28 Kirati kings to rule the Kathmandu Valley lasting up until the 4th century AD. During the Kirati reign Buddhism was first introduced into Nepal and it is believed that the Buddha himself visited the valley, residing for a time in Patan. Ashoka, the legendary Indian Emperor, also visited the Kathmandu Valley sometime around the 2nd century BC, evidence of which can be seen today in the four stupas he erected around Patan. Visit the following website for more history about Nepal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Nepal

Kathmandu - Unique haven for travellers and capital of Nepal
Himalayas - Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Kanchanjungha
Wildlife Parks - Bardia National Park and Chitwan National Park
Rafting Rivers - Sun Kosi, Karnali, Trisuli, Bhotekoshi and Seti

Nepal can be divided into narrow strips stretching from the Indian border to the border with Tibet. The first is a low, jungle-covered area called the Terai. Next, rise the Siwalik Hills, followed by the higher Mahabharat Hills. Several fertile valleys lie to the north of these hills including the Kali Gandaki and the Langtang. North again rise the immense snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.

Nestled amongst soaring, snow-capped mountains, the beautiful Himalayan kingdom of Nepal has long been a magnet to travellers from around the world. Blessed with some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. The irresistible attraction of the Himalayan Mountains - sheltering peaks such as Everest, Annapurna and Lhotse, and raging rapid-filled rivers - has made Nepal a Mecca for adventure activities like rafting, trekking and mountain biking. Add to this a rich cultural heritage, which can be still be seen today in the shape of magnificent royal palaces, colourful Hindu temples, and ancient Buddhist monasteries, and you have a country that constantly heads the list of most popular tourist destinations.

Nepal's weather is split between its mountains and its lowlands. The lowlands experience tropical weather and the monsoons arrive in June and last until September. During this period the weather is humid and cloudy. Between October and April the weather becomes warm and sunny, however the nights can get quite cold especially in the depths of winter. On the high mountains, there is snow and ice throughout the year. Bring light clothing and waterproofs during the summer months, warmer clothing for spring and autumn and heavier clothing if visiting mountain regions or if visiting in winter.


Kathmandu Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rain (mm) 15 41 23 58 122 246 373 345 155 38 8 3
Sun (hrs) 6 6 8 6 5 2 2 3 5 10 10 9
Temp (max) 18 19 25 28 30 29 29 28 28 27 23 19
Temp (min) 2 4 7 12 16 19 20 20 19 13 7 3
Days of Rain* 1 5 2 6 10 15 21 20 12 4 1 0
Hum (%) 70 68 53 54 61 72 82 84 83 81 78 73

* denotes number of days with at least 1.0 mm of rainfall.

Nepalese rupee (Rs) Please refer to http://www.nrb.org.np for latest currency exchange rate.
1 US$ = 80 Rs
1 UK£ = 125 Rs
1 Euro€ = 105 Rs

1 Rs, 2 Rs, 5 Rs, 10 Rs, 20 Rs, 25 Rs, 50 Rs, 100 Rs, 500 Rs, 1,000 Rs

NB changing larger notes can sometimes be difficult in small villages.

Money can be changed at any bank, exchange kiosk or hotel (lowest rate). Banks are open from 10am to 2pm from Sunday to Thursday and until noon on Friday. Travellers cheques are widely accepted but will entail a service charge, usually per cheque. ATMs are only available in Kathmandu and Pokhara, and accept all major credit/debit cards. Credit cards are generally accepted, with Visa and MasterCard being the most popular. Cash advances are also available at banks. No black market exists in Nepal.

New Year’s Day - 1st January
National Unity Day - 11th January
Martyrs' Memorial Day - 29th January
Holi (coloured water and powder festival) - February/March
Maha Shivratri - February/March
National Democracy Day - 19th February
International Women's Day - 8th March
Ram Navami - March/April
Buddha's Anniversary - April/May
HM King Gyanendra's Birthday - 7th July
Krishna Janamashtami - August/September
Vijaya Dashmi - October/November
Constitution Day - 9th November
Lakshmi Puja, Diwali (Deepavali) - October/November

NB Banks and government offices are closed during public holidays. Most Hindu festivals follow the Indian lunar calendar and therefore change from year to year when using the Gregorian calendar. There are also numerous regional holidays, festivals and fairs throughout the year.

Hindu 90%, Buddhist 5%, Muslim 3%, Other 2% (1981)
Note: only official Hindu state in the world, although no sharp distinction between many Hindu and Buddhist groups.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary and are subject to change. You must consult your GP on current vaccinations needed for your destination.

  • Greetings are traditionally accompanied with a small bow, a big smile, and hands together in prayer, however the handshake is becoming more and more popular, especially amongst men.
  • Always take your shoes off before entering a temple and remember to dress conservatively, shorts are not allowed, and never touch carvings or statues of deities. You may also be required to remove leather items such as belts and bags. When visiting Buddhist temples always walk around them in a clockwise direction.
  • Nepali women are generally conservative and should not be touched without their consent. Public shows of intimacy are considered inappropriate and you should try to dress conservatively wherever possible.
  • The feet are considered as unclean and should not be used to point to things or to touch someone with. Try not to touch the head, as this is also considered rude.
  • Always use your right hand for communal eating and other social interaction as the left hand is reserved for toilet duties. Nepalis traditionally eat with their hand rather than with eating utensils, but this is not expected of westerners. If you have been invited into a local's house to dine, always remove your shoes before entering and wash your hands before eating.
  • When trekking or visiting more remote areas be aware that food on offer and cooking facilities are often limited. However it is not uncommon to find large menus, even in the smallest restaurant or guesthouse, but this does not mean that you should order without thought. Try to order simple dishes (preferably dal bhat, the staple dish of Nepal) and if in a group try to order the same dish - unless of course you are happy to wait a long time for your dinner.
  • Tipping is usually expected in restaurants and should be around 5-10% of the meal. Tipping for services is dependant on the service provided, and how well it is performed - 100Rs or less is normally fine. Remember; if you are not happy with the service don't tip.
  • Haggling is an integral part of Nepal life. You should expect to haggle for just about everything, but for the best results do so with a smile and a light-hearted approach. Always be wary of street sellers, as what they sell may not always be what you think it is
  • Be considerate when taking photographs. Avoid taking photos of religious ceremonies, funerals, and people bathing as this is most likely to cause offence. Always ask permission before taking pictures of people and try to avoid flash photography inside temples and around light-sensitive paintings or artwork.

In recent years, Maoists have come under parliamentary system, thus The majority of Nepal is safe to travel in and no more violence in the touristic areas. Nepal is far safer place now to travel though you have to take some precautions i.e. not to visit alone in the remote areas, in the night and not to wear so short clothes in the public places i.e. follow the local ethics of dress code.

However, the most common form of crime against tourists is theft, usually by stealth rather than violence, so visitors should take care to secure their personal possessions at all times. In more remote areas the risk of muggings and robberies does exist but remains very low.

If trekking, you are advised to remain on established routes, to walk in groups, and with reputable trekking agencies.

Most foreign nationals can get a 30-day visa for $US40 upon arrival at Kathmandu airport or any of the land borders with India. You can also obtain a double entry visa for 15 days on US$30.

If you wish to extend your visa you can apply for a 30-day extension at the Immigration Department, which will cost $US30, and can be paid for in local currency.

Permits are required for trekking in the Mt Everest, Langtang or Annapurna area.