Travel guide for Nepal
Nepal – A trekkers’ paradise
Nepal, often described as the Switzerland of Asia, is a small but diverse nation. The Himalayan Mountains are the highlight and full of awe-inspiring scenery. Besides the Himalayan mountains the so called “Heaven on Earth” offers other fascinating landscapes like the birthplace of Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
The Nepali greeting, Namaste (“I salute the god within you”), where your palms are held together as if you are praying, is one of the best of Nepalese customs. Along with the Namaste comes a warm greeting to guests who are regarded as gods and are treated with great respect. If you want to show great respect, namaskar is a more formal or subservient variant.
Many different ethnic groups coexist in Nepal, each with their own complex customs. Nepal’s rich and diverse culture is reflected in the proud showcase of its music, dance and language. The three ethnic groups Indigenous Nepalese, Indo-Nepalese and Tibeto-Nepalese are based on the diverse geography of the country. Culture in Nepal is a symbol of the nation’s wealthy, harmonized and diversified society.
As a secular country, Nepal welcomes new religions as it enhances the diversity of culture. Hinduism and Buddhism are the main religions in Nepal and they have co-existed in harmony through centuries. They both worship the Buddha and many of their religious sites are interconnected or combined. Nepal’s harmony of diverse religions is inspiring.
Adding color to the lives of Nepalis are festivals the year round which they celebrate with much pomp and ceremony. Most of the festivals in Nepal are tied to cultural and traditional values. The Nepalese culture of putting Tika (a mixture of red colour and rice grains) is a compulsion in most of the festivals.
The most auspicious festival of Nepal is considered to be Dashain, which is celebrated for ten days. People return home to their families, and it is also known as the festival of reunions. This festival marks the victory of good over evil, and it is celebrated grandly.
The festival of light is celebrated for five days in which every day has its particular significance. This festival thanks animals for their services and on the last day sisters worship their brothers, who in return receive gifts. This strengthens the bond between them. On the fourth day, Newari people also worship themselves calling it ‘Mha puja’. Buddha Jayanti is also observed in the Nation to mark Buddha’s birthday.
The people from the Terai region worship the sun during a festival. It is to thank the sun for sustaining life on earth.
The national language of Nepal is Nepalese or as the locals say Nepali. Nepali is spoken throughout Nepal with only a few parts of Nepal left, where it is not spoken. Because of the multi-ethnic background of Nepal, there are about 123 languages and many of them remained unexplored.
The Nepalese cuisine is a culmination of Indian and Tibetan culinary and differs from region to region. The Newar people have their unique cuisine which is vast and nutritious. The Thakalis also have a distinct cuisine although the staples are the same daal and bhat which most Nepali people eat.
Nepal is blessed with immense natural wonders even though it only covers 0.1% of the world. it certainly is any nature lover’s dream destination.
The capital city Kathmandu is an ancient cultural city full of time-worn temples and the center for Tibetan Buddhism, offering all kinds of tours and trekking to temple areas and to the Himalayas.
Adjoining Kathmandu are other two ancient cities of Patan and Bhaktapur which are full of temples and rich architecture which are just amazing and seriously breathe taking. These three historic cities make the Kathmandu valley, home to ethnic Newars community of businessmen, farmers and artists. The UNESCO has enlisted the Kathmandu valley it in its world cultural heritage site.
Nagarkot is known as the top spot for enjoying the Himalayan panorama from the comfort of your hotel room. On some days all eight ranges are visible (Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Jugal, Rolwaling, Everest and Numbur). There is no guarantee that they are not disappearing behind clouds but the best time for clear skies is October to December and March to April.
Chitwan National Park
Being the first protected area of Nepal, it has a long history of over three decades in park management and rich experiences in nature conservation. Chitwan was a big game area for the royal families, Rana rulers and their guests. The UNESCO World Heritage Site (1984) is especially renowned for its protection of One Horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger and Gharial Crocodile.
Bardiya National Park
The largest national park in the Tarai, is a beautiful, unspoiled place for wildlife. The area around the Karnali River is largely unpopulated and has almost no commercial development. The national park is home to the endangered Royal Bengal tiger and Nepal’s famous One-horned rhinoceros, but also to rare animals like the Bluebull. Ride through the silent jungle and catch wildlife by surprise.
Everest Base Camp –The helicopter chance
A grandiose high mountain panorama, crowned by the ice cones of the eight-thousanders, makes the way to the goal here. We hike past monasteries and Sherpa villages to the foot of the highest mountain on earth. Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse and Everest are our constant companions. From the summit of the Kala Patthar (5,620 m), we probably enjoy the most spectacular mountain panorama in the world: Mount Everest is within reach!
Annapurna – A sunrise outdoor breakfast
The Annapurna Massif is located in the center of the Nepalese Himalayas between the Marasyangdi River in the east and the Kali Gandaki River in the west. Surrounded by a hint of mysticism with its hundreds of mediation caves and numerous monasteries it is often called the Shangri-La. This wonderful trek in the Annapurna area leads through dense jungle and over mountain ridges with a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Langtang – An accessible hike
Langtang is perfect for a short trekking itinerary that offers the same excitement of the Himalayas. Here, the trail is less crowded and therefore more rewarding. This is one of the most accessible trekking regions near the Kathmandu Valley with short day hikes or week-long ventures into the lake district. An ideal region if you are short on time but still want to trek the Himalayas and experience the wonderful cultures of the native Tamangs.
Pokhara offers spectacular scenery, wonderful activities and great food options. The Lakeside of Pokhara is the perfect place to get ready for the coming adventures.
Jomsom is a great place to start trekking. The diverse landscape and culture found along this trekking route give marvelous insight into the way of life of Nepali people of various ethnic groups. The highlight is a trek through the deepest gorge in the world carved by the Kali Gandaki River, which originates in the Tibetan plateau to eventually flow into the Ganges in India.
Go white-water rafting on the Karnali, the longest river in Nepal, where you can watch the Gangetic dolphin’s surface or gharials lazing in the sun. Meet the charming Rana Tharu and Dangora people of southern Nepal and learn about their colorful culture.
Sun Koshi in Nepali means “River of gold”. This name might have stuck with this river because small quantities of gold is panned from its sand. The rapids in this river, except for few cases, gradually become more complex. Hence, it is suitable for the first-time rafters and for those who want to brush up their rafting/kayaking skills.
5 Days 4 Nights Mt. Everest Tour
The Everest helicopter tour to base camp is suitable for those people who have less time in Nepal. It is also great for people who’s dream it is to visit the base camp of Everest, but they don’t have the proper health condition to do the trek. This is the best option for old people as well as for children. It provides a chance to see the massive mountain within a few hours from the capital city Kathmandu.
11 Days 10 Nights Nepal Adventure Tour
This trip connects the three main regions of Nepal and moves at a relaxed yet steady pace to help you get the most out of your time. You’ll go from the bazaars and temples of Kathmandu to traditional villages, round out your journey in Chitwan National Park, where you’ll see elephants and other wildlife in their natural habitat, and then onto Pokhara and Phewa Lake, after which you’ll take a short trek in the Annapurna foothills with unforgettable views of the Himalaya before heading back to Kathmandu Valley.
- In Nepal, the forehead is regarded as the most sacred part of the body and it’s impolite to touch an adult Nepali’s head.
- The feet are the most unclean part, so don’t put yours on chairs or tables, and when sitting, try not to point the soles of your feet at anyone. It’s also bad manners to step over the legs of someone seated.
- Avoid to touch things with your lips. If something has touched your lips (food, cup, etc.), it’s polluted (jutho) for everyone else.
- The cow is considered a Universal Mother, symbolizing motherhood, charity, and pity. The slaughter of cows is illegal in Nepal.
- Be aware that some temples are forbidden to non-Hindus.
- Be ready to take off your shoes before entering a temple or a house.
- The right hand is considered pure and should be used to eat, pay, give and receive.
- Do not go trekking alone.
- Avoid water that is not bottled or boiled. Avoid raw vegetables and pre-cut fruit as much as possible.
- Do not give money to beggars that you see on the streets.
- Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave.They are not accepted outside of Nepal. Besides, taking currency out of the country is against the law.
- Bring a universal plug and voltage adapter kit for your Electronics. Nepal uses 220V.
- Keep in mind that there may be an entrance fee to some of the common temples and public
- areas applicable only to foreigners ranging anywhere from 250R’s – 700R’s.
- Always have some tissue paper and hand sanitizer with you.
- Insist on a running Meter while in the Taxi. After 10 PM a double meter fare is common.
- Avoid displaying food around monkeys around temples, as they are used to snatching it.
- Support the NON-Plastic Initiative and limit your use of plastic items.
Visas are available on arrival at the international airport in Kathmandu and at all land border crossings that are open to foreigners, as long as you have passport photos on hand and are able to pay the visa fee. Your passport must be valid for at least six months and you will need a free page for your visa.