Nepal has a lot to offer to travelers, hikers, and nature seekers. Nepal, it is often said, is a Shangri-La of natural beauty. The awe-inspiring scenic beauty of Himalayas in the northern part of Nepal is not only astonishing but offers a lifetime experience to customers. Who will not want to enjoy the grandeur of being in the middle of spurring mountain desert in Mustang to the embankment of sparkler clear Rara Lake?
1. Where is Nepal?
Nepal is a landlocked country located in southern Asia couched between two Asian giants India and China. Nepal is geographically, culturally and linguistically diverse. The capital city of the country is Kathmandu, commonly known as ‘city of temples’ where we can explore traditional artistic beauty. Draped along the greatest heights of the Himalaya, Nepal is where the ice-cold of the mountains meets the steamy heat of the Indian plains. Moreover, it's a land of yaks and yetis, stupas and Sherpas and some of the best trekking on earth. The Himalaya's most sophisticated urban cultures took shape here, in the three great mini kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley- Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur - home to a world-class artistic and architectural heritage.
2. What is Nepal known for?
Nepal is known for Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world and Lord Buddha, who was the pioneer of the Buddhist religion. Besides, among 14 eight thousand meters cross mountains in the world, eight are located in this naturally beautiful country. Nepal has been the focus of outstanding achievements in the world of peak climbing expeditions with the identification of more than one thousand peaks above 6,000 meters. Trekking through the Everest region offers astounding mountain views, an opportunity to take a glimpse into the life of world heritage sites, discovering a variety of Himalayan flora and faunas, and an opportunity to explore the highest Buddhist monasteries in the world. Overall, Nepal is known for its hospitality and the local people believes in the mantra ‘Atithi Debo Bhaba’ (Guest are god).
3. When's the best time to visit Nepal?
The peak seasons for trekking are the spring (Mar to May) and the fall (Sep to Nov) when you'll have clear skies and superb mountain views. Keep in mind, this is also when the trails are most crowded (although there are ways to avoid the crowds). The winter (Dec to Feb) and summer (Jun to Aug) months are also great times to visit—although weather can be unpredictable, these months offer a unique experience and fewer crowds. For Chitwan (Nepal's southern jungle region), winter is the best time to visit when the temperatures are pleasant and the foliage less dense to allow for better wildlife sightings.
4. Can I trek in the Himalayas even if I haven't done any trekking before?
Absolutely, in fact, it's a great place to start. As part of our job, one of the most important things we do is ascertain your experience and ambitions, and find the trek to best match these. However hard or easy you'd like it, however much or little experience you have, we have the perfect trek for you.
5. What to wear in Nepal?
Nepal has a wide range of climates therefore both light and warm clothing in casual and comfortable styles. In the mountain areas, warm woolen clothing is necessary while at lower altitude cotton clothing is ideal. Bring any stuff and you will always be wearing to your comfort. If you missed any of your clothes, don't worry you can buy Nepalese garments.
6. Are there ATM facilities in Nepal?
There are many ATM machines in the Kathmandu and Pokhara Valley. ATM machines are slowly being introduced to other cities like Bhuwtal and Dharan.
What types of cards are accepted? Debit or Credit? Visas or Masters or Discovers or Dinners?
Most popular cards accepted in Nepal are VISA, MASTERCARD, and American Express. Both Debit and Credit Cards are accepted here.
7. How do I get my visa for Nepal?
For most nationalities, you can get your visa on arrival in Kathmandu. It takes around 45 minutes and is the most convenient way to get your visa. You can also apply for a visa in advance from a local Nepali consulate in your country if you'd like to have everything arranged in advance.
8. Time Difference
Nepal is 1 hour and 45 minutes ahead of the United Arab Emirates
9. What is the national language of Nepal?
Nepal’s national language is called Nepali. It is written in Devnagri Script. This script is the same as the one used in the Hindi language – the national language of India. There are more than 72 different spoken languages in Nepal. It is also the official language of Nepal.
Here are some of the words that you need to know in the Nepali language.
a. Hello – Namaskāra
b. Good morning - Śubha - prabhātaTaxi - ṬyāksīBus - BasaTrain Ṭrēna
10. Getting Around Nepal
If you really want to get a feel of the pulse of the city, try local transportation like public buses, battery-run three-wheelers. You could even try rides on local rickshaws, ponies or bullock-carts where they're available. For some quick sightseeing as well as time-saving, the rickshaw is the best.
Government-run green buses known as Sajha Bus are comfortable and run along the north-south and east-west main roads of the valley. These buses stop only at designated bus stops, therefore, one has to identify the nearest Sajha bus stop to be able to board one. Other buses are also available for transportation to different parts of the valley.
Hail a taxi, which is easily recognized by its taxi sign on top and black license plate. Private taxis may charge slightly higher. No tip is expected. Night taxi service can also be arranged and operated by major hotels. One can rent a private car through a travel agent or a car rental company.
Mountain bikes and ordinary bicycles are cheap and the best form of transportation for economy tourists. One can hire them at Thamel, Rani Pokhari and Jhochhen, all in Kathmandu. Mountain bikes can also be hired in Pokhara.
11. Unique Souvenirs You Can Buy in Nepal
a. Thangka paintings - Thangkas are a traditional hand-painting on cotton or silk canvas, and an emblem of the rich culture of the country. These religious scroll paintings can take six to eighteen months to make, depending on the size and details added. Perfect for hanging on your wall, thangkas can command quite a sum as they are meticulously crafted following rigid specifications laid down in detail, but they are definitely worth it.
b. Khukuri knife - Khukuri knives are exquisite pieces of Nepali craftsmanship. This famous knife used by the Nepali Gurkha soldiers is also commonly used in every village in Nepal. Many of these knives found in Kathmandu today are specifically made for tourists as a keepsake, making them a must-buy souvenir when visiting the country. Being the national knife of Nepal, it is presented as a token of love on special occasions. They are a great centerpiece and conversation starter that symbolize bravery, and are a unique memento to take back home. Just don’t forget to pack them in your checked luggage!
c. Singing bowl - Singing bowls can make up for interesting souvenirs, with a multitude of uses when you get back home. These hand-crafted metal musical instruments emit continuous harmonic sound and vibration from the rim when struck by a padded mallet in circles. The vibration produced by the bowl is said to have perfect healing qualities, and ideal while meditating. The bowls come in various sizes, and antique singing bowls are often hand-hammered and crafted by at least three skilled artisans. All roadside vendors at the Durbar Squares in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan have stalls of singing bowls on display. You should invest in a singing bowl if you’re planning to meditate, or if you just want a calming experience.
d. Handicrafts - From miniature Hindu and Buddhist deities to life-sided carved wooden masks to terracotta puppets, handicrafts are in abundance in Nepal. These one-of-a-kind handmade crafts are intricately detailed and make for a beautiful wall hanging and showpieces. Just don’t buy antique pieces, as it’s illegal to take them out of the country.
e. Tea - Different varieties of tea–like oolong, Earl Grey, green, masala, silver tips and golden tips–are all available in beautiful packets. When visiting restaurants in the country, a cup of milk tea is worth trying, and if you get addicted to sweet Nepali chiya, take some back home.
f. Jewelry - There is little doubt that the way to a woman’s heart is through fine jewelry, and jewelry as exotic and colorful as that found in Nepal could make many a woman happy. Whether silver or gold, beads or semi-precious stones, blue lapis or yak bone, Nepal has it all. You can either buy something readymade or custom made, or you can opt to buy individual beads to create your own necklace.