Here you’ll find practical information about Nepal and other things you’ll want to know before you go. In the light of Covid-19, it is possible that the visa information below is not complete and/or correct! Measures change quickly, please contact us for the current situation!
We recommend that you take out travel and cancellation insurance when you book your trip. Travel insurance is also compulsory if you book a trip with us. There are various types of insurance available from different companies. Some companies even have annual contracts.
Please check in advance whether all the risky activities you wish to undertake are covered. Think about rafting, canyoning, canoeing, kayaking, paragliding, hang-gliding, mountain biking, bungee jumping and climbing. If you’re trekking in the Himalayas, make sure that helicopter rescue or ambulance transport with a domestic flight is covered by your policy. Check with your insurance company beforehand, and if this is not covered, and you want to do one of these activities on your trip to Nepal, you can have it covered with an additional clause.
VALID INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT AND VISA
To enter Nepal, you need a passport valid for at least six months and a valid tourist visa. For most nationalities, there are different ways of buying a visa for Nepal.
Via the Nepalese embassy or consulate
If you don’t want too much hassle after your tiring flight, organise your visa already in your home country. You can contact the Nepalese embassy or consulate in your country of residence. For your visa application, you’ll need your passport, a passport photo and a completed visa form. To be on the safe side, bring a copy of your booking invoice with you. A 15-day visa costs €30, a 30-day visa costs €50 and a 90-day visa costs €115. You may also be charged a small administration fee (€2.5).
Visa on arrival in Nepal
You can apply for a visa 15 days before your arrival in Nepal by filling in the following form: https://nepaliport.immigration.gov.np/online and print it. Once you have filled out this form (which asks for information such as your passport number and a passport photo), all you have to do is go to the visa payment office upon your arrival at the Kathmandu airport. You will pay the amount of money written on your form filled 15 days before and you will receive a payment voucher. Finally, you will have to go to the immigration office where you will be asked to take your fingerprints, scan your irises, insert the visa in your passport and stamp it! Make sure you check in at the right counter (different queues for different visa durations or categories).
You can enter Nepal from here!
However, you can also apply for a visa on arrival at the airport in Kathmandu and proceed to the same steps as above by filling out the form there. This is a possibility for most nationalities. Make sure you check on the immigration office website that you are eligible for this type of visa if you opt for one!
If you are entering Nepal via India or China, you can obtain a visa at all the main border crossings. Make sure you have a passport valid for more than 6 months on arrival and some cash.
You can pay for your visa in euros, US dollars, pounds sterling and Swiss francs. Normally, you can also pay by credit card, but don’t count on it. The cost of the visa depends on the length of your stay: 15 days: $30 — 50 days: $40 — 90 days: $125 (or equivalent in another currency) With a tourist visa, you can stay for a maximum of 150 consecutive days per year in Nepal. Exceeding the duration of your visa is subject to legal action.
All this information is available on the official website of your government, and the website of the immigration in Nepal: https://www.immigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO NEPAL
The best seasons for a trip to Nepal are the following:
March/April: Indeed, if you want to travel to Nepal, these two months are the most favourable as the weather is mild and sunny. Indeed, June is prone to Monson, it is therefore not advisable to travel during this period as it can be rainy and wet.
October/November: This second season is also favourable for travel in Nepal. The climate is moderate, dry and sunny.
Even if these two periods are the best to travel in Nepal, it is possible to come on the Nepalese territory out of season. Traveling in May or during the winter period (December/January/February) can be another solution to visit this country by doing for example a roundtrip combined with a short trek at a lower altitude. Therefore, It will be possible for you to come to Nepal at different times of the year.
HEALTH AND VACCINATIONS
Personal travel pharmacy
In Nepal, it is not as easy to find the same medicines as in some more developed countries. Make sure you take enough of your own medicines with you, or make a note of the contents of your medicines.
A common problem in Nepal is intestinal problems and traveller’s diarrhoea, so it’s a good idea to take probiotics with you.
Preventive dental visits
If you are planning to go to an altitude of more than 3,000 meters, dental problems may arise due to the difference in pressure. It’s best to consult your dentist shortly before your trip. That way, there is less chance that during the trek hidden problems with your teeth will suddenly crop up and make your trip less enjoyable.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for a trip to Nepal. For recommended vaccinations, please consult your family doctor or a travel clinic. For a trip to Nepal, vaccination against hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever and a recurrence of polio and tetanus is generally recommended. Depending on the length of your stay, activities, accommodation and other things, other vaccinations such as tuberculosis, rabies and Japanese encephalitis are also recommended for Nepal.
Although there are occasional reports of malaria in Nepal, the risk of contracting malaria is very low. In any case, there is no risk of malaria in Kathmandu, Pokhara and the mountains. Malaria only exists in certain areas of Nepal’s southern belt (the Terai), and the risk is highest in June, July and August. In these areas, it is best to take precautions with a good mosquito milk and a mosquito net.
Since 2019, there have been several cases of dengue fever in Nepal. The dengue mosquito was not only present in the subtropical Terai, in the south of Nepal, but also in other places. Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes that are mainly active in the morning and during the day. Not so much in the evening or at night. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for this disease. Although an initial infection is generally not life-threatening for healthy people, if you are infected you will soon be seriously ill for up to a week (high fever). The virus cannot be passed from one person to another, so when travelling you should wear light-coloured clothing with long sleeves and legs.
Water is not drinkable in Nepal, it is therefore not advisable to drink tap water and is strongly recommended to drink bottled water. You can of course use it for showering but do not use it for brushing your teeth.
If you need to be reassured about water consumption during your stay in Nepal, don’t hesitate to take your own filter with you. You will also be able to fill your bottles/gourds in the hotels you will stay in and where you can find big jars with filtered water available for refills.
HIGH ALTITUDE DISEASE
Altitude sickness is unpredictable: it can happen to anyone, trained or not. Often, well-trained trekkers are even more susceptible to altitude sickness because they climb too fast and don’t adapt their pace to the altitude.
Altitude sickness is a condition you can contract if you are trekking in Nepal or if you arrive at a high altitude without sufficient acclimatisation. You can get the symptoms with a rapid ascent to altitudes above 2000 metres. Susceptibility to altitude sickness varies from person to person; if you don’t suffer from it at all, that doesn’t mean you’re not sensitive to it and will never suffer from it. Among other things, you will notice that you have altitude sickness if you have a slight headache when you get up.
Altitude sickness can be prevented by giving your body time to acclimatise. Drink plenty of water (1 litre per 1,000 metres of altitude) and moderate your consumption of coffee and alcohol. Make the ascent at a steady pace and rest regularly while trekking and enjoy the magnificent scenery. There are different forms of altitude sickness, all caused by a lack of oxygen.
Always inform your guide immediately if you develop symptoms of altitude sickness. Our guides have received additional training on altitude sickness and have experience of the symptoms. The guide will advise and help you. Treatment for severe altitude sickness consists of descending directly and seeking medical help.
TIME ZONE IN NEPAL
Nepal has a different time zone to the surrounding countries. It follows UTC + 5:45.
Nepal’s national currency is the Nepalese rupee (NPR). It is not possible to buy Nepalese currency in banks outside Nepal. The exchange rate fluctuates daily. One euro is equivalent to between 110 and 134 rupees. One dollar is equivalent to between 110 and 125 rupees.
In Kathmandu, Sauraha and Pokhara, it is fairly easy to withdraw money from an ATM displaying the Maestro or Cirrus logos. We recommend that you bring enough cash (rupees) with you, especially on longer treks. Don’t forget to set your bank card to “world” before you leave your bank, otherwise you won’t be able to withdraw any money from the wall. Nowadays, bank cards are often set by default for use only in Europe or the United States.
In Nepal, Visa or Mastercard credit cards work well. However, it will be essential for you to check with your bank the fees that may be applied depending on your credit card. Most of the time, you will be subject to an exchange rate worth 500 Nepalese rupees (3.5 euros) for each withdrawal from the ATM so be careful. You can also bring currency in euros or dollars on the Nepalese territory where you can easily find counters everywhere, at your arrival at the airport or in Kathmandu itself where you can exchange your currency into Nepalese rupees.
Note: you can’t change NPR abroad so spend or change your money/currency before coming back in your country.
There are 3 types of sockets in Nepal: C, D and M and they work with a supply voltage of 230V and 50Hz. To bring a global power adapter for the electricity is a good idea but it is not compulsory. It will also depend on what type of socket you have in your country. Another good idea is to bring a surge protector: the amperage can fluctuate a lot. The current still drops regularly, so a torch is absolutely essential. You should also take a torch with you when you go out at night.
If your electrical outlet is not working in Nepal, you can of course find and buy one in the country.
Bring clothes for different types of weather. Lots of warm clothes, especially if you’re going up into the mountains, but don’t forget to pack lighter clothes for the lower (and therefore warmer) areas such as the Terai. If you’re going hiking or trekking, make sure you bring good hiking boots and good sleeping bags. Even if it is possible there are extra blankets in Teahouses or Homestays during your trek, bringing a sleeping bag can be very helpful. If you don’t have a sleeping bag before coming to Nepal, you can rent one in stores in Kathmandu.
Nepal is fairly conservative when it comes to clothing. It’s not appreciated if you walk around in clothes that are too rare. It is recommended to wear long clothes (shoulders and legs not visible) for men and women. When visiting a temple or other sacred building, be sure to cover your shoulders and legs and leave your shoes at the entrance.
CULTURE AND LANGUAGE
The culture in Nepal differs in many respects from our Western culture. It is therefore normal that many travellers are unsure of how to behave with the locals. You don’t speak the language and have no idea of local values and norms.
If you want to have warm and intense contact with the locals during your trip, learn a few words of Nepali and immerse yourself in their culture and history. The more you prepare, the more you’ll understand locally what you see and hear. In the cities, most Nepalese speak some English. In the more remote villages, English is rather limited, so you’ll have to rely on gestures and a few Nepalese words. Nepalese greet each other with ‘namaste’. They hold their hands together in front of their chests and bow their heads slightly. You’re guaranteed to get a smile and a warm welcome with this greeting.
Some basic Nepalese words :
Hello – Namaste.
How are you? – Sanchai chha?
Yes – Ho.
No – Hoina.
Thanks – Dhanyabadh.
Please – Kripaya.
Excuse me – Maphgarnus.
How much is it? -Kati Parccha?
Where is …..? – Kaha Parccha?
Goodbye – Pheri Betaunla
SIM CARD/WI-FI/INTERNET IN NEPAL
When you arrive at the airport, there is already a shop where you can buy a SIM card. If this shop isn’t open or if you’re too tired to organise it, there are plenty of options for getting a SIM card later.
In and around Thamel, for example, there are lots of small shops selling SIM cards and top-up cards. You’ll need a passport photo and a copy of your passport.
There are 2 major mobile operators in Nepal: NCell and Nepal Telecom (NT). The cards have more or less the same range – sometimes NCell has reception and NT doesn’t, and sometimes it’s the other way round. In the towns, both operators are very welcoming. To be able to share beautiful photos with your friends straight away, you can also buy a data package, so that you can access the Internet freely if the wi-fi goes down.
Nepal Telecom’s prices are currently around 500 rupees (around $5) for 1 GB. For Ncell, it costs 1.2 GB Rs 250 (~$2). So you can see that NCell is much cheaper. You can upgrade your call and/or data credit at one of the kiosks.
Wi-fi is also available in a lot of places like restaurants, bars, public places, etc.