From the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu valley to the fascinating beauty of the world’s tallest peaks, the warm and welcoming smiles of locals to the staggering landscape of hills and plains with an appetizing local dish, there is so much to love about this amazing Himalayan country. The birthplace of Gautam Buddha is home to majestic Mt. Everest along with seven other eight-thousanders, deepest gorges in the world to different diversities of culture and tradition with amazing geographical landscapes in the width of just 230kilometers from north to south – Nepal is an ultimate destination to many tourists from all over the world. But before you make a plan of traveling to Nepal, you should know a little more about this epic country. From what to expect at the airport on the day of your arrival to how to get around, where to stay, what to eat, what gears/cloths to carry, and how to travel cautiously – here is EVERYTHING you need to know before traveling to Nepal.
Visa to enter Nepal
Tribhuvan International Airport located at Kathmandu (1,338m) is currently the one and only international airport in Nepal, whereas Pokhara Int. Airport, Nijgadh Int. Airport and Gautam Buddha int. Airports are under construction in different parts of Nepal soon to be completed. On the day of your arrival, you can get an on-arrival visa at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport or you can apply online from Nepal Government’s official site up to 15 days before your arrival. Getting an on-arrival visa at the airport can take time during peak tourist seasons of September to December and February to May. Make sure you have a few copies of passport size photos with you while traveling to Nepal.
ATM availability & Things cost in Nepal:
The current currency rate dated 28/11/2020
1 USD = 118.45 NPR
1 EUR = 141.71 NPR
ATMs are easily available in city areas, but not in remote areas. If you are looking for a trek up to 1 or 2 weeks make sure you take enough cash before your trek. Nepal is one of the affordable destinations for tourists. You’ll be spending an average of 25-35 USD per day if you are a solo traveler and if you are associated with trekking and travel agencies then it might cost you a little bit more. Tips at a restaurant or hotel are welcome but not compulsory, although tipping for trekking guides and porters are highly expected. Here are some examples of how things normally cost in Nepal:
- Normal Nepalese meal (Dal Bhat): 300-400 NPR.
- A plate of famous dumplings (Momo): 100-200 NPR.
- A cup of local Tea: 20-50 NPR.
- Chilled Beer: 350-500 NPR.
- Western Meal (city area): 1,000-1,500 NPR.
- Room in Kathmandu and Pokhara: 1,500-2,500 NPR (room rates differ from places and standard of hotel and services)
- A plate of famous Newari lunch set: 250-350 NPR.
The cost of trekking and city tour guide per day is an average of 1,500 NPR to 2,000 NPR. A taxi from the airport to Thamel (main tourist hub of Kathmandu) is about $5-$6, no EFTPOS or ATM card service are available in cabs. It’s better you exchange some amount of money or take out the cash from ATMs available at the airport while you’re traveling to Nepal.
NOTE: Always tip your trekking guide and porters.
How to travel around the city
Cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara are the popular tourist hubs of the country and are almost packed with tourists in peak season. There are seven world heritage sites listed by UNESCO in Kathmandu valley only along with some other popular sites like Garden of Dreams, Thamel, Shivapuri National Park, Sanga Shiva Mandir, Khokana village, etc. Every site is scattered around the valley. Public vehicles (bus, microbus) are available in almost every corner but not seriously recommended to foreign travelers, one limitation that you might have to face in Nepal is its public transport; it’s pretty tough. But you can always use a taxi to travel around if you are a solo traveler. Tourist bus services are available from one city to another. Popular route Kathmandu-Pokhara in a tourist bus will cost you around 1,000 NPR. Travel agencies will provide the service of sight-seeing if you are visiting the country under their guidance.
You can also download the app me free on your mobile which will make it easier for you to travel or walk around. Maps.me will work offline but first you need to download the offline map of your current location (Nepal). You don’t have to get a taxi or any vehicles to reach Swayambhunath (world heritage site) or Garden of dreams if you are staying in Thamel, those sites are just walking distance away from Thamel. In this case, you can use the offline map and explore the area as per your wish. You can always ask for the location of your destination to the locals in case you are lost, Nepali people are very helpful. Traveling around the city from one place to another by taxi will cost you around $5-$15 according to kilometers travel. Buy a proper map in map shops in Thamel for a backup. Make sure to carry a bottle of water in your bag, tap water is rarely available and it’s not highly recommended to drink from taps, especially in Kathmandu.
Buy a Sim Card and Mask after your arrival
Although Nepal is a beautiful country, it can get very dusty especially in Kathmandu. If you are traveling around the city and even in the hilly part of the country, you will see a lot of unpaved and dusty roads. Make sure you cover your face with a mask or a scarf.
Nepal has one of the cheapest internet providers service. You can make calls or use internet data for a very small amount of money. Just look out for NCELL SHOP (service provider of Nepal) and buy a SIM card for 100 NPR and buy the internet data. It’s better you get a sim card at the airport NCELL shop, it is recommended that you buy the sim at the airport before you enter the hustle and bustle of the city.
Finish your shopping at Thamel, Kathmandu
Thamel is the main hub of Kathmandu for foreign travelers. Everything you need for your journey to Nepal including trekking gears, mobile and electronic accessories, clothes, foods, and snacks, etc. are easily available in Thamel for an affordable price. Make sure to get your shopping done before you start your trek or journey to the high Himalayas region, the further and higher you go prices of goods start increasing. Anything from high to low quality is easily available in the streets of Thamel.
Nepal is home to many highest peaks in the world. Given its unimaginable landscapes and terrain, surely Nepal is one of the best destinations for adventure tourism. Millions of tourists from all over the globe are traveling to Nepal every year for different adventurous gateway. Not only Trekking and Mountaineering Nepal has so much to offer for adventure lovers like Paragliding, Mountain flight, Ultralight flight, Mountain biking, Zip flyer, Bungee Jumping, Rafting, Canyoning, Kayaking, Skydiving, Jungle Safari, etc. Bhotekoshi river which sits only a few hours’ drive away from Kathmandu offers one of the world’s highest bungee. Spend a day or two and experience bungee and white water rafting at Bhotekoshi, one of the best rafting experiences in the world. Trekking or hiking alone is risky, hiring a guide is highly recommended.
Trekking in Nepal
If you’ve made it to Nepal, then there is a high chance that you’re anxious about trekking into the Himalayas– as Nepal is home to the eight-highest peaks on the planet together with uncountable snowcapped mountains. Want to feel the real beauty of Nepal ?? then going into the Himalayas will be the best decision. It is also the opportunity to explore the beautiful country along with its traditional culture and people that surely makes trekking in Nepal the best in the world. Enjoy the epic view of towering majestic mountains and the unimaginable landscape of this beautiful country through trekking. Here are certain things that you need to know before traveling to Nepal or planning a trek here:
- Trekking Permit: Every foreign trekker needs a trekking permit to trek in Nepal. You need to organize a Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card. It is literally a trekking card for all trekking purposes inside the country. Your travel agents will organize a TIMS card if you are a booked guest. If you are a solo traveler, just visit the office of the Nepal Tourism Board at Kathmandu to register for a TIMS card.
- Best time to trek in Nepal: There are four main seasons to consider when planning trekking in Nepal- Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Monsoon (the summer season).
- The post-monsoon season from mid-September to mid-December is considered as the peak trekking season. The weather and sky are usually clear all the time which offers magnificent Himalayan views. Though peak seasons means busier trail.
- The spring season is considered the second busiest season for trekking in Nepal. It begins in March and lasts till the end of April. During these months, the days are long, the temperature is warm, the Himalayas are clearly visible and the trails are decorated with rhododendron flowers- the national flower of Nepal.
- The Monsoon (summer season) is not ideal for trekking in Nepal, unless if you are a keen hiker and want to travel the Dolpo- a wild and remote area of Nepal that is close to the Tibetan border. The summer months in this region are warm with much less rainfall and ideal for trekking.
- The Winter season from December to March should be avoided by trekkers. These months are filled up with snow in high Himalaya areas, blanketing and blocking trails, and high pass.
- Buy your trekking gears in Kathmandu: Everything you need for trekking in Nepal can be easily found in Kathmandu. Thamel streets of Kathmandu offers a big choice of different equipment and gears for trekking and mountaineering purposes. Anything you need from high quality to budget quality is found in the streets of Thamel, it is literally a shopping paradise for trekkers. Once you arrive in Kathmandu, make a list of things you need to buy and explore the streets of Thamel. From high-quality trekking gears of top brands like North-face, Mountain outdoor, Petzl, Black diamond, etc. to medium and budget-friendly gears are easily available.
What to pack in your bag pack for trekking in Nepal??
It is very important to figure out what you are going to carry before you start your adventurous journey to Nepal. The duration of your trek, which season are you traveling, and the elevation you are planning to reach play a role in what things need to be packed for your trip. Trekking in Nepal is all about going higher into the Himalayas and the duration will last for 1 to 2 weeks. You’ll be staying at a tea house so there is no need to carry a tent and food. It can get pretty cold up high in the mountains almost every season, normally at night, the temperature will go down up to -10 or even higher. A complete trekking gear list will help you sort out the essential things you need during the trek.
|Clothing||Footwears||Accessories & Equipment|
|Down Jacket||Trekking Shoes||Sunglasses & Sunscreen|
|Sunscreen||Sandals||Pair of trekking sticks|
|Waterproof jacket||Socks (woolen & thin)||Duffle Bag|
|T-shirts||Water bottle and purifying tablets|
|Trekking pants & trousers||Raincoats (optional)|
|Thermal Coats||Torch or Headlamps|
|Fleece Jacket||Toiletries and toilet paper|
|Shorts||Trekking map or compass|
|Inner Wears||Sleeping Bag|
|Woolen hat||Trail map/guide book|
|Long sleeved shirt||Cameras & power bank|
|Towels and Hankies||Hand sanitizer|
TIP: It’s better not to trek alone, always trek with a group or guide.
Altitude sickness might be a problem for you. Visit your doctor before the trek and ask for suggestions. Diamox and drinking plenty of hot water is one of the best ways to tackle altitude sickness. Your group leader or guide will be always there for you to help.
What to eat in Nepal?
Anyone who has been to Nepal before must have definitely heard the famous phrase “Dhal Bhat Power 24 Hour”. Dal Bhat is a typical Nepalese dish which consists of white rice, lentils, veg or meat curry with a side of pickle and spices. Every Nepalese eat this meal at least once a day. This popular and heavy meal is perfect during the trek which will give you much-needed energy for the whole day.
Nepalese food is amazingly delicious. Some of the popular foods like momo (dumplings), Chowmin (fried noodles), Newari lunch set, Chicken Sekuwa, etc. are easily available in every corner of Nepal. Trust me, goat meat curry will also never disappoint you while you’re traveling to Nepal.
Don’t miss out on momos (Nepalese dumplings) filled with veggies or a choice of meat; chicken or buff with a side of mouth-watering delicious achar (dipping sauce).
To conclude, these are the most important things you will have to consider while traveling to Nepal. If you think we have missed anything, or are traveling to Nepal and have any questions, don’t forget to comment down below or email your queries to [email protected]. We would be happy to respond to you!