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Nepal: Travel Information

Nepal: Travel Information

Access to Nepal:
If you are traveling by road, then you can enter Nepal at check points located along the border with China and Nepal. If you traveling from India, Tauliwha at Bhairawa, Birjung, Kakadvitta etc offer visas. If you are traveling from China via Tibet, Kodari is only point where you can get the visa.

Getting Visa to travel to Nepal is simple and easy. Nepalese embassies and consulates abroad offers visa or you can also get it at Tribhuvan International Airport, the only international airport in Kathmandu, on arrival. If you are traveling to Nepal overland via Tibet or India, you should get visas at the border points.

For 60 days single entry visa, you will be charged US $30. You can extend the visa up to another 90 days. According to the immigration regulations, a tourist is allowed to stay in Nepal only for 150 days in a year. Multiple Entry Visa which cost US $90 is useful if you are planning trips to Tibet, India, or Bhutan.

Recently, Nepal has also started offering Transit Visa for 3 days free of charge. Moreover, VAT amount are refunded to tourists at the time of their departure provided the latter submit the shopping receipts.

Transit visa for all tourists who visit Nepal for 3 days or less no visa is required.

Visa fee for tourists of SAARC countries (India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka) and People's Republic of China is free.

Visa Fee for other nationalities:
   Single entry - US$ 30 days for 30 days
   Multiple entry - US$ 50 for 30 days.

Visa will be extended subsequently for 30 days each upon payment of US$ 30 for a maximum period of 150 days in a visa year (Jan-Dec). Visa can be obtained either on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal or from Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or other Mission offices in your own country. Two passport size photographs as well as passports are required.

Currency exchange:
Payment in hotels, travel agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepalese Rupees into hard currency before leaving the country. However, only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted by the bank. ATM is widely in use in Kathmandu.

Nepalese Rupees are found in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. One rupee equals 100 paisa. Current exchange rate US$ 1 = (Nepalese Rupees) NPR 70

Most of the International Cards  including Visa Card, Master Card, JCB, Maestro, Americal Express etc. are widely accepted by hotels and leading travel/trekking agents.

You should travel to Nepal with personal travel insurance. Some policies exclude certain types of trekking, rafting, peak climbing but may add them on payment of a small extra premium. Insurance must cover, medical, emergency evacuation, lost or theft items etc.   

N.B. Almost all travel policies refuse to extend the duration of the policy once you are overseas.  

Safety Issues:
Traveling in Nepal is both safe and secure. Nepal as a country believes in peaceful co-existence and Nepalese government’s foreign policy is based on Panchasheel or the five pillars, namely peace, co-existence, non-alignment, non-violence and brotherhood.

It also aims to promote brotherhood, harmony and people-to-people contact through the promotion of tourism. There is a separate ministry for tourism that handles the overall promotion of tourism. Likewise Nepal Tourism Board has been set up to coordinate among private and government sector to further the cause of tourism promotion nationally and internationally. It has a strong networking of tourism committees, institutions and private sectors throughout the country and works closely with private tourism associations, tourist police and the related ministries.

Trekking and climbing in the remote regions of Nepal is safe as long as you follow simple precautions. For example, it is always advisable to take along experienced guides who have good knowledge about the routes and trails. Incidences of trekkers getting lost is quite common in the rural ramparts, however this can be easily avoided by getting help of registered trekking companies and guides.

At the same time you should be careful of what and where you are eating. Do not compromise on hygienic food and quality services. Moreover, contact medication centers while in Nepal for appropriate consultation regarding any immediate health concerns.

Rescue efforts are often carried out for tourists who are stranded or are in ill health in the mountains. Tourists are highly recommended to get insurance policies before traveling to Nepal for prompt rescue services. Altitude Mountain Sickness or AMS is one of the most common cases among trekkers while going to high altitude regions.

Entrance Fees:
Also called Permit fees, Entrance fees are levied against entry to almost all the world heritage sites, national parks and trekking areas in Nepal. Fee collection centers are opened in major tourist hubs in Nepal which are opened six days a week except Saturdays.  

The permit fees vary according to the site or trekking area you are visiting. For instance, if you are trekking in Annapurna Conservation Area, you are required to pay NRs. 2000 per person. Similarly to go to Manaslu and Kanchenjunga Conservation Areas you have to pay Rs. 1000.

There are certain ‘Restricted Areas’ in Nepal where the number of tourists are controlled to preserve the sensitivity of local culture and nature by administering higher permit fees. As for instance, you will have to pay US$700 for 10 days to trek in Upper Mustang and Upper Dolmo area as opposed to Us $90 for seven days for Humla.

Entering cultural heritage sites also comes with a price which are regulated by local bodies. For instance, entrance fee for visiting Kathmandu Durbar Square is Rs. 250 and US $10 for Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

When you book a package, generally entrance fees are included in the tariff. So, there is need to worry if you have booked with a government registered travel agent.

Flights Connection:
Nepal is well connected with major international destinations including Delhi, Kolkatta, Varanasi, Dhaka, Thimpu, Islamabad, Lhasa, Shanghai, Hong Kong Bangkok, Korea, Osaka, UAE, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Routine flights are operated by many international and private airlines to and from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.  

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is the state-owned airline of Nepal, which has been in operation since 1958. It currently flies to Delhi, Varanasi, Osaka, Shanghai, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.  Private airlines of Nepal namely Cosmic Air and Flyyeti ( a joint venture between Nepali Yeti Airlines and UAE-based Gulf Air) are flying to Delhi, Varanasi, Kuala Lumpur and UAE.

Currently, there are 18 international airlines connecting Nepal among which include Jet Airways, Jet Lite, Etihad and Thai.

Presently Indian Airlines is flying to Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkatta; China Southwest flies thrice a week flight between Kathmandu and Lhasa; GMG airlines of Bangladesh flies between Dhaka and Kathmandu; Air Arabia between Katmandu and UAE; Dragon Air connects Kathmandu and Thimpu; Silk Air flies three flights a week between Kathmandu and Singapore; Korean Air operates one flight per week between from Seoul; Air Arabia flies  four flights per week from Sharjah; China Southern operates three flights a week between Guangzhou and Kathmandu  Pakistan Air also connects Islamabad with Kathmandu.

Hong Kong based Dragon Air and Orient Airways operate between Hong Kong and Kathmandu. The Thai Airways has been operating seven days a week flights to Nepal. Similarly Gulf Air and Qatar Airways are connecting Doha, Qatar, Kuala Lumpur and UAE with Kathmandu.

When it comes to regional networking within Nepal, most of the touristic places like Lukla, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Chitwan, Dunai, Biratnagar are well connected by private airlines like Buddha Air, Yeti Air, Cosmic Air among others as well as NAC.

Hotels and Accommodation:
Nepal offers many choices in accommodation standards to suit the tastes of varied tourists. From five-star hotels that cater to up-market clientele to lodges and guesthouses for average travelers, Nepal boasts of best standards and services in every category. The total number of star and non-star hotels in Nepal is over 24,000.

There are altogether seven five-star hotels in Kathmandu including internationally renowned brands like Hyatt, Radisson, Soaltee, Annapurna, Everest, Shangri La and Yak & Yeti. These hotels offer from deluxe suites to VIP rooms that have already served to clients like Hillary Clinton, Diana and Colin Powell.

Hyatt Hotel was recently ranked 7 in Asia and 22 worldwide in the category of Best Value Hotel by a premier travel magazine.

Fulbari Hotel, located in Pokhara, the gateway to Annapurna and other famous trekking destinations of Nepal, has also been awarded as one of the top ten spa hotels in South Asia. Star rated hotels are found in every big cities across Nepal. Some of the best lodges and guest houses in the world are also available in Nepal including the world famous Kathmandu Guest House (in Kathmandu) where icons like Ricky Martin stayed, Tiger Tops lodge (in Chitwan) where Mick Jagger spent quality time and Khumbu Lodge (in Everest region) where Jimmy Carter and his wife slept.

Trekking areas in Nepal have modest to well-facilitated lodges and hotels. Village tourism places like Sirubari, Bandipur and Ghalegaon have their own style of guest houses where tourists are invited to stay in local people’s houses and eat local food. This is a different and unique way of experiencing Nepal.