Nepal Travel Guide: Useful Tips On Food, Stay, Attractions
Welcome to a crazy, frenzied, historic, haphazard, divine, alluring and energetic land. Welcome to Nepal! Come here to have an experience like never before. Curious? Want to know more about this charming country? Hop on! Here is our Nepal travel guide that will provide you with all the minute details about the country.
Nepal Travel Guide
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Best Time To Visit Nepal
What is the best time to visit Nepal? Well, the country with lofty mountains and green valleys has a vivid landscape and the weather varies from one place to another. However, the best time to visit Nepal is from late September until early December and from February to mid-April. That being said, let’s check out the different seasons in Nepal.
Spring: The spring season starts in the month of March and extends until May. The weather is slightly warm in the low lying areas but it gets fairly moderate at higher altitudes. It is a popular time to go trekking to Island Peak and Mera Peak and to explore the jungle safari in Chitwan National Park. The national flower of Nepal, Rhododendron blossoms around this time filling the entire mountains and making it a visual treat. It is a great time to enjoy the Nepalese New Year and Holi which are celebrated with great pomp and splendour.
Nepal travel guide Tip: Be sure to carry light cotton clothes as the temperature may get really warm on some days.
Summer: Summers hit Nepal in June and extend till June. The weather is extremely hot and humid. It rains almost every day and there are high risks of landslides in upper areas. However, you can choose a trek in the ‘rain shadow’ of the Himalayas such as Upper Mustang trek, Manaslu trek or Nar Phu Valley trek. Marsyangai Valley and Tilicho Lake are extremely stunning around this time and offer great views. It is a good time to enjoy Yarthung Horse Festival which is celebrated in June in Manang.
Nepal travel guide Tip: Be sure to bring an umbrella and insect repellents.
Autumn: The autumn season starts in September and lasts till November. As the monsoon disperses, Nepal welcomes beautiful clear skies, fresh air and implausible views. The weather is extremely pleasant and it is the best time to visit Nepal. It is a perfect season for trekking, mountaineering, wildlife safari and bird watching. It is a great time to enjoy Nepal’s big festivals like Dashain, celebrated in October and Tihar, celebrated in November.
Nepal travel guide Tip: Since it is a peak season, be sure to book your flight tickets and accommodations in advance.
Winter: The winter season starts in December and extends till February. The weather is chilly during the day but temperatures drop considerably at night time and there is occasional snowfall at higher elevations. Treks in the lower Himalayan foothills are quite popular in winters. Tourists can visit Pokhara, a sunny lakeside town during this time. Festivals like Saraswati Puja and Tibetan New Year are celebrated with much spectacle and are worth experiencing.
Nepal travel guide Tip: Carry enough warm clothes.
So, Nepal is beautiful all through the year and each season has its own charm. Come and witness the country at its beautiful best!
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Travel Documents For Your Nepal Tour
Travellers need the following documents for their Nepal tour:
- All nationals must have a valid passport. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the expected date of departure from Nepal.
- An entry visa is required for all nationals except Indians. You need to arrange it prior to departure with the relevant embassy or consulate or get a visa on arrival.
- Travel insurance for safe travel is essential.
Where To Stay In Nepal
Nepal has a huge range of accommodation options to suit every budget. Indulge in five star luxury properties in the city or simply spend a night under the stars on a secluded mountainside, go back in time with historic boutique hotels or make the most of your time by staying in family run guesthouses- the choice is yours. In most trekking areas there are restful properties with descent rooms and hot water as well as a wide range of traditional teahouses offering basic facilities.
If extreme luxury is your style, then consider staying at Hyatt Regency (Kathmandu), Hotel Yak And Yeti (Kathmandu) Thamel Villa (Thamel), Dwarika’s Hotel (Pashupatinath) and Dwarika’s Resort (Dhulikhel). Travellers on a budget can stay in hotels like Hotel Ganesh Himal (Thamel), Summit Hotel (Patan),Hotel Lake Star (Pokhara) and Hotel Buddha (Kathmandu). If you want to get a deeper insight into the real Nepal, dwell on staying in home stays. They provide a fantastic opportunity to know more about the local people and culture. Hotel Vintage Home (Bhaktapur), Swayambhu View Guesthouse (Kathmandu), Bicky Homestay (Pokhara), Peace Eye Guesthouse (Pokhara) and Dondrub Guesthouse (Pashupatinath) are some of the best home stays in Nepal.
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Travelling Within Nepal
Nepal has a widespread domestic air network served by several airlines. Destinations such as Pokhara, Lukla, Janakpur, Bharatpur and many more are served by domestic flights. Buses are one of the most popular forms of transport. You can choose from mini bus, local bus or tourist bus. The buses are quite cheap but they are very slow and uncomfortable. Private cars are far more comfortable and convenient. You can hire cars for multi-day trips. Taxis are also a good option for local and long distance journeys, but most taxi drivers are quite reluctant to use meters. Be sure to fix a price before the ride.
Places To Visit In Nepal
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal offers a glimpse of the country’s diverse features making travellers even more greedy for travelling around. The city is a chaotic mix of decaying buildings, lively atmosphere, tourist shops, trekking agencies, religious spots, artisan workshops, hotels and restaurants. It is an ideal place for adventure seekers and trekkers who want to enjoy the gorgeous views of Mount Everest. Durbar Square, the largest of the palace squares in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage Site has been the main highlight of the city. Do visit the famous Pashupatinath Temple, the UNESCO site of Boudhanath Stupa, the temple of Swayambhunath and the Kopan Monastery. Thamel area is a popular hub for all kinds of shopping and eating. The whole area is lined with a variety of shops and restaurants selling delicious grub. Kathmandu is also the best place to buy traditional handicrafts, learn yoga and meditation and for trying the sumptuous Nepali cuisine. With so much to do and see, Kathmandu is certainly one of the most attractive places to visit in Nepal.
Nestled beside the picturesque Lake Phewa, Pokhara is one of the best tourist places in Nepal. Encircled by some of the highest mountains in the world like Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Annapurna I, the quaint city is known for its matchless views of the snow clad Annapurna Himalayan range. Apart from tranquil lakes, lush green shorelines, mountain views and serene beauty, the city offers mind-blowing opportunities for paragliding and white water rafting. Lake Phewa is dotted with various luxury hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. In fact, the lake also has an island with a temple dedicated to goddess Barahi Bhagwati where a lot of religious ceremonies are held. Pokhara spoils all its visitors with flourishing green forests, underground caves, stunning waterfalls and the Valley of Orchids. So, to cut the long story short, Pokhara is a must visit city.
Bhaktapur is a small city popular for its rich architecture and temples. Although many temples and religious sites suffered demolition due to the massive earthquake back in 2015, most of the city’s temples and shrines escaped unharmed. Spend some time at the Durbar Square to see the Royal Palace and admire temples like Nyatapola Temple, Taleju Temple and Bhairavnath Temple. Take a relaxed walk through medieval squares and winding streets, soak in art and culture or shop for souvenirs such as pottery, puppets, masks and lots of traditional handicrafts. Bhaktapur has a unique vibe which will surely urge you to come back for more.
Things To Do In Nepal
Explore The Pashupatinath Temple
Nestled on the banks of River Bagmati, Pashupatinath Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and draws thousands of devotees from all over the world. While some areas are restricted for Hindus only, visitors can enter the complex of temples, shrines and other structures.
The feel of the temple is absolutely otherworldly with continuous prayers sung by the devotees, melodious ring of the bells and scented smoke of the burning incense. It is believed that Jyotirlinga housed in the temple is the head of the body which is made up of twelve Jyotirlinga in India. Another interesting feature of this temple is that it is also the place where people from the Kathmandu Valley are burned after they pass away. This magnificent temple is undoubtedly one of the finest things to do in Kathmandu.
Visit Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is the best place for wildlife tour in Nepal. With over 500 species of migratory birds, one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys, Bengal tigers and Asian elephants, this park is a must see destination and one of the best things to do in Nepal. It is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a wide variety of rich flora and fauna. Elephant Breeding Centre and Bird Education Society are places worth seeing inside the park. The best way to explore the Chitwan National Park is by staying in nearby luxury lodges. Most of these lodges arrange wildlife safaris for their guests.
Enjoy Paragliding In Pokhara
Want to fly like a bird? Experience paragliding in Pokhara, which is a hub for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies. Witness the most beautiful landscape as you fly above the lake and the towering mountains. The view, the thrill, the excitement is simply beyond comparison and will definitely leave you speechless. The paragliding experience is super fun and one of the most exhilarating things to do in Nepal.
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What To Eat In Nepal
Nepal is a multi-ethnic and multi cultural country which offers an impressive array of delicacies. Although its cuisine is largely influenced by India and Tibet, the food here has its own distinct taste which you should definitely try. Here is a list of all the delectable dishes you cannot miss.
- Start your Nepal culinary journey by tasting the very simple and satisfying, Dal Bhat. It is the staple food of Nepal consisting of steamed rice and a thick lentil soup. Often served on a steel platter along with curried vegetables and a fiery pickle, this dish will leave you craving for more.
- Thukpa, a popular hot noodle soup with meat and vegetables is a must try.
- Do try Momos or steamed dumplings with shredded meat or vegetables, often served with a chilli garlic dip.
- Sel Roti, a rice flour bread which has a crispy and sweet outside and a chewy inside is ideal for breakfast or for evening snacks.
- Do not leave Nepal without trying Juju Dhau, a light yoghurt that is sweetened with honey.
- Raksi is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Nepal. It is made from rice or millet and is quite similar to tequila.
- Other worth trying delicacies include Chatamari, Choee, Yomari, Chicken Masu, Lamb Pakuwa, Alu Tama, Chay and Lassi.
What? Stomach growling? Well, to stop your stomach from growling, you have to come to Nepal. So, plan your Nepal trip as soon as possible!
Nightlife In Nepal
Nepal is popularly known for its scenic beauty, rich culture and rugged landscapes. But very few people know that the country has a bustling nightlife. The country looks vibrant with lights and music at night. From bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants to gambling sprees at casinos, the country has it all. If you are looking to party non-stop, head to Club Deja Vu (Kathmandu). The interior, the crowd, the vibe – everything here is just amazing. Karma Bar and Lounge is a great place to connect with people and socialise. Rum doodle Restaurant and Bar is the best place for trekkers and climbers. It is one of the oldest nightclubs in Nepal with walls decorated with footprints of famous trekkers. If you are looking for good food, rocking music and bizarre cocktails, look no further than Purple Haze Rock Bar (Thamel). If hardcore rock music is what you like then Old Blues Bar (Pokahra) is the best place. Jazz enthusiasts and Karaoke lovers can head straight to Moksh Live Bar (Patan). Other happening places include Tom & Jerry Pub (Kathmandu), Maya Cocktail Bar (Kathmandu) and Sam’s Bar (Kathmandu).
Nepal is a gambler’s paradise and attracts many tourists with its brilliant casinos. There are four top casinos in Kathmandu that offer unlimited fun and that too for 24 hours a day. Head to Casino Mahjong for some real fun with Bollywood showstoppers, lucky draws along with games like blackjack, slot machines and poker. With over 200 gaming machines and lip-smacking food and drinks, Casino Anna is one of the best casinos in Nepal. Casino Red is renowned for its world class services and amenities. With varied games, bars, spas and restaurants, Casino Red is the place to be. Casino Royale, as the name suggests is imperial and plush in every way.
Convinced? Well, Nepal nightlife is actually dazzling! It is just waiting for party animals to discover it.
Nepal travel guide Tip: If you want to enter a casino you will have to show your passport as Nepali citizens are not allowed inside.
Communication And Connectivity In Nepal
Worried about how to keep in touch with your family while holidaying in Nepal? Well, if you are planning to get your own mobile phone, you just need to check with your home service provider whether your phone will work in Nepal or not. Alternatively, it is always cheaper to buy a local SIM card. You will need an unlocked GSM 900 compatible handset to use local Nepali networks. Ncell has a great network coverage and offers a good deal. When you buy a SIM card, be sure to take photocopies of your passport and visa and a passport size photo.
Money In Nepal
The official currency of Nepal is Nepalese Rupee. Notes come in the denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Money can be exchanged easily in banks and money exchangers. ATMs are widespread, however, only Kathmandu and Pokhara have regularly working machines which accept international cards. All major credit cards and debit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used in hotels, restaurants, tour agencies and banks.
Nepal Travel Guide: Tips For Your Nepal Trip
- Keep your identity proofs and other important documents handy.
- Keep a digital copy of all your important documents in your mobile in case of an emergency.
- Nepali is the main language but English is widely spoken
- ATMs are widely available in big cities but not in small towns.
- If you want to trek in Nepal’s national parks, you need to get a TIMS ( Trekkers Information Management System) card. It is a trekking card for all the hikes in the country.
- Dress appropriately while visiting temples and other places of worship.
- Always check if it is alright to take photographs inside temples.
- Do not drink tap water here.
- Be sure to carry cash with you at all times.
- Exchange all your currency before you leave.
- Electricity is 220 Volts 50 Hz.
- Since there are regular power cuts, it is advisable to carry torches and extra batteries.
- In case of an emergency, dial 100.
Mesmerised by Nepal? Now that you know Nepal thoroughly, plan a trip right away! Do refer to our obliging Nepal travel guide to help you make your dreamy vacation come true!
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