Country Information

LOCATION: It borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China in the North and India in the East, South and West respectively.

AREA: 147,181 sq. kilometres.

ALTITUDE: Varies from 70 meters to 8848 meters.

CAPITAL: Kathmandu.

POPULATION: 2,30,91,097

LANGUAGE: Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people understand and speak English as well.

TIME: Nepal Time is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time.

CLIMATE: Nepal has four major seasons, namely,
  1. Winter: December-February,
  2. Spring: March-May,
  3. Summer: June-August,
  4. Autumn: September- November
Nepal can be visited the whole year round.

PEOPLE & RELIGION:
Nepalese people are mainly divided into two distinct groups the Indo-Aryans and the Mangoloids. Kathmandu Valley is the spiritual and cultural meeting point of all these groups. Hindu Temples and Buddhist shrines are scattered all over the kingdom. Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the Light of Asia. There is a complex blending of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal.

WHAT TO WEAR:
Except in formal gathering informal clothes are acceptable mostly everywhere. Warm garments are required in October-March. An umbrella or a rain coat is must for the rainy season.

CURRENCY & FOREIGN EXCHANGE:
Nepali Rupee notes come in Rs. 1, Rs. 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10, Rs. 20, Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denominations. Coins come in 5p, 1 0p, 25p, Rs. 1 & Rs. 5 denominations.

Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through the banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from such transactions are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange foreign currency at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival. Visitor other than the Indian nationals have to make the payment in hotels, travel or trekking agencies and air tickets in foreign currency. Non-Indian visitors are not allowed to import or export Indian Currency. The approximate value of one US Dollar is equivalent to Rs. 74.55 as of 8 July 2010.

ENTRY PROCEDURES:
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold a passport and a valid visa. The visas can be obtained at the Nepalese Diplomatic Missions and Consuls abroad and entry points issue visa for a 15 days. The visa will be extended at the Department of Immigration, Maitighar, Kathmandu, and Tel: 977-1-4223590 / 4222453 / 4223681/ 4221996 / 4224757, web: http://www.immi.gov.np . The Department also issues multi entry visa for the visitors.

ENTRY POINTS:
By Air: 1. Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
By Land:
2. Immigration Office, Kakarvitta, Jhapa (Eastern Nepal)
3. Immigration Office, Birganj, Parsa (Central Nepal)
4. Immigration Office, Kodari, Sindhupalchowk (Northern Border)
5. Immigration Office, Belahia, Bhairahawa (Rupandehi, Western Nepal)
6. Immigration Office, Jamunaha, Nepalgunj (Banke, Mid Western Nepal)
7. Immigration Office, Mohana, Dhangadhi (Kailali, Far Western Nepal)
8. Immigration Office, Gaddachauki, Mahendranagar (Kanchanpur, Far Western Nepal)
9. Immigration Office, Pokhara (not the entry point)

CUSTOMS:
All baggage is subject to customs' check at the point of entry. Visitors are allowed to bring in the consumable articles such as liquor one bottle up 1.15 litres, 200 sticks of cigarette, 15 rolls of photo film and 12 rolls of movie camera film. Visitors are also allowed to carry one binocular, one camera, one movie camera, one video camera, one radio, one tape recorder, one bicycle, one wrist watch, one set of fountain pen, one perambulator, 15 radio cassettes & 10 disk records into the country on the condition that they are declared and are to be taken back on return. Carrying narcotics, arms and ammunitions are strictly prohibited. Visitors can export souvenirs to their respective countries. The export of antiques requires special certificate from the Department of Archaeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu (Tel: 4215358), Gold, silver, precious stones, wild animals and their skins, horns, etc, all drugs whether processed or in their natural state, are prohibited to export.

TRAVEL ROUTE:
Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flights to/from Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Other international airlines operating from/ to Kathmandu are Air Arabia (Sharjah), Air China (Lhasa, Chengdu), ArkeFly(Amsterdam ), Bahrain Air (Bahrain ), Biman Bangladesh (Dhaka), China Southern Airlines (Guanzhou), China Eastern (Kunming), Dragon Air (Hong Kong), Druk Air (Delhi, Paro), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi),Fly Dubai (Dubai), GMG Airlines (Dhaka), Gulf Air (Bahrain, Muscat), Indian Airlines (Delhi, Kolkotta, Varanasi), Jet Airways (Delhi, Mumbai), Jet Lite (Delhi), Kingfisher Airlines (Delhi), Korean Air (Seoul), Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi), Qatar Airways (Doha), Silk Air (Singapore) and Thai Airways (Bangkok).

Airfares fluctuate with the changes in exchange rates and are to be paid in foreign currency by foreign nationals. Only Nepalese and Indian nationals are permitted to pay in rupees for air passage between Nepal and India. Departure flight tickets should be reconfirmed three days in advance to avoid inconveniences by possible flight cancellation or changes in the flight schedule. Overweight luggage charges are levied in foreign exchange Traveling by road/Entry Points
All visitors entering Nepal by land must use these designated entry points and may not enter from any other point:

Nepal-India border
Kakarbhitta
Birgunj
Belhiya, Bhairahawa
Nepalgunj
Dhangadi
Mahendra Nagar
Kodari, Nepal-China border
Overland tourists entering the country with their vehicles must possess an international carnet.

AIRPORT TAX:
No more required any airport taxes for departure to other international destinations. For domestic flights those flying within Nepal are required to pay Rs.170.

INTERNAL TRANSPORT: Nepal Arilines has an extensive network of air services in the interior of Nepal. This include Taplejung, Bhadrapur, Rajbiraj, Bhojpur, Phapl, Lukla, Lamidanda Tumlingtar, Rumjatar, and Biratnagar in the East; Nepalgunj, Chaurjhari, Surkhet, Dang, Rolpa and Jumla, in the Mid-West, and kolti, Mahendranagar, Dhangadi, Silgadi (Doti), Tikapur, Sanphebagar, Baitadi, and Darchula in the Far Western Region. Besides Nepal Airlines, the other domestic airlines such as Agni air, air dynasty, avia club Nepal, Buddha air, cosmic air, flying dragon, guna air, gorkha airlines, karnali air services, sangria- la air, shree airlinese, simrik air, sita air and yeti air provide regular and charter services to different popular domestic destinations.

MOUNTAIN FLIGHT: Nepal Airlines and other private domestic Airlines; Agni air, Avia club Nepal, Buddha air, Cosmic air, Guna air, Gorkha airlines, Sita air and yeti air operate breathtaking mountain flights for the tourists round the year.

AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION:
In addition to metered taxis, pre-booked car, van, minibus, bus and other service is also available at the airport for transport to hotels in the city.

OTHER TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENTS:
Metered taxis having black plates with white figures are available in Kathmandu. Tourist plate car, van, bus are available as well as private car on hire. Bicycles, motorcycles and rickshaws are also available on hire. The fare for the bicycles or motorcycles is fixed whereas the fare of rickshaws is to be negotiated. There are regular bus services between the main towns of the Kathmandu Valley. The Bus Terminal is located at Gongabu (new bus terminal) and Bagbazar (old bus terminal). Similarly, scheduled bus services for outside the Valley operate from the Gongabu Bus Terminal which is located at Balaju, Kathmandu.

TREKKING PERMIT:
In a bid to control illegal trekking operations and ensure the safety and security of the trekkers in the general trekking areas, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) have made it mandatory for trekkers to sign up for the Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) Card from April 1, 2010. TIMS cards are available from the NTB office, TAAN office and government registered trekking companies in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Under the new rule, all visitors who go trekking through a trekking company must pay US$10 and free individual trekkers (FIT) US$20 per trekking route per person per entry in equivalent Nepalese Rupees only. Part of the collection will go into maintaining the trekkers' database and in the rescue of trekkers in need of emergency services. The fund will also be spent on infrastructure expansion, conservation and maintenance of existing trekking trails. For information, contact (Tel +977-1-444 3003, 444 0920) or visit www.timsnepal.com Trekking areas Trekking permit fee

Permits are issued for trekking in any part of the country except in areas restricted for foreigners by government regulation.
A trekking permit is a must to visit restricted areas mentioned below.

Trekking Permit Fees to Restricted Areas: The Department of Immigration located at Maitighar issues permits for tourists who intend to trek to restricted part of the country.

Trekking Permit Fees
S.N. Area Fee (per person)
1. i)Dolpa district

Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.

For the first 10 days per person US $500 and After 10 days per day per person Us$50

a) Areas of lower Dolpa
b) Areas of Upper Dolpa Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
ii)Taplejung District
Kanchanjanga Region
(Areas of Olangchunggola, Lelep,
Papung and Yamphudin Village
Development Committee)
2 iii)Mustang district.
Upper Mustang For the first 10 days per person US $500 and After 10 days per day per person Us$50.
3 iv) Gorkha District: From September to November per week perperson US$ 70 and After 7 days per day perperson US$ 10.and From December to August per week per person US$ 50 and After 7 days per day per person US$ 7 /Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
A. (Manaslu Area)
B. (Chhekampar &
Chunchet VDC (Sirdibas-
Lokpa-Chumling-
Chhekampar -Nile-Chhule
Area)
From September to November per person US$ 35 for first 8 days and From December to August per person US$ 25 for first 8 days
4 v)Dolakha District Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
(Gauri Shankar &
Lamabagar)
5 vi)Humla District (Simikot and Yari):- For the first 7 days per person US$ 50 and After 7 days per day per person US$ 7 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency..
Areas of Limi and Muchu
village Development
Committee, and area way to
Tibet via Tangekhola of
Darma Village Development
committee.
Trekking fee of other restricted areas imposed by Nepal government
6 vii)Rasuwa District :- Thuman and Timure per week per person US$ 10, Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
7 viii)Sankhuwasabha District For the first 4 weeks per week per person US$ 10 and After 4 weeks per week per person US$ 20, Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
(Makalu Region):-Areas of Kimathanka, Chepuwa,Hatiya and Pawakhola Village Development Committee.
8 ix)Solukhumbu District For the first 4 weeks per week per person US$ 10 and After 4 weeks per week per person US$ 20, Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
  Everest Region):-All north-
west area way from Thame
to Nangpala of Namche
Village Development
Committee
9 x)Manang District:- Areas of Nar, Phu, and Northern
area of Tilche Village of
Thochhe Village
Development Committee
From September to November per week per person US$ 90 and December to August per week per person US$ 75 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency..
10 xi)Mugu District:- Areas of
Mugu, Dolpu, Pulu and
Bhangri.
For the first 7 days per person US $90 and After 7 days per day per person Us$15 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency..
11 xii)Baihang District:-Areas
of Kanda, Saipal, Dhuli.
For the first 7 days per person US $90 and After 7 days per day per person Us$15 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency..
12 xiii)Darchula District:- Areas
of Byas Village
Development Committee.
For the first 7 days per person US $90 and After 7 days per day per person Us$15 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency..
In other trekking region, except the region as mentioned above s.no.1 to 5,the trekking fee is as prescribed by Nepal Government in the notification published in the Nepal Gazette time to time.
Fee can be paid in Nepalese currency:
Notwithstanding anything contained in serial numbers 1,2,3,4 and 5, the Indiannational can pay the fee in Nepalese currency equivalent to US dollars asmentioned in the same serial numbers. - Immigration regulation clause 39, 1994 Appendix-12
This information has been made available from http://www.immi.gov.np/appendix(Official web site of the Department of Immigration)

FACILITIES:
Nepal has every type of accommodation facilities that a tourist might ask for. This ranges from the international standard star hotels to budget hotels and lodges. Similarly one can also have a choice of sightseeing from a range of different tour packages. In order to have an assured quality service it is advisable to use the facilities and services of government registered hotels, lodges, trekking and travel agencies the licensed tour guides only and engage an authorized guide or porter only through a registered travel/trekking agency.

MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:
Very few countries in the world can offer as many varieties of adventure tourism packages as Nepal. Of the 14 peaks above 8000 meters in the world eight are located in Nepal. It is the land of Sagarmatha (Mount. Everest, 8848 meters), the highest peak in the world and other 1310 mountain peaks.

For those who cannot withstand the rigorousness of mountain climbing there are mountain flights which fly around the Mount Everest and provide a close look of the top of the world. Also from Nagarkot (32 kilometers East of Kathmandu) and Daman (80 Kilometers south-west of Kathmandu) one can have a distant view of Mount Everest and beautiful Himalayan ranges. Trekking is the best way to get to interesting and remote mountain villages of Nepal and to enjoy views of the famous peaks together with their lifestyle untouched with modern civilization.

The river rafting, which is known as "White Water Adventure" represents another major attractions. Within distance of 100 miles, one can see the topographical variations with the rivers rising from the higher points near Nepal's Tibetan border and then dropping dramatically to lower levels the plains bordering India. For those who wish to view wildlife, Nepal offers plenty of scope of the eight National Parks, four Wildlife Reserves and two conservation areas in Nepal.

For the less adventure, Pokhara, the lake city of Nepal has no equal as it provides ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, canoeing and boating along with the sightseeing of majestic panoramic views in its background. It is only Pokhara, a tropical spot with an altitude of about 900 meters where from one can see the mountain crossing over 8000meters from such a short distance of about 40 kilometres. For the nature lovers Nepal is such a land of natural beauty that metaphors cannot delineate its real picture. At the same time, Nepal proffers an incomparable scope to the scholars and connoisseurs of art and culture to see and study the different aspects of the fine-arts are it painting, sculpture, wood carving or architecture.

Kathmandu Valley possesses several historical monuments, old palaces and palace squares, shrines and temples, ageless traditions and legends all make it a living museum that any visitor would cherish its vivid memory in his/her heart for ever. Nepal is the land of Lord Pashupatinath, which is supposed to be the holiest Hindu temple in the world. Besides, two out of the four main holy places (chhetras) of Hindu pilgrimages namely Muktichhetra and Varahachhetra are located in Nepal. Not only for the Hindus but also for the Buddhists Nepal offers a unique place of pilgrimage as it happens to be the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the apostle of peace and compassion.

Nepal is a land of Festivals with some part of the Kingdom or the other celebrating some festival during every day of the year. Festivals may be linked with the remembrance of the departed soul, to herald the different seasons, to mark the beginning or end of the agricultural cycle, to mark the national events, or just family celebrations. On a festive day the Nepalese take their ritual bath, worship different gods and goddesses, visit temple, observe fasting and undertake feasting. The most important aspect of Nepali culture is the religious harmony and understanding prevailing among the Hindus and Buddhist.

Some of the major festivals of Nepal are:
1 Matatirtha Aunsi or Mother's Day - (April)
2 Buddha Jayanti - (April)
3 Machchendranath Rath Jatra- (May-June)
4 Guru Poornima (August)
5 Gaijatra (August)
6 Krishnashtami - (August-September)
7 Gokarna Aunsi or Father's Day - (August-September)
8 Indra Jatra - (September)
9 Bada Dashain - (September-October)
10 Tihar- (October-November)
11 Constitution Day - (November 9, ie. Kartik 23)
12 Bala Chaturdarshi - (November-December)
13 Birthday of His Majesty the King - (December 28, ie. Paush 14)
14 Birth-Anniversay of His Late Majesty King Prithvi Narayani Shah, The Great - (January 10, ie. Paush 27)
15 Basanta Panchami - (January-February)
16 National Democracy Day- (February 18, ie. Falgun 7)
17 Maha Shivaratri - (March-April)
18 Ghode Jatra - (March-April)

If someone really wants to be away for sometime from the cacophony of modernization, here is Nepal, the best sojourn cradled in the lap of the Himalayas that never cases to offer eternal peace and tranquillity.