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. kilometers.
ALTITUDE: Varies from 70 meters to 8848 meters.
Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people understand and speak English as well.
Nepal Time is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time.
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.
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. Nepal is the only Hindu Kingdom in the world. 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 are 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-lndian visitors are not allowed to import or export Indian Currency. The approximate value of one US Dollar is equivalent to Rs. 50.97 as of June 1995.
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, The Department also issues multi entry visa for the visitors.
By Air: Tribhuvan Internaitonal Airport, Kathmandu.
By Land: (1) Kakarbhitta (2) Birgunj (3) Belhiya (Bhairahawa) (4) Nepalgunj (5) Dhangadi (6) Jogbani (Biratnagar) and (7) Mahendra Nagar in Nepal-lndia border and Kodari in Nepal-China border. The overland tourists entering the Kingdom with their vehicles must possess an international carnet.
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 antiuques requires special certificate from the Department of Archaeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu (Tel: 215358), Gold, silver, precious stones, wild animals and their skins, horns, etc, all drugs whether processed or in their natural state, are prohibited to export.
Royal Nepal Airlines the national flag carrier of Nepal and other International airlines operate scheduled flights to Kathmandu from Bangkok, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Dubai, Dhaka, Paro, Varanasi, Frankfurt, Paris, Hongkong, Karachi, London, Moscow, Singapore and Lhasa.The International Airlines operating their flights to Kathmandu include Aeroflot, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China South West Airlines, Druk Air, Indian Airlines, Lufthansa, Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai International.
Rs. 600 per person for departure to SAARC (South Asian) Countries and Rs. 700 for departure to other international destinations. For domestic flights those flying within Nepal are required to pay Rs. 50.
Royal 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 Royal Nepal Airlines, the other domestic airlines such as Nepal Airways, Everest Air, Asian Airlines Helicopter, Necon Air provide regular and charter services to different popular domestic destinations.
Royal Nepal Airlines and other domestic Airlines in the private sector also operate breathtaking mountain flights for the tourists round the year.
In addition to metered taxis, limousine service is also available at the airport for transport to major hotels in the city.
OTHER TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENTS
Metered taxis having black plates with white figures are available in Kathmandu. Metered tempos (three wheeler scooter) are also available and are slightly cheaper than taxis. Bicycles, motorcycles and rickshaws are also available on hire. The fare for the bicycles or motorcycles is fixed wheareas the fare of rickshaws is to be negotiated. There are regular bus services between the main town 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.
The Department of Immigration located kathmandu issues trekking permit for the tourists who intend to trek any part of the country.
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, 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 can not 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 and four Wildlife Reserves and two conservation areas in Nepal.
For the less adventures, 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 kilometers. For the nature lovers Nepal is such a land of natural beauty that metaphors cannot delineate its real picture. At the sametime, Nepal proffers an incomparable scope to the scholars and connoiseurs of art and culture to see and study the different aspects of the fine-arts be 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 everyday 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:
New Year's Day-April 14,(First day of Baisakh)
Matatirtha Aunsi or Mother's Day - (April)
Buddha Jayanti - (April)
Machchendranath Rath Jatra- (May-June)
Guru Poornima (August)
Krishnashtami - (August-September)
Gokarna Aunsi or Father's Day - (August-September)
Indra Jatra - (September)
Bada Dashain - (September-October)
Constitution Day - (November 9, ie. Kartik 23)
Bala Chaturdarshi - (November-December)
Birthday of His Majesty the King - (December 28, ie. Paush 14)
Birth-Anniversay of His Late Majesty King Prithvi Narayani Shah, The Great - (January 10, ie. Paush 27)
Basanta Panchami - (January-February)
National Democracy Day- (February 18, ie. Falgun 7)
Maha Shivaratri - (March-April)
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 tranquility.