The below FAQ is designed and intended to provide the answer for many queries of the people who are planning and preparing to visit Nepal. The questions listed here, and their respective answers are just meant only as a general guide to assist you plan and organize your trip before you actually hit the road. They are not meant to be a detailed out on the road guide. For further details information and more on day to day travel guidance, get hold of one of many outstanding travel books that have been published over the years to help traveler. Many of them are available in bookstores around the world but if you can’t find one in a store near you, don’t worry, you can get them in Nepal once you arrive here.
1. Where is Nepal?
Nepal is 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. Can I get Nepal visa on arrival?
Yes! Nepal visa is easily available up on arrival in the entry places. Make the process easier by downloading & completing the application form, having the correct USD cash and two passport photographs.
3. Do I need to pay for my child’s visa?
Any children below 10 years have visa fee exemption.
4. Is there any other important information that I should be aware of before I come to Nepal?
Some regular routine work could involve the following:
- Foreigners are requested to get the arrival/departure stamps on their passport at the entry/exit points to avoid further legal complications.
- Living in Nepal without passport or a valid visa is a punishable offense.
- A trekking permit is essential for any purpose of visit to Nepal’s protected area.
- Foreigners are advised to be aware of brokers/cheaters or any counterfeit documents of visa/trekking permit to avoid legal complications.
- Foreigners are advised to visit/trek through recognized agency. Please do not seek support of any unauthorized person.
- Foreigners are advised to contact the Department of Immigration for visa transfers.
- Please don’t take out the visa stickers from passport and do not try to temper printed matters in the passport.
5. How to enter Nepal?
By air: Some of the major international airlines operating schedule services to Nepal are Royal Nepal Airlines, British Airways, Biman Bangladesh, China South West Airlines, Druk Air, Gulf Air, India Air, Thai Airways, Qatar, Pakistan Air, Jet Air and Singapore Airlines. By air, you will arrive at the Tribhuvan International Airport (only one international airport) located in the heart of Kathmandu City.
By Road: There are several entry points by land route mainly from Nepal / Indian borders;
Scheduled public as well as tourist buses run to and from Kathmandu. Traveling by bus is recommended if you can cope with 10 to 12 hours of long drive in return for a fascinating mountainous views and snail tail roads that meet above the clouds.
6. When is the best time to travel in Nepal?
The weather is probably the best guide for deciding when to plan your trip to Nepal. The best time to visit Nepal is between September to November and February to May.
7. What is the national language of Nepal?
Nepal’s national language is called Nepali. It is written in Devnagari Script. There are more than 123 different spoken languages in Nepal. It is also official language of Nepal.
8. What’s the common form of greeting in Nepal?
It is called Namaste or Namaskar. You can say the greeting in words as well as do it using a gesture. Join your palms together and bring them close to your chest and about 5 to 7 inches below your chin. The word Namaste has many meanings such as Hello, How are you? I am glad to see you, nice to meet you, good morning, etc.
9. What are some basic Nepali customs that I should know about?
- Take off your shoes before entering a temple or one’s home.
- Ask for permission before entering a Hindu temple.
- Taking photographs inside the most temples are considered illegal.
- Ask for permission before taking photographs of objects, and including Nepali people.
- Nepali people are friendly by nature. Have a genuine interest in them. Talk to them. Be friendly as you travel.
10. What time is it now in Nepal and what’s the phone code?
Nepali time is GMT/UTC plus 5 Hours 45 minutes. Area code for dialing to Nepal: Country Code: 977 Kathmandu City Code: 1 (e.g. 977 1 4360935 First three digits is the country code, second is the area code, the last digits are telephone numbers.
11. What is the currency of Nepal?
Nepalese currency is spelled as Nepalese Rupees or Rupee (Rs) or Nepali Rupee, and in short it is written NRS or RS. 100 Paisa equals 1 Rs. Currently Notes of the following denominations are used: 1000, 500, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, 2, and 1 rupees. Coin hasn’t been popular in Nepal and hence is almost always ignored in business. The coins of the following denominations can be found: 1 paisa, 5 paisa, 10 paisa, 50 paisa and 1 Rs, 2 Rs, and 5 Rs. It is recommended that you travel with smaller notes in less populated areas, while large notes are easily accepted elsewhere.
12. Are there ATM facilities in Nepal?
Yes, in Kathmandu and Pokhara. International credit cards (Master Card, Visa Card etc) are also accepted in all leading hotels, shopping centers, bars and restaurants in Nepal.
13.Will my Cell phone (mobile phone) work in Nepal?
Please, Contact your service provider and check if Nepal country is included in their `Global roaming’ package. Please note, not all parts of Nepal are covered by the GSM Network in Nepal.
14.What are health requirements to visit Nepal?
Nepal does not require any specific immunization for visitors. It is however best to have vaccine before coming to Nepal. Your doctors can advice you on the type of vaccine to be taken to travel to third world countries like Nepal.
15.What about getting to Nepal from Tibet?
The crossing between Nepal and Tibet via Kodari is only open to organized groups but not to individual travelers heading north. Be prepared with alternative plans if you’re thinking about using this route, because landslides regularly make it impassable during the monsoon.
16.What sort of experience do your guides have?
All of our guides have spent years exploring the mountains and countryside of Nepal. All guides speak English and have a deep knowledge of the various trekking routes. Our guides are trained in first aid and know how to react in any situation. And most importantly our guides are friendly and enjoyable and want to share with you the true beauty of Nepal.
17.What should I carry on my day packed?
Packed for yourself and carry during the day:
- water bottled
- camera and films that you need during the day
- medicines (if you are taking any medicine)
- anti-sun burn lotion
- rain coat/ umbrella
18.Can you just tell me types of trekking you are running?
Currently we are running two types of trekking:
Tea House Trek: This is very budget oriented trip that just provides the essentials for trekking. We provide a guide and porter who show you the way and carry the gear. You stay and eat in local tea houses along the way.
Camping Treks: All of our off the beaten path treks require us to bring our own camping and kitchen facilities. We provide a guide, porters, a cook and a deep knowledge of all these unique areas. This is not a backpacking trip because we cook all meals, carry all the gear and pitch every camp. All camping spots have the best view possible of your surrounding environment.
19. What is the routine on the trek?
Trekkers normally start their walk early, after a hot breakfast, to enjoy the morning sun bathing the peaks. Carry a light sack for your camera, lunch box and your wind cheater. Ask the manager to arrange for porters beforehand, who can carry your other baggage and all equipment – leaving you free to enjoy the peace and beauty of the mountains and valleys. By late afternoon you could reach your new destination where a camp and the food is set up by the trek staff.
On a camping trek with group evenings generally tend to be lively with some porter entertaining you with his tribal song while his friends improvise musical instruments or just having a lively camp fire discussion of your own.
Early morning, a hand stretches out with a hot mug of tea followed by warm water for a wash. Cooked breakfast and off you go again to your new destination.
20. Is the country politically stable and safe?
Nepal is one of the new democratic countries in the world with many active political parties, ideas and leaders. As such there might be some disturbances in some parts of the country. But it does not affect the daily life of the residents in other parts. Life moves on as usual, unperturbed.
21. Are the trails crowded?
On a off the beaten treks, you may find no other foreigners apart from your group for days on end. At the peak season, you may probably see some other trekkers. Even on traditional treks there will be far less people than you would see on a normal walking trail at home.
23. What photographic equipment should I take?
Most trekkers would like to record their trip on film. Himalayan treks offer a wealth of photographic possibilities and carrying a little extra photography equipment can be worth its weight. Single reflex cameras with interchangeable lenses are most suitable for the situations that you will encounter. Lenses should include a wide angle (28-35 mm) for buildings and landscapes, a tele-photo (70-200 mm) for un-obtrusive portraits and close-ups of mountain peaks. A macro lens will help you photograph flowers of Himalaya. Carry plenty of film as you will probably end up taking more photographs than you planned (a roll a day should suffice). Make sure you have waterproof covering for your camera, equipment and extra batteries. You will need an ultra violet and polarizing filter for high altitudes.
24. What about overnight accommodation?
Where possible most operators prefer to organize the stay in country side hotels or rest houses. For the major part of the trek, the accommodation would however be tend to be in tents on twin sharing basis. Bathroom and sanitation facilities are improvised and made as comfortable as possible.
25. How long a trek goes?
Generally the trek duration depends on your interest and location of trek. Your trek can last anywhere from 2-3 days to an entire month or longer if you wish. We can accommodate day hikes, cultural visits to local villages, and relaxing rest days on your trek. The decision is up to you.
26. How difficult are the treks?
The difficulty of our treks depends on where you want to trek and how long you want to go. The shorter Treks tend to be easier while the longer ones require some physical fitness. Be prepared for some steep trails leading to amazing views. The pace at which you hike is up to you. We have friendly and dependable porters to assist you with your personal gear.
28. What are the Tea Houses like?
Tea houses are a way of life for almost all trekkers. They are the combination of guest house, restaurant, and social hang out. We encourage all trekkers along the Everest, Langtang, and Annapurna treks to try our tea house treks. Our many years of experience along these routes have helped us find the friendliest, cleanest, and most enjoyable tea houses with the best views. Most tea houses have running water. Many have hot water available for bathing. But we discourage our groups from using water heated by wood fires due to lack of firewood in most villages. Deforestation is a big environmental concern in Nepal. They are also a great way help support local villages.
29. Will we have private rooms and bathrooms?
Private rooms are available in most tea houses except for those at very high altitudes. Most bathrooms are shared. On our lodge treks we also provide someone to clean all bathroom facilities for our groups. Our lodge treks also include bed and pillow covers.
30. What type of food is served on a trek?
Normally hot meals are served all along the trip, though at times packed lunches may be given when distances between stops do not permit cooking. A variety of nepali and continental dishes are prepared with fresh vegetables depend on place. Most of the trips have an accompanying cook to take care of the details.
31. How safe is the food?
Food safety is always a big concern when visiting a foreign country. Which is why we do our best to choose tea houses and restaurants with clean and sanitary kitchens? On our lodge treks, we provide a cook to prepare safe and tasty meals with our own set of cookery as well as hygienic cleaning facilities. The food we serve on camping trips is completely safe.
32. Where do we get water during the trip?
All tea houses have boiled water for trekkers. Your guide will provide you with all the water you need during your trek. We discourage the purchase of bottled water while on the trail. The plastic bottles are difficult to dispose off and have become an environmental problem.
33. Is the water safe to drink?
Your guide will be in charge of all your water needs. He will make sure all water is boiled and treat it with iodine. Iodine is 100% effective in killing the bacteria in water.
34. What clothes should I bring?
Choosing the right clothing is very important. You want to have enough clothes to stay warm or cool yet not over pack. Usually you will have warm days and cold nights. A warm jacket either fleece or down can be nice for the evening. Long under wear and wool socks are good for warmth too. We encourage people to bring a light pair of pants and shorts for hiking. Sunscreen and glasses are a must. Rain and hail can appear on a trek so we suggest a Gore-Tex jacket. Most gear can be purchased in Kathmandu or Pokhara at one of the many outdoor gear shops.
35. What type of shoes or boots should I wear?
The proper foot wear depends on the trek. Shorter treks can be done in comfortable running shoes while longer ones require sturdy but light weight hiking boots. Shoes and boots are best purchased before arriving in Nepal. Proper fit is a must for boots. And we encourage wearing your boots before the trek to wear them in.
36. What will the weather be like?
Weather affects everything in Nepal and trekking is no exception. Sudden rain storms or snow flurries are always a possibility. The weather during the trekking season is somewhat more stable. We pay close attention to weather reports during the trekking season.
37. Will I get altitude sickness?
It depends from person to person, while one may get sick at a lower altitude, the other might not get affected even at a much higher altitude. Altitude sickness can be a worry for many people coming from sea level. Our guides are trained to spot any signs of altitude sickness and know how to react.
39. How about an insurance?
To protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend you take out a ‘medical insurance policy’ in your home country. The medical policy should include coverage of transportation costs in the event of emergency helicopter or surface evacuation being required. We regret that such insurance policies are not available for places like Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan.
40. How much money should I bring for the trek?
The amount of money you bring on a trek depends on you. Cold sodas during the day and an occasional beer after a long day of hiking can be awfully nice. These along with any souvenirs and film are personal expenses.
41. What is High Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness often known as acute mountain sickness (A.M.S) in general may occur when people ascend too quickly normally in altitudes of over 3000m.The symptoms are as follows:
1. Normal AMS Symptoms – Should expect but not worry.
Following are the normal altitude symptoms that you should expect but not be worried about. Every trekker will experience some or all of these, no matter how slowly they ascend.
- Periods of sleeplessness.
- Need more sleep than normal (often 10 hours or more)
- Occasional loss of appetite.
- Vivid, wild dreams especially at around 2500-3800 meters in altitude.
- Periodic breathing.
- The need to rest/catch your breath frequently while trekking, especially above 3500 meters.
- Running nose.
- Increasing urination while moving to/at higher altitudes (a good sign)
2. Mild AMS Symptoms – NEVER GO HIGHER
Many trekkers in the high valleys of the Himalaya get mild AMS, admit or acknowledge that you are having symptoms. You need have only one of the following symptoms to be getting altitude sickness.
- Mild headache.
- Dry Raspy cough
- Loss of appetite
- Runny noseHard to breathe
42.What to do about Altitude Sickness?
Altitude illness can be prevented by acclimatization; that is, by a graduate rate of ascent (not more than 400 – 500 meters), allowing sufficient rest at various intermediate altitudes. The dry air of the mountains tends to dehydrate you so an increased fluid intake is necessary. Try to drink at least four liters of water a day. On the trail you can drink hot garlic soup that will help you to some extent. When we reach to our destination it is better to make some hiking up to a bit higher point and come down to the camp or hotel. This is a really good way to get acclimatization. You may take a Diamox 250mg tablet the night before flying / going to altitude. After the symptoms will often disappear and the trek can be resumed.
If you feel obviously suffering from the serious symptoms of AMS then descent should not be delayed even if it means going down in dark. In such case, should an emergency situation arise, horse, or porter will be arranged; or I myself carry you and run to lower (descend) altitudes. There are 3 radios in Namche Bazaar, Doctors at Khunde hospital in the Everest Area and HRA Clinics and in some trekking areas also has the Gamow Bag. The hospital or the clinic will take fees or charges for such services. I can arrange for immediate evacuation, by horse or helicopter, depending on the severity of the case.