Practically speaking, Nepal is actually the first international country I had visited in my life. My first visit to Nepal was with my family when I was only 13 years old. Coming back to Nepal was a treat for me and that too when it was nowhere in my calendar and came to me as a surprise.
Nepal; which I had seen 15 years ago was pretty much the same. The only disappointing part was to see the capital city Kathmandu, shattered to pieces because of April 2015 earthquake. But I must say; the city is building itself back to its original form or in fact a better form.
The best part of traveling to Nepal is the ease of a lot of services country offers to the tourists. As the tagline says Naturally Nepal. The country has got abundant natural beauty and you can never have enough of it. Let's get into details what all you need to know.
A. Visa and Immigration
1. Nepal offers one of the easiest visa services for nationals other than Indians (It is much easier for Indians actually :) ). You also have an option of visa on arrival; properly filled up visa application form and a passport size photograph is all you need.
A single entry visa of 15 or 30 or 90 days costs you USD 25 or 40 or 100 respectively. All major currencies are accepted at the Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.
2. Indians do not require a visa to enter Nepal. In fact, Indians can even travel to Nepal holding a valid passport or a voter ID issued by the Indian government.
3. Upon arrival; you need to fill the immigration form with basic information required.
4. Before entering to the luggage belt area, your hand baggage is scanned. Luggage collection can be somewhat frustrating at times. Since it takes little longer for luggage to arrive on the belt.
5. Make sure to keep your luggage tag with you properly, since it will be cross-checked and collected before you exit from the airport.
6. You can also enter Nepal by road from India. Either from Darjeeling side which is actually a quite longer route and not really suggested. Entering from Gorakhpur can be an easy option to enter Nepal, which brings you to the first town of Nepal Sunauli from where you can easily get a bus to Pokhara.
Currency of Nepal. Birthplace of Buddha Naturally Nepal. Image Source - Google
1. Nepalese Rupee is the name of the currency of Nepal and is mentioned as NPR.
2. You can find plenty currency exchange counters around the city center areas. Even hotels offer you fine rates for the currency exchange.
3. If you are an Indian or even any other national traveling from India; remember that notes of the denomination of INR 500 and INR 2000 will not be accepted by the locals after the demonetization announced in India. Any lower denomination of Indian currency is acceptable.
4. Please note that all the charges I have mentioned in my blogs related to Nepal are in Nepalese currency and applicable to Indian national. Other nationals will have slightly different charges.
1. Weather in Nepal is divided into four seasons.
2. March to May is spring; a fine time to travel to Nepal. June to August is Summer; not at all an advisable time to travel to Nepal. September to November is the Autumn season; one of the best times to travel. December to February is the winter time, early December is fine but posts that the cold can get real bad; not keeping weather that suitable to travel to the beautiful destination.
Fried and Boiled Momos. Birthplace of Buddha Naturally Nepal. Image Source - Mitali's Travel Diary
1. Nepalese cuisine consists of a lot of variety depending on the cultural diversity and ethnicity. Dal Bhat Tarkari is the staple food of Nepalese. Dal is the soup made of lentils. Bhat meaning rice; tarkari is nothing but the vegetable curry.
2. Of course just like other countries; even Nepal has some most favorite dishes like Momos, Sukuti (dry meat), Wai Wai Sadeko (they call it a life saver. Since it was something on which they survived during earthquake times. It is dry fried noodles which can be eaten raw and is mixed with spices and chilies. Eat it only if you are ready to put your tongue on flames.)
3. Tomato chutney is another favorite dish from locals. Which can be found as a taste enhancer at every meal.
1. A country like Nepal has a wide range of bus services offered for intercity transportation.
2. Apart from this; you also get to see local taxis with meters and without meters.
3. Surprisingly Nepal does not have trains in the whole country. You only have the option of air or road to travel from one city to the other.
1. I wouldn't really call it a shopper's paradise but somehow country has a wide variety of material to offer for shopping.
2. Whether you want woolen clothes or if you are looking some casual wear you get it all. Nepal is famous for pearls and especially for Rudraksha (Literal translation is Shiva's Teardrops. It holds a great value in Indian mythology). Since it's trees are found in Nepal.
3. And of course, Kukri is something everyone wants to buy in Nepal. It is a Nepalese knife with the inwardly curved blade.
G. Points to Remember
1. Travelling in Nepal is absolutely safe. At least I did not find or heard of thieves roaming around the town snatching bags.
2. The country is under development; so the highways and roads are under construction with a lot of bumpy roads and dust around. Remember to carry a face mask along with you.
3. Manage your timings properly, especially for longer journeys. The city's traffic is something that you can never imagine and can mess up with your plans.
4. Indian debit/credit cards mention that "It cannot be used for foreign exchange payments in Nepal and Bhutan". However, there are different experiences of tourists regarding this. So it is better to confirm with your bank before traveling.
H. Cities Visited