Nepal

Since Nepal opened up to tourists in the 1950’s, this tiny mountain nation has had a mystical allure for travellers. Today, multitudes of trekkers are drawn to the Himalayas’ most iconic and accessible hiking trails, from the demanding climb of Mount Everest to the Kathmandu Valley and Annapurna foothill treks. Not only rich in natural beauty, the culture and heritage of Nepal is diverse.

When to Visit

Nepal's dry season is from October to May and the wet season is June to September. The start of the dry season is often considered the best time to visit Nepal as the countryside is green and lush. March to May and October to November are the best times for trekking as the skies are clear and the temperature is bearable. 

Highlights

KATHMANDU Kathmandu has an exotic setting, with 2000 year-old Buddhist stupas and ancient temples set amidst some of nature’s most awe-inspiring scenery.  Town squares are packed with temples and monuments and colourful markets come to life on market days.

CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK Chitwan National Park is one of the best parks in Asia for wildlife spotting and is home to the only significant number of one-horned rhinoceroses surviving in Nepal. Royal Bengal tigers, Gangetic dolphins, monkeys, deer and other species also roam the region.

TREKKING The entire length and breadth of Nepal is a paradise for trekkers. There is an option for everyone – easy walks lasting a few days through to expeditions that may take weeks. The most popular trekking route is through Annapurna.

POKHARA The lakeside city of Pokhara commands some of the most spectacular mountain views in Nepal. With a perfect year-round climate and stunning views of the mighty Annapurna’s on its doorstep, Pokhara has a unique charm.

BHAKTAPUR The medieval city of Bhaktapur is the best preserved of Nepal’s medieval cities. It is known as ‘Nepal’s Cultural Gem’ and is filled with terracotta monuments, palaces and elaborate temples, pagodas and religious shrines.

MOUNT EVEREST Being the highest mountain in the world, Everest has long attracted the attention of climbers. The mountain has two main climbing routes; the southeast ridge from Nepal and the north ridge from Tibet.

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Useful Information

Getting around

Getting around is one of the biggest challenges of travelling in Nepal. Distances aren’t great, but the roads are poor and extremely slow, and public buses are crowded and uncomfortable. Tourist buses are available on the main routes, however, and you can always hire a motorcycle, or charter a taxi, car or 4WD vehicle, or catch a flight.Nepal’s highways are irregularly maintained, and each monsoon takes a toll on surfaces. Wherever you travel, the route will probably be new in parts, disintegrated in places, and under construction in others. The country has a truly appalling road safety record, and accidents are common. And, in addition, blockades or general strikes (bandh) can at times make travel virtually impossible.

Language

Nepali 48% (official), Maithali 12%, Bhojpuri 7.4%.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Nepal. Vaccination against Typhoid should also be considered, particularly if travelling to areas with poor sanitation. Persons staying in Nepal for extended periods or frequent travellers should consider immunisation against Hepatitis B and Rabies (especially if working with animals). Those spending at least 4 weeks in rural areas of the transmission zones may require vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis. There is a medium risk of Malaria in Nepal and Dengue Fever also occurs, depending on their itinerary travellers may require antimalarial drugs and insect avoidance measures. Cholera is reported in Nepal, but immunisation is usually not recommended. Meningitis vaccination may also be required subject to itinerary. Food and water precautions are advised. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to Nepal should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries. 

Electricity

Electrical Plug: European and British (the British sockets are an older version than those found in the UK today). Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as New Zealand) Special Tip: Outlets that use British plugs may be 110-120 volts. Please check before using. Modem Plug Type: USA Source: Korjo Travel Products. Please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au for further information on this matter.

Communications

Country Code for Nepal: +977 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Tourist Police in Kathmandu: (01) 424 7041 Available 24 hours. For other tourist police contacts please go to www.nepalpolice.gov.np. Emergency Services: Ambulance: 102 Police: 100 The emergency services number may not be available in all areas. These services may not have English speaking staff. To avoid delay it is best to seek the assistance of an Nepali speaker to call the emergency services or contact the New Zealand Embassy.

Shopping

Government offices are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday in summer and from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. in winter. On Fridays Government offices open from10 a.m. to 3p.m. Most business offices including travel, trekking and tour agencies are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 a.m. and close at about 8 p.m. and are usually closed on Saturdays.

Tipping

In Nepal, tipping is expected by most people involved in the country's tourism industry.  While tipping is not mandatory, it is a very important source of income in Nepal.  The local currency in Nepal is rupees.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

The customary greeting is to press one's palms together in front of the chest and say namaste ("I greet the god within you"). Men in urban areas have adopted the custom of shaking hands. In the mainstream culture, physical contact between the sexes is not appropriate in public. Although men may be openly affectionate with men and women with women, even married couples do not demonstrate physical affection in public. Some ethnic groups permit more open contact between the sexes. Hospitality is essential. Guests are always offered food and are not permitted to help with food preparation or cleaning after a meal. It is polite to eat with only the right hand; the hand used to eat food must not touch anything else until it has been thoroughly washed, for saliva is considered defiling. When drinking from a common water vessel, people do not touch the rim to their lips. It is insulting to hit someone with a shoe or sandal, point the soles of one's feet at someone, and step over a person.

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