Nepal Travel FAQs: Popular Questions & Answers
How do I get to Nepal?
Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. The national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines, and other international airlines directly connect Kathmandu with major cities around the world. Alternatively, you can travel to Nepal via India.
While coming by land, what are the entry points?
All visitors coming to Nepal by land can enter through any of these entry points on the India- Nepal Border:
· Pani Tanki/Kakarbhitta
· Rupaidiya/ Nepalgunj
· Banbasa/Mahendranagar, Gaddachauki and
· Khasa,Liping/ Tatopani on the Tibet,China-Nepal border respectively.
Overland tourists entering the country with their vehicles must possess an international carnet or complete customs formalities.
What are the Air Accesses to Nepal?
Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flights to/from Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Bangkok, Doha and Hong Kong. Other international airlines operating from/ to Kathmandu are Air Arabia (Sharjah), Air China (Lhasa, Chengdu), ArkeFly (Amsterdam), Bahrain Air (Bahrain), Biman Bangladesh (Dhaka), Buddha Air (Paro, Lucknow), China Eastern Airlines (Kunming), China Southern Airlines (Guanzhou), Dragon Air (Hong Kong), Druk Air (Delhi, Paro), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), Flydubai (Dubai), GMG Airlines (Dhaka), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Indian Airlines (Delhi, Kolkotta, Varanasi), Indigo Airlines (Delhi), Jet Airways (Delhi, Mumbai), Jet Lite (Delhi), Kingfisher Airlines ( Delhi), Korean Air (Seoul), Oman Air (Muscat), Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi, Islamabad) , Qatar Airways (Doha), Silk Air (Singapore), Spicejet (Delhi), Thai Airways (Bangkok) and United Airways (Dhaka) .
How far are Kathmandu and other cities/towns from the border towns?
(border towns to major cities)
Station in India
New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
From the airport, how do I get to the city center?
There are taxi-drivers, travel agents and hoteliers waiting outside the airport terminal to offer their services to you. Pre-paid taxi service is also available at the airport.
Is there an airport tax in Nepal?
Yes. It is already included in your ticket. But on domestic routes, a separate airport tax of Rs.200 is charged before boarding.
Do I need a visa to enter Nepal?
All foreign nationals, except Indians, need visas to enter Nepal. Multiple entry visas for 15 days (US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency), 30 days (US$ 40) or 90 days (US$ 100) can be obtained from any Nepalese embassy or consulate. You can also get a visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu or at the Immigration Office at the entry points of Nepal.
Tourist visas can be extended for a period of 120 days at the Immigration Department in Kathmandu or Pokhara. However, nationals of the following countries will not get visa on arrival at the immigration entry points of Nepal: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, Palestine, Somalia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. They need to obtain visas from Nepalese embassies or diplomatic missions in their respective countries prior to their arrival in Nepal.
Gratis (Free) Visa for 30 days is available only for nationals of South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for the first visit in one visa year (January to December). However, a visa fee is required for its extension beyond the 30 days.
NOTE: Indian nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal.
What documents must Indian nationals present at the entry point?
As per the Nepalese Immigration, Indian Nationals Traveling to Nepal must posses any One of the following documents-
2. Driving License with photo
3. Photo Identity card issued by a Government Agency
4. Ration Card with Photo
5. Election Commission Card with Photo
6. Identity Card issued by Embassy of India in Kathmandu
7. Identity Card with Photo issued by Sub- Divisional Magistrate or any other officials above his rank
However, please check with your nearest travel agents for documents required by the Indian Immigration for Indians traveling to Nepal.
What are needed to get a visa?
A valid passport and one passport size photo with a light background. Immigration Department has not specified the size of the passport-size photo. Visa can be obtained only through payment of cash in the following currency: Euro, Swiss Franc, Pound Sterling, US dollar, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Hong-kong dollar, Singapore dollar and Japanese Yen.
Credit Card, Indian currency or Nepalese currency are not accepted for payment of Visa fee.
What to wear?
Light, loose garments are recommended in spring (March, April and May) and summer (June, July and August), while woolens and jackets or similar warm clothing are needed from November to February.
What is the currency of Nepal?
The Nepalese currency is the rupee and is divided into 100 paisa. Bank notes come in denominations of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. Coins are of 1, 2 and 5 rupee denomination.
Where can I exchange my money?
It is illegal to exchange foreign currency with persons and organizations other than those authorized such as banks, hotels and licensed money changers. Nepalese banks do not accept Indian currency of denomination of Rs. 500 and 1000. You will find the exchange rates for different currencies in the Nepalese papers.
In order to exchange surplus rupees at the time of your departure, please retain your encashment receipts.
Are there ATMS in Nepal?
There are ATMS in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other big cities in Nepal that accept AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA and MASTERCARD.
Are credit cards accepted in Nepal?
Major hotels, restaurants and curio shops accept AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA and MASTERCARD. You can contact the banks for credit card services.
If I run out of money, how do I get access to more funds?
You can draw funds against your AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA and MASTERCARD cards in Kathmandu. The service premiums for doing this, however, could be high. You can also have money wired directly to Kathmandu through any major bank within two to three working days.
What inoculations are recommended before visiting Nepal?
Although specific immunization is not required to enter Nepal, it is, however, best to protect yourself against diseases such hepatitis, meningitis and Japanese encephalitis. Malaria has been reported in the Terai plains of Nepal, so take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. Please notify the authorities or the hotel of any symptoms of bird or swine flu or any endemic.
What health precautions need to be taken?
Use only bottled mineral water or boiled and filtered water only. Always wash your hands before eating. Do not eat unpeeled fruits or vegetables unless they have been thoroughly washed.
When is the best time to travel in Nepal?
Because of its elevation, Nepal can be divided into three zones – the high mountains, the mid-hills and the flat plains called the Terai. The Everest, Langtang and Annpurna trekking destinations in the mountains are cool throughout the year. The mid-hills, including Kathmandu and Pokhara, are cool except in the summer months from May to July. Temperatures in these cities during the summer remain much cooler than in many cities of the region. Lumbini, Chitwan and Janakpur in the Terai plains are hot in summer (March –July) but cold in winter (December-February).
So if you are going trekking, the best months for walking are between September and November and between February and May when the weather is fair during the day and the temperatures do not drop rapidly during the night.
If I need to see a doctor, where can I do so?
There are well-equipped general and specialized hospitals, nursing homes and private clinics manned by very competitive doctors in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other cities if you fall sick. Your hotel will provide good advice on the matter.
What is Acute Mountain Sickness and how do you prevent it?
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is caused by thin air at high altitudes starting from 3, 000 meters upwards and may even lead to death. The main precaution that needs to be taken while trekking is not to go up too high too fast. So the body should be given enough time to acclimatize.
If you suffer from initial symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, inability to sleep, swelling of the face, hands and feet and loss of appetite, descend to a lower elevation immediately, and seek medical help.
Are there clinics to treat AMS on trekking routes?
The Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), a non-profit organization that works to prevent casualties from AMS, operates a permanent aid post in Manang which is managed by volunteer doctors from HRA. It also operates a small aid post in the Khumbu village of Pheriche at 4,280 m during the trekking season by volunteer doctors. HRA also operates a camp at Everest Base Camp during the mountaineering season.
For more information,
Is travel insurance necessary to go trekking in Nepal?
Helicopter services are available should you fall sick or meet with an accident while trekking. However, such rescue services are expensive. So comprehensive travel insurance is advised to cover emergencies like helicopter rescue and medical treatment.
How safe is Nepal?
It is safe to take a walk around the city from morning to late evening until the shops are closed. But you are advised not to trek alone. Trekking with a guide from a registered agency is the best security. Do not display your cash or expensive items. Always lock your room and baggage.
Are there public toilets in Nepal?
Public toilets can be used for a small fee. But visitors are advised to use the toilets at the shopping malls, stores and restaurants which are cleaner.
What is the country code of Nepal?
The country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 01, for Pokhara 061, Chitwan 056 and Lumbini 071.
What is the time difference in Nepal?
Nepali time is GMT plus 5 hours 45 minutes.
What is Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS)?
Where and how to obtain TIMS Card?
Tourists of all nationalities including Indians, who are interested to visit general trekking areas of Nepal, are required to receive TIMS Card through one of the following offices:
- Kathmandu (NTB office, TAAN office and Government registered trekking companies)
- Pokhara (NTB office, TAAN office and Government registered trekking companies)
- To obtain a TIMS Card you need a photo copy of your passport details and two passport-size photographs.
- 20 US $ equivalent Nepalese Rupees must be paid to obtain TIMS Card from NTB offices or TAAN offices which issue TIMS card only for Free Individual Trekkers (FIT) who do not take the services of both Guide and Porter.
- However, 10 US $ equivalent Nepalese Rupees must be paid for obtaining TIMS card for Group Trekkers (GT- who take the services of both Guide and Porter) only from registered trekking agencies in Nepal.
- The TIMS card is non-transferable, non-endorsable and valid only for one entry for prescribed area and duration.
Electricity in Nepal is 230 volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. A voltage converter is needed for a device that does not accept 230 volts at 50 MHz. Sockets in Nepal accept only round three or two pins. So if your electrical device uses flat pins, please bring a universal electric plug adaptor.
What are some basic Nepali customs that I need to know?
- When visiting a temple, always circumambulate it is a clockwise direction.
- Take off your shoes before entering a temple or a Nepalese home.
- Entrance to some temples is forbidden, so look out for such notices.
- Seek permission to take photographs inside temples or of religious ceremonies.
- You can accept a handshake offered by either a male or a female but never offer your hand first.
- Show decency in dress and avoid any show of public affection.
How do I get around in the cities and to other destinations?
There are metered taxis, buses, battery-operated three-wheelers and rickshaws in the cities. Long routes are served by buses. Nepal does not have a railway system connecting cities. The only other travel option is by plane, and Nepal is well connected by air.
There are Intercity Tourist Buses to popular tourist destinations like Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini from Kantipath in Kathmandu, while you can board a bus to Jiri and Dhunche at the New Bus Park.
How reliable is the post office in Nepal?
The post office is reliable. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at the General Post Office located at Sundhara near the Dharahara tower in Kathmandu and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters in the capital. Kathmandu has the only Post Restante of the country.
How are communication facilities in Nepal?
Mobile coverage is wide in Nepal, even in the rural areas. Internet facilities are available in hotels and cyber cafes in all major cities. Apart from the urban centers, popular trekking destinations – the Annapurna and Everest region – also have modern communications facilities.
There is accommodation ranging from 5-star chain hotels and resorts to comfortable lodges in Kathmandu and major tourist destinations. The hotels offer specialty restaurants, conference facilities, exclusive health clubs and business centers. You also have the option of home-stay where you can stay in local houses with the local people and enjoy their traditional food.
What kind of food is available in Nepalese restaurants?
Kathmandu is a melting pot of international cuisine. Dining out is, therefore, a pleasure. The Nepali staple is rice, dal (lentils) and curry. Apart from Nepalese cuisine, there are restaurants serving Continental, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Italian and Korean food. Fast foods like burgers, pizzas are found everywhere. There are two KFC outlets in Kathmandu.
What souvenirs can I take home?
Popular among visitors are handmade apparels like woolen sweaters, jackets, trousers and caps. And the Pashmina shawl is a highly coveted item. Then there are ethnic and contemporary carpets, gems and jewelry, metal and wooden products, Khukuri (the curved metal knife, music CDs, Nepali paper products, pottery, spices, tea and Thangka paintings to take home.
There are exclusive showrooms at Durbar Marg, Asan, Thamel, Patan and Bhaktapur Durbar Square area which specialize in these items.